Meanwhile, Around the World

EDITORIAL, 3 Apr 2017

#475 | Johan Galtung – TRANSCEND Media Service

Starting with EU at 60, making small states (Luxembourg!) big by being members of something bigger, but making bigger, even imperial, states smaller by being “members”. The Netherlands is small: Wilders suffered a humiliating defeat.  But the UK is big with imperial past:   old, rural people voted Brexit out of EU anonymity, but into what?  Master in their own house? With problems with Ireland and the Celtic fringe–Scotland, Wales–even threatening UK survival? Can Anglo-America, UK even more under USA, compensate for that? They may want back; the obvious EU strategy being to adjust to many Brexit points.

France is also big and imperial. But Le Pen-Front National will not defeat a majority seeing EU as a French creation (Monnet, Schuman) and the Communauté Française as carried by the mystique of the French language anyhow.  Frexit would make France smaller. France will stay.

Germany and Italy were imperial: Hitler once ruled the biggest Europe ever, Mussolini some of Africa.  But they were defeated and defined as illegitimate, not “civilizzatrice“. Italy’s apology for the 1911 warfare may have model character. They will both stay in the EU.

UK outside and France inside are now paying the heavy immigration price for devastation wrought by their empires; with no EU solidarity.

The EU will survive, two- or multi-speed with the euro as common, not single currency. Strengthened by having no US Trojan horse, UK, controlling EU foreign-defense policy.  Weakened into irrelevance by the neoliberalism of their constitution. See Alan Johnson “Why Brexit is essential for Britain” NYT 29 Mar 2017, a view from the left.

Russia–czarist, Bolshevik, Putin Orthodox Christian–and China–nationalist, Mao communist, Xi Shi Youming Buddhist, his Zhengding friend (NYT 25-26 Mar 2017): unforgivably big in area and population, well above the 27 EU members.  The USA is no. 3 on both, giving a total rank of 6; China 5, Russia 10.  EU is in that Big League.

China, economic growth at 6,5%, is still a world growth engine, and SCO benefits from India and Pakistan membership. The Chinese military budget will grow at slowest pace in six years; focusing on distribution and less production overcapacity given heavy competition from India.  But the Chinese “globalization”, bilateral win-win deals, is a winner, with China in the center of a Eurasia beyond EUSA, West.

A decade after Putin’s Munich speech launched post-Yeltsin Russia it now faces a US-NATO allies capability, masked as anti-missile shield, to knock out Russian missiles and force a capitulation. Norway now with almost no coastal or inland defense[i], this offensive strategy called “defense” also fits the Western anti-Russia paranoia except in Northern Norway bordering on Russia: with a millennium of friendship.

A Russian submarine counterattack will be devastating for EU-USA. We would have been close this apocalypse with Hillary, but Trump is now also a part of the US war machine. What may save us is EU deciding not to fight US wars, overruling NATO, developing its own capacity. And demonstrations may put an end to the many Putin-Medvedev years.

Trump is seen as psychotic with crazy policies: military up $54 billion at the expense of the poor, health, environment, climate, arts, culture. The US killings all over were not seen as crazy, but Trump kills at the cost of basics.  He may not last 100 days, impeached or-?

The USA judges others on human rights.  On 9 Mar 2017 China released its annual human rights report on USA: domestic killing of human life; prison-industrial complex with huge incarceration; racism with police terrorist killing reminiscent of lynching; 1 out of 2 children in poverty; political rights threatened by power-for-money deals; civilians killed all over especially in Syria, Iraq; 59 illegally detained at Guantanamo Bay; NSA+ spy networks threatening privacy rights around the world. And USA-UK-France–the West–walked out of the UNGA on nuclear ban.

China and Russia did not.  Whose is the future?

China-Japan, with the two Koreas in the middle, are super-tense. Japanese nationalists want “normal Japan” with right to warfare, not the pacifist Japan of Article 9.  A threat is needed. Chinese long-range military capability is used and the Diaoyu-Senkaku issue.  For a Chinese analysis, see Feng Zhaokui “Will there be a China-Japan detente”, The Weekly Mirror, 31 Mar 2017. Abe is in trouble.

After the Park regime in the South, the Koreas may now improve.

West sees itself as guided by Christian-humanist values and the enemies as materialist. But, with Putin, Xi, the other way round? No, there may be a US focus on the life of Christ, liberated from the churches. To Peter Wehner “Humanizing Jesus” (NYT 26 Dec 2016) the life story of Jesus, not his death on the cross, shows that “while worldly things can be corrupted, they can also be elevated and sanctified”.

A new religious appeal is now found all over, also in Islam. “A Shariah experiment becomes a model” (NYT 14-15 Jan 2017) reports from Banda Aceh, at the tip of Indonesia where Islam first entered, a new Islam “facilitating an atmosphere of religiosity” (Aceh independence movement had ended 2005 after a tsunami killed 230,000 people).  Less extreme than Saudi Arabia “because it welcomed alternative schools of Islamic thought and accepted the role of female leaders”, even as the first female mayor of the city, albeit a very fundamentalist one. A model for Indonesia?  For Pattai-Thailand? For Islam in general?

More down to earth: “U.S.-Cuba Health Collaboration” by Nassim Assefi (NYT 24 Oct 2016): beyond rum and cigars are new drugs, “decreasing diabetic foot amputations as well as novel lung cancer therapies”.  Everybody can learn from everybody. Even 90 miles away.

Globalization: Blessing or Curse by Han S. Park (University of Georgia, USA) highlights the many links around the world that can be used to build positive peace with conflict solution, human development and security through community. Around the world.  Highly recommended.


[i].  A Norwegian military commission estimates that “the Army can only defend a medium size Norwegian municipality”, Aftenposten 4 Apr 2017.


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. Prof. Galtung has published 1670 articles and book chapters, over 470 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service, and 167 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.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 3 Apr 2017.

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11 Responses to “Meanwhile, Around the World”

  1. John Moussas says:

    Read and re-read this. And over again. But the points (if any) are beyond me. JG is aggressively anti-West but as with Andre V below makes little sense. Is this what peace research has come to?

    We need new ideas and new paradigms. JG (and Transcend?) are merely echos of the anti-West of old. Is this also why so few donate to Transcend? A pity if a good idea drowns itself. I don’t know the answer but will ask the regulars here what they make of articles such ad JG’s here?

    • Jon Haas says:

      John, while not a real regular I’ll somewhat agree. Somewhat… Mr Galtung is imho rather clear above so I don’t understand why and what points you don’t capture?

      I do agree however that Mr Galtung is on the brink of ending up as an echo of the old West hating left. As a Westerner himself I can see why he finds it required to focus criticism on his “own” turf, rather than hitting out at “others” but he is increasingly taking this to a level of self-parody. To an extend that you know, before reading, that a certain writing will contain harsh criticism of the US and some positive or neutral blabber regarding China, Russia etc. And as Mr Galtung never engages in debates here, the only thing that remains is this one-dimensional echo of West-hate.

      I used to find Transcend much more dynamic and lively but the more predictable Mr Galtung ( and other authors) become, the less relevant and interesting TMS itself becomes.

      I’m coming here every month or so to catch up on the 2-3 good authors and external stuff Antonio digs up – there are some real nuggets inbetween – but as the rest of the site is more and more an echo of Russia Today, China Daily and an assortment of zany conspiracy stuff, the site is not the “must-read” it was a couple of years ago.

      • John & Jon says:

        Hilarious. Surreptitious Trolling detected. First empathize then deal a somewhat nasty blow to the author and pretend nothing happened. Thank God for these entertaining trolls on this website.

  2. Zeki Ergas says:

    Meanwhile, Around the World is the title of this article. Well, for sometime, JG’s articles have come to mean a summary of the events around the world from the political economy point of view. Good and bad. That’s OK, I guess. But that’s not what we expect from the founder of Peace Studies. The world is a mess and we need ideas and proposals for Systemic Change. Is it that we have come at the end of our rope and that there is no realistic hope for this terrible system to be defeated? I don’t think so. I believe there are around the world a rapidly growing number of movements, mostly animated by young people struggling non-violently for systemic change. But I am afraid that, at some point, they will be countered by violent reaction. It’s a matter of time before the privileged few, afraid to lose their privilèges, will resort to violence. And then a civil war situation may develop. But, ultimately, it is the fate of humanity and of the planet that are at stake. Do the people have a chance to win this existential battle? I do believe they do. After all, the people are the source of it all: the army, police, government, politicians. Perhaps the big fight is inevitable. It is possible that we need to touch bottom before we can rise to the top …

  3. Werner T. Meyer says:

    A source of “Globalization: Blessing or Curse by Han S. Park” mentioned in the article is

    Werner T. Meyer

  4. Satoshi Ashikaga says:

    Regarding the 10th paragraph (on Trump) of Prof. Galtung’s editorial this week, let me refer to this article: For whom the bell tolls? For whom Trump works? Let us recall his inauguration speech:

    When Trump was elected as the new president of the United States last year, I (and also many other people as the media reported) suggested the possibility of his impeachment. But Prof. Galtung seemed to be unhappy to hear about that then. It is interesting to note that, in his editorial this week, Prof. Galtung is now implying to remove Trump by referring to impeachment, for instance. Then, how about this article?

    Regarding the topic of Trump’s impeachment, this article may be something: How about this?

    Trump is destroying America (and the world overall):

    And now this – the 2017 version of “1984”?:–finance.html

  5. Gary Corseri says:

    If one has “read and re-read” Professor Galtung’s work, one will find much to contemplate, to weigh and consider: wisdom gleaned from a long lifetime of experience on the frontlines of academia and as an activist and negotiator for peace in scores of countries around the world.

    Professor Galtung’s work is not “easy,” not an “easy read,” and his cerebral “connections” may not be readily inferred. At this point in his life, he has gathered much information–seeds of thought he has developed in numerous books; and, fortunately, he is still sowing seeds for others to nurture and cultivate.

    Read a Galtung article as a compendium of current events–but without the echo-chamber of fake news and feel-good news that one finds over the glut of media channels and online sites. Not an “echo chamber,” but, rather, a sounding board for honing one’s own intellect, insights and intuition.

  6. Thomas says:


    “If one has “read and re-read” Professor Galtung’s work, one will find much to contemplate, to weigh and consider: wisdom gleaned from a long lifetime of experience on the frontlines of academia and as an activist and negotiator for peace in scores of countries around the world.”

    That may be so, but it is increasingly covered in a layer of cliches and nonsense.

    “Professor Galtung’s work is not “easy,” not an “easy read,” and his cerebral “connections” may not be readily inferred. At this point in his life, he has gathered much information–seeds of thought he has developed in numerous books; and, fortunately, he is still sowing seeds for others to nurture and cultivate.”

    For once I’m in agreement. My issue is not with Galtung’sm intellekt and knowledge. Both are impressive. But as we all know, towering intellect is no guarantee for wisdom..

    “Read a Galtung article as a compendium of current events–but without the echo-chamber of fake news and feel-good news that one finds over the glut of media channels and online sites. Not an “echo chamber,” but, rather, a sounding board for honing one’s own intellect, insights and intuition.”

    Well the facts is that Galtung is *exactly* turned into an echo-chamber. If you look at the last dozens of his pieces here, they are merely faint echos of a small range of idioms. His inane hatred of the US, his zany conspiracy theories (do I need to remind you?), his inability to criticize China and Russia and so on.

    The only non-boilerplate moment the last year was his shortlived – but quite amusing – Trump-grandstanding… :-)

  7. Gary Corseri says:

    If one has so much trouble reading Professor Galtung’s work, why bother? Have you nothing better to do than to read work with which you do not agree, work you have seen elsewhere? Nothing more constructive to do with your time than express your negatives about a man who has worked hard all of his life to promote peace and understanding between different people?

    The Jewish teacher, Jesus of Nazareth, advised his listeners to be less concerned with the splinter in their neighbor’s eye and worry instead about the “log” in their own. The Buddha advised his listeners to “be a lamp unto yourself.” It’s very easy to be critical of others; far more difficult to be self-reflective.

    “The unexamined life is not worth living,” Socrates taught. But only a precious few take the time to examine themselves, to question themselves, to reflect on their own values and what they have done and are doing to improve our situations before the dire threats our world now faces shatter our world of glass.

  8. Per-Stian says:

    To complete and utter shock and surprise, I noticed that Norwegian TV had a short interview with Johan Galtung. Usually the blockout is 100% perfect. Having seen it, it wasn’t so much as interview, but more the father of peace research defending and deflecting from an attack dog in the other chair. But he’s well used to it I guess. Amazing to stay that cool and level-headed under such a barrage of under-the-belt attacks, like the usual idiocy of anti-semitism and cozying up to Nazism.

    A lost chance for NRK. You could have had an interesting discussion with an expert in the field of peace research, and coupled it to a wide range of issues, like the absurd situation that Norway about a year ago worked to get a vote in the UN for the banning of nuclear weapons, to now being opposed to such a resolution, and parroting the US li(n)es about it.

    Like always, reading newspapers and online articles from the Norwegian press is a strange experience. When you know a fair whack of what happens in the world at least. If you don’t, and read day in and day out, that Norway is a tireless defender of peace and human rights, and that Russia is the worst evil since Hitler, it’s not strange that people start believing the hogwash.

    Standing in that weather for 40 years as a Great Lighthouse, both as lightbringer and stormbreaker — it must have been tough.