Monday, February 10, 2014

 

Johan Galtung’s view from Europe: Saddam, Osama, Gaddafi, Chavez–And Obama



What should [Obama] have done?

Understand that there are more centers in the world and make the best of it.  Rather than inviting counter-attacks–soon also from al-Maliki and Karzai–respect these strivings for unity and on equal terms with a more modest USA.  Learn from US history, the accumulated experiences, from beating London colonialism, a terrible uncivil war, the whole agony of slavery and its abolition, de jure after 350 years, de facto 450?  Learn to be on the side of history-his own words.


Saddam, Osama, Gaddafi, Chavez–And Obama

10 February 2014

by Johan Galtung, 10 Feb 2014 - TRANSCEND Media Service

Contemporary reality, but what is real?  Two were killed under Obama’s watch; Osama executed by Obama extra-judicially, in cold blood, the other two by proxies (Chávez: we do not quite know).  Two of them were dictators; Osama had no state, Chávez had, but won elections apparently not more rigged than Florida 2004, Ohio 2008.

What were the problems, how might they have been solved?

A key problem, no doubt, was “Arab socialism”, a basic slogan half a century ago when Nasser’s coup brought the Arab world out of the secular-capitalist Italian-English-French imperialism that had followed the Ottoman empire–in Libya-Iraq-Syria, and other places.

One carrier of that idea was the Ba’ath party in Iraq and Syria, key persons Saddam Hussein and Assad father and son (whom they have not killed–yet?).  The idea spread to Afghanistan in the 1973 coup, and was picked up by Gaddafi, expressed in The Green Book.

Part One argues for direct, not parliamentary democracy; Part Two argues for socialism, not capitalism; and Part Three is about the Social Basis, the “driving force of history”: the family, the tribe, the nation, women, minorities, the blacks (who will prevail in the world), education, melodies and art, sports-horsemanship-shows–arguing very strongly against boxing and wrestling as “savage”.

Islamists in these and other post-colonial countries picked up the suppression of Islam and its post-Ottoman secularism.  The USA, with the European client regimes going along, made use of islamists against the socialists; a blatant stupidity with well-known consequences. Some might have argued to use socialists against the islamists; much better would have been to help the Arab-Muslim reawakening.  But USA-CIA anti-communism was driving their policies, no deeper understanding was needed or wanted.  Working for US business, the CIA, etc. were in fact undermining their whole empire.

However, ignorance often comes with an arrogance undisturbed by facts; policy being based on the product of the two.  Moreover, never underestimate bureaucratic inertia (Professor Graham Allison).  As a result policies people rather liked, literacy, more equality for women, elements of welfare states, suffered a set-back.  But the West has a hammer, arms, and sees all problems as security problems; their security.  And they have one remedy: democracy; without federalism, meaningless in deeply fragmented countries.

But Saddam Hussein was not only a dictator; he also killed his own people, Kurds, in Halabja–gas?   Not so obvious.  Could also have been Iran in hot pursuit of their Kurds escaping, or Iraq and Iran fighting, both using gas sold to them by the USA.  Maybe Saddam knew too much about this and might have given revealing testimony had he been in court and not been hanged for a minor crime before that.

Osama was an islamist, not a socialist; see Messages to the World–The Statements of Osama bin Laden (London, New York: VERSO, 2005; edited by Bruce Lawrence).  His enemy was not capitalism, nor judaism-christianity, but secularism.  The book starts with “The Betrayal of Palestine” and ends with “Depose the Tyrants”–the House of Saud.  The Obama administration confused his enthusiasm for 9/11 with being the organizer, but is never able to provide any proof.

Chávez was also different; a christian struck by Jesus living with the poor, a left wing social democrat, and a bolivarian, sharing Bolivar’s vision of a united Latin America (and the Caribbean).  The Fascist Coup Against Venezuela (Habana: Plaza, 2003) by Hugo Chávez brings this out clearly.  Better read these books, cum grano salis.

Yes, two of them were dictators, with Assad three, of faultlined countries, Western colonies run brutally from Rome-London-Paris; demanding a democracy the colonials never managed.  And an end to violence, but not to theirs, destroying Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan.

Very powerful visions, arguing what the Europeans have done, in a world with states–except the biggest–waning in significance anyhow. No space for US “world hegemony” or the US $ as the world currency.

Yes, all of this was disturbing to the USA because all four had visions beyond national economy and politics: Saddam (with the Assads) a unified Arab world; for Gaddafi also a unified Africa with its own monetary fund and currency; for Osama the islamic umma, the community of the believers; for Chávez the unity of the America south of USA.

Who is this Obama, by the way?  Reported, by Nick Turse of The Nation, killing in 134 countries, sowing 134 blowbacks?[i]  A president with left wing Democrat rhetoric and right wing Republican foreign policies, betraying his voters and democracy itself–a contract between the elected and the voters—punished in midterm 2010, paralyzing the USA with a disconnect between legislative and executive powers–preaching democracy; with no world vision.  What should he have done?

Understand that there are more centers in the world and make the best of it.  Rather than inviting counter-attacks–soon also from al-Maliki and Karzai–respect these strivings for unity and on equal terms with a more modest USA.  Learn from US history, the accumulated experiences, from beating London colonialism, a terrible uncivil war, the whole agony of slavery and its abolition, de jure after 350 years, de facto 450?  Learn to be on the side of history-his own words.

We know how it is going to end.  The recent CELAC conference in Habana says it all: the heads of states of almost all countries south of USA, with the secretary-generals of OAS and UN, in attendance at this moment of world history.  And with Kerry in November 2013 arguing equality between the two Americas.  Conferences of a really unifying Arab world, an islamic world, Africa, will commemorate Saddam (and Assad), Osama, Gaddafi, with dignitaries, hopefully also US attending-Obama forgotten long ago.  But not he who started it all: Fidel.

NOTE:

[i].  english-other-news.info 17-01-14.

__________________________________

Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He is author of over 150 books on peace and related issues, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 3.0 United States License.

Comments:

Post a Comment

Requiring those Captcha codes at least temporarily, in the hopes that it quells the flood of comment spam I've been receiving.



Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

This 

page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Newer›  ‹Older