Archive for April, 2014
By Jonathan Power
April 29th 2014
When it comes to Ukraine the US and the EU are adopting a holier than thou attitude which, unfortunately, leads them not to worship at the alter of truth.
Take the issue of the fuss made over alleged soldiers wearing Russian uniforms. They are not dressed in the smart fatigues of the unmarked Russian soldiers in Crimea, about which President Vladimir Putin has acknowledged he misled us. What these soldiers, leading the Russian-speaking revolt, are wearing can be bought in any army surplus store. As for the photos Western intelligence has persuaded much of the media to use as evidence, they are hazy and would not be admissible in a court of law.
The Ukranian Security Agency announced that it captured 20 of its Russian counterparts. But then it reduced the number to 10 and then to 3. But the last figure received much less highlighting from Western governments and media than the first.
How all this “Russian interference” compares with the post Cold War expansion by Nato forces up to Russia’s borders, senior Western politicians’ (including the US ambassador) provocative support for a revolutionary movement that included a healthy contingent of neo-fascists who now have seats in the Ukrainian cabinet, and the funding of opposition forces and NGOs, is to be wondered at. (I’ve long been surprised at the tolerance for Western NGOs based in Russia and China. Imagine the reverse.) Read the rest of this entry »
By Johan Galtung
China Three Gorges University, Yichang, 23 Apr 2014
A great honor to open the 11th university cooperation conference of N.E.W.S–North-East-West-South—founded in 1993 at the Freie Universität, Berlin by S.P. Park.
Classical university cooperation across borders has professors teaching in one country students from other countries. Thus, when Copenhagen ruled Denmark-Norway 1397-1814 Norwegians studied at the University of Copenhagen, founded in 1479. The University in Oslo came in 1811, but the asymmetry continued; some of it necessary and useful, but not ideal. Missing was equity, “I learn from you, you from me”; missing was empathy, “You learn about me, I about you”. The teaching country is superior in power, shaping the minds in the learning country. But the learning country learns about the deeper features of the teaching country, not vice versa.
A colonial relation. The colonialist leader, England – also in Scotland-Wales-Ireland – imports raw students for processing at huge fees, and exports English as patented commodity with no processing rights. Major industries both; but learning nothing about the world. Of course old knowledge must flow from those with more to those with less, even if professors often exaggerate their own importance: students may learn more together and by self-study–maybe 10%-40%-50%. But professors monopolize exams and diplomas, so better absorb well. Read the rest of this entry »
By Richard Falk
In this short essay, my attempt will be to articulate a conception of a world order premised on nonviolent geopolitics, as well as to consider some obstacles to its realization. By focusing on the interplay of “law” and “geopolitics” the intention is to consider the role played both by normative traditions of law and morality and the “geopolitical” orientation that continue to guide dominant political actors on the global stage.
Such an approach challenges the major premise of realism that security, leadership, stability, and influence in the 21st century continue to rest primarily on military power, or what is sometimes described as “hard power” capabilities. 
From such a perspective international law plays a marginal role, useful for challenging the behavior of adversaries, but not to be relied upon in calculating the national interest of one’s own country. As such, the principal contribution of international law, aside from its utility in facilitating cooperation in situations where national interests converge, is to provide rhetoric that rationalizes controversial foreign policy initiatives undertaken by one’s own country and to demonize comparable behavior by an enemy state. This discursive role is not to be minimized, but neither should it be confused with exerting norms of restraint in a consistent and fair manner.
My intention is to do three things:
• to show the degree to which the victors in World War II crafted via the UN Charter essentially a world order, which if behaviorally implemented, would have marginalized war, and encoded by indirection a system of nonviolent geopolitics; in other words, the constitutional and institutional foundations already exist, but inert form;
• to provide a critique of the realist paradigm that never relinquished its hold over the imagination of dominant political elites, and an approach has not acknowledged the obsolescence and dangers associated with the war system;
• and, finally, to consider some trends in international life that make it rational to work toward the embodiment of nonviolent geopolitics in practice and belief, as well as in the formalities of international law. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jelena Mair
Business and Peace are not mutually exclusive. Business does play a crucial role in society. More so, business impacts and depends upon its surrounding. It impacts the
social well-being of people and planet, whether intentionally or unintentionally, both locally and globally through the chosen ways of operation and production.
Equally, does business play a key role in contributing to economic development, peace and stability in the areas where it operates. Business provides jobs and revenue to local markets; sets examples of sustainable business practices and can provide support for various social programs through strategic social investment.
In short, business is an inherent aspect of our society, and therefore, if we are striving for a more peaceful and sustainable world, for-profit private enterprises are the most crucial actors in achieving this goal. Read the rest of this entry »
Jelena Mair became a TFF Associate in April 2014
2011 – 2013
Master of Advanced Studies in Peace Studies and Conflict Transformation,
World Peace Academy – swisspeace Academy, Basel University.
2009 – 2010
Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (Sociology, Anthropology, Ecology, Psychology,
Philosophy, Global Studies), California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA, USA. Read the rest of this entry »
Lund and Oslo, April 25, 2014
The management of the Nobel Peace Prize has become a case for the Norwegian police, following a request for criminal investigation from 16 prominent Scandinavians, parliamentarians, lawyers, authors and peace activists, 10 Swedes and 6 Norwegians, to the authority on economic crime, the ØKOKRIM.
The move is based on the research of Norwegian lawyer Fredrik S. Heffermehl who in his books has called for respect for Alfred Nobel and the peace plan he wished to support.
- “In his last years Nobel joined the peace movement and wished to support financially its idea of co-operation on disarmament to replace military force and forces. The Norwegian Parliament appoints the five-member selection committee that must step down and be replaced by people who favor the idea of the prize,” says Heffermehl.
He claims that his demands through 6 years, and even an order in March 2012 from the Swedish Foundations Authority have not led the awarders to show any interest in Nobel and what he really wanted.
- “This is unlawful and criminal, and the requested police investigation comes as a last resort to secure justice for “the champions of peace” Nobel specified in his will. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan Power
US Secretary of State John Kerry’s foray into the politics of peace between Israel and Palestine appears to have run aground despite his tireless and single minded efforts. It is clear that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu never believed in it.
Israelis often see their predicament as David against Goliath. In truth it is the reverse. Contrary to popular belief Israel had larger, better equipped and better led forces, during the 1947 war of independence against the joint Arab armies. The Israeli Defence Forces won quick and easy victories against Egypt in 1956 and against Egypt, Jordan and Syria in 1967. All this was done before US aid starting flowing in large amounts. Few doubt it has overwhelming power today, not forgetting its sizeable armoury of nuclear weapons.
Another way to look at the David/Goliath analogy is to look at child deaths as a result of the conflict. The ratio of Palestinian to Israeli children killed is 5.7 to 1. Read the rest of this entry »
By Johan Galtung
Nanjing University Conference
A Chinese proverb: better than giving a starving person a fish is teaching her to fish. So, not only solutions but how to solve conflicts: in the East China Sea between China and Japan over Diaoyu-Senkaku and between Korea and Japan over Dockdo-Takeshima; and in the South China Sea between China-Taiwan and Philippines-Vietnam-Malaysia-Brunei over the Nansha-Spratly islands. However, China-Taiwan can here be seen as one party with the same claims, and China has agreed to deal with ASEAN-Association of Southeast Asian Nations collectively, not with only four of the ten member states bilaterally. In short: China vs ASEAN.
The goals in these bilateral conflicts–conflict=incompatible goals! – is state sovereign rights not over mainlands but is-lands – essentially over their EEZs, exclusive economic zones 200 nautical miles from the coast base–to exploit live and non-live resources; fish, hydrocarbons, minerals. And sovereignty over a 12-mile zone–with air space–excluding others, their shipping lanes and flights. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jonathan Power
E.M. Forster, the English novelist, wrote in his “Passage to India” of India “swelling here, shrinking there, like some low, indestructible, form of life”.
But the India of today is a totally different place from 1920. Economic growth was tiny in British times (even though a large network of railways and schools were built). Since independence in 1947 infant mortality has dropped to one fourth of what it used to be and longevity has more than doubled. Economic growth has increased since the 1960s from around 3% a year – the so-called “Hindu growth rate” – to a high of 10% – the peak achievement of the present Congress government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party president, Sonia Gandhi.
Why then is the opposition leader of the BJP, Narendra Modi, who has a repugnant reputation when it comes to dealing with India’s Muslims, set for victory? Admittedly, as chief minister, he has industrialised Gujarat but the state, growing at 10%, has done less well than four other states in its poverty reduction and improved education and health services.
It’s because the government has taken one bad knock after another. Read the rest of this entry »
By Johan Galtung
From Osaka, Kyoto
Japan could have been a leading world power today.
Not a 19th century colonial-imperial-military power, but a peace power like Switzerland, only much bigger. If its political leaders had embraced the peace constitution with Article 9 – finally nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize – depriving Japan of the right to war with the same enthusiasm of its population. A recent public opinion poll showed 2/3, 63%-64% opposing collective defense as well as revision of A9.
It is not that A9 – which is against war, not for peace – is perfect. Betrayed by politicians “interpreting” and used as a comfortable sleeping pillow by the peace movement people, two solid pillars should have been added, like defensive defense and positive peace. Read the rest of this entry »