Meanwhile, Around the World

EDITORIAL, 16 Oct 2017

#503 | Johan Galtung – TRANSCEND Media Service

There was what may have been the most violent white US massacre ever; 59 killed from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel.  The assassin is now being criminalized, psychiatrized, individualized, characterized.

But the massacre was systemic. With strong forces for competition and for violence, US competition to be the most violent follows.

And that immediately indicates two ways out of the violence: the USA becoming less competitive, and the USA becoming less violent. How?

Anthony Stevens, in a touching article, “A Basic Need: A lack of community” (Resurgence No. 174) demands “the recreation of community life within the context of our post-industrial society”. A community engenders solidarity, and cooperation rather than competition.

However, the “less violent” part.  Gun control is not the way.

First, if there are already 350 million guns in private hands, making buying difficult is not enough. Limiting possession and handing in arms have to be a part of it, but so far not in the discourse.

Second, there are alternatives to guns, like bombs, for instance.

Third, US exceptionalism covers right and duty to be violent; so also for some individuals.  Stronger measures are needed, such as:

Pentagon-State Department: a No to US belligerence is necessary; if my country is that violent, why cannot I also be violent?

Church: Sacredness of human life as non-negotiable part of faith is in the Universal Declaration-International Bill of Human Rights. Instead US Christianity is focused on the sanctity of unborn life, not on human life in general, American or not, as created in God’s image.

Media: more focus on cooperation-peace, not competition-violence. Narratives about solving conflicts, and conciling traumas, would help.

School: excellent place to teach, in theory and practice, ways out of bullying; among pupils, teacher, teacher vs pupil: the Sabona approach.

Five keys: Community-Pentagon-Church-Media-School to US peace.

The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to ICAN, the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons, behind the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  The UNSC Permanent Members, all nuclear powers, reacted predictably: “the policy of nuclear deterrence of the past 70 years has avoided war and kept the peace in Europe and North Asia–they will not commit to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which ICAN made happen.” (Transcending Nukes).

Usually the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prizes are compliant with the foreign policy of Norway; this time not.  Norway’s foreign policy is US loyalty come what may, to keep US defense “when the Russians come”. But this prize was also directed against US and Western nuclear powers, counting Israel 4 of the 9 nuclear powers (the other 5 being Russia, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea). Very even-handed.

A ban alone does not prevent a bang.  The next step is to solve conflicts between nuclear powers, like USA vs N. Korea, West vs Russia.

What a year, this 2017!  500 years ago Luther’s theses; 150 years ago Marx’ Das Kapital, 100 years ago Lenin’s Bolshevik Revolution; shaking Rome’s control of Europe, and Europe’s control of the world.

The media are filled with good material, but short on solutions.

Take Luther’s elimination of Maria from Christianity.  Logical: if the relation believer-God is to be individual and direct, Maria’s “intercession” is out. That opens for eternal hell torture in Lutheran-Evangelical Christianity, but not in Catholic-Orthodox Christianity. Maria with access to God’s ear prays for us sinners.  Bring her back.

And the Bolshevik Revolution conquering the Russia’s state?

More state, no “withering away”. Politics as Market vs Plan. Companies vs Cooperatives may cut the basic issue better, indicative of futures with more equity and with less of both Market and Plan. Marx is a guide, with his focus on land and labor, not only capital. But top 1% has 20% of the income in USA, 12% in China, 10% in France.

Venezuela–for USA part of an “axis of evil” with Iran, N Korea–received in 2012 the FAO prize for having reduced extreme poverty by 50 percent, and in 2013 for having reduced hunger from 14 percent in 1992 to 5 percent in 2012 (Klassekampen, 16 Jun 2015). Communism?

There are dictatorial aspects; but USA also stages pretexts and fake news like a “Vietnamese attack” in the Tonkin Bay, or Iraqi forces stealing incubators in Kuwait leaving the newborn to die, Saddam Hussein’s assumed WMD’s, Gaddafi’s attempted genocide, &c.

China–one aspect is peace politics as part of foreign policy, facilitating “win-win” deals.  Another part is increased military presence all over, presumably to defend “silk roads” and “silk lanes”. But all military is today referred to as defense, also the ministries.

Inside China the weiquan (legal rights) movement does not seek “the overthrow of the system but its reform–by taking seriously China’s growing body of laws” (Ian Johnson, “When the Law Meets the Party”, NYRB, 17 Aug 2017.  The “activists” are themselves lawyers.

USA–with Nazism even in what was civilized Charlottesville VA, is a Second Civil War possible, likely? They have the guns and the tradition of killing, but collective suicide?  Our thoughts go back exactly a century to Austria when the decline and fall of the Hapsburg Empire became evident.  A suicide wave started, and is still there.

Predictions for the USA: Civil war possible. Suicide wave likely.

Climate. Maybe more important than CO2 and CH4 are the CFCs, the chlorofluorocarbons, released from countless fridges, destroying the protective ozone layer. And maybe even more important is the color of Planet Earth, darkening with urbanization, attracting more heat. That trend has to be reversed in favor of smaller, lighter habitats.

“The New Wave of World Leaders” (Kishore Mahbubani NYT 14 Sep 2017): Abe, Erdögan, Modi, Putin, Xi, of countries humiliated by the West. No deference to the West.  But no globalism either.  Strong nationalisms.


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, 500 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

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 16 Oct 2017.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Meanwhile, Around the World, is included. Thank you.

If you enjoyed this article, please donate to TMS to join the growing list of TMS Supporters.

Share this article:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

3 Responses to “Meanwhile, Around the World”

  1. Robert says:

    Dear Johan,
    thank you for Anthony Stevens, A Basic Need: A lack of community:,+A+Basic+Need:+A+lack+of+community&hl=fr&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjggqz-ovbWAhVNaVAKHbZNCVwQ6AEINTAC#v=onepage&q=Anthony%20Stevens%2C%20A%20Basic%20Need%3A%20A%20lack%20of%20community&f=false

    and I found that:
    ” I think we can all probably agree that the most terrible disaster that one group of human beings can inflict on another is war. Tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes and floods are bad enough, but these are not caused by human agency. Wars are – the loss of life, the appalling physical injuries, the wholesale destruction of towns, cities, crops and the proud achievements of history, the lasting psychological and emotional traumas suffered by the survivors – all cause misery on an indescribable scale. Yet we go on doing it to one another, generation after generation. Why?
    … So to conclude: War remains the critical problem of our species. We cannot stop doing it, and yet we are armed with weapons that can destroy our planet and all life on it many times over. The problem overshadows that even of global warming. Great continental power blocks, armed to the teeth, competing for dwindling natural resources in a world growing ever hotter is a recipe for the most appalling series of disasters our planet has ever known. Yet we sleepwalk towards it in the same way as our grandparents and great-grandparents sleepwalked towards the disaster of WWI during the first decade of the last century. They had no idea what would hit them till it arrived.”


  2. Jack Lomax says:

    Johan write a good analysis but in my opinion but his support of patriarchal religion and the branch of it which was formed Emperor Constantine in the third century of the present era to prop up the unifying believe system of the Empire whe all credibility of the Pantheism of gods was crumbling is a poor choice to promote the much needed spiritual element of global human nature

  3. Molroch says:

    Another Galtung article, another load of piling on the US.

    No, the US should not be outside critique but this is getting ridiculous. Show me an article where Galtung is 1/3 as harsh on China and Russia as he always is on US/Israel/The West. There is none.

    Getting predictable = getting boring = getting irrelevant.

    Grow a pair Galtung. Get relevant again.