In Praise of Nonalignment
EDITORIAL, 22 March 2010
#105 | Johan Galtung
We are living a world battle against terrorism. With the words of the present US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, then, in 2001 a Senator, in our ears: “if you are not with us (meaning US) you are with the terrorists”. Not the bland, “if you are not with us you are against us, no, you are with the terrorists. Tertium non datur, no third possibility, like being against both–or in favor of both, more original, an option for arms traders and double spies–or being non-aligned; handling the issues on a concrete case-by-case basis.
What the USA demands is quite a lot. Not only rallying behind the USA in coalitions of the willing, against social evils, like terrorism today and bolshevism yesterday. But, in so doing, in fact endorsing US policy, or at least not criticizing the Leader as that could weaken the fight, and accepting the US good-evil world map.
The first point against social evils is easily accepted; how to go about reducing or eliminating them is another matter.
But the second point is beyond problematic. It is a cover-up of the enormities of US crimes around the world, not only running a world economic system, hyper-capitalism, killing the millions– structurally–by hunger and easily preventable-curable diseases, but maintaining it all over the world with interventions, 244 since the start under Thomas Jefferson, again killing the millions–directly.
That second point, the implicit endorsement, is possibly the most important from a Washington point of view. They tend to think that they can handle the military killing job themselves. But then, up comes somebody agreeing about the Evil Empire and the Evil terrorism, but without joining the alliance or the coalition. It reads like “a plague on both your houses”, even like “equalizing” bolshevism and imperialism, and terrorism and state terrorism. That would be unfair. Imperialism and state terrorism kill much more.
And thus it was that we got the Non-Aligned Movement, NAM, from 1955 and 1961, Bandoeng and Beograd. And we got the five neutral-nonaligned, NN, in the North-South belt in Europe between the two blocs: Finland and Sweden in the North, Austria and Switzerland in the Alpine Center, Yugoslavia in the Mediterranean South. Some names stand out: Kekkonen and Palme, Kreisky and Anonymous (the Swiss presidents), Tito and his foreign policy architect Leo Mates.
And thus it is that today we have no such belt of nonaligned for the three current US wars: on Terrorism from 2001, in Afghanistan, also from 2001, and in Iraq from 2003. But it is taking shape, and more forcefully than those five smaller countries during the Cold War, like Turkey-Iran, Russia-China. The Eastern European countries, that benefitted so much from neutral-nonaligned during the Cold War, are today signing up behind the USA, the enemy of their enemy, the Soviet Union. That will not last long.
During the Cold War Yugoslavia broke with the Soviet Union in June 1948 without officially joining the USA, Switzerland was riding on its age-old neutrality as a venue for important meetings, Austria did the same but also provided a model of nonaligned unification–also offered to Germany and rejected by Adenauer. They all talked negatively about the two superpowers arms race, and Sweden applied that to their nuclearism and readiness to commit massive genocide.
But Finland, able to communicate with all three parts, NATO, WTO and NN, pulled off a miracle: the Conference (later Organization) for Security and Cooperation in Europe, C(O)SCE, in Helsinki, 1972 (the preparations) till the 1975 Final Act.
With that the Cold War could have come to the end. But the totally counter-productive deployment of US missiles in five NATO countries delayed the process by 14, 15 more years. And the USA hated the NAM and neutral-nonaligned in Europe.
The US concern was not to solve something, like finding an alternative to the stark dichotomy between hyper-capitalism and state planning, to military interventions by both sides, to Eastern European autonomy, being ruled neither by the East nor by the West. The US concern was to win, and they saw not only the WTO-Soviet Union, but also the neutral-nonaligned as standing in the way.
The USA hit back after the Soviet collapse, and were met more than half way by elites in the five countries apologizing, denying even their own important bridge-building roles. Serbia refused to discard their mixed economy in favor of privatization and was bombed in 1999 into submission under various pretexts. Switzerland was exposed to blackmail–not without justification–centered on their banking system. Austria sounded like apologizing, but has not (yet) joined NATO, like parts of old Yugoslavia. Palme was killed, of course, in 1986–by a triangle of retired CIA-FBI, the right wing of the Swedish Security Police (Säpo) and the patsy-pawn (like Lee Harvey Oswald), Petersson. And Sweden turned their back to Palme as somebody contaminated by signing up as USA-loyal.
And Finland: sort of apologizing, claiming they had no choice, turning their back to Kekkonen, finding some negativities in him. Mosquitoes were peeing on that giant, not adding much to their size.
By and large all five sided with the “winner”, state system logic, amending by passing the next allegiance test, against terrorism. A sad spectacle given the atrocities of the US Empire(1), and the cover-up of those as well as those of the ally–and homologue on a regional scale!–Israel. Instead they should have claimed their part of the praise for ending the Cold War, bringing the parties closer, being models of a Third Way. The way history will see them.
Let us hope that today’s in-betweens will end up favoring neither terrorism nor state terrorism. We can do well without them.
(1) See my The Fall of the US Empire – And Then What?, TRANSCEND University Press, 2009; www.transcend.org/tup.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 22 March 2010.
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