The year 2015: First third report

By Johan Galtung

In my columns, “The Year 2015-What Are We in For?”, I identified four unfolding, dramatic processes: the West will continue fighting unsuccessfully and violently to keep their world grip; Eurasia will expand and consolidate successfully and nonviolently; Islam will expand and consolidate partly violently; Latin America and Africa will expand and consolidate, spearheaded by Brazil, South Africa, BRICS.

A third of the year 2015 has now passed; let us take stock.

Headlines in the International New York Times tell the story:

18-19 April 2015: “U.S. is said to risk losing economic leadership”; “–a divided nation shedding hard-won clout”, “We’re withdrawing from the central place we had on the world stage”.

And for the UK: 29 April: “Britain’s drift from the world stage looms over the vote”.

These are statements about leadership, about being the center as a model to emulate; controlling world stage politics; not about economic growth. Losing leadership and drifting away may actually increase growth: control is a costly, non-productive endeavor for most businesses. Sensing that may accelerate the decline as world power.Read More »

Gandhi and Mandela: Two South Africans

Johan Galtung

By Johan Galtung

Mohandas Gandhi invented the nonviolent approach to basic social change, Satyagraha, in South Africa in the early 20th century; Nelson Mandela presided over the birth of a one person-one vote democracy at the end of the century. Both were lawyers, trained in English Common Law; good in the sense of a keen consciousness of what is right and wrong, bad in the sense of a court process identifying who is in the wrong rather than solving underlying conflicts, and wrong in the sense of punishing the wrong-doer; violence rather than cooperation.

Both built on the positive side of law – the indelible rights of the people for whom they were fighting by comparing empirical facts with normative rights; immigrant Indians in the case of Gandhi, original inhabitants in South Africa, the Blacks, in the case of Mandela.

Gandhi (1869-1948) did not live to see equality between Indians and whites in South Africa, but in India, his mother-father land; Mandela (1918-2013) did. They won their struggles – but the societies that emerged still suffer from other and major ones.

A deep culture united them: the culture of law. Read More »

Political freedom – up or down?

By Jonathan Power

Last week democracy won a handsome victory in Nigeria. An election that had everybody on edge for fear of internecine killings involving militants from the two main competing parties, against a backcloth of the war of attrition waged by the nihilist, extremist, Islamist movement, Boko Haram, led pundits to fear the worst. It did not happen. Nigeria gave of its best.

Indeed, the real winner was the looser, the present president, Goodluck Jonathan. He graciously phoned the winner, Muhammadu Buhari, to concede the election. His attitude to his defeat kept the peace.Read More »

Gandhi and Mao – two Asians

Johan Galtung

By Johan Galtung

Let us start by summarizing. We are looking at six major leaders of forces and movements shaping centuries – Churchill-Hitler-Stalin-Mao-Gandhi-Mandela – comparing, two at a time. We are looking for similarities and dissimilarities. Some of them are out in the open, in their spoken ideologies. But most of them – maybe the most interesting–are hidden to the untrained eye. There are the similarities when they are from the same civilization and the dissimilarities when different – however much they profess to be on the same or very different lines. The six were themselves hardly aware of this factor.

As Churchill, Hitler and Stalin share the Christian-secular civilization; we would expect anti-Semitism, racism, and little hesitation when killing–by war, starvation (the Lord also did it), by revolution, millions – even with enthusiasm. Deeper down there are deductive reasonings from axioms about race and class and a final state: the British Empire, the Aryan Reich, for one thousand years, and socialism on the way to the final stage, communism forever; run from London, Berlin, Moscow. So we got the triangular Second World War with Moscow entering two alliances of convenience.

Enters Mao. He shares the word “communist” with Stalin (they still use it, long after it disappeared in USSR-Russia). But the Chinese civilization leaves its indelible imprint on that concept, giving the word a very different meaning, commune-ism, common-ism, doing things together, cooperating.

Enters Gandhi. An Asian like Mao, but watch out: there is no Asian civilization. There are West, Central, South–Hindu; Gandhi is here!–Southeast, East–Mao is here!–Asia; all very different–and a sixth, North Asia, Russian Orthodox.Read More »

Churchill and Hitler – Two Europeans

Johan Galtung

By Johan Galtung

Who wrote this?

“The Aryan stock is bound to triumph”.

“The Dictator of the Red Citadel (Petrograd) – all Jews”

“The same evil prominence was obtained by Jews – in Hungary”

“The same phenomenon has been presented in Germany–preying”

“-the schemes of the international Jews /against/ spiritual hopes”

“-this worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization”

“-it played recognizable part in the tragedy of the French Revolution”

“-the mainspring in every subversive movement in the 19th century”

Churchill did. Here quoted from Robert Barsocchini in Countercurrents in February 2015. His point was not that Jews were active in many places, the point is that for Churchill they were the cause of all the revolutions, the root of evil, not, for instance, feudalism gone mad.

What does Churchill, a top politician, believe in? (same source):

“-the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years”

“-100,000 degenerate Britons sterilized /to save the/ British race”

“-the increasingly rapid growth of the feeble-minded insane classes”

“Two fifths of Cubans fighting Spanish are negroes–a black republic”

“Gandhi ought to be lain bound hand and foot at the gates of Delhi, and trampled upon by an enormous elephant with the Viceroy seated”

Three million starved to death due to Empire policy. Churchill:

“why isn’t Gandhi dead yet?”Read More »

The world’s growing disorder

By Jonathan Power
March 3rd, 2015

Is disorder the measure of our times?

Can anyone see an end to the upheavals in The Middle East and what can be done? My answer to the first question is “no” and my second is: “Wind the clock back to the days of the Ottoman Empire when vast stretches of the Middle East lived in relative peace under the benign rule of the sultans”.

The Ottoman Empire disintegrated because of its foolish decision to join the wrong side in World War 1. The French and British then carved up the Middle East to create the present day countries and to serve their interests (later oil).

What could have been done as recently as 12 years ago? Not invade Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and bring the house tumbling down, ruining nearly everyone’s well-being, breeding the conditions under which sectarian war between Sunni Islam and Shiite Islam flourishes and which became fertile ground for Al Qaeda and now their successor, the Islamic State (ISIS).

ISIS covers great swathes of Iraq and Syria and could well undermine the governments of Lebanon, Jordan and even Saudi Arabia. The decision of President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair to act on willfully distorted intelligence on Iraq’s supposed stock of weapons of mass destruction must be regarded as an unforgiveable crime against humanity.

The US and its Arab partners can’t bomb ISIS into submission any more than the US could the Vietcong. All outsiders can do is to sanction it (but avoiding the mistakes of the sanctions on Iraq when 30,000 children died as a result). It may take 10 years or more to win a favourable result.

The periphery of Europe will continue to be unstable until the big Western powers make a loud public promise not to expand NATO and to allow Ukraine to make Read More »

TFF PressInfo # 305: A theory of China

By Johan Galtung

Johan Galtung

2 February 2015 at the Penang Institute, Penang

A theory serves comprehension, prediction and identification of conditions for change. Seven such historical-cultural pointers will be indicated for China; using the West in general, and the USA in particular, for comparisons. The presentation draws on countless dialogues in China over 40 years, since 1973.

* China: in time, as dynasties; West: in space as empires.

Look at a histomap combining world history and geography, time and space: China shows up through 4,000 years as relatively coherent dynasties with complex transitions – and the West as empires–birth-growth-peaking-decline-fall, like the Roman, UK and now US empires – duration vs bubbles that burst; as China-centric vs hegemonic.Read More »

Bringing peace in Pakistan

By Jonathan Power


January 27th 2015

It looks like the recent slaying of 130 school children by rabid Islamic extremists finally has brought a halt to the long time policy of Pakistan facing both ways. Pakistan, because of policies developed over decades by its all-powerful army and its intelligence service, the ISI, has long played both ends against the middle.

On one end is the West, especially the US, trying to tug Pakistan into its orbit, so that it becomes a strategic partner in defeating the Afghan Taliban and its associates, and bringing peaceful democracy to Afghanistan. At the other end is what has been seen as the need to encourage and support the Islamic warriors in their effort to wrest a good slice of Kashmir away from India and, besides that, to make sure that Afghanistan under American tutelage doesn’t fall into the reach of Indian influence and thus threaten Pakistan’s deepest interests.

This clash of policies hitherto has been settled, say many, in favour of the militants, with the ISI for decades giving them arms, training and direction.Read More »

An Octagon world: Conflict or cooperation. What can we learn from each other?

By Johan Galtung

Johan Galtung

“They can choose to focus on the worst in others, criticizing, building on paranoia and worst case analysis, “security”. Or choose to focus on the best, with cooperation as dominant mode, conflict as recessive. They can cooperate for mutual and equal benefit like in good trade, exploring each others’ comparative political-cultural advantages. They can do it.”

Read this unusual global analysis here.

Neigbours ditch India, bat for China

By Shastri Ramachandaran

Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have been the toast at the high tables from BRICS and ASEAN to G-20 and the East Asia Summit, but nearer home, in the neighbourhood, few are impressed by his 56-inch chest. The stark truth that India does not draw much water in the region was driven home unmistakably during the 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu.

Continued here…