Meanwhile, around the World
EDITORIAL, 6 Aug 2018
The state of the world is right now going from bad to worse, with more violence or threats thereof; an epidemic, even pandemic, of violence. And more inequality within and between countries and money buying votes in fake elections and politicians in fake democracies turning plutocracies run by money.
And nature insulted; less diversity and less symbiosis with CFCs in the ozone layer. But not all over. There are regions low on violence, often headed by a state or nation as a “pole”, and a multi-polar world with passive peaceful coexistence. Disputes, not war.
Which are these regions headed by a “pole”?
Anglo-America is one, headed by USA.
Latin-America/Caribbean is one, with Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil playing leading roles, but no single leader. Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (CELAC) is a coordinating forum for all 35.
How do these two regions in the Western hemisphere relate?
USA used to look down on Latin-America/Caribbean as a “backyard”; now changing slowly towards both seeing each other as its “frontyard”, opening for dialogues on equal terms in a forum not yet consolidated.
Then, let us cross the Atlantic to Africa, with 54 countries.
Africa is divided in a Muslim North–since around year 700–and a post- and pre-colonial Africa “South of Sahara”. ELAC countries became independent from Spain and Portugal from 1810, but colonialism in African lasted till 1960, and beyond in “Portuguese Africa”. Portugal was an early colonizer, and a late decolonizer.
Colonialism-capitalism had devastated much of Africa; millions now migrate to Europe across the Mediterranean; the “immigrants” seen as the problem–not the underlying capitalism-colonialism horrors.
Why does that matter? One answer: the colonizer can apologize for what happened, like PM Silvio Berlusconi did in 2011 for the 1911 Italian bombing of Libyan oases with children and women. It worked.
The list for England and France is long. We are still waiting. Also for Islam, expanding, spreading Islam at the tip of the sword.
After the Leopold I genocide of 10 million in “Belgian Congo”– Antwerp has no memorial honoring victims– focus on the Cameroons, formerly English and French, visioning a future Cameroon Community.
And a Northeast African community with Egypt and a federal Sudan with Khartoum, where the White and Blue Niles meet not imposing Islam.
And an East African Community relating to Arabia across the sea.
And a Horn of Africa Community with Ethiopia-Eritrea at peace, and the three Somalias and demilitarized Djibouti. China, get out.
And the South Africa border states, also a community. And more.
Africa as a community of communities gently steered from Addis Ababa toward some kind of unity. Look at the map: enormous, surrounded by four oceans: the Antarctic, Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean oceans.
Like enormous Russia, with Putin restoring its dignity. From the division of the Roman Empire in 395 increasingly seen as an enemy; a 1600+ years cold war made hot by the Teutonic Knights, Napoleon, Hitler attacking but Russia never counter-attacking for revenge. Supersede the 395 split, as did Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill.
But the West expecting that to happen matters more: I hate you because I have treated you so badly that I expect you to hit back.
More psychology: repression of huge US belligerence, 248 military interventions since Jefferson in 1801 in Libya, now two wars per year, and projection on Russia. Reveal it, make US wars killing more than 20 million in 37 countries after WWII (Jackoby), and Russian non-belligerence, public knowledge. Lift the taboo on talking about USA.
Enters Trump, “unleveled”, autistic, narcissistic and paranoid. If president of a lesser country he would have been revealed, of a country also autistic, narcissistic and paranoid he fits too well. But getting rid of Trump does not solve perennial US belligerence.
Russia must be seen in the context of SCO, Shanghai Cooperation Organization–so important as not to be mentioned by Western media–an alliance of Russia, China, Islam, India, Pakistan; half of humanity. There is a Eurasia taking shape, One Belt, one Road, an East-West link of a world where Western colonialism was only linking North-South.
Is this Chinese colonialism? China was creative with “win-win” strategies making infrastructures available to everybody; but the colonizing aspect in the state system is clear, with Xi Jinping as dictator for life. Decolonizing from China is becoming a key issue, and more traffic West-East, of persons and ideas is indispensable.
South of Russia is “Asia proper”, divided into West, Central, South, Southeast and East Asia.
West Asia: Jews, people of the Book (kitab), can live in Muslim countries and should reciprocate and avoid an Israel for Jews only. Syria, a deeply Muslim country, has that tradition of tolerance and should be understood not as part of Western colonial history but as a country with deep dialogue–Al Qaeda, Al Salafi–on what is true Islam. IS, the Islamic State, has a caliphate doing that–to Mecca-Medina.
Central Asia: undo the 1893 Durand 2,500 km Afghanistan-Pakistan border for a Central Asian Community, with Iran and the “stans”.
South Asia: giant India managing SAARC relatively well.
Southeast Asia, ASEAN: a giant peace community of ten states.
East Asia: a Northeast Asia Community of two Chinas, two Koreas, Japan and Mongolia, keeping USA out and North Korea in, for its policy of peace treaty, normalization, nuclear-free Korea.
The Pacific: basically a Polynesian peace region.
Conclusion: the key process in the world is Northwest–dominant much too long down, and East and South–Russia, China, Islam, Third World coming up. Promote peace by linking the good in the Northwest with the good in the Rest. Learn from the two spiritual leaders.
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 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 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives published by TRANSCEND University Press. More information about Prof. Galtung and all of his publications can be found at transcend.org/galtung.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 6 Aug 2018.
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