Meanwhile, Around the World

EDITORIAL, 21 Aug 2017

#495 | Johan Galtung – TRANSCEND Media Service

Much is happening.  And not happening.  Thus, there is no war in or over North Korea, with USA or anybody else. And there will not be one.

NKs missiles are credible.  They are fired to show capability to hit US bases in and around Japan; lately this includes Guam and Hawaii. Many missiles have been fired, and they have all landed in the water. Compare that to the high number of US “accidents” of various types.

However, capability is not intent. Neither to hit, nor to target permanently some party, X.  For that, independent proof is needed.

NKs level of invulnerability with the–19.000–caves is credible, to protect the people, and the arms.  Of course there will be still much to destroy, like the last time Pyongyang was carpet-bombed by USA.

But NK will survive.  Like it did last time. Like it or not.

NKs strategy of keeping Seoul’s 8 million as hostages is credible.  Invulnerable artillery can eliminate Seoul.  But it will not happen.

China, Russia, South Korea urging de-escalation, in words and in arms display of various kinds, is also credible. NK’s response about Guam should be interpreted as following that advice.  And the USA?

The response is the US-led “Twin Spirit” military exercises off NKs coast, now “more than ever”. Also credible, as proof of following no advice.

USA’s tit for tat, quid pro quo negotiations are unacceptable modes of interstate behavior.  They look suspiciously like equality. USA dictates to other states in no uncertain terms how to behave, and they conform. If not, at their own considerable, also credible, risk.

China and Russia are big enough to challenge that; China by not conforming over NK, Russia by not conforming over Ukraine-Crimea.  The SCO unites the two, a basic fact USA still does not seem to have digested.

Trump spends his time mostly on and against US media, drilling himself deeper down into his autism and isolation. Till he is ousted one way or the other, probably by 2/3 in the Senate using amendment 25.

Charlottesville: The place where this author became a mediator in 1960. My point then was to let the segregationists have their private schools; they had sacrificed a lot.  My point today, had I been consulted, would have been to let them have the Robert E. Lee monument; location to be negotiated. Everybody knows who won the civil war.  And in the end overcame Jim Crow Laws with the civil rights movement a century later.

Is it necessary to rub it in?  Better open for some yin-yang, but never on slavery.  There the South was wrong, wrong, wrong.

But was North right about very united USA?  The most belligerent country in world history, surpassing the Roman Empire? A success? Could a less united, even divided land have been less of a catastrophe for so much of the world? Even if the Confederacy did not think that way…

We note the ubiquitous use of ramming vans, trucks, cars into crowds, restaurants, whatever; like planes were used against the Twin Towers and Pentagon on 9/11 (2001).  There are more cars than planes, better distributed. Good reasons for identifying and removing causes.

Syria?  Sounds like CIA–maybe key responsible for 400,000 killed–is now packing up. And it seems the Islamic Caliphate that some Muslims are longing for is gaining the allegiance of imams as carriers of “true Islam”, not diluted by French “enlightenment”. Anyhow, it is all about Mecca-Medina, not Iraq-Syria. Although, in passing, Seymour Hersh’s “Trump’s Red Line” (TMS-Die Welt 25 Jun 2017) is worth contemplating. Some basis for it, but wrongly interpreted.

Enters Czech Foreign Minister (upcoming prime minister?) Lubomir Zaorálek. He argues for a settlement with the Muslim world (The Guardian 15 Jun 2017). To him, Western and Russian colonialisms are the key elements; to be deeply deplored:

“In the Muslim world, in the Russian Caucasus from 1864-67 between 300,000 and 1.5 million either starved to death or were killed; in the 19th century Indonesia, Dutch occupiers killed an estimated 300,000 civilians. Through the Algerian war of the 1950s France had brutalized 1.5 million–half the population; in Libya, an estimated half a million died between 1927 and 1935, partly due to Italian detention camps”.

Again much to learn from Berlusconi’s apology, so far only for the 1911 Italian bombing atrocity. How about the Russians, the Dutch?

Switching to economics: There seems to be a new European system for calculating the GNP, according to El Mundo TV 12 Jun 2017.  Not only is armament included, but also the money that goes into research and development for war. Also included are prostitution and drugs, as “services.”  Anything offered and demanded in return for money is in.

How does that make us feel about economic growth? To be among the “per capita” by which this monster coming out of sickening economistic minds is divided?  Particularly when the alternative is so obvious?

We have two absolutes in the world: ourselves, human beings, and nature [fauna & flora] in and around us, basic for it all. Humans have basic needs, so does nature (diversity and symbiosis).  The purpose of the economy: to meet those needs, not as averages, but at the bottom, lifting it up. As a somatic minimum, by reducing human mortality and morbidity and increasing nature’s diversity and symbiotic capacity.  No words wasted on this in anti-human, anti-nature economistic “growth theory”. Shame!

Theresa May?  She said it herself, “enough is enough”.  Corby may be interesting if he manages to detach the UK from the sinking USA.

China: Win-Win bilateralism succeeds; multilateralism is needed.  EU could learn, having Win-Win periphery deals to balance Germany.  China fills “the Chinese pocket” bordered by Himalaya-Gobi-Tundra-Sea–the “Nine-dash Line”–to Philippines-Malaysia, with Spratly Islands. “Recreating China’s Imagined Empire” (Ian Johnson on Everything under the Heavens by Howard French, NY: Knopf, 2016; The New York Review of Books 20 Apr 2017). And: “China’s Astounding Religious Revival” (Roderick MacFarquhar on The Souls of China by Ian Johnson (NY: Pantheon, 2016; NYRB 8 Jun 17).

Strongly Buddhist, as Russia strongly Orthodox. As the West—what?


Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of TRANSCEND International and rector of TRANSCEND Peace University. Prof. Galtung has published more than 1500 articles and book chapters, over 470 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service, and more than 170 books on peace and related issues, of which more than 40 have been translated to other languages, including 50 Years100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives published by TRANSCEND University Press. More information about Prof. Galtung and all of his publications can be found at

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 21 Aug 2017.

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8 Responses to “Meanwhile, Around the World”

  1. Steve says:

    “Meanwhile–Around the World” = “sinking USA”, “CIA…”, “China = Good”, “Russia = Good”, …

    Come on Mr Galtung. There is no need for you to sound like a parody of yourself….:-(

  2. Gary Corseri. says:

    Imagine: one comes to the end of a delicious and nutritious meal: with fresh ingredients, originally combined by a master chef. Good conversation and an ambiance that induces higher contemplation of the best of which humans may be capable.

    And then, one sees a dead fly in the bottom of one’s cup of lobster bisque!

    That is what it is like to read a Galtung article and find the inevitable, vacuous comment of an Internet troll (as above)!

    Real discussion of real issues is one of the blessings of the Internet Age. But, shallow pot-shots merely demean the shooter, vitiate the quality of the medium, and repel more serious seekers and readers.

    “Management” might consider removing the “flies in the soup” (and discarding that pot’s contents) before serving a more wholesome dish to a hungry and expectant public. And, let’s be clear: It is not a question of “free” speech; it is a question of “critical thinking” and the best means of attaining it.

    • Steve says:


      A very apt analogy! The “dead fly” is exactly how Mr Galtung’s USA-derangement works.

      Thnak you!

      • Internet Troll:

        A person, usually operating under a pseudonym, who posts deliberately provocative messages to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of provoking maximum disruption and argument. They are often paid by nefarious sources but sometime are motivated to do so for their own amusement. They often try to provoke dissension and doubt by writing dis-informational comments to the editor and/or other participants in a given discussion.

        Steve, you are under my radar for quite some time. Your ad hominem attacks on Johan Galtung are not in line with what constructive criticism is supposed to be; these are welcome here. I shall play god and put you on your place: garbage bin.

        Thank you Gary for your apt comment.

  3. Gary Corseri. says:

    And thank you, Antonio, for all of your good work!

  4. Mary Beth says:

    In your April 24 editorial on urban violence, you wrote the following: “Street names should not glorify wars and violent heroes but peace and their heroines, often women. Move warrior on horseback monuments close to the cemetery for symbolic burial. Sculptors could glorify the peace in a sweet family having breakfast, caressing each other–.” Yet in this week’s editorial you say that you would have argued that the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, VA should remain. Lee was the commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. The US civil war resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties. Why defend this statue that glorifies war?

  5. soujourner says:

    “The most belligerent country in world history,”

    How do you measure and quantify that?

    In terms of # of victims of aggressive wars in modern time, Germany thru WW1 and WW2 is hard to beat. In ancient time the Egypts, Chinese and Romas fought wars in millenia.

    In terms of # of victims from internal struggle, Leninist/Stalinist Soviet and Maoist China are unsurpassed.

    In terms of # of attempts to undermine elected governments the Soviets (thru supported communist insurgencies and open/covert support to anti-government communist parties and movements) are without peer.

    In terms of # of wars in total, the French, British and Russian empires would outnumber all others.