Systems of Alternative Defense for States

EDITORIAL, 23 Jul 2013

#281 | Johan Galtung, 23 Jul 2013 - TRANSCEND Media Service

The Senate, Rome: Your Excellencies, Foreign Affairs, Defense, EU:

SYSTEMS: A Reorientation

[1] Transarmament:  States use armies for defense, and for offense, for wars.  Si vis pacem, para bellum, peace through security tries to cover both; but offensive military threatens, provokes arms races, even wars.  Si vis pacem para pacem, security through peace is not disarmament leaving regions, states and local level defense-less; rather, it identifies conflicts and traumas underlying violence in order to solve them, builds peaceful state relations, and defensive defense “just in case”.

[2] Nonalignment:  Solidarity and help to victims of aggression should be based on the merits of the case, not by alliance membership. This implies NATO and EU transarmament to regional defensive defense, and UN world collective defense under representative military command.

[3] Being useful to other countries: having developed positive relations such that others want to enhance, not destroy the country.  There are many ways: through mutually beneficial trade, tourism for nature or culture, through support when suffering attacks, or social and natural catastrophes, by serving as experts in peace-building.

[4] Being less vulnerable: political-military decentralization so that aggression against any sector-part does not paralyze the whole country; resistance, and much normal life, can be continued.

Economic self-reliance, especially energy/food–self-sufficiency only as a possibility in emergencies–not to be tempted into attacking others if trade fails, keeping economic sectors–primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary for reproduction–intact; producing for basic needs at home as much as possible, getting the rest through trade.

Defense against spying by not having secrets; transarmament works openly, to prevent and deter.  A more cooperative, less competitive economy (more cooperatives, less companies); inviting others to join.


ALTERNATIVE: Building Peace

[5] Conflict resolution.  Conflict means incompatible goals; conflict resolution means making goals compatible in an acceptable and sustainable way.  The method is dialogue with all parties to map goals and test them for legitimacy; then try to bridge legitimate goals through compromise or by creating some new reality.  Making solution orientation a part of the culture and media; not just “winning”.  Massive education-practice for domestic-global conflict resolution.

[6] Trauma reconciliation.  Clearing the past by revisiting  traumatic events, acknowledging wrongs done, dialogue about why it happened, building peaceful futures together; making reconciliation orientation a part of the culture and media; not just “forgetting”. Massive education-practice for domestic-global trauma reconciliation.

[7] Empathy for harmony.  Promoting knowledge of how the world looks from the angle of the other gender, generations, races, classes, nations, states, regions, civilizations–professions like business, military, religion, politics–not only one’s own angle; capability to suffer the suffering of others and to enjoy the joy of others, for harmony.  Understanding their traumas and glories is a major part of education in geography and history in the age of globalization.

[8] Cooperation. Building projects for mutual and equal benefit, also across conflict borders and faultlines in general, for parity among genders, generations, races and nations, states and regions, civilizations, and for massive reduction of inequality.

Politically that calls for regionalization, one state one vote.

Militarily that calls for solidarity within and between regions.

Economically that calls for transactions with equal long term side-effects, like challenge to develop further and to the environment.

Culturally that calls for more than tolerance: for dialogue based on mutual respect and curiosity, and for openness to mutual learning.


DEFENSE: Defensive Defense

[9] Non-offensive, non-provocative, only deploying weapons one would tolerate in others, limited to defense; not offense, attack, war.  This calls for short-range arms and platforms; ditches that can be made unbridgeable, mining fields, armed vehicles, PGMs, MTBs, coast artillery, helicopters, air defense also by beams; for defense only.

[10] Conventional Military Defense, to mark land, sea and air borders, neither provoking arms races, nor instilling fear of war.

[11] Para-Military Defense, militia, locally based and supported, using guerrilla tactics, prepared for the long haul.

[12] Non-Military Defense, preparing, training the population[i] for massive civil disobedience/non-cooperation with any illegitimate regime imposed on the country, cooperating with CMD and PMD above.

[13] A MINISTRY OF PEACE for coordination of as many steps on as many of the 12 points above as possible; sections and sub-sections as indicated.  Could be under the Prime Minister’s Office.

A country based on security through peace, nonaligned, useful to others, invulnerable, mediating relevant conflicts and traumas, high on empathy and equitable projects, only non-provocative arms, prepared to defend its borders and any part of its territory with military and nonmilitary defense and a Ministry of Peace; attack very unlikely.

A country with long range military, aggressive alliances, useless, vulnerable, with victory as approach to conflict and amnesia to traumas inflicted, autistic, exploitative, no defensive defense, with no Ministry of Peace; attack, and being attacked, likely. Most countries are mixes.

A country with high scores is not only more secure but a gift to the world, surrounded by expanding circles of friendship; one with low scores is a threat, surrounded by enemies.  Switzerland in Europe and Nepal in Asia are high-score countries almost never attacked; EU in Europe and ASEAN in Asia are examples of regions with wars (almost) unthinkable.


[i].  See : “La Loi Peillon des formations á la prévention et á la résolution non-violente des conflits” pour les enseignants et tous les personnels de l’éducation en formation initiale et continue dans le cadre des Ecoles Supérieures du Professorat et de l’Education (ESPE)”, adopté le 25 juin 2013.


Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He is author of over 150 books on peace and related issues, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.

Editorials 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 23 Jul 2013.

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13 Responses to “Systems of Alternative Defense for States”

  1. satoshi says:

    The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Japan is planning to amend the Constitution of Japan, including Article 9.

    Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan (the official English translation):

    “Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. 2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”

    The LDP has its own proposal for the constitutional amendment. See, for instance, and

    If Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan is to be amended, and if the amendment is to be performed in accordance with Prof. Galtung’s suggestions as mentioned in the above editorial, what will the amended Article 9 be? Would Prof. Galtung prepare his own proposal of Article 9 as a counter proposal to the LDP’s draft? I would like to see it.

  2. […] Non-Military Defense, preparing, training the population[i] for massive civil disobedience/non-cooperation with any illegitimate regime imposed on the country, […]

  3. Japan has slowly been armed by USA (mainly) in exchange of space on Japan’s soil for American military bases. Japanese politicians are being bribed so as to amend the Constitution and allow for fully fledged Armed Forces. Many weapon deals are already in the pipeline, ready to be signed, monies and weapons transferred.

    Weapons are for KILLING and nothing else. This is why, if you go to any Arms Trade Fair you’ll see that manufacturers of the faster guns, more powerful bombs, lighter and faster air-fighters, etc, do better business than those with less lethal products.

    If weapons were for defense, since all countries are armed, why don’t Governments shut down all weapon factories? why don’t we stop producing bombs, mortars, tanks, Apaches, F16 jets, nuclear submarines, torture and spying instruments, etc, etc?

    If politicians didn’t organize wars, where can a bomb manufacturer store his produce? can he, once his store room is packed to the ceiling with unsold bombs, dismiss his personnel, send them on holiday? pay them for not working? how will he pay them anyway if he doesn’t sell his bombs?

    The same questions I ask about manufacturers of machine guns, landmines, torpedoes, grenades, warships, soldiers uniforms, etc, etc.

    All sides of a conflict have the SAME AIM and this is why we have wars on a non-stop basis. The aim has a name “TO WIN”. No matter how long they dialogue, all conflicting sides – knowing they have Armies at their disposal – always reach the same common conclusion, the same common goal: TO WIN.

    Unless we demilitarize the world, all talk of Peace is, in my modest opinion, just that, talk.

  4. […] Originally published at Transcend here. […]

  5. satoshi says:

    Only “talk”? Then, what if without having talk? To achieve the abolition of military weapons by force? Unacceptable. Only “talk” will be able to lead relevant parties to the way for making peace.

    Historically great figures also talked. Buddha talked. Socrates talked. Jesus talked. None of them, however, achieved the abolition of military weapons, for instance. They talked. Only “talk”.

    Democracy begins with talk, especially with dialogues and discussions among various types of talks. One of the reasons why the abolition of military weapons has not been achieved is lack of talk or insufficient talk about that subject. The abolition of weapons requires innumerable kinds of worldwide political, economic/financial and any other relevant agreements and arrangements. All these agreements and arrangements require talks. The abolition of military weapons requires the fundamental change of the world economic and other relevant structures. It will be, if possible, a worldwide comprehensive attempt. It takes a tremendous amount of time, energy and money if implemented. Even the abolition of “nuclear weapons” has not been achieved; not to mention the abolition of “all military weapons”.

    When will Alberto’s claim – the abolition of all military weapons – begin to be implemented? Ask him. “Only talk”?


    In 1795, when Kant wrote, “Zum ewigen Frieden” (i.e. “For Perpetual Peace”) in which he discussed the necessity of an international organization for peace, everyone laughed at his claim then. He only “wrote”. He did not bother to work for the realization of his claim. However, his claim was realized more than one hundred years later. How about Alberto’s claim which is the abolition of all military weapons? “Only talk”. Nevertheless, that is the first step. Let the future history prove the development of the first step.

    There are some differences between Kant and Alberto. For instance, Kant claimed the establishment of an international organization for peace, while Alberto claims the abolition of military weapons. In addition to that, one of other differences may be this: Kant did not say/write, “Unless we establish an international organization, all talk of Peace is, in my modest opinion, just that, talk.” That was because Kant understood that the realization of his claim would take time, beyond his lifetime. Kant let his future generations decide whether they will realize his claim. Hopefully Alberto may understand that the realization of his claim will take time, beyond his lifetime.

    Regardless of the existence of international organizations for peace, armed conflicts have occurred and are occurring. Since the establishment of international organizations for peace, including the League of Nations and the United Nations, how many armed conflicts have occurred?

    The paradox that Kant did not foresee was that some aspects of the activity of international organizations for peace might maintain or enhance armed conflict. This paradox is allegedly hidden in the inherent nature of the activity of international organizations for peace. As Alberto points out from time to time, UNHCR, for instance, will be ceased to exist within next three years if all or most refugee/humanitarian problems in the world will be permanently solved this year and if, as that result, there is no perspective of occurring refugee/humanitarian problems in the foreseeable future. (Perhaps, actually, in that case, the minimum size of the organization might be maintained.) The same or the similar thing can be said of other relevant organizations that are designed to be dedicated to peace, humanitarian or other public purposes. As the organization, they attempt to survive. Their justification is the continuity of refugee/humanitarian problems. The survival of the organization is the top priority for them looking for humanitarian imperativeness in the world. Such organizational behavior indicates the paradox of these international organizations in terms of their founding purposes. (For the TMS readers: For more about the similar issues, see, for instance, “War Games: The Story of Aid and War in Modern Times,” by Linda Polman, published by Penguin Books, London, New York, 2010/2011. There are quite a few books on this kind of subject. This book is one of them. It is a very well-written book. )

    A highly possible paradox that Alberto may or may not foresee is that the abolition of military weapons might stimulate the act of murdering “in the much crueler manner”. A couple of critical factors can be pointed out here:

    The first factor is that modern military weapons are designed to kill people with less suffering. If people are killed with daily civilian commodities, their suffering will be enhanced enormously and the way of killing will be much crueler. It is very often, if not necessarily always, that terrorists’ mass-killing weapons are civilian products/goods. For example, the Boston Marathon participants and bystanders were killed by nails and a cooking pot. Some 3,000 victims of 9/11 were killed reportedly by passenger airplanes (military planes?). Even one laptop is capable enough to cause a catastrophic situation in a portion of the world, if not in the whole world. Almost any daily commodities can be used to kill a substantial number of people. It is reported that a significant number, not necessarily all, of the victims in Rwanda in 1994 were killed with agricultural equipment and devices such as axes, cutters, hey forks or the like. Civilian daily products are sufficient for mass murders. The use of military weapons is not the absolute necessary condition for that. Some years after the abolition of military weapons, appalled by the facts of the continuance of mass murders, people might ask, “How many people have been killed since the abolition of military weapons?”

    Another factor is that civilians are not trained to kill people in the professional manner. Nonetheless, civilians kill civilians. With or without military weapons, people continue killing as mentioned above. What will happen then? The result will probably be occurrences of the cruelest way of killings. Some of the main purposes of the abolition of military weapons include the reduction of killings and cruelty. Nonetheless, however, the result of the abolition of military weapons will surely bring about the opposite effect. In addition, people will purchase daily commodities more to kill people because by using daily civilian products for the killing purpose, they can kill people much crueler. For instance, if a group of people hate their opponent group of people – for the reasons of politics, race/ethnicity, religion, sex, culture, the social class or of whatever else –, and if the former group of people use daily civilian products to kill the latter group of people, it can easily be understood that the former group of people will kill the latter group of people in the worst possible cruelest manner. They might attempt to enhance the agony of the victims. That is one of the main differences between how professionally trained soldiers kill people and how untrained civilians kill people. Besides, unlike military weapons, anybody can purchase civilian daily products easily. All those as mentioned in this paragraph are highly possible paradoxical results in terms of the main purposes of the abolition of military weapons. Time will tell so if the abolition of military weapons will be realized.


    In brief, it may be better to have international organizations for peace, but armed conflicts have continued regardless of what. In addition, as mentioned above, some people argue that international organizations for peace contribute to the increase of armed conflicts. These people understand the paradoxical effect of some aspects of the activity of international organizations for peace.

    It may also be better to abolish all military weapons, but people will surely continue killing regardless of what. In addition, as also mentioned above, by using civilian products/goods used by civilians, the way of killing people might become much crueler. In fact, many terrorism incidents have already proven so. All these are highly possible paradoxical effects of the abolition of military weapons. Time will tell so more.

    Note: In that context all above, neither am I saying that international organizations for peace or other public purposes should be ceased to exist nor am I saying that military weapon businesses should be maintained. However, I am saying that it is necessary to understand about possible paradoxes that might be emerged if the pertinent objective(s) for peace will be achieved. More is less; less is more. Big is small; small is big. High is low; low is high. The realities are not necessarily in the simple linier logic.

    Begin to talk. It is “only talk”; at the same time, however, it is “more than only talk”. Let “talk” work for peace. Let it work. Time will tell.


    Begin to talk about Prof. Galtung’s suggestions as mentioned in the above editorial. It is a set of considerably important suggestions. Begin to talk about (the search for) the possibility of the realization of his suggestions. It is “only talk”. However, let “only talk” become “more than only talk”.

    A talk for peace is a seed of peace. Only a seed of peace. Nothing more; nothing less. But let “only a seed of peace” become “more than only a seed of peace”. Let the seed become a “big tree of peace”. The tree of peace might not guarantee the peace of the world because people continue killing each other regardless of what, but the tree of peace might work for the reduction of armed conflicts and of other kinds of violence in the world. Let time prove it so. Time will tell.

  6. Dear Satoshi,

    A big misunderstanding here !!!!! who claimed achieving a non-militarized world “by force”? not me. I expect the demilitarization of the world to come via dialogue and to become LAW by agreement of all parties.

    I see you’re a great dreamer. You think that talk about peace is the equivalent of planting a seed of peace. You also think that a seed of peace will become a tree of peace and this will eventually lead to the reduction of armed conflicts and other kinds of violence.

    Here I entirely disagree with you. PLENTY – hundreds – of “Peace Talks” after World War I what did they do? they led to World War II. The “masses” of Peace Talks since the end of World War II have led to a an increase in armed conflicts around the world, from big ones, like Korea and Vietnam, Cambodia, etc, to hundreds of other wars, of all sizes and colours. Your “Peace Talks” have led to the proliferation of nuclear countries and are now leading us to World War III.

    Your “all kinds of violence” as well as other crimes, (burglaries, robberies, rape, drug trafficking, prostitution, etc) has also increased over the last decades, despite the THOUSANDS of talks between politicians, Police Forces (national and international) psychologists, sociologists, etc.

    To expect a reduction of violence through talks whilst increasing the number of violent games, violent films, is an OXYMORON. By the same token, to expect a reduction of armed conflicts whilst increasing – and improving – weapon production, is another BIG OXYMORON.

    You mention talk between politicians, economists, as if it was a question of finances, but it is not just about money.It is about Education. Politicians and Banks benefit from religious education (brain-washing) and patriotism (more brain-washing). These are the two fundamental ingredients that make “war concoction and production” so easy to those who make a living out of war.

    You say that even if we “abolish all military weapons, people will surely continue killing regardless of what.”. Bur THAT’S THE POINT !!!!!!! without weapons there will be no Armed Forces, that is there will not be people in military uniforms, killing as many as they can, all perfectly legal.

    People killing others would simply be considered murderers, assassins and sent to jail. BIG DIFFERENCE.


  7. satoshi says:

    Dear Alberto,

    First. It is you who are a big dreamer, constantly claiming the abolition of weapons which is no perspective for now. However, I have no objection to your dream/claim.

    Second. What are the main differences between (the military) and (the militia, the organized crime gangs, the pirate group, etc.)? One of the differences is that the former is employed by and financed by the government, while the latter is financed by private. Both two categorized groups kill people. To abolish the former does not necessarily mean the abolition of killing. No uniform? Well, before the independence of Kosovo/a, there was the “so-called Kosovo Liberation Army” whose soldiers wore uniforms. Serbs have called them the local terrorists, while Kosovars called them the “Army”. (For Serbs, the “KLA” (or the “Kosova Army” as Kosovars call thrm now) is still a group of terrorists because Serbia has not recognized Kosovo’s independence.) If a group of violence is supported by a certain political power and if their members wear uniforms, what then? The uniform is not the issue. Who finances (the government, the local ethnic group, a political/religious organization, a certain political entity, etc.) is also not the issue. They all kill people. (Even Yukio Mishima, one of the prominent writers of Japan, had his own private “army” – or whatever you could name them – whose soldiers wore uniforms.)

    Anyhow, take care, Alberto. You have promptly responded to me. That means you are well; or at least, you are not very bad now. I am happy to know that. Stay well. All the best, Alberto.

    With peace, respect and best regards,


  8. Dear Satoshi, I knew 2 Serbs, one a Muslim and one a Christian Orthodox, who were partners in the business of creating the Kosovo Liberation Army, negotiating with the UN for how long violence in Kosovo should go on before negotiating with NATO when to start the war in earnest.

    You like to dream that we live in a democratic world, where things happen because – as if by magic, out of the blue – groups of people form and decide to have a game of “kill who you can. I believe Democracy is the mask behind which hide politicians, Bankers, Media, gold and oil tycoons, military manufacturers, Churches, etc.

    They all wear the Mask of Peace, Justice, Human Rights, Fraternity, whilst proceeding to impose war after war, against the will of the masses.

    I had a cousin in a guerrilla group and 2 school friends were mercenary soldiers. Believe me, money and other material gains prompted their choices in life. Ideology always lags behind.

    Anyway, none of the fighting groups you mention could exist if there were no weapons.


  9. Dear Satoshi and Alberto, may I introduce another instrument (level?) of analysis to your engaging, informative and honest dialogue?

    In my view both are right, on point, but also off the mark, in looking at this human reality, i.e., a reality created by human beings. You both are missing an intrinsic aspect of “being human.” The subject is relevant and important enough for us to think of ALL possibilities and variables. How to improve humanity’s lot and by association the lives and well being of all other species?

    I wrote an article for TMS where I argue for spirituality and virtue as necessary factors, conditions sine qua non for humans to become civilized:

    Spirituality and Virtue as Corollaries to Peace

    Please do not confuse spirituality with religion(s) or virtue with moralities or moral standards; or either with naivete. I believe that Thoreau is closest to my view of life and reality on this planet.

    Thank you,

  10. Dear Antonio,

    Many thanks for your contribution to the dialogue between Satoshi and I. I have the impression that I don’t express myself well. ALL I write about is SPIRITUALITY. This is the key point in all my writings and lectures.

    It is because of my spiritual life, dedicated to help human beings, through music and through several other means, that I insist on EDUCATION.

    This means, making the world realize that they are human beings but fighting Religions, Patriotism and the Business of War, does NOT allowed them to BE HUMAN.

    More than 3 million human beings die every year from starvation or lack of medical care. Is that because they thought that “being human” meant to starve themselves to death?

    Being human means to you accepting to be the target of a bullet, landmine or bomb whilst the president of your country lives in a palace and rides a Rolls Royce?

    Perhaps you think that eating and having a full stomach is material; so, to you, not eating is proof of great spirituality !!!!

    Well, I’m afraid we think differently.

    Stay well,


  11. […] originale: Systems of Alternative Defense for States – TRANSCEND Media […]

  12. Robert Lyons says:

    I do not wish to interrupt this conversation other than to point out that military disarmament is very possible if the political will of the populace shows a mass expression. For example, in 1948 the military was abolished in the Central American country of Costa Rica, and the funds channeled to education and health services. Result: the highest literacy rate and lowest infant mortality rate in Latin America; no coups or armed uprisings, and a country secure in the knowledge that there will not be an invasion from its neighbours, despite a worrying amount of pressure exerted by the United States to enter into the so-called “war on drugs” with all the bloody attendant consequences that would bring.

  13. Hello Robert Lyons,

    Yes, the people of Costa Rica benefitted from President Arias´demilitarization of the country, but theis step was only possible thanks to Costa Rica being protected by USA. Any neighbouring country attacking Costa Rica would need to confront the mighty USA Armed Forces.