Meanwhile – with great narratives unfolding

By Johan Galtung

The decline and fall of the US Empire’s grip on the world; of the West; of the state system–with the rise of the TNC-IGO-NGO system, regions, nations, local authorities; the rise of the East and the South; of China–many details cross an editor’s desk; inspiring some rethinking:

Thus, in a pile of quotes not to be forgotten, from Balfour 1917:

“it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status of Jews in any other country“.

Very prescient thinking, not clearly understood. Time to rethink?

Bin Laden’s bookshelf has been presented to the media (Sy Hersh claims he was captured and imprisoned by the Pakistani ISI; the USA did not find him but was told and given access): he practices Sun Tzu’s doctrines; know your enemy, know yourself. “The US Intelligence Community does not endorse any of the publications in the list”. Of course not, US leaders have probably not even read them, a Chomsky, a Blum. It might have made them rethink deeply failed policies.

“Modi calls on China to rethink stances that strain ties to India” (INYT, 15 May 2015). China is rethinking all the time, needed for its dynamism; whether the outcome pleases India, the West or USA is another matter. Their border dispute, the huge trade imbalance in China’s favor, the partnership with Pakistan. The word “rethink”, not directing the outcome, is brilliant. Modi himself rethinks caste; attacking its correlates (squalor, garbage all over, no toilets).

Chinese geo-political strategy still seems to escape a West mainly concerned with military factors. There are new Silk Roads, railroads, flights, lanes popping up all over; some ancient, 100 BC. The “1st EU nation to join China’s Silk Road network” is Hungary (The Daily Mirror, Katmandu, 12 Jun 2015, very well informed) – because of the Magyar Central Asian roots? Half EU, including the major countries, are in AIIB, soon they will all be “silked”. Into cocoons?

Thus, the road from Central and Western China will cross into Iran-Iraq-Syria to Istanbul and from there to Germany, Netherlands and Italy. A maritime Silk lane begins in Fujian and ends in Venice. The freight railroad from Eastern China to Madrid is already history. The networks include gas pipelines, power grids, internet, etc. Available to all, but be sure, Chinese goods and increasingly services will be flowing – symmetrically linking East and West with South, as opposed to West using centuries linking North–themselves–with South–colonies, satellites. And half a century since 1960 not to rethink.

Meanwhile there is rethinking of global climate change, like by William D. Nordhaus in his review of Wagner and Weitzman Climate Shock: The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet, The NY Review of Books, 4 Jun 2015. Not disputing the finding that CO2 release in the atmosphere captures heat as a greenhouse gas, there is the idea of letting less heat in by “whitening” the planet, making it reflect sunlight rather than absorbing it.

Major volcano eruptions do that, and the temperature decreases. Can this be imitated? Engineering approaches at the global level carry considerable risks, including the risk of not knowing the risks. Nordhaus has a different approach: to him the major problem are the numerous free riders who benefit from CO2 release reduction by others. Like a smoker benefiting from non-smoking public space, and non-smoking friends’ homes, to recover.

He wants an expanding Club, like EU or a military alliance, dedicated to CO2 reduction, increasing trade among themselves, penalizing others by boycotting them, not letting them off scot free, like the Kyoto Protocol does, as free riders. Maybe. Will take time.

LEAP/E2020 Press Review of the Global Systemic Crisis rethinks: The munis, municipal bonds, are threatened by the low interests: “this huge market will collapse if a city of significant size is unable to repay its bonds–many public pensions are paid locally“. Chicago?

LEAP: “The European economy has improved despite the looming threat of Greece being forced out of the eurozone“; EUObserver. Or, best for both? A marriage made in hell–Goldman Sachs–not heaven?

LEAP: “European Parliament vote on–TTIP was delayed at the last minute“; EuroNews. By whom?–incomplete reporting.

LEAP: “EU gauges will for Latin American trade deal“; EUObserver.

Let us see if Pacific Latin American countries prefer EU to TPP.

LEAP: “Russia accuses US of inflaming Ukraine conflict–blaming Moscow for provocative action–Moscow: Washington is forcing Kyiv to continue the war“; Deutsche Welle. At least both sides were reported.

Not world news, national: inequality in Spain. The number of poor doubled in the period 2007-201l and is now 18% of the population according to an OECD report published in Paris 21 May 2015 –revealing that the difference between poor and rich is increasing in almost all 34 member countries.

Four years only, and the richest 10% increased their livelihood ten times more than the poorest 10%. In Spain, salaries for the poorest decreased 13% 2007-11; for the richest, only 1.4%; the austerity measures by the government, cutting social support being a major factor. Unemployment went up from 8% to 27%. 43% of the livelihood went to the top 10% (SpaniaPosten, 6 Jun 2015).

Congratulations, OECD! This is rethinking, reporting inequality!

Not even national news, local: the new municipal government of Alfaz del Pi on Spain’s Mediterranean coast was just constituted, and Vicente Arques was re-elected mayor for a third period; his party (PSOE) won absolute majority (12 of 21 seats). TRANSCEND‘s Conference supported by the municipality to rethink adjudication and conflict solution as roads to peace, bringing them closer together, will now be followed by monthly dialogues rethinking themes insufficiently discussed in Spanish public space. See here for info and documentation, and the Center for Conflict Solution in particular.

Originally published by Transcend Media Service here.

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