Archive for September, 2014

TFF PressInfo 278: September 11 – The War on Terror is a – predictable – fiasco

By Jan Oberg, TFF co-founder

TFF PressInfo 278

Lund, Sweden September 11, 2014

President Obama’s speech last night

This speech is a record low in terms of moral and intellectual analysis: What it boils down to is war – i.e. killing every single ISIS person anywhere, people who he compares to cancer cells.

The war on terror has always been about killing terrorists but you can not kill an ism – terrorism. To do something about the causes that compel people to become terrorists would be much more efficient.

The President has said repeatedly that a lasting solution is political, not military. The speech, however, is exclusively military – not a word of political, psychological or other insights: No, we kill people because we think it is wrong to kill people…

The speech can be seen as a proof of how utterly misguided the U.S. response to 9/11 was – had it been more intelligence and less revenge-oriented, there would neither have been a devastating Iraq war nor an ISIS.

It’s difficult to be Number One in a rank order. You ony teach downward. If you are Number Twenty, there are 19 others to learn from. It seems as if the United States, inside its exceptionalist box, is now unable to learn lessons. Read the rest of this entry »

TFF PressInfo 277 – After all this, what?

A couple of messages to NATO’s Summit

By Jan Oberg, TFF co-founder

Jan Oberg

Lund, Sweden September 5, 2014.

Yugoslavia then and now

TFF’s first report from Yugoslavia from September 1991 carried the title, After Yugoslavia – What? It is now one of 127 reports and articles in the huge research and policy blog – Yugoslavia – What Should Have Been Done?

It contains the equivalent of 2000 book pages authored by Johan Galtung, Jan Oberg and Hakan Wiberg. All articles are published as they were written at the time. For anyone to see whose analyses stood the test of time.

We opened this blog two days ago – on the 23rd year of TFF’s first of some 70 peace missions into the war zones.

While it is important to analyse the world, it is more important to criticise it and most important to search – and re-search – alternatives to it. Thus the title. You are kindly invited to browse.

Such work is not only of historical interest. It carries a message for the future – as does all good research.

While inner factors were certainly dominant, the West – in its misguided attempt at playing peace maker – Read the rest of this entry »

The big crises – NATO and demonstrators both fail

By Jonathan Power

September 2nd 2014

Violence should have had its day. Look at its non-achievements: The US/British/French invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. The upheavals of the “Arab Spring”. And now Ukraine.

Will we ever learn its limitations?

In Iraq outsiders’ violence overthrew the dictator Saddam Hussein who for all his faults provided stability, safety on the streets, food, a falling infant mortality rate and universal health services. What did it substitute beside the worthwhile job of killing off Saddam?

Mayhem, tens of thousands of deaths of innocents, fear of the street, shortages of food, upheavals in the health services and schools. And an ongoing instability, not least the opening given to ISIS.

In Libya, Read the rest of this entry »

The Fall of the US Empire – And then what?

By Johan Galtung

Johan Galtung

Is the title of a book published by TRANSCEND University Press in 2009, now in second printing, and several translations including Chinese. There were two subtitles indicating answers: Successors, Regionalization or Globalization? – US Blossoming or US Fascism?

What is the situation today, five years later?

Successors? UK is militarily with USA to keep Anglo-America as a dominant world force even if a shadow of 50 years ago; France tries to keep its hold on former colonies in Africa; they use NATO-North Atlantic Treaty Organization for military and EU-European Union for political support. In empires the local elites line up to do the killing; yet the Western powers have mainly to do that themselves.

China is very active economically abroad, some of it structural violence; however, the military component has not been used aggressively.

Russia went into the “near abroad”, CIS-Commonwealth of Independent States, Ukraine; but for other reasons. The gift of Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 was a mistake to be corrected as conditions changed; and Moscow, not Kiev, proposes federal solutions for “one country, two nations”. In short, no successors. Read the rest of this entry »

TFF PressInfo 276 – Ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine: Now withdrawal by Russia, the UN in and NATO out

By Jan Oberg, TFF co-founder

Jan Oberg

Lund, Sweden September 3, 2014 – 11:30 CET.

As announced just a few minutes ago, the Ukrainian and Russian president have agreed to what the first reports call a permanent ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine.
That’s indeed the best piece of news from that region.

It places the NATO Summit in Wales this Thursday and Friday in a new light.

The ceasefire must be solidified
However, an agreement over a phone is only a beginning; the devil is in the details. Secondly, there is no mention – yet – of the East Ukrainian fighters are on board this agreement.

Time for UN peacekeeping
Third, a credible ceasefire should be monitored by neutral observers and competent people. The only ones who can do that is the UN peace-keepers – perhaps with some staff also from Russia and Ukraine. Read the rest of this entry »

USA-Israel vs. Arab-Muslim Worlds: What Happens?

By Johan Galtung

Johan Galtung

Kuala Lumpur, International Islamic University of Malaysia, 19 Aug 2014

Nothing good. But let us have a look at it in the standard peace studies way: Diagnosis – analyzing, Prognosis – forecasting, and Therapy – remedies, even solutions.

“Israel-Palestine” is the discourse Tel Aviv-Washington prefers. They have all the strong cards: overwhelming military power, political veto in the United Nations Security Council, the economic upper hand in interlocking economies – not just oil cash from Saudi Arabia-Qatar–and the idea of working for a solution with Washington as “mediator” – only the U.S. can bring the two together, gently or roughly–toward a sustainable peace.

A great distance from reality is needed to believe in that spin.

USA and Israel are interlocked by a much deeper tie Read the rest of this entry »

Easing up on drugs; toughening up on alcohol

By Jonathan Power

August 19th 2014

Not that long ago in Britain, the great detective Sherlock Holmes, could quite legally sit by the fire with his pipe and sniff cocaine. If friends wanted to join him, without fear of a police raid, they could smoke marijuana. Opium was used for those in unbearable pain. (Alas, most people in poorer countries have never been able to afford any pain relief. Too often they die in agony. Mind you, when the British controlled India they became the largest drug trafficker the world has ever seen, forcing Chinese ports open so they could win opium addicts among the poor.)

Even in Islamic countries alcohol was at one time tolerated. (In Turkey and Egypt it still is.) But in most Islamic societies it was eventually banned and for a while, more than a hundred years ago, so was coffee.

These days, when it comes to drugs and tobacco, in most societies the degree of control is subject to fierce debate and when it comes to drugs, banning them seems to be the majority conviction. But are the priorities right? In the US hundreds of thousands of young men languish behind bars for long sentences, convicted of possessing quite small amounts of drugs. Meanwhile, in American and European hospitals the victims of car crashes caused by alcohol pour through the doors. Tax money often pays the bill. Smokers with their cancers fill many hospital wards and taxpayers pay the billions of dollars it costs. A good idea would be to make drinkers and smokers pay their own hospital bills.

In Britain alcohol consumption is on the rise. David Beckham is teetotal but Read the rest of this entry »


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