Archive for November, 2015

Cultures of war, cultures of peace

By Johan Galtung

We have war and peace, theory and practice. And deeper down cultures of war and peace, notions of what the world is or could be. The latter is not necessarily peace, could also mean removing obstacles to war.

Timothy Snyder, “Hitler’s World” (NY Review of Books, 24 Sep 2015) and Greg Grandin, “The Kissinger Effect: The relentless militarism of the national-security state and its perverse justification begin with Henry Kissinger” (The Nation, 28 Sep 2015) are both on that line.

Hitler’s World derives from Darwinist struggle for niches, with survival of the fittest. His niche is not the whole world but what is needed to feed the German people, and here Ukraine plays a major role. The food chain is key to the image, with humans on top, eating animals and plants, but not eaten by them. So also for the human species, divided in races with the Aryan race on top, “fittest” as evidenced by domination all over; never slaves. On top of them are the Germans; their state not an end but the military arm obliged to be strongest.

To Hitler that world is natural, and inherently stable. Values, equality, human rights, equal right to life, Christianity, capitalism, communism, are anti-natural. For Hitler such ideas…

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Israel’s apartheid state

By Jonathan Power

October 27th 2015.

Albert Einstein once said that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”. That’s how it seems to be with President Obama sending his Secretary of State, John Kerry, to attempt to resurrect the talks about talks between Israel and Palestine.

No one knows if the renewed unrest among young Palestinians who are confronting Israel again with stones and knives – and in return bullets are fired to quell the protests – is going to lead to a third Intifada. The signs are not propitious. If not today then certainly tomorrow. Israel is running an apartheid state which, as was South Africa’s, has a termination date built in.

What has happened to Obama’s pledge seven months ago to “re-evaluate” US policy on Israel? At the UN the US as usual digs in its heels when Israel is admonished.

France has suggested that the UN Security Council adopt a resolution that would outline the basic parameters of a just political settlement. The proposal would contain a deadline for agreement. If broken by Israel the rest of the world would be encouraged to pressure it with a tight economic boycott. This is the best idea suggested for a long time. Europe alone, Israel’s biggest trade partner, could bring Israel to its knees.

Failing success in changing Israeli minds a one-state solution is surely inevitable. The present partial de facto one will become a sort of de jure one.

At present the leadership of Palestine is pursuing a makeshift policy that circumvents the status quo. The Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, has said that Palestine has plans to join 63 international organisations and conventions. This it is now able to do, Read the rest of this entry »

Corruption: Theory, Prognosis, Solutions?

By Johan Galtung

Our focus is on transactions: I give something to you, you give something to me. The double flow of which lo social is made.

We then limit the focus to economic transactions, of factors of production–resources, labor, capital, technology, administration–and products–goods, services. The public sector may control the factors; extraction-production-distribution-consumption is done by the public or private (or both) sectors, depending on the type of economy. In modern economies a money flow will be part of economic transactions.

And we generalize (Felipe Briones) to transactions of any kind:

• I pay you for losing the soccer match and I win my bet against odds;
• our state pays you for voting against your bill not to our liking;
• we pay your campaign for public office if you vote in our favor.

In all cases, the power moved from decision-makers to money-holders.

Limited or general, transactions tend to be complex: multiple double flows, triple, quadruple; more or less interconnected, etc.

The definition of corruption rests on a distinction between open and hidden transaction aspects, “above and under the table”, Read the rest of this entry »


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