What Do You Want USA, Up or Down?

EDITORIAL, 9 Apr 2012

#212 | Johan Galtung, 9 Apr 2012 - TRANSCEND Media Service

From Washington, DC

One wonders what the US political leaders want.  The incumbent lives in this world, playing an ultra-realist game: extra-judicial executions in maybe 70 countries, drone attacks; minimizing US losses, maximizing direct hits at what he sees as the problem, concrete identified individuals, not concrete unidentified conflicts.  He has neither the moral nor the intellectual courage to do that.

The challengers, with one exception, are focusing on one issue: down with the welfare state.  Ron Paul, the libertarian, adds: down with the warfare state.  He has registered Vietnam-Afghanistan-Iraq and the next in line, Iran-Syria, as unwinnable and unaffordable for a bankrupt economy. Young Republicans and others flock to him, but his discourse is too unusual. Warfare, not welfare makes sense.  This has to do with the relation to conflict, a three-headed problem: attitude, behavior, contradiction.  The USA wants an attitude of love for the USA, military response to evil people who do not and act on that, and contradiction, incompatibility are outside the thinkable. The deep culture of good vs evil and Armageddon for the latter take over.

Well, does it?  The reader is invited to look at the scheme below.  There are three columns: a list of 15 conflicts in which the USA is currently involved–some say embroiled–,a list of what this author sees as reasonable solutions, nothing that radical, well-known formulas; self-determination, human rights, federations, communities.

And the third column is what the USA tends to do.  Violence, like Libya for the first conflict.  Wars, intervention, bases, military coups. That may work with solid local elite support.  But today that is missing almost all over and the net result is brutal, naked power that greases the downward slope.  Obama thinks he can solve it by being sneaky; the Republicans have not yet discovered that their favorite world of admiring, obedient elites is gone; probably forever.




Encourage local saving banksPublish M2  Check Fed Reserve

Tax speculation  Drop bonuses

Outlaw basic need speculation

Democratic control of central banks; mixed world currency

More F than Real growthMore money than value

Serving loans not people

Countries in debt bondage

Globalization through

privatized central banks

WAR ONTERRORISM Identify their just goalsPublish Atta  Who did 9/11? Extrajudicial executionSOC-Drones  Covert war
US-ISRAEL vs ARAB-MUSLIMSTATES A two states solution, andA Middle East Community MEC Israel and 5 Arab neighbors

1967 borders with revisions

Palestine recognized, and

Org for Sec Coop Middle East

Tail wagging dog:Israel wagging USA;

AIPAC wagging Congress

Judeo-Christ’n anti-islam


Extreme US anti-semitism

LIBYA Self-determination for parts, federalism with democracy Continued anarchyUnitary state illusion
SYRIA Self-determination for parts,federalism with democracy Attack; SCO response?split Syria, rule parts
IRAQ Self-determination for parts,Federalism with democracy

Kurdish autonomies community

Withdrawal only:no rebuilding,

no compensation

IRAN Open high level dialogue,Conciliation for 1953,

Human rights for Iran

Attack, SCO response?speculation in oil,

and bio-fuel

PAKISTAN Pashtun autonomy, drop Durand  Self-determination in KashmirIndian-Pakistan-Kashmir parts Extrajudicial executionSOC-Drones  Covert war
AFGHANISTAN A Central Asian CommunityFederation  Local autonomy

Nonaligned, no bases

OIC-UNSC joint peacekeeping

Withdrawal only;no rebuilding,

no compensation


KOREA Peace Treaty with NorthNormalization USA-North

Korea as nuclear free zone

Marginalizing NKUS-SK military exercises

Breaking agreements

CHINA Open high level dialogue,Mutual learning in economics

Civil and economic rights

Encircling, sub-sat-navyEconomic exploitation within and between both
JAPAN Japan in NE Asian CommunityGood relations to USA, APEC+

USA pulls out of Okinawa

Impeding conciliationKeeping Japan as client

Subverting A9

AFRICA Welcome African Unity!Build with China E-W highway! AFRICOMMilitary intervention
LATIN AMERICA Welcome CELAC integrationEquity Latin-North America Military interventionSupporting coups
WORLD All human rights conventionsNational self-determination

Dialogue of civilizations

Stronger UN, with parliament

Civil-political onlyUnitary state models

Western universalism

US exceptionalism

That third column draws not only abhorrence, but also the yawn of “more of the same”, when will they ever learn?  They want to go down?

So, look at the second column of efforts to identify the conflict, dialogue with the parties, bridging what sounds like legitimate goals–by law, human rights, human needs–they are pursuing.

No attempt will be made here to justify the reasoning behind column Two.  But imagine that US politics followed such lines and that the world followed that USA.  What kind of world would we live in?

Strong regions, like Latin America, Africa, OIC (Organization of the Islamic Community, today

Cooperation) and East Asia is one aspect.  They have their own projects, not necessarily to copy the USA.  They will trade with each other, support each other, regionalize and not repeat the UN formula of a security council with veto powers.  No veto.

Where would the USA belong?  In the whole world like everybody, but also in a region with trade partners Nos. 1 and 3: Canada, Mexico (the USA is No. 1 for both of them).  The basis is there, use it.

Democracy and human rights, of course.  But federations first in multi-national countries, then democracy in each part.  Majority rule in Iraq means shia rule, majority rule in Syria means sunni rule; two neighboring countries.  As federations with democracy in each part, neutrality would be a good option in order to avoid internal divisions.

There are countless details like that in the scheme above.  But the point is the USA, that ambiguous, violent, innovative, generous country. Go for something like column 2 options and a non-imperial USA would surge, up, up , up, in the hearts and minds, all over.  There is that love for the US longing for a US to attach to, delusioned by Obama.  A little distance in that direction would help already.

Friends of the USA: help the USA find a better place in the world.


Editorials by Johan Galtung and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgment and link to the source, TRANSCEND Media Service-TMS, is included. Thank you.

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 9 Apr 2012.

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One Response to “What Do You Want USA, Up or Down?”

  1. Great summary of USA geopolitics.
    “Friends of the USA: help the USA find a better place in the world.” What does it mean practically?
    In too many countries who are USA allies foreign policy is not in the agenda during an election campaign. We should include it, in order to help the United States by being critical friends.