What do you want, USA? Go up or down?

By Johan Galtung
Washington, DC

One wonders what the US political leaders want. The incumbent lives in this world, playing an ultra-realist game: extra-judicial executions in maybe 70 countries, drone attacks; minimizing US losses, maximizing direct hits at what he sees as the problem, concrete identified individuals, not concrete unidentified conflicts. He has neither the moral nor the intellectual courage to do that.

The challengers, with one exception, are focusing on one issue: down with the welfare state. Ron Paul, the libertarian, adds: down with the warfare state. He has registered Vietnam-Afghanistan-Iraq and the next in line, Iran-Syria, as unwinnable and unaffordable for a bankrupt economy. Young Republicans and others flock to him, but his discourse is too unusual. Warfare, not welfare makes sense. This has to do with the relation to conflict, a three-headed problem: attitude, behavior, contradiction. The USA wants an attitude of love for the USA, military response to evil people who do not and act on that, and contradiction, incompatibility are outside the thinkable. The deep culture of good vs evil and Armageddon for the latter take over.

Well, does it? The reader is invited to look at the scheme below. There are three dimensions: a list of 15 conflicts in which the USA is currently involved – some say embroiled. For each, there are examples of what this author sees as reasonable step/solutions, nothing that radical, well-known formulas; self-determination, human rights, federations, communities.

For each, there is also what the USA tends to do. Violence, like Libya for the first conflict. Wars, intervention, bases, military coups. That may work with solid local elite support. But today that is missing almost all over and the net result is brutal, naked power that greases the downward slope.

Obama thinks he can solve it by being sneaky; the Republicans have not yet discovered that their favorite world of admiring, obedient elites is gone; probably forever.


Constructive, positive steps
Encourage local saving banks
Publish M2 Check Fed Reserve
Drop bonuses
Outlaw basic need speculation
Democratic control of central banks
Mixed world currency

Destructive, negative steps
More F than Real growth
More money than value
Serving loans, not people
Countries in debt bondage
Globalization though privatized central banks

Constructive, positive steps
Identify their just goals
Publish Atta
Investigate thoroughly Who did 9/11?

Destructive, negative steps
Extrajudicial executions
Covert war

Constructive, positive steps
A two states solution
Middle East Community MEC
Israel and 5 Arab neighbors
1967 borders with revisions
Palestine recognized
Org for Sec Coop Middle East

Destructive, negative steps
Tail wagging dog:Israel wagging USA;
AIPAC wagging Congress
Judeo-Christiann anti-islam
Danger: Extreme US anti-semitism

Constructive, positive steps
Self-determination for parts
Federalism with democracy

Destructive, negative steps
Continued anarchy
Unitary state illusion

Constructive, positive steps
Self-determination for parts
Federalism with democracy

Destructive, negative steps
Attack but then Shanghai Co-Pperation Organization (SCO) response?
Split Syria and rule parts

Constructive, positive steps
Self-determination for part
Federalism with democracy
Kurdish autonomies community

Destructive, negative steps
Withdrawal only
No rebuilding
No compensation

Constructive, positive steps
Open high level dialogue
Conciliation for 1953
Human rights for Iran

Destructive, negative steps
Attack but then SCO response?
Speculation in oil and bio-fuel

Constructive, positive steps
Pashtun autonomy
Drop Durand
Self-determination in KashmirIndian-Pakistan-Kashmir parts

Destructive, negative steps
Extrajudicial executions
Covert war

Constructive, positive steps
A Central Asian Community
Local autonomy
Nonaligned with no foreign bases
OIC-UNSC joint peacekeeping

Destructive, negative steps
Withdrawal only
No rebuilding
No compensation

Constructive, positive steps
Peace Treaty with North
Normalization USA-North
Korea as nuclear free zone
Marginalizing NK
US-South Korea military exercises

Destructive, negative steps
Breaking agreements

Constructive, positive steps
Open high level dialogue
Mutual learning in economics
Civil and economic rights

Destructive, negative steps
Encircling, submarine-sattellite-navy
Economic exploitation within and between both

Constructive, positive steps
Japan in NE Asian Community
Good relations to USA, APEC+
USA pulls out of Okinawa

Destructive, negative steps
Impeding conciliation
Keeping Japan as client
Subverting Japan’s Constitution Article 9

Constructive, positive steps
Welcome African Unity!
Build with China E-W highway!

Destructive, negative steps
Military intervention

Welcome CELAC integration
Equity Latin-North America
Military intervention
Supporting coups

All human rights conventions
National self-determination
Dialogue of civilizations
Stronger UN, with parliament

Civil-political only
Unitary state models
Western universalism
US exceptionalism

That third negative/destructive dimension draws not only abhorrence, but also the yawn of “more of the same”, when will they ever learn? They want to go down?

So, look at the second type of efforts to identify the conflict, dialogue with the parties, bridging what sounds like legitimate goals – by law, human rights, human needs – they are pursuing.

No attempt will be made here to justify the reasoning behind the positive/constructive steps. But imagine that US politics followed such lines and that the world followed that USA. What kind of world would we live in?

Strong regions, like Latin America, Africa, OIC (Organization of the
Islamic Community, today Cooperation) and East Asia is one aspect. They have their own projects, not necessarily to copy the USA. They will trade with each other, support each other, regionalize and not repeat the UN formula of a security council with veto powers. No veto.

Where would the USA belong? In the whole world like everybody, but also in a region with trade partners Nos. 1 and 3: Canada, Mexico (the USA is No. 1 for both of them). The basis is there. Use it!

Democracy and human rights, of course. But federations first in multi-national countries, then democracy in each part. Majority rule in Iraq means shia rule, majority rule in Syria means sunni rule – two neighboring countries. As federations with democracy in each part, neutrality would be a good option in order to avoid internal divisions.

There are countless details like that in the scheme above. But the focal point is the USA, that ambiguous, violent, innovative, generous country! Go for something like the positive/constructive options and a non-imperial USA would surge, up, up , up, in the hearts and minds, all over.

There is that love for the US longing for a US to attach to and it has been delusioned by Obama. A little distance in that direction would help already.

Friends of the USA: help the USA find a better place in the world.

Copyright © 2012 TMS – TRANSCEND Media Service, All rights reserved

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