Are we heading toward global autocracy, ecological collapse and political malaise?

By Richard Falk

What follows are preliminary reactions to both the BREXIT vote and the world according to Trump, but also a commentary on the related alienation of large segments of the public that are being badly served by both the established elites and their demagogic adversaries.

The failures of neoliberalism, the successes of digitization, the scourge of random violence, and more broadly, the dilemmas posed by late modernity are among the root causes of this global crisis of legitimate governance, which is deepened while being mishandled by unprecedented ecological challenges, extremely irresponsible geopolitical leadership, and a variety of ultra-nationalist backlashes against the encroachments of economic globalization.

Imagining the World After the Cold War

After the end of the Cold War there were various projections that tried to anticipate the likely future of the world in broad interpretative strokes. Three of the most influential conjectures by three prominent American authors received attention in the public sphere: those of Francis Fukuyama, Samuel Huntington, and Robert Kaplan.

Fukuyama challenged conventional political imagination with his provocative claim that with the collapse of the Soviet version of state socialism and the triumph of capitalist liberalism the world had reached ‘the end of history.’ It was also somewhat dubious that Fukuyama validated his views by reference to the Hegelian contention that history is made by the march and interplay of ideas rather than through the agency of material forces.

In this respect history came to a supposedly glorious end because there was no grander possible political vision than that of market-based constitutionalism, epitomized by the American political system. Even the most casual observer of the global scene must have noticed the befogged Western optic through which Fukuyama saw the world.

Huntington, no less provocative or biased, although less comforting for the West, anticipated a ‘the clash of civilizations’ as the sequel to the Cold War, especially stressing the confrontation between the liberal West and the non-West or simply ‘the rest.’ His suggestive emphasis was on blood-soaked fault lines between states, civilizations, and peoples associated with Islam and the Western polities descending from the Enlightenment tradition as it unfolded in Europe, taking root in North America and elsewhere.

Kaplan, also punctured the Fukuyama triumphalist tone of geopolitical serenity, by writing Read More »

Is ISIS on the wane?

By Jonathan Power

Within a matter of days a self-appointed ISIS “lone wolf”, Omar Mateen, with no actual links to home office Isis has created mayhem in Orlando, Florida, with his killing of 49 people in a gay club, and the Iraq army has pushed Isis troops out of most of the important city of Falluja.

Maybe it is an exaggeration to say that ISIS is on the run its bailiwicks of Iraq and Syria but it is certainly taking very bad hits. Two years after sweeping through northern Iraq and capturing the oil city of Mosul in 2014 they are now on the defensive. ISIS has lost nearly half of the Iraqi territory it held. (i.e. an area about half that of the UK). It has lost much of its oil infrastructure.

It is taking lots of casualties. In Syria it is fighting on two contradictory fronts – the regime in Damascus, supported by Iran and Russia and against the non-Islamist rebels, supported by the US and the Arab states.

Meanwhile the flow of foreign fighters on which it has depended is slowing up and large numbers are returning home. Funding is drying up.

This indeed is why Mateen, the lone wolf, is so important to ISIS. ISIS spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, has asked ISIS sympathisers to stay where they are. “The smallest action you do in the heart of [your] land is better and more enduring to us than what you would do if you were with us.”

Is this a switch in tactics? We do not know yet.

What we do know is Read More »

Brexit and What it Means for Britain and for Europe

By Farhang Jahanpour

Today (16 June 2016), Jo Cox, the 41-year old Labor MP, was killed after she was shot and stabbed in her constituency in Yorkshire. A 52-year old man was arrested in the area. The suspect was named locally as Tommy Mair.

There is as yet very little concrete information about him or his motives, and it is too early to jump to a conclusion and link his dastardly act with the referendum, but some eyewitnesses have said that before shooting Jo Cox twice, Mair shouted “Britain first”. Clearly, he is a deranged individual, but if he uttered those words, it is possible to conclude that the assault was connected with the referendum.

The fact remains that the assassination of such a strongly pro-EU MP is a big shock, a major loss and of course the source of great grief for her husband and her two small children. Before being elected as an MP in the last general election, Jo Cox had been a charity worker and a human rights campaigner all her life. Her husband, Brendan, used to work for Save the Children. They and their two little children lived a quiet and unassuming life in a barge on the Thames near the Houses of Parliament.

Her husband released the following touching statement after her death:

“Today is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. More difficult, more painful, less joyful, less full of love. I and Jo’s friends and family are going to work every moment of our lives to love and nurture our kids and to fight against the hate that killed Jo.
Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it everyday of her life with an energy and a zest for life that would exhaust most people. She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.
Jo would have no regrets about her life, she lived every day of it to the full.”

In any case, this ugly deed provides an extreme example of the acrimonious debates that are held over the referendum. All campaigning has been suspended as a sign of respect for the death of the MP.

On June 23, the British people take part in a rare referendum Read More »

Kärnvapen och andra vapen

Av Erni & Ola Friholt

Margot Wallström har utropat en feministisk utrikespolitik för Sverige. Inom den tecknades nyss ett värdlandsavtal med Nato, världens utan jämförelse starkaste militärallians. Avtalet permanentar flera gånger årligen återkommande militärmanövrer i stora delar av vårt lands luftrum, på landytan och i territorialvattnen. Sverige bekostar nödvändiga infrastrukturan-läggningar.

Militärmanövrerna samtrimmar svensk militär med Nato. Den underförstådda motståndaren är Ryssland, ständigt utpekat som aggressivt och hotfullt. Med den förklaringen flyttar Nato ständigt fram sina positioner mot Rysslands gränser. Eftersom Ryssland känner sig hotat utvecklas ett spel som leder till ökad spänning och krigsrisk, vilket i sin tur ger anledning att upprusta båda sidor.

Kapprustningen tar resurser från det civila samhället och skapar oro även där. Närmast ska det torkdrabbade Gotland utrustas med nya anläggningar, vapen och manskap. Kapprustning med ständigt nya vapen har bara ett slut: fattigdom och krig.

I denna situation önskar Sveriges regering förhandla fram ett förbud mot kärnvapen, det vapen som kärnvapenmakternas säkerhetstänkande ytterst vilar på och är det sista de skulle avstå från. Detta erinrar om myten om Sisyfos, mannen som dömts att baxa ett stenblock uppför en sluttning och som varje gång han nått toppen får se blocket rulla ner igen till utgångspunkten.

Den svenska regeringens feministiska Sisyfosarbete bortser ihärdigt ifrån att det är alla de andra vapnen som startar utarmande kapprustning och krigshot. De så kallade konventionella vapnen skördar dagligen och stundligen dödsoffer och skadade. Hur befängt det än kan låta, måste väl illusionen om säkerhet och fred genom de andra vapnen ha lockat till värdlandsavtalet med Nato?

Regeringen väljer att betala och samarbeta med ”de stora grabbarna”, de som i Serbien, Afghanistan, Irak, Libyen, Syrien, Jemen och Somalia med militära konventionella ”insatser” dödat över två miljoner människor på femton år och skadat ännu fler.

Deras svar på konflikter är endast ett: bombningar till underkastelse.

Därför får vi som svar ett evigt s k terrorhot.

Om den feministiska utrikespolitiken vore allvarligt menad, vore den givna politiken nedrustning, samtal och utbyte med den utpekade fienden, allt för avspänning i enlighet med Palmes kommission om gemensam säkerhet, alltså även motsidans säkerhet, och en verklig alliansfrihet.

Nu går färden åt motsatt håll, med kontraproduktiv handelsbojkott och anslutning till Natos våldsdoktrin.

Du lever farligt, Margot!

ERNI & OLA FRIHOLT

Mass migration, the EU and European nationalisms

By Johan Galtung

Antwerpen & Alfaz

We are dealing with mass migration, basically into EU, and European nationalisms, many in favor of exits from the EU.

Why this mass migration, maybe to the point of Völkerwanderung, mainly into EU – but then what kind of EU? – and why the European nationalisms now found one way or the other in many member states?

The forecast for migration from Africa into Italy in 2016 is about 100,000; 28,000 already arrived in the first quarter, with 1,000 drowning in the Mediterranean (INYT, 6 May 2016). Big numbers. They knew the risks they were taking, so the push away from Africa and the pull towards Italy, and beyond, must have been considerable.

Better think in terms of 50 million migrants over 50 years, from regions considered uninhabitable to inhabitable regions. There seem to be five major causes underlying this basic world asymmetry:

Slavery, four centuries, depriving societies particularly of able-bodied males, by Arabs, then Westerners, cross-Atlantic transportation mainly by the English (Liverpool);

Colonialism, by Muslims after the death of the prophet in 632, from Casablanca to Southern Philippines, till the end of the 15th century, close to nine centuries, then by Christians close to five centuries, till colonialism was officially ended in the 1960s;

Robbery Capitalism, stealing or paying next to nothing for resources processed into manufactured goods, pocketing the value added;

Wars, mainly initiated by the West, killing millions (the USA more than 20 million in 37 countries after WWII), destroying property;

Ecological Factors, like depletion-pollution, often toxic for humans or nature, erratic climate partly due to climate gases, NOX, CO2, CH4.

These are the causes of poverty in some parts of the world but also of wealth in others; Read More »

Danmark skal heller ikke bombe i Syrien – 6 artikler

Af Jan Øberg

Posted on 18 April, 2016 on Jan Oberg’s blog

Den 19. april 2016 havde Folketinget 2. behandling af forslaget om også at bombe og indsætte specialstyrker i Syrien.

Jeg mener at sagen er fundamentalt vigtig for Danmark, danskerne og vor fremtidige rolle og ‘image’ ude i verden.

Desuden finder jeg at beslutningsgrundlaget, mediedækningen og den offentlige debat giver anledning til den største bekymring.

At gå i krig er den vigtigste beslutning en regering kan tage og en befolkning bakke op om. Men det er som om dette at deltage i krig stort set rager både ministre, folketingsmedlemmer, journalister og befolkning en forårsblomst.

Med en vis fortvivlelse skrev jeg derfor 6 artikler med forskellige temaer og producerede en video, der også foreslår hvad vi kunne gøre i stedet.

Jeg ville have disse ting sagt og spredt inden beslutningen blev taget.

Herunder findes de én for én som jeg har skrevet dem med en lille kommentar til publiceringsprocessen, som også i et vist omfang vidner – for mig i hvert fald – om mærkelige prioriteringer hvad angår tidspunkt og længde.

Alt andet lige bliver redaktionerne ikke oversvømmet af kvalificerede, kritiske og konstruktive artikler af denne type – men det er dog kun meget korte ting, man kan få ind. Om overhovedet…

1. Dansk krigsdeltagelse i Syrien vil være landsskadelig

Politiken 16. april 2016. Problemfri publicering.

Den 19. april skal folketinget have 2. behandling af forslaget om at Danmark skal deltage i krigen over Syrien og endog have specialstyrker på landjorden.

Det vil i så fald være sjette krigsdeltagelse siden 1999 – Serbien, Afghanistan, Irak 2003-2007, Libyen, Irak igen.

Der synes desværre at være flertal for krigspolitikken uanset det faktum at samtlige krige har været fiaskoer på deres egne præmisser og ud fra et fredsskabende synspunkt.

Politikere og andre mennesker, der støtter det krigsførende Danmark gang på gang, må vel efterhånden kunne blive stillet til ansvar for deres holdning til massedrab på uskyldige. Kan det være rigtigt at dette er så uproblematisk som den ringe offentlige debat tyder på at det er så let at beordre mord på andre mennesker?

Internationale rapporter gør gældende at den vestlige verden kan have dræbt op til 4 millioner muslimer siden 1990.Read More »

TFF PressInfo # 369 – A Sunni-Salafist-Zionist Coalition Changing Middle East?

By Jan Oberg

Please try Google “Gulf states want nuclear weapons against Iran – Israel “ and only one Western mainstream media will appear, an excellent article by The Telegraph’s Raf Sanchez in Jerusalem.

The only other media carrying the story is Russia Today and Vigilant Citizen and MintPress News also carries the story and offers a wider background

What is this about?A new coalition?

So the usual Western media filter, meaning it must be interesting. And it is a quite sensational story: Saudi Arabia and Israel are up to a nuclear mischief against a country that has just been prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons by means of a huge legally binding document, UN Security Council endorsement and extremely tight monitoring mechanism. What’s it about?

It’s about Israel’s defence minister Moshe Ya’alon saying in public at the recent Munich conference that Arab states are “not willing to sit quietly with Iran on the brink of a nuclear bomb”.

He thinks that Iran was liable to break the agreement as their economic situation improves with the lifting of international sanctions. Ya’alon is quoted as saying that “I speak about the Gulf states and North African states too…For them, Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood are the enemy. Iran is the bad guy for us and for the Sunni regimes. They are not shaking hands [with Israelis] in public, but we meet in closed rooms.”

So not only Jordan’s monarchy and Egypt’s dictatorship but also Gulf and North African states: A coalition lead by Saudi Arabia and Israel – Israel as the only nuclear weapons power in the region and Saudi Arabia as the most likely next nuclear weapons state.

For much too long the world’s attention has been on Iran’s imagined nuclear weapons, not on the dozens or hundreds real nukes that Israel possesses as a non-member of which is the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

One can say that Israel and Saudi Arabia lost the political battle against the nuclear deal with Iran concluded with the five permanent UNSC members and Germany last year – and now will do their utmost to use Iran’s non-nuclear weapons status as a pretext for others going nuclear against, predominantly, Iran.

Propaganda hysteria dominates in an age where knowledge plays a diminishing role

The problem for them, however, is that Iran will be difficult to sell as a real threat – but we live of course in Read More »

TFF PressInfo # 368: Reflections after Brussels

Lund, Sweden, March 29, 2016

Recommended reading…

The general post-Brussels mainstream media discourse has shown the same profile as virtually all others since September 11, 2001:

• Emphasis on who did it, the circumstances where it happened and how the crime was carried out;

• The fate of the victims, the mourning of the nearest relations and the memorial;

• Much larger coverage than more devastating attacks outside the West.

• Absence of relevant and intellectually challenging questions related to the big WHY – Why do some people hate us so intensely, willing to die for it?

• And absence of discussions about possible historical causes and action-reaction perspective – the only reason offered is that they are evil people/Muslims and evil acts must be met with force – Francois Hollande who never misses an opportunity to puff himself up talks about all of Europe being hit – 35 people killed out of 508 million to be precise.

• The underlying, tacit ‘narrative’ of course is that we Europeans are simply innocent victims – more important, that is, than the roughly 1 million Iraqis who died thanks to the European participation in 13 years of sanctions and an illegal war and occupation led by the US. And, as is well-known, victim psychology often legitimates disproportionate responses – to be seen.

• Finally, the complete loss of perceptive proportions in a war that has resulted so far in 350.000 dead Syrians, 4,6 million Syrian refugees and 6,6 million Syrian internally displaced and destruction of yet another Middle Eastern country and its culture – among other things thanks to arms trade to all fractions and thousands upon thousands of bombing sorties – the far majority of which orchestrated by the US/NATO/EU countries over the last 5 years.

We believe there are different perspectives that deserve our attention – based on complex analyses, a moral standpoint and an intense desire to help stop this – for all self-defeating – vicious spiral.

We invite you to browse these and share them in your circles:Read More »