Archive for December, 2017

TFF PressInfo # 439: New peace platform: The Transnational

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lund, Sweden – December 30, 2017

It’s tomorrow, at December 31, 2017 at 1200 noon CET, that we open The Transnational to the world.

It’s a homepage, an archive of some 7000 original research-based articles over more than 30 years.

It’s a blog by TFF Associates – the finest and most experienced community devoted to the UN Charter norm that peace shall be created by peaceful means.

It’s curated materials from around the world, in easy-to-find themes and menus. It’s links to global news, analyses and inspiration.

 

It’s texts, images, videos, music – culture and art too. Because peace is much much more than just no war.

Peace is the basis of the good society.

 

It’s an innovative, multi-dimensional platform for peace – research, analysis, education and policy.

It’s factual – in contrast to much else today – it’s critical and constructive.

It’s diagnosis, prognosis and solutions.

It’s interactive and adapted to your phone, tablet and screen.

 

There are already around 150 posts. But brand new as it is, there are themes not filled yet. They will be. Much to follow. So sign up.

You’ll immediately see this is something new and different.

 

It’s The Transnational opening tomorrow – also to take over some of the debate from social media. Because:

TFF does not accept to be a target of censorship so sadly practised now by Facebook, Google and Twitter. Just because we work for peace.

 

We can learn to conflict and to peace intelligently.

We can stop being victims of the violence of powers who suffer from conflict and illiteracy. You would not like to drive on roads where no one had had any instruction in road signs, traffic rules and care, would you?

But that’s our world in a nutshell.

 

The Transnational will become your gateway to those – the most controversial of all issues: anti-militarism and peace creation.

That struggle continues in the new year. Our best wishes to you and yours – and the world – in 2018!

 

More inequality, Mr. Trump?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Jonathan Power

December 26th 2017

Every so often reports emerge that attempt to measure which are the best countries to live in. The Nordic countries plus New Zealand, Holland and Switzerland, usually come out top. Sweden is number one just for the sheer stability of life and security. Denmark is seen as the most agreeable place to live. The highest rate of longevity is found in Japan. The best schools are in Finland, New Zealand and Canada. Political and press freedom put the Nordics at the top of the league.

Last month, the Legatum Institute based in London published a report looking at inequality. Its timing could not be more perfect with the US Congress last week passing President Donald Trump’s tax bill which increases inequality by a substantial amount.

In 2013 the French economist, Thomas Piketty, published his blockbuster book, “Capital in the twenty-first century”, arguing that inequality was steadily increasing.  There was wide acclaim, and quite a bit of criticism. The debate over the book raged in the serious newspapers and journals for many months.

Earlier this year the Legatum Institute hired Picketty to answer the criticisms and to enlarge his findings. His new report, drawing on several years’ work, tries to answer four questions. First, where is inequality most pronounced? Second, is the world becoming more or less equal? Why are the experiences of Europe and the US so different? Fourth, have we returned to the levels of wealth inequality last seen a century ago?

Picketty and his collaborators fashioned a World Wealth and Income Database that positions every country in a league table.

The most unequal region in the world is the Middle East, where the top 10% receive 60% of all income. India, Brazil and sub-Saharan Africa are not far behind.

The most equal region is Europe, where the figure is 37%. China is the next most equal, with a top income share of 41%. This comes as a surprise considering the media often focuses on what it claims is the country’s widening inequality.

Read the rest of this entry »

Guide to this TFF blog 2011-2017

This blog became an open archive in December 2017 when TFF launched its new magazine homepage, The Transnational on January 1, 2018.

In this blog where you’ll find almost everything posted over these 6 years by TFF Associates, a group of experts on international issues who are committed to the UN Charter norm that peace shall be established by peaceful means.

There are more than 1300 articles here. Together with the articles posted on the old 1997-2011 homepage you’ll find an estimated 7000 accessible articles.

We believe that this is one of the largest reservoirs of research-based, pro-peace writings published continuously between 1997 and 2017.

The Transnational also has a link to TFF’s work 1986-1997 – that is, before the foundation set itself up on the Internet.

In various ways the contents here reflect a very significant period in the history of humanity and international affairs, albeit with a focus on some issues and places more than others.

In addition, there are articles, videos, analyses etc that we do not publish here but continue to publish elsewhere – namely on TFF Facebook and Jan Oberg Public Figure profile, on Jan Oberg Facebook profile, on the online magazine “Transnational Affairs”, on TFF YouTube, on TFF Vimeo and – closely related – on Jan Oberg’s blog. Google+ and Twitter basically carry the same materials as Facebook.

We hope you’ll enjoy this archive of contemporary global affairs with a peace touch. It’s research/analysis, outreach/media work and policy-making in one.

Most of the articles stand the test of time. Please share links with friends, colleagues, students, media people etc.

We regret that, as years pass, minor aspects of this site and the old site may not function entirely as intended. Technology changes continuously and some bits may become outdated, even incompatible, with new ones. And there will be some dead links to external sites because they change archives, technology and design.

Lund, Sweden
December 31, 2017

End

The madness of missiles

By Jonathan Power

December 19th. 2017

The nuclear weapon missile business is contradictory, full of missteps, highly dangerous and prepared in its madness (Mutually Assured Destruction, aka MAD, they used to call it in Cold War days) to plunge the world into a nuclear war that will reduce most of the world to dust.

A new book, “The Doomsday Machine” by Daniel Ellsberg tells the whole nuclear bomb story in detail. No one has done it better. The only rival is the movie, “Dr Strangelove”, that got the essentials right without being privy to much of the Ellsberg’s knowledge.

Ellsberg is the legendary whistle-blower who revealed the Pentagon papers, an expose of the US role in the Vietnam War. In this book he tells of his time in the 1960s as consultant to the Department of Defence and the White House.

He drafted Robert McNamara’s plans for nuclear war- McNamara was secretary of defence during the presidencies of Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy.

Five years ago, after he had finished the book, he tried 17 different publishers and it was rejected. Earlier this year he found a home with Bloomsbury, the publisher of Harry Potter, a book that was also rejected many times.

Why, at last? “The world got scarier”, he said in a long interview in the Financial Times last month. “The only silver lining to today’s world is that people now want to read my book”. Read the rest of this entry »

The Beloved Jerusalem is hijacked

By Jonathan Power

Poets as diverse as William Blake and Yehuda Amichai have sung the praises of the heavenly Jerusalem, a land without strife or rancour, war or bitterness, envy, acquisitiveness or hatred. Until last week and President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s de facto capital, Israel, Fatah, Hamas and their common interlocutor, the US, had the historic opportunity to take a giant step towards making the present day Jerusalem acquire, at least in some of its aspects, the earthly prototype of the heavenly Jerusalem. Some of us have long hoped to see whether the work over decades of many imams, rabbis, ministers and priests could bear fruit. The secular politicians may be the ones doing the negotiations and ordering the compromises but it is the teachers of the three great deistic religions who have been charged from above to exert their mandate to teach compassion, goodness, tolerance and brotherhood, and make a non-aligned Jerusalem the centre that brings the three Abrahamic religions into an embrace.

These traits of virtue, as common to them all as is their God, is being tested in the hottest of fires. Have their peoples imbibed the true message of their faith? The question for this Christmas month is can enough of them stand up against the new alliance of Trump and prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu? Read the rest of this entry »

TFF PressInfo # 438: Aleppo’s Liberation one year ago – Anybody ashamed today?

By Jan Oberg

December 12, 2017, marks the anniversary of the liberation – the West called it fall – of Aleppo in Syria. What happened is conveniently forgotten today by the West.

Some of us can’t and won’t forget what was both world, regional and local history.

Important for Syria, for the West and for the future world order – for at least 5 reasons.

1. The Western mainstream media’s deceptive – constructed, ignorant, or both – narrative since 2011 was debunked.

Perspectives that media and political decision-makers deliberately omitted (remember omitted stuff is more important than fake):

• History and the colonialists’ role in Syria.
• The immense complexity of the Syrian society.
• Syria as a 7000 year-old civilisation and as end of the Silk Road.
• The decades-long conflicts underlying the violence, since CIA’s coup in 1949.
• The Western-driven regime change policies years since before 2011.
• Other causes of the conflicts than “Assad the dictator and his regime” such as environmental crisis, oil and gas, and its being partly occupied since 1967 by Israel.
• That nothing of the conflict complexity can de facto be reduced to a matter of one man’s role – like it couldn’t with Milosevic (now exonerated), Saddam, or Ghadafi;
• That this may have been a civil war for about a week but then almost 7 years of international aggression by thousands of foreign groups, Western governments/arm suppliers and their Saudi-led allies.
• Syria’s right under such circumstances to self-defence according to Article 51 of the UN Charter.
• The major role in the utter destruction of Syria played by NATO countries, Turkey particularly when it comes to Aleppo, and Western allies such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states; all was simply ”the dictator/regime killing his own people”…
• That Russia and Iran was the only foreign powers legitimately present according to international law.
• That the UN was sidelined – again – and tasked with the impossible role of making peace out of such member state policies.
• The media interest in Syria disappeared immediately after Aleppo’s liberation as if orchestrated by one conductor. Silence.
• And Facebook and Google Search changes algorithms…

The media coverage stopped there and then – like musicians under a conductor, obeying the tiniest move.

2. It marked the end of the West’s attempt at regime change since 2012

It had started formally on Dec 12, 2012 – on the day four years earlier, in Marrakesh. “Friends (!) of Syria” declared Assad’s government illegitimate and set up a Syrian National Council – without, of course, asking the Syrian people it was supposed to represent. Here’s AlJazeera’s/AFP’s coverage of that cruel decision.

Read the rest of this entry »

The West has most to lose in the media war with Russia

Jan Oberg comments on the tit-for-tat policies of the U.S. and Russia when they force each other to register their media as “foreign agents”.

It is a weak U.S. that cannot accept that it no longer has a virtual monopoly on shaping perceptions of the world. Just find your role and accept that there are other angles and priorities than those you’ve dominated the global information structure with fore decades.

As we have said before, censorship is not the way – educating people to sense the difference between real and fake news and look for omitted news, angles and facts – in contrast – is a solution.




Mladic’s conviction for mass murder delayed 22 years

By Jonathan Power

Timing is everything. Dear Reader you’re right. If I was going to write on the conviction in a UN court of General Ratko Mladic I should have done it last week when the court sentenced him to life imprisonment for the mass murder of a significant part of Bosnia’s Muslim population during the civil wars in ex-Yugoslavia.

But does a week here or a week there matter when it has taken the ridiculous time of 22 years from the horrific event in Srebrenica, when 7,000 Muslim men were rounded up and slaughtered, to conviction? It was 16 years from the end of the war and 6 years from the date of his capture. The trial in Nuremberg of ex-Nazi leaders took only a year and took place immediately after the end of the Second World War.

The Yugoslav civil wars began in 1991 and ended in 2001. At wars’ end all the fugitives sought by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia were in “hiding”, apart from the president of Serbia himself, Slobodan Milosevic. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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