Meanwhile, Around the World
EDITORIAL, 3 Sep 2018
#550 | Johan Galtung – TRANSCEND Media Service
USA issues “sanctions”–legalese for punishment–when they dislike somebody else. Sometimes it works: somebody else adjusts the behavior to suit the USA. And sometimes it does not: “somebody else” hits back with new sanctions or tariffs for tariffs. Or cuts trade with USA.
Right now US sanctions have been issued against Iran and those who trade with Iran. A gap opened between USA and EU over sanctions, EU favoring keeping the agreements with Iran. Could be a deep gap.
What could USA have done, what would have been a better US policy?
Instead of sanctions = punishment and something that looks like a trade-war, the opposite: rewards, better terms of trade, trade-peace. However, there is a problem, and a major one: trade vs self-reliance.
Trade is an easy, lazy, way out: instead of the laborious task of making new products, get them in exchange for something old, in stock. And both sides will get a class of rich people: exporters-importers, strongly in favor of trade, and against self-reliance. Good and bad. Needed: good balance between trade and self-reliance for any country, including the USA; open to others, and high on innovative capacity.
But much more problematic, even ominous for the whole world, is the new US war program under the alluring heading of “stabilization”; stabilizing a world with nobody above or on the side: USA as world leader. Called “A new framework for enduring peace”, unopposed. Brilliant Andria Ocasio-Cortes’ platform for US November elections is domestic; not a word on foreign and military policy. Taboo, as elite monopoly?
Answer: foreign-military policy must be bipartisan; no splits for aggressors to exploit. Answer: outside aggressors would unify anyhow, without using the democracy to improve foreign and military policies. Using democracy to generate ideas when they are most needed.
But the USA is now heading for a white minority (NYT 20 Jun 2018); (NYT 30 Apr 2001), and it is not obvious that colored immigrants share their ideology.
What else is happening in dynamic USA, for good and for bad?
“Workers’ paychecks account for much less of the nation’s total income–the profits of business account for more” (NYT 13 Jul 2018); moving power from trade unions and people to corporations and capital.
“America isolated“, a New York Times editorial (11 Jun 2018):
“With insults and invectives, President Trump walks away from the global economic and political order the U.S. helped to build over generations”–“the President transformed America First to America Alone”–the last place a great and powerful nation wants to be”.
That “order” killed 20 million+ in 37 countries after WWII.
“A maker of deals who hasn’t closed any” (NYT 22 Jun 2018); no deal on immigration, no health care, no gun control, no spending cuts, no NAFTA-China trade-steel and aluminum imports-Middle East-Qatar-Syria-Russia-Iran peace, no climate change, no Pacific trade.
True. But if Trump is an “unleveled”, narcissistic, paranoid, autistic and intelligent psychopath, then he is not only incapable of closing deals but detached from reality, living in his own bubble. What matters to him is attention, and, indeed, did he get it. That a person like Trump managed to capture the attention of US and world media says much about the media. He should have been ignored by them.
USA is paying a high price, the world less, the media nothing.
Enters John McCain–“War Hero or War Criminal?” (Counterpunch 27 Aug 2018). Both; now an icon. Three former NATO general secretaries want his name on the NATO HQ. Do that, to warn the world about NATO.
Poverty. The economy booming under Trump conceals “The Politics of Poverty in America“, by UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty, Philip Alston. Many have no access to water and sewage, 40 million live in poverty, 5 in extreme poverty, insurance and health care are prohibitively costly, emergency treatment even more so, children are “exposed to a lifetime of harm”, homelessness is all over—and it is a crime.
China, what happens there? A lot, more as processes than events.
Infosperber (3 Sep 2018) reports increasing life expectancy for China’s fifth of the world population; from 40 at the foundation of the People’s Republic in 1949 to 74,8 for men and 77,8 for women today. In the same period in Switzerland from 66 to 81,5 and 85,3. China is close to doubling, and catches up with the West.
Another positive report: Paul Krugman on Denmark, “Notes on a butter republic” (NYT 16 Aug 2018), with sub-titles like “Blessed are the cheese-makers” and “The non-horrors of socialism”. Read, and enjoy.
We also notice an obituary dedicated to Captain Reinhard Hardegen who just passed away at the age of 105. Reinhard who? The German submarine commander who during WWII “sank or crippled 19 vessels in American waters”. Fearlessly, he also “responded to Hitler’s accolades by scolding him for failing to develop a wartime naval air arm”.
A talent that could have, and was, also put to a better use.
“Mob protests in Germany show vigor of far right”, in Chemnitz. Neo-nazis. Nazism was about race–Bolshevism about class. Churchill about both–so it is probably skin color, not religion. As expected.
At the end, a warning: “Super-low interest rates have fueled a wave of risky, overpriced lending. The end–will not be pretty”, says William D Cohen, in “A dangerous bubble in corporate debt” (NYT 9 Aug 2018).
And in consumers’ debt, we may add.
What then happens to the banks is in their name: bank-ruptcy, when neither corporations, nor consumers, can service their debts. People with money will not invest in the real economy but speculate in the finance economy, including with other people’s money.
Sooner rather than later speculation must be outlawed as a crime. But a more solid alternative is for people to build cooperatives, keeping the value added for themselves, not handing it to speculators.
There are difficult, bad times ahead.
Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of TRANSCEND International and rector of TRANSCEND Peace University. Galtung has mediated in over 150 conflicts in more than 150 countries, and written more than 170 books on peace and related issues, 96 as the only author. More than 40 have been translated to other languages, including 50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives published by TRANSCEND University Press. Transcend and Transform was translated to 25 languages. He has published more than 1500 articles and book chapters and over 500 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service. 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 3 Sep 2018.
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One Response to “Meanwhile, Around the World”
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As usual, much to ponder in a Johan Galtung article! I especially appreciated the first part, relating to balance, fairness and Emersonian “self-reliance”:
“Instead of sanctions = punishment and something that looks like a trade-war, the opposite: rewards, better terms of trade, trade-peace. However, there is a problem, and a major one: trade vs self-reliance.
“Trade is an easy, lazy, way out: instead of the laborious task of making new products, get them in exchange for something old, in stock. And both sides will get a class of rich people: exporters-importers, strongly in favor of trade, and against self-reliance. Good and bad. Needed: good balance between trade and self-reliance for any country, including the USA; open to others, and high on innovative capacity.”
And, I agree: “more problematic, even ominous for the whole world, is the new US war program under the alluring heading of “stabilization”; stabilizing a world with nobody above or on the side: USA as world leader.”
Who on earth elected the US to be “world leader”?
But, there are problems on all sides–chiefly educational: great gaps in the citizens’ historical, political, economic, cultural knowledge! Even Johan may be mistaken here:
“Brilliant Andria Ocasio-Cortes’ platform for US November elections is domestic; not a word on foreign and military policy. Taboo, as elite monopoly?”
Questioned about Middle East policies, Alexandria (actually) revealed a lot of those gaps!
We have lacked for decades the great explicators, past commentators who enlightened, provoked and challenged. Too many these days–from Bernie Sanders to Alexandria to Paul Krugman–spew platitudes. That’s as true about neo-fascist movements as it is about “Antifa”! Very few offer philosophical frameworks a la Freud or Jung or Sartre; Socrates, Emerson or Galtung.
We appear to be racing towards the Apocalypse! Pity for our vain, greedy, gullible species…and for all the rest!