Archive for March, 2015

Churchill and Hitler – Two Europeans

Johan Galtung

By Johan Galtung

Who wrote this?

“The Aryan stock is bound to triumph”.

“The Dictator of the Red Citadel (Petrograd) – all Jews”

“The same evil prominence was obtained by Jews – in Hungary”

“The same phenomenon has been presented in Germany–preying”

“-the schemes of the international Jews /against/ spiritual hopes”

“-this worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization”

“-it played recognizable part in the tragedy of the French Revolution”

“-the mainspring in every subversive movement in the 19th century”

Churchill did. Here quoted from Robert Barsocchini in Countercurrents in February 2015. His point was not that Jews were active in many places, the point is that for Churchill they were the cause of all the revolutions, the root of evil, not, for instance, feudalism gone mad.

What does Churchill, a top politician, believe in? (same source):

“-the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years”

“-100,000 degenerate Britons sterilized /to save the/ British race”

“-the increasingly rapid growth of the feeble-minded insane classes”

“Two fifths of Cubans fighting Spanish are negroes–a black republic”

“Gandhi ought to be lain bound hand and foot at the gates of Delhi, and trampled upon by an enormous elephant with the Viceroy seated”

Three million starved to death due to Empire policy. Churchill:

“why isn’t Gandhi dead yet?” Read the rest of this entry »

A presumption against intervention

Richard Falk

By Richard Falk

Prefatory Note: The post below is a revised and modified version of my chapter in David Held & Kyle McNally, eds., Intervention in the 21st Century – Online by Durham, UK: published by Smashwords for Global Policy Journal, 2015]

Participating in the intervention debates that have raged periodically ever since the Vietnam War in the 1960’s, and of course earlier in less contested settings, I have been struck by the defining encounter between those who are dogmatically opposed to intervention per se and those who rarely confront a call for intervention that they do not feel persuaded by, limiting any doubts as to matters of feasibility and strategic interest.

The traditional focus of policy discussion proceeds on the assumption that it is about forcible intervention by governmental actors to coerce some kind of change in a foreign sovereign state. Those in favor usually rely, at least in part, on a rationale that such an undertaking is necessary and desirable as it would rescue a captive people from a regime responsible for massive crimes against humanity or genocide, or operate as counter intervention (currently the controversy over intervening in the Ukraine to offset and discourage alleged Russian intervention) or as in relation to ISIS where the stated objective of the American led coalition is to destroy or defeat a non-political actor that is exercising governmental control over territory in portions of Iraq and Syria.

Systemic Developments

Four developments over the course of the last half-century are radically reshaping the debate on the viability and advisability of forcible intervention as a diplomatic option.

The first and most important, is the collapse of European colonialism, which has often motivated the West, and especially the United States, to assert its goalsf and protect their interests by way of intervention in what were formerly colonies or states whose sovereignty was curtailed by hegemonic authority. A feature of this post-colonial global setting is that the intervening state, if Western, will tend to justify its actions by setting forth an altruistic and self-justifying argument with strong moralizing overtones.

Related to this matter of motivation on the side of the intervener is the prospect of effective and persevering national resistance creating formidable obstacles to succeeding with an intervention even with the benefit of military dominance. The combination of motivation and anticipated resistance helps explain why so few major interventions have been viewed as successful. One notable continuity linking colonial memories to post-colonial realities is the invariable geographical location of the intervening political actor in the West and that of the target society being in the non-West.

The second development is the rise of human rights Read the rest of this entry »

UN peacekeepers to Ukraine – Yes!

Jan Oberg

By Jan Oberg

Deployment of UN peacekeepers should be agreed with both sides of Ukrainian conflict, says Lavrov — RT Russian politics.

Ukraine has – wisely – suggested that UN Peacekeepers be stationed in Eastern Ukraine. Russia’s foreign minister sounds positive.

That is important and good news – the most constructive for a year.

To get the UN peacekeepers into the conflict zone has been one of TFF’s proposals since the fighting broke out.

In October 1991, TFF was also the first to suggest that the UN be deployed to Croatia. It actually was a few months later thanks to Cyrus Vance, the former U.S. Secretary of State, who in his role as mediator was working on exactly that when he received our report and we then met him a late evening in Belgrade.

Conclusion: Never give up constructive pro-peace proposal-making. One day they do become relevant – when people find out that violence was not such a brilliant idea.

The real story behind the Republicans’ Iran letter

Gareth Porter

By Gareth Porter

The “open letter” from Senator Tom Cotton and 46 other Republican Senators to the leadership of Iran, which even Republicans themselves admit was aimed at encouraging Iranian opponents of the nuclear negotiations to argue that the United States cannot be counted on to keep the bargain, has created a new political firestorm. It has been harshly denounced by Democratic loyalists as “stunning” and “appalling”, and critics have accused the signers of the letter of being “treasonous” for allegedly violating a law forbidding citizens from negotiating with a foreign power.

But the response to the letter has primarily distracted public attention from the real issue it raises: how the big funders of the Likud Party in Israel control Congressional actions on Iran.

The infamous letter is a ham-handed effort by Republican supporters of the Netanyahu government to blow up the nuclear negotiations between the United States and Iran. The idea was to encourage Iranians to conclude that the United States would not actually carry out its obligations under the agreement – i.e. the lifting of sanctions against Iran. Read the rest of this entry »

The “New World Order”

Johan Galtung

By Johan Galtung Kuala Lumpur

…is the title of our conference. There will never be any such thing. “New”, yes; “World”, yes –“Order”, No. Wherever there is life there is contradiction, dialectic, forces and counter-forces. At the very obvious level the question arises – Order, in whose interest, against whom? Sow any new order and the seeds of its undoing are already taking root, sprouts are coming. As the Chinese say, “There are human beings without contradictions; they are called corpses.”

Follow that hint; go to the moon. New moons once a month, and order, the order of death, of non-life. The Old Moon Order.

As part of this Perdana Global Peace Foundation Conference, so well composed by Dr Hitam, President Tun Dr. Mahathir unveiled a giant copy of my book just published, Abolishing War: Criminalizing War, Removing War Causes, Removing War as an Institution (TPU and IIUM Press, 2015) together with a smaller book Clash of Civilizations[i] Read the rest of this entry »

TFF PressInfo # 314: From preventing to making peace in Ukraine

By Jan Oberg

Jan Oberg

Lund, Sweden, March 13, 2015

If the parties continue this way, there will be no peace in Ukraine but probably war in Europe. With a little out-of-the-box thinking, we could move in a safer direction.

You’ve heard everybody involved in the Ukraine conflict solemnly declare that there is no military solution.

And what do they all do? Right, they militarise the situation further, use bellicose language, speak bad about each other, take provocative steps, use propaganda and flex their military muscles. It’s thoughtprovokingly thoughtless.

These men – sorry, but the are all men – who are competent in war and other violence run our world. They are conflict and peace illiterates embedded with MIMACs – Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complexes – which exist in both Russia, EU, NATO and the U.S.

It’s not about evil – they are probably all good spouses, nice to their children or grandchildren and enjoy literature, painting or music in their few hours of leisure. But the system they operate inside is as evil as it is dangerous for us all, for the world’s future.

Their problem – and thus your and my problem – is that they just don’t have a clue about peace-making. No education, institutions or advisers in civilian conflict-management.

And since they lack that they fall back on the convenient but proven illusion that peace will come if we just force “the other” to back down.

And since there is no lack of (tax payers’) money to fund weapons (only to fund social and cultural development) and these weapons are on the government shelves that’s what they use – instead of their intelligence and empathy. 

Far fetched?

If you think so, take a look at these facts: Read the rest of this entry »

After Obama’s Selma speech: Yes, we can!

By Jonathan Power

On Saturday President Barack Obama was at the commemoration ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the Selma March led by Martin Luther King which gave the push for legislation that ensured black people the right to vote. Obama’s speech was breathtaking oratory – surely one of the top three speeches in the American history of the last 150 years.

The fifteen minute speech was delivered without script or teleprompter. It ranged from history to philosophy, from politics to poetry. Every sentence was perfectly structured. The arguments were sharp and delivered with awesome authority and soaring elegance. Obama is the poet of prose.

For those who say the only significant thing about Obama’s presidency is that he is the first black to hold the post I tell them to watch this on YouTube. Obama’s speech should be remembered in 150 years time as much as is Lincoln’s speech of 150 years ago today.

It is quite appalling to see in Congress and the media people with far less brain power carping against him, resisting his legislation or mocking his foreign policy. Sometimes the criticism seems to be racially motivated even if subliminally.

To his credit ex-president George W. Bush (always reasonably good on race issues) joined Obama on the march. But the Republican leaders of Congress did not. And where were the foreign leaders who recently flooded to Paris to protest the murders of the staff of Charlie Hebdo?

Everyone will take away from that speech a sentence or argument that touches them. What struck me most was that it reminded us not to underestimate the politics of change.

Fifty years ago not only could no one have imagined that there would be a black president no one would have expected the rapid social and economic progress of black Americans. Their well-paid middle class has swelled producing CEOs of major companies like McDonalds and American Express. They are found in the top ranks of hospitals, banks, universities, government, diplomacy, the law, the military, film and theatre, not to mention politics.

It is true that too many have been left behind or put behind bars. But if this could be achieved then it is likely that in the next decades the poverty of poor blacks will also be greatly diminished now that Obama has restored the mighty engine of American economic growth, which is motoring at a pace far ahead of its European and Japanese partners.

I was on the Selma march.

It touched my life profoundly. It turned me at a young age into an optimist. I remain so today.

For 40 years I have written columns and books about the Third World and its development. I have watched those who say that bad leadership, a harsh environment and wasted aid could never make a dent in its poverty be proved wrong. The fact is the goal of halving the share of people living in extreme poverty has been met.

According to last week’s Economist, in 1990 36% of the world’s population lived in abject poverty. By 2010 it was down to 18%, and falling. So the number of very poor people has gone down from 1.9 billion to about 1 billion today. The World Bank has declared that its objective is to see the worst kind of poverty completely eliminated by 2030.

I have written about the village of Piloezinhos in the poverty stricken north east of Brazil once every ten years or so over 40 years. I’ve seen it move step by step from misery to successful growth. From no sanitation, no decent road, no health service and no school to where today it is a thriving village with flush toilets, a health centre with a full time doctor, a bustling primary school, a radio station and a good road to town.

Every visit I have made in recent years has refreshed my optimism about Third World development.

Some more statistics: In 1990 30% of the developing world lacked access to clean water. In 2008 the world reached the UN’s goal of halving that proportion to 15%. Today it is around 11%. In the same period maternal, infant and child deaths have plunged by 50%. In 1990 12 million children under five died each year. Today fewer than 7 million do. Global spending on vaccines has tripled since 2000. They are now saving three million children in developing countries annually.

There are new UN goals being formulated with a target date of 2030: to achieve universal access to clean water, to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health services, to ensure that all girls and boys have access to good quality childhood development and pre-primary education, the ending of child labour and the reduction of the worst of poverty by another 50%.

We optimists can make this happen. In the words of Obama: “Yes, we can!”

Copyright: Jonathan Power

TFF PressInfo # 313 – Ignore the 47 irresponsible US senators

By Farhang Jahanpour and Jan Oberg

Jan Oberg

1. Despite the almost universal condemnation of PM Netanyahu’s speech, even by some of his supporters in the United States and Israel, it seems that Republican senators are not going to give up. One can only describe the letter by 47 Republican Senators to Iranian leaders as madness and even treason. Senator Tom Cotton who leads this initiative is deeply ignorant about the substance and about Iran.

2. They go against the wishes of President Obama and his negotiators and write to the supreme leader of Iran whom they have described as America’s worst enemy and worse than the ISIS with only one purpose: to torpedo the agreement. One should truly wonder at the honesty and sanity of such individuals.

3. Thankfully there are more moderate and thoughtful Americans who believe in the long-term interests of their country and the world, rather than being obsessed by the manufactured crisis by a foreign government or trying to score party points. (See links below). Read the rest of this entry »

On anti-semitism, criticizing Israel and Netanyahu – and blaming Jews and Muslims

By Gunnar Westberg

The following question was asked to the ambassador of Israel to Sweden in one of the most respected programs on the Swedish Broadcasting (Sveriges Radio): “Do the Jews themselves carry any responsibility for the anti-Semitism we now see growing?”. (Translated by me from its official website). The ambassador refused to answer.

At the end of the program the responsible editor expressed a profound apology: “We wholeheartedly apologize for the question. It leads in the wrong direction and puts the guilt on individuals and unexposed groups”. The section was cut from the program recording although the original is stored in a public archive.

It seems like almost everyone in the media world agrees with this apology: “You should not ask such a question.” I agree. But we should ask “Does Israel carry any responsibility for the growing anti-Semitism?” Read the rest of this entry »

The Day After: Netanyahu

By Richard Falk

Richard Falk

My reaction to Netanyahu’s theatrical performance yesterday in Congress led me to recall that the deepest thinkers turned against democracy in ancient Greece because of the susceptibility of the Athenian citizenry to demagogic oratory from opportunistic politicians. Plato, Aristotle, Thucydides all became sensitive to the degree to which the rhetoric of demagogues contributed to the decline, and eventual downfall, of ancient Athens. Yet even in the worst last days of Athens the demagogues who performed so destructively were at least homegrown!

It would have been inconceivable anywhere else than the United States for a controversial foreign leader to be welcomed before the legislative chamber to attack ongoing delicate diplomacy of the elected head of state. It is not merely a matter of the niceties of protocol as to whether the Speaker of the House was delinquent in not coordinating the invitation with the White House so as to agree on a date not so embarrassingly tied to Netanyahu’s bid for reelection on March 17, although such issues are not trivial.

More substantial, however, is what it tells us about this self-destructive embrace of a foreign leader that is unabashedly seeking to derail a critical foreign policy initiative clearly in the interest of the United States, the Middle East, and the world, and even Israel (although presumably not Netanyahu’s and Likud’s worldview). Read the rest of this entry »


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