Archive for September, 2012

Notes from three weeks in China

By Richard Falk

After three weeks in China I have returned to the United States yesterday before departing for Turkey and Rhodes later today. I mention this to explain my failure to post during this period or to comment or monitor comments on the blog.

This failure was not due to a lack of access to the Internet or even finding time during a busy travel schedule. It was due to my lack of skill in circumventing what is known as ‘The Great Firewall of China’ that blocks entry to most blogs, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, as well as assorted other sites. Sophisticated Chinese know how to circumvent, and the authorities do not seem to mind, as the blockade is apparently intended to limit access on the part of ordinary Chinese. This is true of the Chinese media generally, which is highly regulated, especially TV, giving only official views, although the English language dailies, which are quite informative are more objective, and do not read as propaganda. Read the rest of this entry »

A day of peace for the Americas

By Johan Galtung

From Puebla, México – Universidad de las Americas, 21 Sep 2012

Today is the 2012 day of peace as resolved by the UN General Assembly (Resolution 55/282, 2001; following resolution 56/37, 1981). A day of cease-fire and nonviolence, but open to all peace themes.

And that brings us straight to the key problem in the theory and practice of peace:

Are we thinking of the negative peace of cease-fire and no violence (as distinct from nonviolence), or are we thinking of the positive peace of cooperation for mutual and equal benefit, empathy for emotional harmony, reconciliation of past traumas, and resolution capacity for endless agenda of future conflicts? Read the rest of this entry »

The self-destruction of Pakistan

By Jonathan Power

Patience is wearing thin. “Pakistan be damned”, one influential British policy maker said to me. Professors Paul Kapur and Sumit Ganguly write this month in Harvard University’s “International Security”, that “The Pakistan-jihad nexus is as old as the Pakistani state. From its founding in 1947 to the present day Pakistan has used religiously motivated militant forces as strategic tools.” But now the policy has become “dangerous and potentially catastrophic”, they add. Read the rest of this entry »

Mohammad and the wild, marginal men of the Muslim world.

By Jonathan Power

The wild demonstrations that last week burst out in many places in the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan and other places will not be the last and neither were they the first to protest Western insults of the prophet Mohammad. Much more serious were the ones that erupted in 1988 following the publication of Salman Rushdie’s novel, “The Satanic Verses”, and seven years ago the protests and threats that followed the publication of satirical cartoons in a Danish paper, mocking Mohammad. Read the rest of this entry »

Embassy protests and Middle East unrest in a context

By Stephen Zunes

It seems bizarre that right-wing pundits would be so desperate to use the recent anti-American protests in the Middle East—in most cases numbering only a few hundred people and (except for a peaceful Hezbollah-organized rally in Lebanon) in no cases numbering more than two or three thousand—as somehow indicative of why the United States should oppose greater democracy in the Middle East. Even more strangely, some media pundits are criticizing Arabs as being “ungrateful” for U.S. support of pro-democracy movements when, in reality, the United States initially opposed the popular movements that deposed Western-backed despots in Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen, and remains a preeminent backer of dictatorships in the region today.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney falsely accused President Obama Read the rest of this entry »

Occupy fizzled, but made 99% a force

By Stephen Zunes

We transfer you directly to CNN

SABONA – from the Kindergarten to world politics

By Johan Galtung

Kongsvinger is a small town in Eastern Norway, close to Sweden, with a small dedicated group working in kindergartens, elementary and more advanced schools to convey conflict and social skills to children from one to twelve years old. Recently they presented their experiences for a very grateful audience of children, teachers and parents.

Enters a teddy-bear, a key ‘person’. Child 1 grabs the bear and beats Child 2 shouting, “He is mine!” The teacher reports: “Of course I could scold, saying beating is not allowed. But that is not good enough.” So I said, “He is neither his nor yours, but the kindergarten’s. You wanted to hug him? OK, but no beating. You could have asked”. Read the rest of this entry »

The case against war: Ten years later

By Stephen Zunes

Ten years ago, I wrote a series of articles for the Foreign Policy in Focus website in which I put forth a series of arguments against the Bush administration’s push for a U.S. invasion of Iraq prior to the fateful congressional vote authorizing the illegal, unnecessary, and ultimately disastrous war. At the request of the editors of The Nation – the oldest continually published weekly magazine in the United States – I wrote a version entitled “The Case Against War,” which appeared on their website September 12, 2002 and as the cover story of the September 30 issue. It became one of the most widely circulated articles in the magazine’s 147-year old history. Every congressional office received multiple copies. Read the rest of this entry »

Paradoxes of Turkish pride

By Richard Falk

I have been struck by the strange firmament of Turkish pride. In one respect, the nationalist and patriotic fervor of Turkish holidays confirms the enduring success of Kemal Ataturk’s great nation-building project after World War I. Huge Turkish flags are more prominently displayed than in any country I know, and Turkey has earned dubious notoriety for its criminal code provision that punishes insults to Turkishness, potentially including even imprisonment. Such a law has been used in a manner that encroaches upon freedom of expression, targeting even such cultural icons as Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafik, and undoubtedly intimidating thousands of others who hesitate to make any assertion that might be interpreted as offensive by the Turkish custodians of national pride. Read the rest of this entry »

Top ten of the great dictators

By Jonathan Power

Thankfully neither candidate for US president is threatening “a war against dictators”. If George W. Bush had been allowed a third term – as President Franklin Roosevelt was in the 1940s – then who knows where he and his Machiavellian vice-president, Dick Cheney, might have led us.

Not for them the observation of General Colin Powell, when he was the US military’s top commander, who said “I am running out of demons”. They managed to find demons all over the place and doubtless if they were in power would have found many more. According to the new issue of World Policy Journal there are at least 10 living dictators who have all the reins of power in their own hands, controlling not just government but the law and the media. The Journal ranks them according to these criteria plus the percentage of the national income spent on the military, the prison population per capita and length of time in power.

Surprise, surprise. Read the rest of this entry »


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