Meanwhile, Around the World: An Overview

EDITORIAL, 2 Apr 2019

#580 | Johan Galtung – TRANSCEND Media Service

Alfàs del Pi: “The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plains.” (Pygmalion).  And in mountainous Southeast Spain; “unspanish activity” with no McCarthy.  Fortunately: the air is fresh, drinkable; and the clouds promise more.

There are millions of such places of local beauty in the world. But we tend to focus on the more global and often less beautiful; right now there seem to be four of them.  US with a UK appendix make Anglo-America; EU in the process of that appendix Brexiting or not; SCO–Russia-China-India-some Islam; and all of Islam (1.650 million).

Is a four-power world stable, or will it tend to bipolarize?  Probably, and in that case, who will line up with whom?

Anglo-America with EU–the world Northwest–and SCO with Islam. Almost all of the latter were recent colonies of the former; the Northwest now facing the South, the East, and the Southeast with Japan-China.

The world center moves from Northwest to Southeast. Geopolitical, historical drama unfolding every day, every hour.  Much denialism is needed not to see it, but US has an abundance of that commodity.

And thus it is that a candidate for the US presidency from the Democratic Party, Sandar, known for voting against military budgets, seems to have fallen in love with offensive fighter-bomber F35 and cannot have enough of that costly commodity.  Why?  Accommodating to Pentagon and Wall Street at the same time, like competitor Hillary and incumbent Trump have done.  Does not speak well for renewal of the US.

What kind of world map does this drama offer, using the compass?

  1. A Judeo-Christian Catholic-Protestant White Northwest “first” world.
  2. A Judeo-Christian Orthodox White Northeast Russia “second world”.
  3. A multi-religious Red-Back-Brown Southwest “third world”.
  4. A Daoist-Buddhist Yellow Southeast China-Japan “fourth world”.
  5. And in the middle of all four is Islam, with Islamic unity and the multicolored diversity of the four worlds a “fifth world”.

Five processes in this drama have been emphasized from 1970:

  1. US much down, relatively speaking.
  2. North-West down, relatively speaking.
  3. States yielding to regionalism above and localism below: most states being too small given present means of transportation-communication; and regions and the world being too big for human togetherness.
  4. South-East up, relatively speaking.
  5. China much up, relatively speaking.

Europe is now in a Second Discovery Period, discovering China.

A different world, also in terms of race and class.

RACE by color, highly visible:  White  Brown  Yellow  Black  Red.

White was in charge, seconded by Brown (India) and Yellow (China); all three seeing themselves above Red (“Indians”) and Blacks (“Negroes”). We are now moving toward Yellow in charge seconded by White and Brown.  White racism against all may now yield to Yellow racism against all. But White no longer in charge may lead in declaring race irrelevant.

CLASS by power: Clergy Aristocrats Merchants Workers Others Nature.

(Indo-European origin:  Brahmin  Kshatriya  Vaishiya  Sudra  Pariah).

Cultural-Military-Economic power competing/cooperating for dominance; using values-force-goods/services for power over the others.

Workers-Others–Women, Young–use their majority for democratic power.

Autocracies by a No. 1, oligarchies by elites, democracies by people,   are all vulnerable to demoralization by corruption and lack of faith:

  • autocracies to defeatism-abdication-decease-homicide-suicide;
  • oligarchies to defections;
  • democracies to lack of participation including voting (US).

Can all be defeated nonviolently by noncooperation/civil disobedience, and violently by tyrannicide and revolutions against those in power?

All of this is the kind of material history is made of.

Miracle: humanity has survived and multiplied–even if that may be coming to an end through aging–with some basic built-in optimism. Violent or nonviolent revolts against old systems lead to new systems; not only (like for animals?) to rebuilding the old systems.

Is there some resting place with some kind of built-in stability, but open to renewal, somewhere in all of this?

Bi-polarization is dangerous, leads easily to two alliances being ready for war against each other.  Tetra-polarization would easily lead to bi-polarization, as indicated.

What is needed is a system where negative, violent relations are changing to neutral or no relations, where neutral or no relations are changing to positive, peaceful relations, and where positive, peaceful relations become even more peaceful and positive.

The Octagon World might be one such system.

One half would be Russia-China-India-Islam, also known as SCO.

Then come US and EU, also known as NATO.

And then come ELAC and AU, also known as Nonaligned nations, NAN.

Japan enters as an occupied appendix to US.  Israel enters as an island in the huge Islamic ocean–0.2% of humanity against 16.5%.  Japan has to become independent of the US.  Israel has to find its place in a West Asian (not the London Foreign Office “Middle East”) community with its neighbors and many of their neighbors.

For all of this to work the state system is not sufficient.

Many states work with non-states in other states, like US with oppositions in Russia and Russia with oppositions in US.  And China with all four, when possible, brandishing its WIN-WIN formula.

And in that Octagon world SCO, NATO and NAN will reach out to each other and find they do better with cooperation for mutual and equal benefit-peace (Nehru-Zhou Enlai) than with competition-war to win.


Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of TRANSCEND International and rector of TRANSCEND Peace University. He was awarded among others the 1987 High Livelihood Award, known as the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize. 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 sole 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 1700 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

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 2 Apr 2019.

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