The West against Itself
EDITORIAL, 27 Apr 2015
Jondal, Bergen, Kristiansund – Norway
The West–North America and Europe to somewhere in Mexico and Ukraine– declines, outcompeted economically, defeated militarily, confronted politically, contested culturally. But still strong on all four, with much to offer in a more egalitarian world. No need to fall further by working against itself.
Take the 70th anniversary demarcation of the victory over nazism, take thousands of Africans drowning in the waters around Lampedusa, Italy, take the Islamic State, take Ukraine–and a country up there in the high North of Europe, Norway. Elections have moved the country from “red-green” to “blue-blue” coloring of the same color blind foreign policy: follow Washington, Our Father, lest Satan should come.
Yes, the Red Army came and liberated Kirkenes 25 October 1944, the northernmost city. Everybody knows Operation Barbarossa, Hitler’s three-pronged attack toward Leningrad (the siege), Moscow (to beat–Napoleon?) and Caucasus (oil); but not the war for the ice-free harbor of Murmask, from Kirkenes. King Haakon VII, a Dane elected king in 1905, made a remarkable speech in London, distributed in leaflets through the air:
“Fear of Russians is not a recent phenomenon.–New was the fear of bolshevism, added after the Russian revolution. But up till this date we are missing the slightest proof that Russia has had aggressive designs on Norway.
What we are not missing are the proofs that the fear of Russians and bolshevism is propagated by powers and groups that themselves had aggressive designs on Russia. The proofs are abundant in the political history from 1918 till today.”
Poland lost 20% of its population; the Soviet Union 27.1 million, 16%, with 1,710 cities and 70,000 villages erased; UK 1.1%; USA 0.4%; Norway 0.32%. The Soviet Union may have lost more soldiers close to Kirkenes against nazism than Norway all over Norway during the war.
True, the present King, Harald, expressed gratitude last October. But 9 May is about the whole war: travel to Moscow, King Harald, in the spirit of your grandfather. Problems can be discussed the day after.
However, even if Article 5 in the new Norwegian Constitution defines the King or Queen as “holy”, Harald may not be permitted by the multicolored consensus ballad “above political parties”, choreographed by the US embassy in Oslo. A chance for peace lost.
Take the Islamic state: Norway is sending 120 soldiers–with the consent of the “greens”–slated to train forces against IS. No word about using military only defensively, protecting threatened victims of IS (they are many). Kill one IS, reap 10 new ones. Consider this:
Norway has more severe problems than declining oil revenues: bullying at work and inability to handle conflicts are transformed into medical problems and insurance claims to become, in fact, unemployed. The country is rich enough so far to pay. Add loneliness, look at the movie OSLO, and understand why so many Norwegians, and many, many more French, convert to an Islam offering togetherness and sharing instead. And then they experience their own country thoughtlessly, as kneejerk reflex, attacking the source of their own new salvation. And the front against Islam becomes an ice front, also inside the West.
Take Ukraine. Similar to the Islamic State, the knowledge of detail is minimal. But there is a compass to go by, religion: Judaism with Catholicism with Protestantism on one side, ours; against Orthodox Christianity and Islam, maybe Hinduism-Buddhism, for sure Chinese civilization whatever that may be; lost in all that Eastern mist.
This position, which stands, has been prescribed well in advance.
From the year 395 for Ukraine, by those who divided the Roman Empire in a Catholic and an Orthodox part (“universal” and “right faith”, not very modest). East of that border running through Ukraine is the wrong Christianity, the wrong alphabet, the wrong location.
From 622 for Islam, by those denying Christ’s divinity: the wrong faith, even stranger alphabets, too far away, and dangerously close.
Washington, with its geopolitical designs, has an easy job in Oslo.
All badly handled, pushing others away by the deep culture of religion-history and simple geography, by lack of consciousness, lack of work to know, feel, understand, by no empathy. Norway is among the worst, embracing Obama and rejecting Putin more than any other country according to a recent Gallup poll. Extreme ignorance goes well with extremist positioning; pushing neighbors away. Embracing the Father substitute in Washington. “Fader Vår, Du som bor i Washington“.
Take Lampedusa; a symbolic word–for what? Superficially for thousands of ecological-economic-political refugees. Deeper down much much more: a giant Völkerwanderung, people, peoples, on the move for decades, centuries; colonized peoples seeking protection in “mother countries”; exploited peoples taking revenge–you occupied us, now it is our turn. Actually, all of the above. Rich Norway’s offer? One ship, “before 1st of August”. Maxi problem, mini answer.
There is a solution. Encourage, help the African Union effort to emulate the European Union: common currency for Africa, an African (not “World”–W = Washington) Bank, an African (not “International”-I = Inside the Beltway) Development or Monetary Fund. In short, exactly what Gaddafi tried. The Western kneejerk was bombing, killing. And who killed most? Norway, with the “socialist”, “leftist” party.
Continue along these lines. Each stupid move not only drives what is East and South of West closer together in Eurasia; by itself not bad. Bad is a USA-EU/Eurasia ice front dividing a world possibly globalizing on a reasonably egalitarian basis, not on West=Universal.
Forget millions of Russians who died to defeat Napoleon; without that no Kiel Treaty on 18 January 1814, no Norwegian independence on 17 May. Forget 27 million Russians who died to defeat Hitler. Nine of ten German soldiers died on the Eastern front where 2/3 of them were fighting.
Without Russia, where would we have been?
Continue, and make the West fall further. But it deserves better.
Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment and rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He has published 164 books on peace and related issues, of which 41 have been translated into 35 languages, for a total of 135 book translations, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 27 Apr 2015.
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