Tuesday, November 06, 2018


Johan Galtung’s view from Europe: A World without US (Empire) Killing?

A World without US (Empire) Killing?

5 Nov 2018

#559 | Johan Galtung – TRANSCEND Media Service

Obviously, we are not there yet.  And it may take some time.  There is much resilience in that construction, and in the US itself.

But some signs are unmistakable.  The US is (kind of) pulling out of the world–of East Asia, Afghanistan, and some of West Asia–“Middle East” as seen by London–setting up camp in North America. In what this column for decades has referred to as MEXUSCAN; a neutral listing from south to north of the three countries.

However, Washington calls it UMC, for US-Mexico-Canada with itself first (of course), then come Latin Mexico and Anglo Canada.  Not quite incidentally, “UMC” also stands for the US Marine Corps, and its head general was delighted.

Leaving that aside, however:  from seeing itself as being on top of the world to being on top of only North America is a rather major “pulling out”. Even if US pulls out and then into North America with its well-known maxim “nobody above, nobody even on the side” intact.  US is the uncontested America First but among 3, no longer 193 states.  Some contraction, indeed.

What is left behind here and there in the world is some training of local forces presumably willing to fight US wars, even without US troops participating. And “advisors” and “trainers”–not quite the same.  And an enormous amount of hardware, arms and platforms; ready to enter an arms/armament market more blossoming than ever.

Well, highly mobile US units will still for some time have impact as pure force power, and the threat thereof.  And, even if no longer running the world militarily and politically, only a tiny slice of it, there is no competitor to US culture as world culture.  Had the US leadership been more cultural, and less military-economic-political, they would have celebrated their cultural global reach more and deplored military-economic-political deficits less.

The 248 or so US military interventions since Thomas Jefferson in Libya in 1801 have been justified in the US as giving US business a “global reach” in access to resources and markets.  Mexico and Canada are mow experiencing what that means as NAFTA and some neo-NAFTA with much of the enormous US power now focused mainly on them.

Nevertheless, there is a good alternative open to Washington: US itself; like Canada with enormous open spaces to be settled and developed.  The sky is the limit also after pulling out of the world as a whole and into a North America where level of material living is concerned. However, many, maybe the majority of US citizens, seem to believe in a key mantra of our times: “enough is enough”.

Do not call only 1 of the continent’s 35 states “America”, and their citizens “Americans”.  Even well informed Thomas Friedman has difficulties sorting this out.  “US-ians” would be correct but ugly, hence “US citizens”.  Not of America, but in America.

In all of this there is no denial that some of the 248 (or so) US military interventions may have done something good.  But there is a denial that the US was, is, and will remain indispensable in doing so. The UN, a US brainchild to a large extent, now growing up as an adult with its own brain in a 1 state-1 vote General Assembly, could, can and will be, able to do the Chapter 6/Chapter 7 jobs better with no uninvited US competition–to which they have much too often yielded.

In short, even if there may be sick cases in the future where a quick and highly unilateral US intervention might have worked better than what the UN General Assembly can manage, reliance on 1 of 193 states is in itself sickening.  It is called mon-archy.  Dictatorship.

Moreover, what a liberation for the US to share the responsibility for “stability” as they call it with others, not shouldering it alone!  There will be errors in the future as in the present and the past, but the UN General Assembly is the place to sort that out, not Washington DC.

A world without US killing would be a major contribution to negative peace, to Glenn Paige’s “non-killing world”.  His own country with or without death penalty stopping killing all over. It is coming. What about US and positive peace? Could less US killing also contribute to that?  It is also coming, as a change in US mentality.

There are many signs in that direction recently, as an expression of Washington now seeing the limits to “politics by military means”.  There are “do this, do that” suggestions for “peace by peaceful means” from the White House nowadays; all to be welcomed.  Yet, it would be naive to assume that the military option is not still on the US table–Washington always assures the world that it is.

If this analysis is more or less correct, peace is about to get a rather major carrier: the US, with enormous resources for thinking, speaking and acting. This will affect others; will make them tune their instruments to the peace themes.  In our present multipolar passive peaceful coexistence world, USA and Israel have been the two remaining belligerent states.  With US changing so will Israel, from an expansionist and colonialist state into the lands of others “from the river in Africa to Euphrates”, to a member state in a West Asia Community, a WAC. USA in NAFTA, Israel in WAC, both for peace—.

Among the other biggies in the world, it can be argued that the EU is already on this line, and so is The Commonwealth.  And African Unity. And ELAC.  And, above all, SCO, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization from 2002, with India and Pakistan a good half of humanity.

However, can China switch from its present arms race back to its old Win-Win peace strategy?  Certainly, it is actually always there, but now with a very conventional over-layer of inter-states arms race.

With US becoming a peace champion, as this essay not only hopes but argues, the US remains a lighthouse for the world.

Now with green, not red light.


Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of TRANSCEND International and rector of TRANSCEND Peace University. He was awarded among others the 1987 High Livelihood Award, known as the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize. Galtung has mediated in over 150 conflicts in more than 150 countries, and written more than 170 books on peace and related issues, 96 as the only author. More than 40 have been translated to other languages, including 50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives published by TRANSCEND University Press. Transcend and Transform was translated to 25 languages. He has published more than 1500 articles and book chapters and over 500 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service. More information about Prof. Galtung and all of his publications can be found at transcend.org/galtung.

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 5 Nov 2018.

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