‘NATO-Turkey conflict reveals cracks in Western military alliance’

By Jan Oberg

Comments to Op-Ed page of Russia Today

Turkey is increasingly at odds with NATO and its departure from democracy and loyalty with other NATO members should give NATO solid reasons for solid concern.

However, NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, seems to still praise Turkey’s “democratic institutions” at the time of the coup attempt one year ago.

Here’s the German edition of this article.

US State Dep. approves $4bn Patriot missile deal with Romania: Irrational and dangerous!

By Jan Oberg

Commenting on PressTV

Liu Xiaobo’s death holds China to the light

By Jonathan Power

China, since the days in 1793 and the mission of Earl Macartney, emissary of King George 11, has kept its distance from the West, preferring to be “as self-contained as a billiard ball”, to quote the great historian Alain Peyrefitte.

It was Peyrefitte who argued in “The Collision of Civilizations” that Macartney’s decision not to kowtow to the emperor gave the Chinese the impression that their civilization was denied. They withdrew into their bunker and have remained for the last two centuries prickly, ultra-sensitive, quick to take offence and too ready to assume the worst of West’s motives.

Thus, among politicians and businessmen there has developed a school of thought that there is only one way of dealing with China – a sort of delayed, reversed kowtow, always leaning over backwards neither to provoke nor to annoy China.

No better example can be given than the way China treated the Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo who died last week while still a prisoner and how the world responded whilst he was in prison.

When in 2009 he was convicted for “inciting subversion of state power” and sent to prison for 11 years he said in his statement to the court, “I hope I will be the last victim of China’s long record of treating words as crimes.”

Why should the outside world accept that China can make its own rules when it comes to essential human rights?

Sometimes, as Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, says, “One has to pinch oneself to remember who needs whom most”. To begin with, he argues, we and our governments should never forget the simple but very important fact that China only represents around 2% of all Western exports added together.

Over the years it has been distasteful that Western countries have regularly betrayed each other, and, in so doing, the human rights activists inside China, in an effort to better position themselves in this quite modest market-place. Read the rest of this entry »

“Modern” business owns you

By Johan Galtung and Malvin Gattinger

Let us start with an example.

The senior author bought an apartment in a nice housing complex in the little town of Manassas, Prince William County, half an hour from the center of Washington DC. There was a little center with an office and a small staff always there, and a meeting room that could be let was also used for the annual general assembly of house-owners.

And most importantly, a competent service man who could handle all big and small problems that arise in an apartment on permanent call.

The complex was for all practical purposes a cooperative.

There was a monthly fee, of course. But the usual criterion, Q/P, Quality/Price, here Services/Fee, was more than well satisfied.

Enters “modern” business, exactly under that heading, as if “modern” can exonerate business from anything.

Continue reading here.

What’s right? What’s left?

By Jonathan Power

July 11th 2017

It goes back to the French revolution of 1789. At the Revolutionary Convention the most radical of the insurgents decided to seat themselves on the left side. “Why not on the other side, the right side, the place of rectitude, where law and the higher rights resided, when man’s best hand could be raised in righteous honour?” wrote Melvin Lasky in what was then Britain’s most influential intellectual monthly, Encounter.

“Anyway they went left, and man’s political passions have never been the same since.”

When Oskar Lafontaine, the German finance minister, broke with Chancellor Gerhard Schroder in the early days of the last Social Democratic government, he explained it was “because my heart beats on the left.”

The right could never say that, even the liberal-inclined, ex-prime minister of the UK, David Cameron.

When Humpty-Dumpty insisted on his own “master-meanings” he reassured Alice, “When I make a word do a lot of work like that, I always pay it extra.”

British Leftists sometimes stretch their minds to work out if Prospect, today´s most influential monthly, is left or right. I tell them that it is hard to tell most of the time which is how an intellectual magazine should be. They shouldn’t be asking the question.

Perhaps if they and the rest of us want to study the ambiguities and contradictions of intellectual leftists they should be informed that once upon a time – a hundred and seventy years ago – there was a writer, a philosopher, who spent most of his time in the British Museum and who moved his family from down-at-heel Soho to elegant Primrose Hill.

He wanted his maturing daughters to have the chance of meeting a better class of men. His wife too was pleased because she could now invite ladies to tea. A suitor of one his daughters was given the door as he seemed unstable with his revolutionary opinions.

He wrote soon after that he thought the “historical” process had already started to undermine “bourgeois society”. Read the rest of this entry »

Peaceful Societies – Where Are They?

By Johan Galtung

3 July 2017

There are many of them – of different kinds – in world geography. We can try to identify the characteristics of their peacefulness.

Or we can start by identifying belligerent societies and then see peaceful societies as their negations. Let us try this one first.

Belligerent societies have a track record of violence across border, on the territory of others, often invoking “defense”– preventive, pre-emptive, proactive. For that they need weapons, arms, as an army or not. And the weapons, with their carriers, must be long range, offensive, to work across borders, inside another society.

By negating, we get three characteristics of peaceful societies:

1) having only short range defensive weapons for defensive defense;

2) having no weapons, arms, at all, nor the capacity to make them;

3) having a track record of no war, no attack across borders.

Comment:

No. 3, no track record, is no guarantee for the future.

No. 2, no arms, is no guarantee they cannot start making or importing.

No. 1, defensive defense, is no guarantee against longer range arms.

Peaceful societies may change? Yes, so may belligerent societies. They may stop attacking others, abolish their army (Costa Rica) or not get one–about 30 societies–or have defensive defense (Switzerland).

Have a look at the world: about 200 societies, countries, states. There may be border skirmishes, but attacks are rare. One reason: very few can afford submarines, ocean navy, tanks, bombers, missiles. An army only to defend the borders – the inland with militia – and if occupied non-military defense–rooted in doctrine to be credible, costs less.

Most countries practice offensive defence unwittingly.

The [1]->[2]->[3] scenario is a good peaceful society policy.

However, look at another approach. Read the rest of this entry »

Russian and Western influence in Macedonia compared

By Biljana Vankovska

Text of report by Macedonian newspaper Nova Makedonija on 12 June

Commentary by Biljana Vankovska: “Russia ante portas!”

The UK The Guardian recently issued a bombastic report based on certain intelligence leaks, apparently resembling WikiLeaks, that revealed the big and terrifying secret of the Russian bad boys working on Macedonia’s distancing from the West for nearly 10 years through the use of old-fashioned methods (strange and mysterious spies and conspirators) and sophisticated means of influence via public diplomacy and “soft power”.

This crown “evidence” has fitted in perfectly with the subtle campaign that a number of national media has been leading for a while now, promoting the “intimidating notion” of the Macedonians regarding Russia as a friendly country. An opinion poll on our foreign political orientations has indicated that as many as 17 per cent of the respondents have a positive view on Russia.

Imagine, these impertinent persons have dared reduce the incredible 95 per cent of people who support the West, which was typical only of [Albanian communist leader] Enver Hoxha’s Albania and Bulgaria during [Bulgarian communist leader] Zhivkov’s era!

This thesis is being reiterated ad nauseam and serves a double purpose: first, it should prove the harmful effects of the perfidious policies of the VMRO-DPMNE’s [Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity] fake patriots and, second, such an approach of the journalists’ genuine shock and concern is a preventive disciplinary measure for those who – Heaven forbid – would dare criticise the West.

It is interesting that The Guardian report deals with the “self-leakage” of the Macedonian Counterintelligence Agency and that the text was prepared by famous Macedonian journalists.

The story of Russia’s clout, spread through the media propaganda of our journalists who think that it is virtuous to play into the West’s hands, has (once again) imposed our country as an instrument to settle a score between the great powers. Read the rest of this entry »

The BAN Treaty – why it’s significant and why some have isolated themselves from civilisation

By Jan Oberg

The Debate on PressTV with Jim Walsh, MIT

And here the link to a partial transcript

The BAN Treaty – Iran and other countries

By Jan Oberg

Comment on PressTV

North Korea: A danger that can easily be contained

By Gunnar Westberg
TFF Board member

An easy Q & A session:

Question: What does Kim Jong-un and the leaders of DPRK, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea want?

Answer: Security for themselves, power and privileges.

Q. Are their privileges and their leadership threatened?

A: Yes. From outside and from inside.

Q: What outside danger?

A: An attack from the USA.

Q: Is there a real threat from the USA?

A: It seems so, from the perspective of Pyongyang. There are US exercises by air and navy, showing off the superiority of the US forces. And verbal threats.

Q: Why have DPRK developed nuclear weapons?

A: The leaders believe, just like in other nuclear power states, that nuclear weapons are effective deterrents.

Q: What is the danger from the inside?

A: A revolt from the repressed and destitute masses.

Q: How can the leaders prevent a revolt and keep their power?

A: By force, by fear but mostly by pointing at the danger of an attack from the South. There is one thing the people fear more that their leaders: A war. Nuclear weapons give a feeling of security, just as the US Ambassador to the UN, Ms Nikki Haley, explained for the USA..

Q : How can we decrease the danger from DPRK?

A: There are two main ways:

1. Stop the military provocations.

2. Start negotiations.

In 1994 a “framework ´” of an agreement was reached and DPRK stopped their nuclear weapons program for several years. When that agreement gradually fell apart, former President Jimmy Carter helped negotiate a second agreement , which unfortunately was not accepted by President George W. Bush . Today the situation is more difficult, but if the DPRK leaders feel assured that they will not be attacked, that there will be no attempt of a regime change, progress can be achieved. And DPRK leaders can always be bought.

However, there is one great danger: If the threat from the south is removed, the people of DPRK may start a revolt, the government may fall and masses of people from North Korea will start walking, into South Korea and into China.

Maybe that is the reason the USA does not want to solve the “problem of North Korea”? Or is it just the need for an enemy?

One thing is obvious: Military threats against North Korea strongly supports the leaders of the country and increases the risk of war, maybe a nuclear war.

Gunnar Westberg

 

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