By Johan Galtung
Three, maybe four dramatic, global processes are unfolding.
First, the West–particularly USA, Israel, France – fighting very violently and counter-productively to keep their grip on the world.
Second, Eurasia, spearheaded by Russia-India-China in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) expanding and consolidating, successfully and nonviolently.
Third, Islam expanding and consolidating, partly by conversion to Islam, partly through the dream of a new caliphate, partly violently.
Fourth, Latin America and Africa in the old Third World expanding and consolidating, spearheaded by Brazil-South Africa in BRICS.
If you want to live drama, you have chosen the right year.
The basic conflict is the first against the other three; the declining against the emerging. After some time conflicts among the three will show up, particularly Islam with the other two.
Economically right now the West is outcompeted but still has much GDP, also from its rich service economy. Barbers shaving barbers? – new value must be created, not only old value exchanged. And they have the “world reserve currency” till competitors take over and there is a crash in the US economy: too much finance relative to real economy, too much debt service relative to people service, too much printed money relative to real value.
As Robert Reich points out (“Why Wages Won’t Rise” 13 Jan 2015): “Jobs are coming back, but pay isn’t”; the median is still below before the recession. Companies use outsourcing, workers in poor countries are now equally well educated, so are smart robots, and millions have given up looking for a job.
Militarily the new Nicaragua Canal financed by China (via Hong Kong) reduces the US bi-ocean grip on the Atlantic-Pacific, like the China-financed railroad through Africa. And “China Leads the Race to the Moon” (Jan Mortier & Benjamin Finnis, The Diplomat, 7 Jan 2015); for the Mare Imbrium crater with the incredible energy source of Helium-3 – no radioactive fallout! – for the fourth generation nuclear bombs? There will be a scramble for the moon.
But NATO-North Atlantic Treaty Organization and SCO-Shanghai Cooperation Organization will probably continue deterring each other.
Politically the West dominates the United Nations, and particularly the Security Council. However, major decisions are taken elsewhere. Look at the decisions, not only the corruption scandals of the Chinese Communist Party’s 80 million mainly well educated people: they think big and holistically-creatively about China and the world. Nicaragua Canal, Helium-3, are not “propaganda” – the Western “understanding”.
And meetings of BRICS may be more consequential than UNSC.
Culturally the West has lost its grip on universality, its will being universal, its model being universal. The West is up against diversity, competing with each other, but Islam has the same unfortunate claim on universal validity as the only truth, and so does Russian Orthodoxy inside Christianity. It is interesting to compare that with the Chinese approach: they do not spend time on theology and philosophy but act, enact, their holism-dialectics worldview.
“Russia, Turkey Pivot across Eurasia” writes Pepe Escobar in Asia Times (8 Dec 2014), using the US “pivot”, and “Eurasia”, hardly used in the West (it excludes the USA). Look at the map, it is there. There are the many streams of oil-gas and the Western efforts to make them Russia- and Islam-free. Turkey–Gazprom’s customer no. 2 after Germany – turns more Islamic and now may join the SCO; and Russia builds its nuclear industry. The EU said no to Turkey. Eurasia does not.
Turkmenistan and Pakistan may no longer be the good Islam, oil prices spiral downwards, US fracking is not competitive, and: the Russia-China deal of the century. EU sanctions hurt, Eurasia heals.
And then this: the Silk Railway Freight Train Yiwu from coastal China to Madrid, 8,111 miles, connecting all markets in Eurasia from one end to the other–and from Madrid on to Latin-America, of course.
The Imperial Collapse Playbook, writes Dmitry Orlov, 30 Dec 2014:
• pulling out of Ireland but leaving Belfast-Ulster behind;
• pulling out of the Middle East but leaving Israel (and Iraq) behind;
• pulling out of India but leaving Pakistan and Kashmir behind;
• pulling out of China but leaving Taiwan behind;
• pulling out of Russia but leaving Ukraine behind.
A pattern, no doubt. But Russia insists on Ukraine as “contiguous political space”, maybe federal – and used the Kosovo model for Crimea.
How is the Israeli part doing? Very well, according to Uri Avnery (Tikkun Daily, 17 Jan 2015): the four Jews murdered in the kosher super-market proved the Zionist thesis that the only safe place for Jews is Israel, there is anti-Semitism everywhere – and 10,000 French Jews are about to come. Just wait, US Jews will also come. Zionist Israel is not fighting anti-Semitism; they make use of it.
While we wait for the next US-NATO-EU (France) attack (Yemen?) a report from the UN: “UN peacekeeping forces reduce the numbers killed in more than 70%” (Klassekampen 25 Nov 2014). The brilliant editor Björgulv Braanen wrote a one-page editorial favoring UN rather than US troops. Treated badly in Western media, maybe for that reason.
Another positive piece, also to be picked up and favor the other three forces: experiments in India with basic income in cash are successful, particularly when administered by the mothers: emancipatory, leads to increased economic activity, heath-nutrition for the most disadvantaged (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If the West only could learn to think differently! More understanding at the intellectual/emotional/spiritual level and less just knowledge, learning/being savvy/smart(er), as Antonio C.S. Rosa points out? Put simply, more realistic, less realist–force on top. There is so much incredible value in the West, do not let it destroy itself.
Being a Westerner I hope that rational dialogue will prevail.
This article was first published at Transcend Media Service here.