The Fall Stages as the Global Peace Freedom Steps.
Peace from Harmony instead of Imperial Violence.
Human Right to Global Peace.
To Professor JOHAN GALTUNG
Pioneer of the US Empire Fall Theory in the book, 2009:
The Fall of the US Empire - and Then What?
In Russian: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=ru_c&key=621
In English: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=599
Galtung’s theoretical ideas of the decline and fall of the American empire, his articles, books, interviews, videos in the Internet and other media on this subject, caused wide publicity and discussion in a wide variety of audiences. They found many prominent followers and new proofs of this inescapable objective tendency at many authors: William Blum [12, 13, 14; 15], Terrence Paupp , Immanuel Wallerstein, whose work on this topic was analyzed by me in 2002 [6; 7], Wally Myers , Kirk Smith , Albert Stahel in his article with the characteristic title: "The United States - in a Permanent State of War» , Mairea Maguire , Amy Chua , Dietrich Fischer , and many others. It is a modern anti-imperial "mole of history", using the Shakespeare’s expression.
Every similar work - it is a stage in the nonviolent ideological/cultural/spiritual decline and fall of the American empire. At the same time, it is a step in the direction towards global peace, its science (GPS), its freedom and the right of everyone to world peace, which the global empire has deprived all of us.
(See below the list of these works in bibliography of Leo Semashko’s article)
Of course, this list is far from complete. Therefore, the GHA is happy to invite all peacemakers to add this list with new books, articles, poems, songs, prayers, pictures and music on the US Empire fall. Each of these works at the same time is a step of global peace, its freedom and a human right to world peace. Thank you very much to everyone for your participation to approve this freedom and right. They get rid from imperial oppression and begin life when all people of the world will support them.
I love the US Republic …, as much as I hate the US Empire for its violence of all kinds in so many places around the world.
The USA sees war as a one-way street.
Pentagon: we will do a fair amount of killing.
American empire is unlimited freedom for violence and war but the constant suppression of freedom for peace and human right on peace.
If the US military expenditures would be directed to the building global peace, then it would have triumphed on the Earth!
Dr. Leo Semashko
Johan Galtung's Peacemaking Genius Theory:
The US Empire Fall and Liberation of a Way towards Global Peace in the XXI Century.
To a country I love, the United States of
America: You will swim so much better
without that imperial albatross* around your
neck. Drown it before it drowns you, and
let a thousand flowers blossom!
Johan Galtung, 2009
Leo Semashko, 2014
* A dead albatross around the neck is a symbol of the doomed killer in Samuel T. Coleridge’s poem - English poet and philosopher (1772-1834). Albatross is a symbol of friendship and peace has become a symbol of guilt, shame and doom of his murderer.
The sooner humanity will help to fall the
American empire, the better will be to the USA people
and whole of humanity, before which will be freed
The path to global peace.
The eminent peacemaker of the century, Prof. Johan Galtung predicted in 1980 the fall of the USSR in 1990, was mistaken for two months [1; 3]. In 2000, he predicted the fall of the USA militarist empire on 2020 and created the corresponding theory, confirmed by the set of facts [2; 3]. The great meaning of his theoretical prediction is not only to the good of the American people that he expressed brilliantly in his dedication to the corresponding book , but also for the fate of global peace, which is impossible and absolutely excluded without falling global military dictator who constantly solves all the issues in own interests through violence participating in all armed conflicts throughout the world. This empire teaches humanity and all its countries and peoples only a military solution to all problems and conflicts but does not teach and do not want to teach them peace and peaceful solution. Therefore global imperialism excludes GPS (Global Peace Science) and will resist and fight with it in all ways. Galtung is absolutely right in saying that as long as there is a militaristic empire of the United States, global peace cannot be on the Earth. This is the main obstacle to universal peace in the world today.
Global peace is incompatible with the global militarism as a violent solution of international problems. Galtung's theory proves that peace does not need for the American empire, it needs only war. He does not find in the USA history one example of peace or peace initiative on good will. American empire is unlimited freedom for violence and war but the constant suppression of freedom of peace and human right on peace. He is convinced: only the USA empire fall will opens the freedom for global peace in the 21st century and the human right to peace. Global peace cannot be in harmony with the global militarism, which is the deepest challenge of modern humanity. All other global problems of mankind can be solved peacefully only after the exclusion of global militarism. This profound social and historical significance of the USA empire fall was comprehended intuitively and expressed rationally in special theory by the great peace researcher Johan Galtung, in what manifested his unbeaten peacemaking genius of our time. This conclusion is confirmed by the analysis of his book.
The subject of his book and his theory  is simple but historically large: "This book explores a global phenomenon now taking place for the eyes of the world: The Fall of the US Empire" . Galtung ingeniously solves the question of the relation of his theory to the United States. Galtung's genius combined the dialectic of opposites, ethics and harmony. He writes: “Hand on heart: I love the US Republic where I have lived much of my life, as much as I hate the US Empire for its violence of all kinds in so many places around the world. The book is as pro-American as it is anti-US Empire” [3, 3]. The author of this article, the GPS coauthors as GHA for the most part, share this wise and harmonious, i.e. scientifically balanced and adequate position, which we adhere to throughout the GPS book in whole. The unity of love and hate in this case is appropriate, ethical and harmonious.
Under the fall of the empire he understands its natural death due to aggravation of internal contradictions / disharmonies in all social spheres, as it was with the Roman and all other empires. "All empires fall» - it is his objective historical law expressing their crushing contradiction with the harmony of the eternal spheres and SPHERONS of society. He analyzes the US imperialism in five dimensions, "economic-military-political-cultural and social" [3, 7], which coincide with the four spheres of SOCIONOME in GPS (see the first chapter). But Galtung divides Orgsphere into two spheres: political and military, that justified in this scientific analysis. [3, 8].
He likens the empire to octopus but not with 8 and 4 legs-tentacles or forces, through which he sucks and eats: the economic benefits - hyper-capitalism, political repressions - hegemony, military interventions - militarism and cultural exceptionalism - exceptionalism. This monster he calls ‘tetrapus’. Imperialism is the sum of all four of these parasitic functions or powers, which are embodied in the relevant imperial groups: the imperialists, the ruling elite, the militarists and the programmers/ideologists of Empire [3, 8-9] or in other words: “the exploiters/killers/controllers/programmers” [3, 18]. In GPS these groups are summarized in the concept of disharmonious PARTONS (see chap. 1).
“When did the US Empire peak? Or, when did it start, for that matter? In the prologue the arrivals of the settlers in Virginia in 1607 and in Massachusetts in 1620 are hinted at, with maybe ten million indigenous, and hundred of indigenous cultures, killed…” The peak of American empire accounts for 1945 - the final year of the Second World War and the fall of the Nazi empires [3, 10].
Summarizing, Galtung gives the following definition of empire USA: “An empire is a trans-border, culturally legitimized, Center-Periphery structure of unequal exchange:
economically, between exploiters and exploited, causing misery;
militarily, between killers and killed, causing death-suffering;
politically, between controllers and controlled, causing repression;
culturally, between programmers and programmed, causing alienation;
insulting basic human needs for wellness-survival-freedom-identity.
The US Empire ranks high on all four.Says a Pentagon planner:
"The de facto role of the US Armed Forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault.To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing". In other words: Direct violence to protect economic and political structural violence, legitimized by cultural violence… The Center is continental USA, and the Periphery much of the world” [3, 18].
Galtung writes further: “The question is not whether the empire will fall, but the what-why-how-when-where-by whom-against whom of that process.Like:
what: the four non-sustainable, unequal exchange patterns above;
why: they cause unbearable suffering, resentment, resistance;
how: through the synergies in the synchronic maturation of numerous contradictions, followed by the demoralization of imperial elites;
when: prediction: within 20 years, counting from Year 2000;
where: depending on the maturation level of the contradictions; empires, like other organisms empires crack at their weakest points;
by whom: the demoralized imperialists, the suffering victims, the solidary, and by those who fight the US Empire to set up their own;
against whom: the exploiters/killers/controllers/programmers, andothers who support the US Empire because of perceived benefits» [3, 18-19].
«Imperialism gives, as mentioned, the imperial Center a comprehensive fourfold grip on the Periphery.But there are also incomplete configurations that do not involve all four types of power, and for those other terms should be used.Thus, with only
* economic power, we have a case of international capitalism
* military power, we have a case of international militarism
* political power, we have a case of international hegemonism
* cultural power, we have a case of international missionarism
Fully fledged imperialism is a synergistic syndrome with the four aspects supporting each other” [3, 21].
“The US Empire is gone when the USA stops exploiting, killing, controlling and programming others and turns to,
economically, equitable trade with equal and mutual benefits for all;
militarily, defensive defense and peacekeeping-not killing all over;
politically, negotiation between equals-not hegemonism all over;
culturally, dialogue between equals, not assuming monopoly on truth; promoting basic human needs for wellness-survival-freedom-identity” [3, 25].
“The decline and fall prediction for the Soviet Empire was based on the synergy of six synchronizing contradictions, and the time span for the, literally speaking, crack, in the wall, was 10 years.The decline and fall prediction for the US Empire was based on the synergy of 15 synchronizing contradictions, and the time span for the contradictions to synchronize and synergize, working their way to decline and fall was estimated at 25 years in 2000. The US Empire being more complex there are more contradictions, and the US Empire being more sophisticated and solidly built the time span is longer. After the first months of President George W. Bush (twice selected) the time span was cut to 20 years because he quickly sharpened many of the contradictions posited the year before” [3, 33].
Galtung lists 15 contradictions of the American empire in the year 2000 within of their allocated four dimensions with the addition of a fifth, social: “Here is the list of 15 contradictions, as posited in 2000:
I. Economic Contradictions (US led system WB/IMF/WTO NYSE Pentagon)
II. Military Contradictions (US led system NATO/TAP/USA-Japan AMPO)
III. Political Contradictions (US exceptionalism under God)
IV. Cultural Contradictions (US triumphant plebeian culture)
V. Social Contradictions (US led world elites vs the rest: World Economic Forum, Davos vs World Social Forum, Porto Alegre, Belem)” [3, 34-35]. These five fundamental dimensions of Galtung are 4 spheres of SOCIONOME in GPS, which makes it an adequate to GPS theory. He emphasizes that all the contradictions work together and at the same time, therefore he rejects any monistic theory, defining only one cause of decline and fall of the American empire.
Galtung further illustrates in the facts and statistics exacerbation / aggravation / development of each of the 15 contradictions / disharmonies in the five clusters / dimensions or spheres of SOCIONOME in terminology of GPS. He begins with the escalation of the military contradictions.
«Grossman made a list based on Congressional Records and The Library of Congress Congressional Research Service, with 133 American military interventions during 111 years, from 1890-2001. .. The average number of interventions per year increased from 1.15 before to 1.29 after the Second World War, and after the Cold War ended late 1989 to 2.0, compatible with the hypothesis that wars increase as empires grow.... William Blum has 300 pages of solid documentation in his Rogue State: A Guide to the World's only Superpower ; maybe with 13-17 million killed in overt action.Most of this "fair amount of killing"--using overt (Pentagon) and covert (CIA) violence--with open and covert support from US allies--is in line with the pattern of using the US army "to keep the world safe for our economy".Interventions are not against dictators but against those who try to distribute: not against Jiménez in Venezuela but Chávez, not against Somoza in Nicaragua but the Sandinistas, not against Batista in Cuba but Castro, not against Pinochet in Chile but Allende, not against Guatemala dictators but Arbenz, not against the shah in Iran but Mossadegh , etc.
... Blum's list of interventions up to 2000 covers 67 cases since 1945 (Grossman has 56, the criteria differ somewhat)... There was bombing in 25 cases (for details, read the book): ... US assassination of foreign leaders, also heads of state, was attempted in 35 countries, assistance with torture in 11: .... US intervention in, and prevention of, elections in 23 countries: ......67 interventions + 25 bombings + 35 attempted assassinations + 11 countries assisted with torture + 23 interferences with elections abroad give us 161 forms of aggravated political violence since the Second World War only, up to 2001.A historical record” [3, 35-37]. Plus the growth of US state terrorism [3, 46].
The USA militaristic world leadership is supplemented by more than 800 military bases (in all other countries, their number is not more than 50), the largest military budget in excess of the military budgets of all other countries, the total surveillance for all in the world even for allies (Snowden), the largest number of military spy satellites, the most powerful fifth column, funded by the USA in almost every country of the world, the first nuclear crime against humanity - the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, etc. The US empire propensity to fascism, about that Galtung writes [3, 146-149] confirms by their support of Ukrainian Nazis and their forcible seizure of power in February 2014, etc.
The inevitable slide of the USA to fascism, to which leads the development of their contradictions, Galtung expresses as follows: “The Case for US Fascism. The basic element in fascism is massive killing by the state, for economic, political and cultural purposes.This means wars; violent encounters between military-uniformed forces for winning, showing prowess, and state terrorism, massive military killing of civilians, like of Germans and Japanese doing the Second world war.The USA has been engaged in this kind of killing through numerous interventions (243) from the early 1800s, with a more global range than any other actor in history… The USA sees war as a one-way street and becomes genuinely surprised, offended at counterattacks by nonmilitary-not uniformed actors, insurgents: guerilla against US military and-or terrorism against US civilians. The USA uses direct violence, including late participation in world wars, to build economic and political structural violence. And behind that is the third corner of the triangle, the cultural violence serving to legitimize the other two.… The fascist force, defined by Eisenhower, is MIC, the military-industrial complex, already alluded to.He could have added to Pentagon some other parts of the bureaucracy, like the Department of Energy and its nuclear program; and to industry the finance economy speculating in wars mobilizing capital” [3, 146-151] (emphasis added – L.S.).
We will not consider the Galtung’s analysis of other contradictions of the American empire in his theory of its fall [3, 37-68]. All these contradictions, which we call in GPS disharmonies, grow and become aggravated in all four spheres of the USA that gives Galtung the right to make an fundamental scientific conclusion on the gradual decline of the American empire, which inevitably leads to its downfall if not in 2020 than in coming to it years. The more powerful empire becomes, the faster it intensified the contradictions, the more its internal disruption and the closer its collapse. It is the law, which was established Galtung on a comparative analysis of 10 empires, beginning with the Roman [3, 167-221, and other works of Galtung].
Galtung’s theoretical ideas of the decline and fall of the American empire, his articles, books, interviews, videos in the Internet and other media on this subject, caused wide publicity and discussion in a wide variety of audiences. They found many prominent followers and new proofs of this inescapable objective tendency at many authors: William Blum [12, 13, 14; 15], Terrence Paupp , Immanuel Wallerstein, whose work on this topic was analyzed by me in 2002 [6; 7], Wally Myers , Kirk Smith , Albert Stahel in his article with the characteristic title: "The United States - in a Permanent State of War» , Mairea Maguire , Amy Chua , Dietrich Fischer , and many others [18-25]. It is a modern anti-imperial "mole of history", using the Shakespeare’s expression.
Every similar work - it is a stage in the nonviolent ideological/cultural/spiritual decline and fall of the American empire. At the same time, it is a step in the direction towards global peace, its science (GPS), its freedom and the right of everyone to world peace, which the global empire has deprived all of us. If its military expenditures would be directed to the building global peace, then it would have triumphed on the Earth!
The logical necessary conclusion of world public opinion from the countless facts of the US escalating imperial militarism is the one that the USA now are "the greatest threat to global peace" . This conclusion is based on a survey of the 67,806 respondents from 65 countries at the end of 2013:
The survey showed that the United States is the most dangerous country in the world. USA is more dangerous than China 4 times, Israel - 5 times, North Korea – 5 times, Syria - 8 times, Russia - 12 times, Palestine, Germany, Britain, etc. - 24 times!!! This is another strong confirmation of the Galtung’s hypothesis of the imminent decline and fall of the USA empire through sharpening of contradictions, especially the military.
The publications of Galtung, Blum, Wallerstein, Paupp, and many others, including the GHA with his GPS dedicated to scientific criticism of the USA global militarism are the fall stages of the last military empire in history and the steps of global peace in the 21st century. The peace movement on this path consciously began with Galtung’s analysis of the contradictions / disharmonies of the Soviet and American empires almost 40 years ago. The theoretical analysis of these contradictions was a scientific anatomy of the US empire and its fall. The Galtung’s scientific theory of the fall of the American empire as the main obstacle for global peace - is the pinnacle, ceiling and turning milestone of traditional peacemaking, as well as a necessary part of GPS, which reinforces this theory, revealing its most fundamental source - the "invisible hand" of the eternal social structure of SPHERONS as the ultimate cause of global peace from harmony, sweeping out of its way all the imperial obstacles in history. Galtung’s prediction about the USA empire fall in 2020 but not later than 2030 is confirmed by other researchers [18-25].
In creation of this theory was expressed not only Galtung’s scientific courage and bravery, not only his utter devotion to peace, going from his childhood, when his father was killed in the Nazi Gestapo in 1941, but its great civic responsibility. It allowed him without fear to challenge the most powerful and warlike empire in human history. All this complete a unique phenomenon of Galtung’s peacemaking genius in the second half of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries. Galtung deserves all the honors of humanity. But he still is a maverick and ‘dissident’ (he defines himself as such) in the "free" American imperial order, which stands on the military machine of global structural violence. He is deprived of the Nobel Peace Prize, as its Committee prefers to reward the loyal to the empire figures, not the peace dissidents and opponents to this empire. But the international recognition of the Galtung’s scientific theory will come along with global recognition of GPS.
The article main content is expressed by model of Tetranet harmonious thinking in the chain of concepts: 1.Harmony of American nation SPHERONS – 2.Disharmony of USA imperial PARTONS - 3.Galtung’s theory of US empire fall - 4.Galtung: prediction of fall on 2020.
Model-16. Galtung: from intuition of SPHERONS to the theory of the USA empire fall
America, as a republic can be saved and freed from its empire only during complete global disarmament, only as a result "to shift the arms race into a peace race" about that dreamed Martin Luther King Jr., and that the USA progressive and peace-loving forces could initiate on the GPS scientific base. Unfortunately, neither Galtung, no we do not see and do not find such a release now in the USA. But it can appear at any time, at any stage of the fall of the American empire with the advent of a new peacemaking leader in the USA within synthesis of the Galtung’s theory and GPS.It will be fundamentally new step towards global peace and harmonious civilization. It will not force itself to wait long. As India found Mahatma Gandhi to shift and free non-violently the country from the British Empire also the USA will find similar leader to shift the military empire into a peaceful republic.
One of the results of synthesis of GPS and Galtung’s theory of the USA empire fall will complement of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 28th article by the following new freedom and right, which are currently suppressed by the American empire. Article 28 states: "Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized"  This article refers to a social and international order, global peace in which it plays a key role. But the freedom and right of global peace are not protected by the Universal Declaration from any imperial suppression, therefore requires its complement.
Two additions to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 28th article:
1.Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
2.Everyone has the priority right to national and global peace as fundamental quality of public order on the Earth. Peace at all levels ensures the implementation of all human rights and freedoms. Any war and preparation for it restricts and hampers the realization of human rights and freedoms, including the right to life.
3.Everyone and humanity as a whole have the freedom of global peace, freedom to live in peace throughout the world without restriction in space and time by any military empire, compelling human and mankind to war, which violate the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration. Freedom of global peace replaces the traditional freedom of war in the past history, and this article puts an end to military freedom. The new world history needs the freedom of global peace instead freedom of war, which must be consciously, based on science, prevented, forbidden and excluded from the life of humanity. (The last two points are additional in this article).
These additions of Article 28 will enhance the role of global peace in world order, strengthen the UN peacekeeping mission and oblige national governments and transnational associations recognize global peace by key attribute of social international order and to protect it from any imperial hegemony. Unfortunately, from the last century middle in the world order was established priority of an imperial hegemony, which intensified after the USSR empire fall in 1990. Priority of any imperial hegemony is intolerant in the global community of nations of the 21st century, which claims priority of global peace and its recognition in this Declaration. The suggested additions summarize and integrate global intellectual movement against the American imperial hegemony for the benefit of all humanity and the American people. The Empire fall will revive the truth America - a peaceful, prosperous, and free to create global peace, and disarmament of the United States will help to strengthen its peace economy.
1.Pathak, Bishnu (2014) Johan Galtung’s Conflict Transformation Theory for Peaceful World: Top and Ceiling of Traditional Peacemaking. (See this book)
2.Galtung, Johan (2004). On the Coming Decline and Fall of the US Empire. http://www.oldsite.transnational.org/SAJT/forum/meet/2004/Galtung_USempireFall.html
3.Galtung, Johan (2009). The Fall of the US Empire - and Then What? Successors, Regionalization or Globalization? US Fascism or US Blossoming?. Stadtschlaining, Austria, TRANSCEND University Press.
4.Myers, Wally (2013). Is the Empire Falling? Mostly from Johan Galtung’s The Fall of the US Empire – And Then What? http://www.ncveteransforpeace.org/issues/Empire_Falling.pdf
5.Smith, Kirk W. (2014). Johan Galtung: The Fall of the US Empire:
- Semashko, Leo (2002) Tetrasociology: Responses to Challenges. St.-Petersburg State Polytechnic University, p. 95-99: http://www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=145
7.Wallerstein, Immanuel (2001) Albatross of Racism: Social Science, Haider and Resistance // Sociological Studies, 2001, ¹10, p. 36-46: http://www.isras.ru/files/File/Socis/10-2001/005Vallerstajn.pdf (on Russian)
8.Paupp, Terrence (2007). Exodus from Empire. The Fall of America’s Empire and the Rise of the Global Community. Pluto Press. London.
9.Stahel, Albert A. (2013). The United States – in a Permanent State of War. Institute for Strategic Studies. No 25, 12 August 2013, Current Concerns, Page 9
10.Maguire, Mairea. Nobel Peace Laureate. (2014).Peace Movements’ Common Vision: The Abolition of Militarism. Human Wrongs Watch: http://human-wrongs-watch.net/2014/06/15/24934/
11.Lazare, Sarah (2013). Biggest Threat to World Peace: The United States. International polls. Common Dreams, December 31, 2013: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/12/31-6
12.Blum, William (2013) America's Deadliest Export: Democracy - The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything Else (Zed Books) ISBN 1-78032-445-6
13.Blum, William (2000): Rogue State: A Guide to the World's only Superpower (Common Courage Press) ISBN 1-56751-194-5
14.Blum, William (2003) Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, revised edition (Common Courage Press) ISBN 1-56751-252-6
15.Blum, William (2004) Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire (Common Courage Press)
16.Amy Chua (2009) Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance--and Why They Fall. Anchor. ISBN 978-1400077410
17.Fischer, Dietrich (ed). 2013. Johan Galtung: Pioneer of Peace Research. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Vol. 15
18. The USA Fall is Substantiated in Mathematics (2013): http://voprosik.net/padenie-ssha-obosnovano-matematikoj
19. The USA Fall in Terms of Cycling History (2013): http://fito-center.ru/hronika-neobychnogo/gipotezy-i-issledovaniya/9186-padenie-ssha-s-tochki-zreniya-ciklichnosti-istorii.html
20. 4 Scenarios of the Approaching Collapse of the American Empire (2013): http://elitetrader.ru/index.php?newsid=104194
21. Hagopian, Joachim (2013) Historical Tradition of American Empire: War and Genocidal Crimes Against Humanity: http://www.globalresearch.ca/historical-tradition-of-american-empire-war-and-genocidal-crimes-against-humanity/5393997
22. McMurtry, John (2013) U.S. Holds the World Record of Killings of Innocent Civilians: http://www.globalresearch.ca/u-s-holds-the-world-record-of-killings-innocent-civilians/5393789
23. Clark, Ramsey (2002) The Fire this Time: U.S. War Crimes in the Gulf. International Action Center.
24. Dorrel, Frank (2002). Addicted to War: Why The US Can't Kick Militarism, illustrated by Joel Andreas. AK Press. ISBN 1-904859-02-X: http://www.addictedtowar.com/atw3a.html
25. Engelhardt, Tom (2014) How America Made ISIS: http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/09/02/how-america-made-isis
26. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr
Leo Semashko, Ph.D.,
Founding President, Global Harmony Association (GHA) since 2005; State Councilor of St. Petersburg; Philosopher, Sociologist and Peacemaker from Harmony; Author of more than 300 scientific publications, including 16 books and brochures in 12 languages; Director: Tetrasociology Public Institute, Russia; Director, GHA Website “Peace from Harmony”: www.peacefromharmony.org; Editor in Chief, The ABC of Harmony for World Peace .. (www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=478) by 76 co-authors from 26 countries;
Home address: St. Petersburg, Russia,
Phone: 7 (812) 597-65-71, E-mail: email@example.com,
August 12, 2014
Johan Galtung’s Conflict Transformation Theory for Peaceful World:
Top and Ceiling of Traditional Peacemaking
The principal founder of the peace and conflict studies Johan Galtung was born in Oslo on October 24, 1930 at a medical doctors’ family. Someone congratulated his parents saying, “Today a new doctor is born!” Johan indeed became a new kind of doctor, but not limiting himself to individual patients alone. He invented diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy for pathological societies as a whole. While Johan’s father was taken into a Nazi’s concentration camp, that incident became a turning point and determination towards the works for a peaceful world. Johan’s quest for peace research was further strengthened while he asked librarian of Central Library in Sweden for books about peace research, but they had none. Thus, he decided to work on such a missing discipline ‘research for peace’ and devoted his entire life for peace and freedom.
Some of the major ideas put forwarded by world’s eminent peace philosopher Johan Galtung are:Direct, Structural and Cultural Violence; Conflict Transformation by Peaceful Means (Transcend Method), Transcend Method in Conflict Mediation Across Levels, Mahatma Gandhi as the Master of Masters, Peace Journalism, and from a 20th Century of War to a 21st Century of Peace. Democracy for Peace and Development, Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution, the Six and Fifteen Contradictions of USSR and USA respectively, and Reconciliation are some of the other key parts of Galtung’s findings. Galtung frequently refers the negative vs. positive peace and peace-conflict lifecycle and their structural, institutional, individual, procedural, and political levels of relations.
This paper is particularly drawn from the findings of Dietrich Fischer (a long standing and devoted friend and colleague of Johan Galtung) edited book on Johan Galtung: Pioneer for Peace Research in 2013. The paper highlights how the contributions of Johan Galtung has been able to change the institutional and individual attitudes, conviction systems, psychological understandings, and lifestyle of behaviors through applying transcend technique of conflict transformation. Being an honest learner of Galtungian peace theory, author tried to analyze it through different aspects of freedom: of associations, from want and fear, for experiment, to inherit peace, from violence, from contradiction, of criticism, and of mediation (also see Galtung: September 1967). These aspects of freedom cover the peaceful world in a whole in author’s understanding and Galtung’s meaning.
Freedom of Association
Galtung founded the TRANSCEND non-profit and apolitical network for Peace, Development and the Environment in 1993 and world’s first online TRANSCEND Peace University (TPU) in 2000. TRANSCEND has now over 500 members in more than 70 countries around the world. TRANSCEND has already established Media Service, University Press, Peace Service, and Research Institute. The TRANSCEND has 14 regions with 26 conveners. The region includes Latin America, North America, Euro Latina, Europe Deutsch, Europe Nordic, Eastern Europe, CIS-Commonwealth Independent States including Russia, Africa, Arab World, Middle East, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Pacific Oceania and the South Asia. The Peace and Conflict Studies Center (PCS Center), Kathmandu Nepal or author himself is one of the conveners in South Asia. TRANSCEND denotes going beyond or overcoming conflicts or contradictions through mediation, education, journalism, (action) research, and publication.
Galtung has been received more than one dozen honorary doctorates and an alternative Nobel Prize: Right Livelihood Award in 1987 including many other peace awards because of his tireless and dedicated efforts. The Galtung Institute (GI) is established in Grenzach, Germany, bordering on Basel, Switzerland in 2011 for further materialize peace theory and its practice. Galtung truly advocates freedom of association as a tool of a person’s own choosing to join or leave in group for the collective action to fulfill both individual right and collection rights on the course of attain, maintain, study and restore peace.
Freedom from Want and Fear
In early 1969, while Galtung was working at the Center for Gandhian Studies in Varanasi, India, he observed homeless people sleeping in the street, children suffering from hunger, and sick waiting to die. The deficiency of basic needs as basic rights and fundamental freedom from fear struck their mind no less than violent crime or war. The situation was a slow death from hunger and preventable and curable diseases. It happened in the lack of freedom and liberal democracy to assist people’s lives. If per capita income or state resources had been equally distributed among the people across all states in India, 14 millions lives could have been saved during famine in 1965. Galtung observed that a total of 140,000 died in international and civil wars during the same year. In this case, his understanding was that synonym of structural violence is famine and hunger which is at least one hundred times greater than direct violence. However, little humanitarian assistance from killings economy (cost) could save those children and people from hunger, and other preventable or curable diseases.
Galtung on the freedom from want said “neither in the life of the individuals nor in the life of the nations should major, primary needs remain unsatisfied or unsatisfiable. Thus, we mainly refer to such needs as hunger, thirst, shelter, sex, basic security”. on Freedom from Fear, Galtung states, “a state of affairs such that individuals, and nations, predict with relatively high probability a major negative event in the future, an event with relatively high negative utility, and this expectation dominates their life and existence - whether they live in the shadow of floods, earth-quakes, hunger, war (internal or external) or other calamities” (Galtung: September 1967: 15).
Freedom from want ensures human security eradicating hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender justice and equality, empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, and other preventable and curable diseases (Pathak: September 2013: 170). Freedom from want leads second generation of human rights of economic, social and cultural rights unlike civil and political rights stated in the freedom from fear which is also known as first generation of human rights. Both are fundamental human rights instruments which are developed obligatory human rights mechanism in terms of compliance by the State. The compliance of human rights promotes and maintains international peace and security in this universe.
Freedom for Experiment
Peace experimentalist Galtung has contributed innovative research and insights to many areas of intellectual inquiry publishing 165 books and over 1600 book chapters and articles in scholarly and popular journals during 1953 to 2014. The books and papers cover direct, structural and cultural violence; theories of conflict, peace, development, and civilization; peaceful conflict transformation; mediation; peace education; reconciliation; development strategies; international relations; deep culture and deep structure; non-offensive defense; federalism; globalization; human rights; peace and religions; social science methodology; a life-sustaining economy; macro-history and negative and positive peace. Forty of his books have been translated into 34 languages, for a total of 134 book translations. He has been so far the most quoted author in the field of peace studies. His recent publication The Fall of the US Empire and Then What? (US empire will decline and fall by 2020) has created a huge public and intellectual debates internationally, particularly in USA and its satellite ruling countries and territories.
While Galtung was sent to jail for six months as a conscientious objector, he first wrote a book on Gandhi's Political Ethics in 1955 under the mentorship of Arne Naess, a deep ecologist. He considers Mahatma Gandhi as master of masters for peace and freedom. Galtung experimented several trademark concepts such as attitude, behavior, and contradiction (ABC) triangle; the classification of peace strategies into peacekeeping, peacemaking and peacebuilding; and direct, structural and cultural violence which havebeen widely used as academic course in International Relations, Peace Studies, and Development Studies, and have become official UN language. Several hundred thousand studentshave already benefited from the short-term and long-term peace studies throughout the world in which over 500 peace programs are running at colleges and universities in the United States of America alone.
Galtung’s peace experiment is an innovative and scientific act or procedure that demonstrates the known truth that social cohesion and harmony are maintained by law and order. Galtung examines the validity of this hypothesis to avoid organized violence through collective cooperation and integration between human beings.Now, the peace experiment is variably succeeded to apply in all family, community, institutional and national levels across the world.
Freedom to Inherit Peace
The peace treaty held between Peru and Ecuador at Rio de Janeiro in 1942 over the border of Andes Mountains. The border should run along the watershed in the upper Amazon basin, but watershed changed the original course because of rainfall and glacier shifted. Ecuador and Peru have fought three wars over 500 square km territory during 1942 to 1998. At a Peace Conference in Guatemala in 1995, Johan Galtung was invited to meet with Ecuador’s chief negotiator (with Peru), a former President. Galtung patiently listened to him where negotiator claims each square meter of territory must belong to one and only one country. Galtung asked what he thought of the idea of making the disputed border territory into a jointly administered ‘bi-national zone with a natural park’ that attracts tourists to bring additional income to both countries. Former President agreed and said that in 30 years of negotiations, he had never heard such a good proposal. He proposed it to Peru at the next round of negotiations, and Peru surprisingly accepted it with some minor modifications. Both finally signed the Peace treaty in Brasilia on October 27th 1998. This zone has since been implemented as free trade zone where countries can exchange goods duty-free. That initiative was completed at cost only US $125 that was including a ticket from Bogota and $100 for one night at the hotel and a dinner. Fischer writes, “By comparison, the 1991 Gulf War to expel Iraq from Kuwait cost $100 billion, not counting the destruction it caused. The best of all, if peaceful conflict transformation begins before violence it can save many lives” (2013: 14-15).
This is just an example of how cheap the peace agreement is. If world’s authorities are ready to inherit peace across the continent, they should feel comfortable to stop manufacturing, supplying, trading, and selling arms and ammunition. Galtung’s freedom to inherit peace strives for individual and institutional efficacy on the course to implement rights, duties and obligations for the benefit of human societies. According to him, there are no definite rules of implementation of the peace inheritance between societies, but they can be changed peacefully in accordance with the needs of people.
Freedom from Structural Violence
Galtung says that violence tramples the basic human needs, rights, and fundamental freedoms (Galtung: September 2007). Structural violence causes direct violence and direct violence reinforces structural violence which are interdependent of one another (Galtung: undated: them.polylog.org/5/fgj-en.htm). The Galtung Institute states that structural violence is physical, emotional, verbal, institutional or spiritual behavior. Galtung stresses that structural violence is a cause of premature death and avoidable disability that effects people in various social structures closely linking with social injustice. There is a relation between direct, structural and cultural violence as a violence triangle (Galtung: August 1990).
Human rights violations lead the extrajudicial and arbitrary execution; custodial death; torture including rape and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment; arbitrary arrest and detention; enforced and involuntary disappearance and kidnapping; reduction to slavery etc. The violence terminology includes discrimination, intolerance, exploitation, oppression, suppression, and extortion with violence (Pathak: 2005: 27). Galtung connects structural violence with the political domination of one social group over others: elitism, ethnocentrism, racism, and also with class, gender, or age-related suppression and etc., where a regime restricts individuals from realizing their full potential. Besides, the violence refers to latent or manifest, intended or unintended, physical or psychological suppressions of humans’ feelings. There has been a cross-cutting and interdependent relation between structural and direct violence that includes family to racial violence, crime, terrorism, genocide, and war.
Galtung mentions that the cultural violence assembles direct and structural violence with legitimized and internalized one. Galtung focuses for triangular direct-structural-cultural violence that contrasts human mind. Facilitation, mediation, and negotiation attain cultural peace and these initiatives produce structural peace with symbiotic relations among diverse partners through the acts of cooperation, friendliness, and love (Fischer: 2013:47). Galtung severely criticized structural violence led by US and Western countries. Violence lowers the people’s needs and freedom of their satisfaction. It leaves deep wounds and traumas in society which is difficult to heal. Violence can start from any corner in its triangle.
The freedom from structural violence definitely assists to restore and maintain peace. It promotes positive peace to move a society toward a fair justice transforming the conflict by peaceful means. Freedom from structural violence enhances dialogue and discussion discourse for peace to oust physical to emotional violence in individual, family, societal, institutional and state-levels. Freedom from structural violence preserves peace and tranquility advocating freedom from exploitation, repression and separation (Galtung: 2013:117).
Freedom from Contradiction
Galtung states that conflict is initiated through attitudes, physical behavior, and contradictory goals of enemies. Galtung in 1980 predicted that there shall be end of the Soviet Empire within ten years beginning with the fall of the Berlin Wall. He studied the decline and fall of the Roman Empire preliminarily. Galtung developed six contradictions applied to the Soviet Empire: the working class wanting trade unions, the bourgeoisie wanting something to buy, the intellectuals wanting more freedom of expression and impression, minorities in search of autonomy, and the peasants wanting more freedom of movement (Fischer: 2013: 139). The former Soviet broke down on November 9th, 1989 almost two months before of Galtung’s time limit 1990. His prediction to financial crises and recessions in 2008 was exactly happened in early 21th century.
The decline and fall prediction of US Empire was developed by Galtung based on the synergy of 15 interlinked contradictions, and the way to decline and fall was estimated at 20 years from 2000 (Fischer: 2013). The US Empire is being more complex and more sophisticated. The economic, military, political, social, and cultural dimensions cover all 15-point contradictions. Among contradictions, three belong to overproduction relative to demand; unemployment and global warming. Second, the military contradictions are based on US-NATO as led military allies. Third, political contradictions describe the role between USA and the UN and between USA and the EU. Fourth, the cultural contradictions focus between US Judeo-Christianity and Islam; between US and the oldest civilizations i.e. Chinese, Indian, Egyptian, Mexican, etc., and between US and European elite culture: France and Germany. The last is the social contradictions that tend US‑led world elites vs. the rest: World Economic Forum, World Social Forum, middle class, etc.These are contradictions between the US myth and reality.
Galtung loves the American republic, but hates the American empire, similar to the Soviet empire. It will be remarkable if the honest and conscious Americans who are outside of the state power, politics, and large property would thank him for his courageous analysis. But US government strives to suppress many countries, individuals, and institutions, branding them enemy in the name of the peace, justice and human rights.
Freedom of Criticism
Some of Galtung’s statements have drawn criticism. For example, Bruce Bawer says, “Galtung is in fact a lifelong enemy of freedom” (2007). Bawer strongly refuted Galtung’s judgment “structural fascism to West and killer country and neo-fascist state terrorism to America” (2007). Even though, Galtung called criminal political violence to September 11 attack at twin tower in US. Besides, America is both a republic and an empire country according to Galtung (Ergas: April 24th 2006). His thesis is that American empire will ‘decline and fall’ in seven years (2020) from now, Barbara Kay, a columnist in the National Post criticized over the opinion “structural fascism of rich, Western, Christian democracies” and “admires Fidel Castro and Mao Zedong” of Galtung. Kay also criticized Galtung’s proclamation to Hungarian resistance against the soviet invasion in 1956. The Jerusalem Post on September 8th, 2012 stated that Swiss World Peace Academy suspended Johan Galtung because of his allegedly anti-Semitic comments. However, Galtung through TRANSCEND International’s statement refuted the allegations (May 2nd 2012).Whatever the criticism Galtung received, he takes them easy and constructively and often says, it happens because of level of understanding, culture of society, attitude, behavior, and contextual factors.
Freedom of Mediation
Galtung has not only developed peace, conflict and mediation theories, but also put them into practice similar to medical doctor utilize his/her efforts of diagnosis, prognosis and therapy to patients. Rather than following traditional and unsatisfactory ways of conflict resolution of two parties handled such as A wins, B loses and vice versa; Galtung follows the method respecting realities and human basic needs such as survival, well-being, freedom, and identity.
For this, Galtung has developed the TRANSCEND Method (conflict theory and practice, violence theory and practice, peace transformation, dialogue, and negotiation) to transform the conflict by peaceful means constituting a three-step approach, generally called TRANSCEND or Galtungian method.
·Confidence Building: The mediator should first understand the conflicting parties’ goals, fears, and concerns involving directly or indirectly on the course to win their confidence.
·Reciprocity Relations: The mediator should grant time to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate goals and human needs of both parties. Self-determination of the mediator shall play a pivotal role to improve the reciprocity relations with them.
·Identification of Gap: The mediator should try to bridge the gap between all legitimate but seemingly contradictory goals of parties through mutually acceptable, desirable solutions for sustainable future that embodies creativity, empathy and nonviolence, building a new reality.
More important is that the TRANSCEND method shall focus not merely on identifying who is guilty and punish them unlike the traditional legal process, but to create an attractive new conducive reality and creativity acceptable to all involved in the conflict. This shall be applicable at all family, community, and institutional levels within them and beyond.
Galtung has already mediated in over 100 international conflicts, sometimes successfully in perspective of their peace transformation. Some of the important mediations are: East-West Cold War I, Cuba, Norway-Poland, Chile-Peru-Bolivia, Cyprus, Israel-Palestine, Israel-Palestine-Middle East, Zimbabwe, Korea, Malvinas-Falklands, Pax Pacific, Gulf, Kurds, Japan-Russia-Ainu, Japan-USA-Ryukyu, Somalia, Yugoslavia 1991-1998, Kosovo, Sri-Lanka, Hawaii, Ecuador-Peru, Mayas, Argentina, Tripartite Europe, Six Chinas, Ulster, Caucasus, East-West Cold War II, Okinawa, Hostage Crises in Peru, Rwanda-Great Lakes, Albania, Lebanon, Kashmir, Colombia, Christian-Pagan Relations, Angola Civil War, the USA-West and the Rest, USA-UK vs. Iraq, Nepal, Indonesia vs. Timor Leste, European Union (Peace and Democracy), Pattani-Aceh/Bangkok-Jakarta, USA-UK/Arabia, USA-UK/Iran, Myanmar, Japan-China-Korea, Germany/Herero, West-Muslim, Turkey-Armenia and Cambodia (Galtung: 2008).
While he worked at Columbia University in 1958, he mediated his first conflict, over desegregation in the school system in the USA southern states. His Transcending technique assisted to prevent from further intra-and-inter-state wars and saved many lives. Galtung shared his technique wherever and whoever is sought either by Presidents or Prime Ministers. He never thought what they like to hear, nor the opposite, but inspired them by redirecting positive approaches and proposals they do not hear elsewhere without criticizing what they did wrong.
Freedom to Construct Peace Theory
Johan Galtung identifies 35 theories of peace comprising world with interpersonal harmony, heterogeneous nation, cultural-structural dissimilar and similar nations, minimum and maximum interdependence, polarized, depolarized and mixed nations, class division, power balance and monopoly, arms control and disarmament, negative and positive non-violence, treaty and convention, negative and positive sanctions, NGO and IGO, supranational peace thinking, and superstate and state (Galtung: 1967: 67-185). Peace theory leads both associative and dissociative narrations. Johan Galtung writes, “…for any one theory there is almost no limit to how deeply one can penetrate… one can pursue conditions and consequences in all directions” (1967: 67). Both dissociative and associative pairs of peace theory usually select and start with a typology following research method, analysis, theory and its validation and factual and potential peace thinking (Galtung: 1967: 67-68). The effort to explore the use of entropy and energy overrides the approach to theories of peace.
Galtung in his recently published book on A Theory of Peace: Building Direct, Structural and Cultural Peace (2013) stated that there is no eternal peace and there will never be, stated under the grand peace theory (2013:16). In his theory of peace, he defines peace as a relation between two or more parties and the parties are inside or between persons, groups, states or nations and regions or civilizations. And the relation defies into negative and disharmonious, indifferent and positive and harmonious dimensions. The relation further focuses toward the negative peace which is the absence of violence, like a cease-fire, like keeping them apart, no more negative, but indifferent relations and positive peace relies on the presence of harmony, intended or not (2013: 18-19). Relation characterizes into structural peace which initiates along with equity, reciprocity and integration. Peace intends to fulfill the suffering from sukkha and dukha which uses as a generic term for negative and positive goals (2013: 21).
Johan Galtung compares the peace with human security, “human” as positive connotation and “security” as negative connotation (2013: 36). The major road to peace is conflict transformation where conflict uproots along with goals in contradiction and conflict triangle - attitude, behavior and contradiction. The conflict transformation restores peace attaining empathy, nonviolence and creativity (Galtung: 2013: 50). Transformation changes the attitude and behavior applying creativity to contradictions at all levels of conflict including global, social and inter-and-intra personal ranging from mega to macro, meso, and micro (Galtung: 2000: 3). Peace transformation also presupposes a peaceful context as provided by peace education/journalism, the continuation of the work after violence, and readiness to reopen peace agreements (Fischer; August 2013: 50). Peace dwells in social formations based on positive sanctions, violence in formations based on negative sanctions; and violence deprives people of basic needs due to elite politics (Galtung: 2013: 69). Peace politics is about the promotion of creativity and reduction of violence (Galtung: 2013: 65).
Focusing on Gandhian nonviolence philosophy, Galtung developed three basic types of peace interrelating typology of castes and sanctions. First, Bahun-peace focuses less on obedience and fear and more on cooperation and compassion with all forms of life; second Chhetri-peace gives attention on nonviolent forms of control where the sanctions would be very soft; and third, Baisya-peace attains less on competition and more on basic needs in producing and distributing goods and services. Peace satisfies all of them. War is mainly waged on people. And peace is defense of people (Galtung: 2013: 69). Peace as a threat to the warrior, a promise to the rest (2013:96). A more pragmatic and dynamic conceptualization of peace is to transform the conflict creatively and nonviolently.Peace is a context (inner and outer) for a constructive way of handling conflict while human condition serving as a Creator and as a Destroyer. The humane becomes creator, preserver and destroyer of society due their understanding on culture of peace. Galtung often uses to say, “Tell me how you behave in conflict and I'll tell you how much peace culture you have” (2013:127).
Galtung beautifully presents both peace transformation and conflict transformation in theory and applies practically over 100 mediations in 60 years of his contributions in the world peace. The conflict transformation, in principle, happens at all levels of conflict: global, regional, national, social, inter‑ and intra‑personal. The peace transformation also presumes a peaceful context as provided by peace education, peace journalism, and human security studies that achieve through the works during and after violence in different dialogues for peaceful solutions. The transformation, in general, changes attitude, behavior, and contradictions creatively. Galtung’s some writings and suggestions for conflict transformation by peaceful means and peace research are not easy to understand and act them because of the depth of knowledge of peace transformation, its philosophy, multidimensionality and variability.
For Galtung very important is the Conflict Lifecycle. He divides the Conflict Lifecycle into three phases: before violence, during violence and after violence following attitude (hatred), behavior (violence) and contradiction (problem). He wants to say that there is a definite Peace Lifecycle and Conflict Life-cycle (Galtung: 2008:1).
However, Galtung did not analyze the Peace-Conflict Lifecycle together with the Conflict Life-cycle in one dimension of pyramid. Conflict occurs in the emotional human mind and reaches a violent climax after passing up through several stages: discussion, appearance of conflict, escalation, segregation, outbreak of violence, and destruction. From the violent climax, the conflict steps down towards peace through other stages: …. (see Pyramid I at Pathak: http://www.gandhipeacefoundation.org/gandhi1002/pdf/Chapter-10_16.09.2013.pdf). This author absolutely agrees with Galtung what he states: “a conflict and a peace has its own life‑cycle, almost something like organic” and similar to a pyramid.
Over 6 decades, he introduced peace studies as an academic domain at various universities all over the world. He has presently holds several positions in international arena including the advisory councilor post of the Committee for a Democratic United Nations. He devotes his life to peaceful freedom, which increases global interdependence and diversity in ethnic, gender, cultural, religious and other communities. Thus, Galtung is right that the constraints of peaceful freedom are challenges to peace and harmony everywhere.
Galtung's theory of peaceful conflict transformation is one of the highest and most significant achievements of traditional peacemaking, we can say - its top and ceiling. Therefore, it is a worthy part of Global Peace Science, which integrates this theory in itself and enhances its by a new theoretical foundation - a global harmonious structure of SPHERONS ensuring global peace at all levels. It turns Galtung's theory from intuitive and subjective art to objective scientific method, keeping it as a subjective art. Galtung’s peace and freedom are required for everyone; no matter who you are, where you live, what is your gender, ethnicity and profession, and whom you choose or love.
(Edited by Prof. Dietrich Fischer, August 14, 2014 and supported by Prof. Johan Galtung)
Bawer, Bruce. 2007. “The Peace Racket”. City Journal. online Available http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_3_peace_racket.html (Retrieved on December 22, 2013)
Ergas, Zeki. April24th 2006. Out of Sync with the world: Some Thoughts on the Coming Decline and Fall of the American Empire. online Available at http://www.stwr.org/united-states-of-america/out-of-sync-with-the-world-some-thoughts-on-the-coming-decline-and-fall-of-the-american-empire.html (Retrieved on August 10, 2014)
Fischer, Dietrich (ed). 2013. “Johan Galtung: Pioneer of Peace Research”. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Vol. 15.
Galtung, Johan. 1967, 2005. Theories of Peace: A Synthetic Approach to Peace Thinking. Oslo: International Peace Research Institute
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Galtung, Johan. 1971. “A Structural Theory of Imperialism”, Journal of Peace Research. Vol. 8, No. 2.
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Weinthal, Benjamin. August 9th 2012. “Swiss group suspends 'anti-Semitic' Norway scholar”. JerusalemPost.
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Bishnu Pathak, PhD
Board Member & Professor of Human Security Studies (http://www.transcend.org/tpu/#course_80)
TRANSCEND Peace University, Germany
Executive President (http://www.pcsc.org.np/whoweare.php)
Peace and Conflict Studies Center (PCS Center), Kathmandu, Nepal
Global Harmony Association, Vice President, St-Petersburg, Russia
Senior Peace, Human Security and Human Rights Expert
Wikistrat, Washington, USA and Sydney, Australia
On the Coming Decline and Fall of the US Empire
ANGLO AMERICA, 25 April 2016
Prof. Johan Galtung – TRANSCEND Media Service
Excerpts and Summaries from the BookThe Fall of the US Empire-And Then What? Successors, Regionalization or Globalization? US Fascism or US Blossoming?– TRANSCEND University Press
- Definitions and Hypotheses: An Overview
Definition: An empire is a transborder Center-Periphery system, in macro-space and in macro-time, with a culture legitimizing a structure of unequal exchange between center and periphery:
- economically, between exploiters and exploited, as inequity;
- militarily, between killers and victims, as enforcement;
- politically, between dominators and dominated, as repression;
- culturally, between alienators and alienated, as conditioning.
Empires have different profiles. The US Empire has a complete configuration, articulated in a statement by a Pentagon planner:
“The de facto role of the United States Armed Forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing”.
In other words, direct violence to protect structural violence legitimized by cultural violence. The Center is continental USA and the Periphery much of the world. Like any system it has a life-cycle reminiscent of an organism, with conception, gestation, birth, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, senescence and death. Seeded by the British Empire, the maturing colonies honed their imperial skills on indigenous populations, ventured abroad in military interventions defining zones of interest, took over the Spanish Empire, expanding with world, even space hegemony as goal, now in the aging phase with overwhelming control tasks quickly overtaking the expansion tasks.
Decline and fall is to be expected as for anything human; the question is what-why-how-when-where-by whom-against whom. Answers:
- what: the four unequal, non-sustainable, exchange patterns above;
- why: because they cause unbearable suffering and resentment;
- how: through the synergies in the synchronic maturation of 14 contradictions, followed by demoralization of system elites;
- when: within a time frame of, say, 20 years, counting from Y2000;
- where: depending on the maturation level of the contradictions.
- by whom: the exploited/bereaved/dominated/alienated, the solidary, and those who fight the US Empire to set up their own.
- against whom: the exploiters/killers/dominators/alienators, and those who support the US Empire because of perceived benefits.
The hypothesis is not that the fall and decline of the US Empire implies a fall and decline of the US Republic (continental USA). To the contrary, relief from the burden of Empire control and maintenance when it outstrips the gains from unequal exchange, and expansion increases rather than decreases the deficit, could lead to a blossoming of the US Republic. This author admits an anti-Empire bias because of enormous periphery suffering outside and inside the Republic; and a pro-US Republic bias because of the creative genius and generosity of the USA. “Anti-American” makes no such distinction between the US Republic and the US Empire.
There is no dearth of predictions of economic disaster for the US Republic in the wake of decline and fall of the system “to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault”, also from Marxists who (still) believe that Empire-building can be reduced to economic greed satisfied by flagrant inequity. However, this is only one component in a complete imperial syndrome with components attracting and repelling different niches in societies and persons. Economists blind to externalities design theories legitimizing inequity, unrealistic “realists” enforce “order”, liberals guide and dominate political choices of others, and missionaries, religious and secular, try to convert anybody. All together an enormous drain of resources.
The case of England indicates that an empire can be a burden. The decline of the Empire started long before, but the fall of the crown jewel, India, due to a combination of nonviolent (Gandhi) and violent struggle, and the incompatibility of imperialism with the Atlantic Charter, was decisive. The Empire unraveled very quickly over a period of 15 years from 1947, obviously unstable.
And England? Today richer than ever in history. Welcome, USA.
- The US Empire: A Bird’s-Eye View
Right after the mass murder in New York and Washington on September 11 2001 Zoltan Grossman circulated a list, based onCongressional RecordsandThe Library of Congress Congressional Research Service, with 133 American military interventions during 111 years, from 1890-2001, from the brutal murder of the indigenous population at Wounded Knee in Dakota to the punishment expedition to Afghanistan. Six of them are the First and Second World Wars, and the Korea, Vietnam, Gulf and Yugoslavian wars: Democrats started five of them (Bush senior and junior are the exceptions among isolationist Republicans who usually focus more on the exploitation of their own population). The average per year is 1.15 before, and 1.29 after, the Second World War, in other words an increase. And after the Cold War, from late 1989, a heavy increase up to 2.0, compatible with the hypothesis that wars increase as empires grow, with more privileges to protect; more unrest to quell, revolts to crush.
William Blum has 300 pages of solid documentation in hisRogue State: A Guide to the World’s only Superpower(Monroe MA: Common Courage Press, 2000). The total suffering is enormous: the victims, the bereaved, the damaged nature, structure (through verticalization) and culture (through brutalization, myths of revenge and honor). Most of it fits into one single pattern: building a US Empire based on economic exploitation of other countries and other peoples, using direct violence and indirect violence, open (Pentagon) and overt (CIA); with open and covert support from US allies. The result is the international class structure with increasing gaps between the poor and rich countries, and between poor and rich people.
There is no sign of any clash of civilizations, nor any sign of territorial expansion. But there is enormous missionary zeal and enormous self-righteousness. And the rhetoric changes: containment of Soviet expansion, fight against Communism, drugs, intervention for democracy and human rights, against terrorism. Blum’s list of interventions up to the year 2000 covers 67 cases since 1945(Grossman has 56, the criteria differ somewhat):
China 45-51, France 47, Marshall Islands 46-58, Italy 47-70s, Greece 47-49, Philippines 45-53, Korea 45-53, Albania 49-53, Eastern Europe 48-56, Germany 50s, Iran 53, Guatemala 53-90s, Costa Rica 50s, 70-71, Middle East 56-58, Indonesia 57-58, Haiti 59, Western Europe 50s-60s, British Guiana 53-64, Iraq 58-63, Soviet Union 40s-60s, Vietnam 45-73, Cambodia 55-73, Laos 57-73, Thailand 65-73, Ecuador 60-63, Congo-Zaire 77-78, France-Algeria 60s, Brazil 61-63, Peru 65, Dominican Republic 63-65, Cuba 59-, Indonesia 65, Ghana 66, Uruguay 69-72, Chile 64-73, Greece 67-74, South Africa 60s-80s, Bolivia 64-75, Australia 72-75, Iraq 72-75, Portugal 74-76, East Timor 75-99, Angola 75-80s, Jamaica 76, Honduras 80s, Nicaragua 78-90s, Philippines 70s, Seychelles 79-81, South Yemen 79-84, South Korea 80, Chad 81-2, Grenada 79-83, Suriname 82-84, Libya 81-89, Fiji 87, Panama 89, Afghanistan 79-92, El Salvador 80-92, Haiti 87-94, Bulgaria 90-91, Albania 91-92, Somalia 93, Iraq 90s, Peru 90s, Mexico 90s, Colombia 90s, Yugoslavia 95-99.
There was bombing in 25 cases (for details,read the book):
China 45-46, Korea/China 50-53, Guatemala 54, Indonesia 58, Cuba 60-61, Guatemala 60, Vietnam 61-73, Congo 64, Peru 65, Laos 64-73, Cambodia 69-70, Guatemala 67-69, Grenada 83, Lebanon-Syria 83-84, Libya 86, El Salvador 80s, Nicaragua 80s, Iran 87, Panama 89, Iraq 91-, Kuwait 91, Somalia 93, Sudan 98, Afghanistan 98, Yugoslavia 99.
Assassination of foreign leaders, among them heads of state, was attempted in 35 countries, and assistance with torture in 11 countries: Greece, Iran, Germany, Vietnam, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama.
On top of this come 23 countries where the United States has intervened in elections or has prevented elections:
Italy 48-70s, Lebanon 50s, Indonesia 55, Vietnam 55, Guayana 53-64, Japan 58-70s, Nepal 59, Laos 60, Brazil 62, Dominican Republic 62, Guatemala 63, Bolivia 66, Chile 64-70, Portugal 74-5, Australia 74-5, Jamaica 76, Panama 84, 89, Nicaragua 84,90, Haiti 87-88, Bulgaria 91-92, Russia 96, Mongolia 96, Bosnia 98.
35 (attempted) assassinations + 11 countries with torture + 25 bombings + 67 interventions + 23 interferences with other people’s elections give 161 forms of aggravated political violence only since the Second World War. A world record.
Increase over time comes with shift in civilization target:
- Phase I Eastern Asia Confucian-Buddhist
- Phase II Eastern Europe Orthodox Christian
- Phase III Latin America Catholic Christian
- Phase IV Western Asia Islam
The phases overlap, but this is the general picture.
In the first phase, the focus was above all on people in Korea, south and north, wanting reunification of their nation, and on poor peasants in Viêt Nam wanting independence. In the second phase there was the Cold, not Hot, War for containment of communism. In the third phase, the targets were poor people, small and indigenous populations supported by “Maoist” students. And in the fourth phase, which is dominating the picture today, the focus was on Islamic countries and movements, Palestinians being an important example.
All the time we find that the USA supports those who favor US business and growth, and works against those who give higher priority to distribution and basic needs of the most needy.They die, 100,000 per day, underfed, underclothed, undersheltered, undercared, underschooled; jobless, hopeless and futureless.
Satisfiers for their needs cannot be bought with the money they do not have, and cannot be bought with labor because that requires jobs or land (seeds, water, manure) they do not have. A cruel world built on a world trade headed by the USA, supported by US dominated military and allied governments, and often populations who benefit from cheap resources and food products.
What is new in the fourth phase has something to do with religion. Islam is just as concerned with sin and guilt and expiation, with crime and punishment, as Christianity. Nevertheless, they do not place God and his country, and particularly “God’s Own Country”, the USA, higher than Allah and his countries, particularly not Allah’s own holy country, Saudi Arabia.
A United Nations Security Council with a nucleus of four Christian and one Confucian country has little authority in Islam, as opposed to the authority enjoyed in the Christian countries in Eastern Europe and Latin America. And Buddhist, East Asian countries are perhaps more inclined to change a bad joint karma than to issue certificates of guilt to the USA.
In other words, the real resistance had to come in the fourth phase with a new Pearl Harbor that many see as the introduction to a long-lasting Third World War.
Of that, we should not be so certain. Yet one thing is clear: Anybody who was the least bit surprised 11 September was ignorant, naive or both. The bottomless, limitless state terrorism of the United States got a very unsurprising answer: terrorism against the United States. With an estimated 12-16 million killed, and an average of 10 bereaved for each one, with pain and sorrow, lust for revenge and revanche growing, no act of revenge would be inconceivable. However, the deeper roots lie not in the never-ending chain of “blowback” violence. They are in the numerous unresolved conflicts built into the US Empire. The way to solution for sure passes through US Empire dissolution.
The Pentagon planner’s “to those ends we will do a fair amount of killing” reflects imperial reality. The when-where- against whom has just been explored. And then what?
- On the Decline and Fall of Empires: The Soviet Empire Case
In a comparative study of the decline (of ten) and fall (of nine, No. 10 is the US Empire) in 1995, with an economic focus, the conclusion was that no single factor, but a combination of factors in a syndrome was the general cause:
- a division of labor whereby foreign countries, and/or foreigners inside one’s own country, take over the most challenging and interesting and developing tasks, given the historical situation;
- a deficit in creativity related to a deficit in technology and good management, including foresight and innovation;
- one or several sectors of the economy neglected or lagging;
- and, at the same time, expansionism as ideology/cosmology, exploiting foreign countries and/or one’s own people inviting negative, destructive reactions.
The syndrome idea came from an earlier study of the decline and fall of the Roman Empirewhere many authors have come up with many single factor theories. The idea was then applied to the Soviet Empire in 1980, focusing on five factors referred to as contradictions, tensions, like the four points above:
- a top-heavy, centralized, non-participatory society run by the Russian nation controlling other nations,
- the city controlling the countryside,
- the socialist bourgeoisie the socialist proletariat,
- the socialist bourgeoisie having nothing to buy because the processing level was too low;
In theworld: a confrontational foreign policy run by the Soviet Union controlling and intervening in satellite countries.
The prediction, made many times by this author in 1980, was that the Soviet Empire would crumble not because of any single factor but because of “synchronic maturation of contradictions, followed by demoralization of Center and Periphery elites”, with the Berlin Wall crumbling in an early phase, within 10 years.
The mechanism was not the big bang of war, but the whimper of demoralized elites who after lashing out violently become corrupt, alcoholized, overfed, sometimes charming, ego-maniacs.
- On the Contradictions of the US Empire
The prediction of the decline and fall of the Soviet Empire was based on the synergy of five contradictions, and the time span for the contradictions to work their way through decline to fall was estimated at 10 years in 1980. Sometimes I added a No. 5: between myth, the massive Soviet propaganda, and reality – to some extent dissolved in marvelous jokes.
The prediction of the decline and fall of the US Empire is based on the synergy of 14 contradictions, and the time span for the contradictions to work their way through decline to fall was estimated at 25 years in the year 2000. There are more contradictions because the US Empire is more complex, and the time span is longer also because it is more sophisticated. After the first months of President George W. Bush (selected) the time span was reduced to 20 years because of the way in which he sharpened so many of the contradictions posited the year before, and because his extreme single-mindedness made him blind to the negative, complex synergies. He just continued.
President William J. Clinton (elected, twice) was seen in a different light. Confronted with a pattern of contradictions, no doubt with significant differences in terminology and numbers, his violence was an intervention in Somalia that he canceled, a war against Serbia of which he evidenced heavy doubts and never any enthusiasm, and a couple of missiles fired in anger. Being superintelligent, demoralization in high places, and sex in strange places, might have been the consequences. Hypothesis: they tried to impeach him not so much for the latter as for the former – using the latter as pretext. The effort misfired, but a highly non-demoralized George Bush captured the US Presidency.
Here is the list of 14 contradictions posited in 2000:
I. Economic Contradictions (US‑led system WB/IMF/WTO‑NYSE‑Pentagon)
1. between growth and distribution: overproduction relative to demand, 1.4 billion below $ 1/day, 100.000 die/day, 1/4 of hunger
2. between productive and finance economy(currency, stocks,bonds) overvalued, hence crashes, unemployment, contract work
3. between production/distribution/consumption and nature: ecocrisis, depletion/pollution, global warming
II. Military Contradictions (US‑led system NATO/TIAP/USA-Japan)
4. between US state terrorism and terrorism: Blowback
5. between US and allies(except UK, D, Japan), sayingenough
6. between US hegemony in Eurasia and the Russia‑India‑China triangle, with 40% of humanity
7. between US‑led NATO and EU army: The Tindemans follow-up
III.Political Contradictions (US exceptionalism under God)
8. between USA and the UN: The UN hitting back
9. between USA and the EU: vying for Orthodox/Muslim support
IV. Cultural Contradictions (US triumphant plebeian culture)
10. between US Judeo-Christianity and Islam(25% of humanity; UNSC nucleus has four Christian and none of the 56 Muslim countries).
11. between US and the oldest civilizations(Chinese, Indian, Mesopotamian, Aztec/Inca/Maya)
12. between US and European elite culture: France, Germany, etc.
V. Social Contradictions(US‑led world elites vs the rest: World Economic Forum, Davos vs World Social Forum, Porto Alegre)
13. between state‑corporate elites and working classes of unemployed and contract workers. The middle classes?
14. between older generation and youth: Seattle, Washington, Praha, Genova and ever younger youth. The middle generation?
15. To this could be added:between myth and reality.
The list was a simple reading of the US Empire situation. More sophisticated discourses are certainly possible, keeping the key ideas of syndromes, synergies and demoralization.
- The Maturation of Contradictions: An Update after 3 Years
We shall use the same formulations as above, drop the small explanatory remarks in the above list, and add some kind of, hopefully informed, running commentary on contemporary affairs.
Obviously, the US Empire as a functioning, dynamic reality, not as a static structure, with the 14 contradictions in its wake is a very complex system. In such systems linearities are rare, causal chains split and unite; loops, spirals, any curve shape, are ubiquitous. Quantum jumps when two factors are strongly coupled, one changes and the other remains constant, will be frequent. But the prediction is that within twenty years the four types of unequal exchange with the USA in the Center will wither away, whether what comes ismore equal exchangeorless exchange, in other words isolation. Or both.
I. Economic Contradictions
- between growth and distribution: generally, growth is sluggish with the possible exception of China, and the distribution often worsening, both between and within countries. However, the basic concern is with livelihood at the bottom of world society, the preventable mortality and the suffering due to near-death morbidity from hunger or easily preventable/curable diseases. That syndrome is with us, and the analysis in terms of overproduction leading to unemployment leading to underdemand leading oversupply leading to more unemployment etc. stands. At the same time, monetization of land/seeds/water/manure impedes the conversion of labor into food by tilling one’s own land. The US Empire pursues growth but neglects and prevents distribution, thereby undercutting itself since a key aspect of growth in increased demand, meaning increased consumption, all over.
- between productive and finance economy. Domestic and global market turnover being high even if the growth is sluggish in the productive economy in many countries, and distribution being low there will be heavy accumulation of liquidity high up searching for an outlet. Luxury consumption and productive investment being limited the obvious outlet is buying and selling in the finance economy, also known as speculation. The productive economy responds by putting up bogus, virtual enterprises like ENRON and WORLDCOM that the growth in the finance economy quickly gets out of synch with growth in the productive economy. Thus, the 2001 sharpening of his contradiction into a crash for some stocks and depreciation of the US dollar was as expected, indicative of a chronic pathology. one basic cure for that pathology is the distribution that the US Empire, through its use of theWB/IMF/WTO‑NYSE‑Pentagonsystem is impeding. As that cure is at present unavailable the underlying pathology will produce new increases in financial goods values and new crashes.
- between production/distribution/consumption and nature:
The Bush administration’s unilateral exit from the Kyoto Protocol sharpened this contradiction considerably and was a key factor behind the banner at the 2002 summit in South Africa:
Thank you, Mr Bush, you have made the world hate America.
The explanation given was that the Protocol impeded US economic growth (meaning unacceptable to powerful corporations). This move endangers the planet and is an expression of contempt for global regimes based on negotiating ratifiable treaties. The USA could have demanded re-negotiation. But the US Empire had other priorities and mobilized millions in the movement for sustainable development against the USA.
II. Military Contradictions
- between US state terrorism and terrorism: This contradiction underwent a quantum jump on 11 september 2001 although the number killed was less than the number killed in the aftermath of the other 11 September, in 1973, the USA supported coup against the socialist government of Salvador Allende (one of the now 68 interventions after the Second World War, counting Iraq). Highly predictable, as predictable as its repetition unless the US Empire itself exits from the cycle of violence and decides to understand “that the enemy may be us/US”. But the US Empire now talks about interventions in more than 60 countries, lasting more than a life time. A heavy price for the failure to try to, or the effort to avoid to, solve conflicts/contradictions.
At this point an obvious remark: an effort to explain 9/11, for instance as a “reaction to the US Empire by hitting two major instruments for economic and military operation”, or the short-hand as “revenge” and “unresolved conflict” in no way justifies the gruesome act. Nor is the US intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq justified. But like Kosova they can both be partly explained as efforts to maintain and expand the US Empire, for more control of the world oil market, and “to keep the world safe for our economy” by establishing military bases.
Violence hits the Empire at their strongest point, is as wrong, ineffective and counterproductive as the US violence and mobilizes against the perpetrators. Ruling out explanation as justification runs against Enlightenment rationality: solve problems by identifying causal chains, then removing causes like violence cycles and unresolved conflicts. But the US Empire stands in the way and will ultimately have to yield.
- between US and allies: very fluid. The US Empire does not want to be seen as theUSEmpire but as something generally supported by “advanced societies”, “civilized” as against “evil”, “chaotic” and “terrorist”. Washington builds coalitions with Allies in the NATO/TIAP/US-Japan systems, and others.
This contradiction (and many others) has never surfaced so clearly as in connection with the war against Iraq, but there were also tensions budding in connection with the Yugoslavia and Afghanistan operations. Public opinion is not an important variable here. Washington deals with governments and for that reason is very concerned with who are the members. The three ways of exercising power, persuasion, bargaining and threats, are best exercised behind closed doors so as not to be exposed to anything like the German Foreign Minister’s devastating remark to the US Secretary of Defense in München February 2003: “In a democracy you have to present arguments for your position, and your arguments are not convincing.” If the public knew what goes on behind closed door, like supporting an attack on Iraq in return for having somebody inscribed on the US list of terrorist organization, the opposition would increase.
In 2000 UK, Germany and Japan were seen as reliable allies. This failed to predict the German position, linked to the Social Democratic Party having been pressed already against its inner conviction over Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. Australia, however, was highly predictable as an Anglo-Saxon country[i], and Japan behaved as predicted. The cost-benefit analysis of the countries varies, but the trend is against unconditional support for the US Empire. A very sensitive contradiction that will sharpen if people exercise much more pressure on governments.
- between US hegemony in Eurasia and Russia‑India‑China: these are enormous countries, unconquerable so the USA has approached them through their fear of Muslim populations, in Chechnya, in Kashmir (and all over) and Xinjiang respectively. After the NATO expansion eastward and the USA-Japan alliance (with Taiwan and South Korea as de facto members) expansion westward from 1995, the three countries resolved most of their problems, came closer together (although not in a formal alliance). However, those moves were temporarily stopped by the USA aligning them against Islamic terrorism, meaning Muslims fighting for more autonomy/independence in the three places mentioned. The attack on Iraq seems to have sharpened the contradiction again as they do not participate in the occupation (knowing something about Islamic guerrillas). Nevertheless, the USA still has considerable market access and investment economic clout with all three governments.
- between USA‑led NATO and an EU army: this is not the same as the two preceding points which are more about abstaining from support, and countries feeling the pincer movement of the US Empire, possibly creating an alliance. Here we are dealing with a new multinational army of a potential superpower, creating identity problems for some members. The question, “why do they need this army when they have NATO?” has an answer in dualist logic: “this shows they are not entirely with us, hence they are against us.”
There will be much maneuvering behind closed doors concerning this contradiction. Yet, the general move will be in the direction of an EU Army for some members, building on the present Eurocorps, with a line of command that does not end in Washington, nor passes through Washington except for some exchange of information. For defensive purposes or a coming EU Empire? To take over the spoils?
[i]. But Canada and New Zealand, also Anglo-Saxon dominated, did not follow suit. Because they are more diverse, with non-Anglos like the French-speaking and First Canadians in Canada, and the Maoris in New Zealand to take into account? clearly, there is no longer a massive Anglo-Saxon bloc.
- between USA and the UN: the most powerful country in the world also uses the veto in the Security Council most frequently and has close to a de facto economic veto by withholding or withdrawing support for programs not to their liking, in addition to the US Empire clout on many UN members, like changing the conditions for loans according to voting pattern. That this behavior is resented stands to reason and that resentment came out in the open when the Anglo-Saxon USA/UK alliance failed to get their second resolution on Iraq accepted by the UNSC. However, very energetic US diplomacy and again US Empire clout prevented what Washington was afraid of using the Uniting for Peace resolution to lift an issue that has gotten stuck in the UNSC into the General Assembly. A UNGA debate and vote would make the limited support for an attack on Iraq rather than the French-German approach of deep UN inspection clear.
- between USA and the EU: this goes far beyond EU army vs NATO. The EU has today 15 members, by May 2004 there will be 25, with more to come. If the EU, very much in their own interest, decided to bridge the basic fault-lines in the whole European construction, between Orthodox and Catholic/Protestant Christianity, and between Islam and Christianity (from 1054 and 1095 respectively) by opening the EU for Russian and Turkish membership, well, then the USA would be very far behind indeed. We would be talking of 750 million+ inhabitants. The process of membership might have to be gradual, like X% increase per year in access to EU labor market against X% increase per year in access to resources. The relation to East Asia may be problematic, but the EU is also doing good work on this faultline. Moreover, a giant EU could only gain from abstaining from any imitation of the US Empire, signing up for UN support instead.
IV. Cultural Contradictions
- between US Judeo-Christianity and Islam: these are the Abrahamitic religions, and the expression Judeo-Christianity, so frequent in the USA, draws a wedge among them. With the recent fundamentalist alliance based on the idea that Armageddon is near and that the first coming of the Messiah and the second coming of Christ could be the same person, this contradiction has become very sharp indeed. But Islam is expanding very quickly, Christianity is not and the Jews are a small minority. This rift will mark clear borders against US Empire penetration. The young Saudi Wahhabite perpetrators on 9/11 may have acted more than they dreamt of on behalf of 1.3 billion Muslims, and not only 300 million Arabs. And this warlike relation, will limit US Empire expansion considerably.
- between US and the oldest civilizations: when people talk of fundamentalism, they usually mean the religious articulation of old cultures. Nevertheless, cultures are many-dimensional, including language and other forms of expression, and sacred times and sacred places in history and geography, anything. There are awakenings all over the world, seeing ancient non-Western cultures not as exotic museum objects to be observed but not lived. The destruction of artifacts from Sumer/Babylon in Iraq was seen as an effort to make the Iraqis governable by destroying other foci of identification. A typical example of a contradiction in an early, infant stage, but filled with potential for rapid maturation and powerful articulation.
- between US and European elite culture: the world, or so the West thinks, has four major geo-cultural Centers: the USA, the UK, France and Germany. Others can learn to imitate or produce exotica. France and Germany continue the struggle for cultural prevalence relative to the USA, with Anglo-Saxon UK being somewhere in between.
V. Social Contradictions
- between state‑corporate elites and working classes of unemployed and contract workers: the powerful US trade union complex, the AFL/CIO, voted for the first time against a war: Iraq. However, the working classes are today kept in line by the threat of unemployment and the inferiority of contract work relative to that vanishing category, the real position, with security. The state-corporate elites are better organized and at making themselves insubstitutable. They can make hire and fire become easy, with the ultimate threat of automation (“modernization”) settling issues.
The postmodern economy can do without workers, but not without customers. Firing workers, they fire customers by reducing their acquisitive power. The world middle classes can join by boycotting the products of the US Empire, like oil from Iraq, Boeing aircraft (one of the major death factories in the world); in general boycotting US consumer goods, capital goods and financial goods, like US dollars, stock and bonds – but keeping personal contacts.
- between older generation and youth: younger than ever, not only college students against the Viêt Nam war but high school students, easily mobilized through the Internet as long as that lasts. Maybe an element of myth versus reality in this: they have been served propaganda that seems very remote from reality. The same may apply to women, but here Washington has played the cards well: “homeland security” drives the issue home and women into the ranks defending the defenders of the home and the family. However, the other nations in the USA, the Inuits, Hawai’ians, First Nations, Chicanos, African Americans, could be pitted against the Anglo-Saxon, Southern Baptist, militarized Deep South, now in command. Hopefully they will not create an emergency to cancel elections they may not win.
And the Decline and Fall?
Have a look at the 14 contradictions, and then a look at the definition of an empire. The way of solving these contradictions eating at the heart of the system is very simple:
- for the 3 economic contradictions:reduce, even stop exploiting!
- for the 4 military contradictions:reduce, even stop killing!
- for the 2 political contradictions:reduce, even stop dominating!
- for the 3 cultural contradictions:reduce, even stop alienating!
- for the 2 social contradictions:reduce, even stop all the above!
For each reduction, the US Empire is, by definition,declining. For each stop the US Empire isfalling. Stop all four, and the US Empire isgone, although some may survive in residual forms like the Russian Empire in Chechnya and the British Empire in Iraq. The most dramatic recent example is possibly the dissolution of the French Empire: de Gaulle had the incredible personalgrandeurto terminate the whole empire (except for the Pacific and some other places) and like for the Soviet and British Empires a number of independent countries were born. Global capitalism, however, has a tendency to recreate transborder exploitation, and there are, as mentioned, residuals. A new world was born, however, in the 1960s from the Western empires, in the 1990s from the Soviet Empire.
Only the naive will assume that new world to be paradise on earth. New systems emerge with their contradictions. The rulers of the British, French and Soviet empires had concluded that the costs by far outrun the gains. Some others sometimes come to the conclusion that the costs of the fall, including for the Periphery, by far outrun the gains. That, of course, depends on the successor system, the alternative. This author favors United Nations global governance, and not an EU Empire. But that is another story.
The British and French empires were based on “overseas” colonies, the Soviet empire on contiguous, Czarist/Bolshevik, “union”, and the US Empire is based on what the Pentagon planner said, with the non-US Periphery being “independent” countries. This confuses some whose empire concept is linked to “colonies” and not to independent countries; and others whose concept is linked to “overseas”, not to contiguous territory. Still others got confused because three of these Centers are Western democracies, beyond the suspicion of ever committing major wrongs. The definition opening this essay is based on a relation of unequal exchange between Center and Periphery, not on Periphery geography or Center polity.
That unequal exchange, divided into four components, is the root contradiction of the empire as a system. From the four deep contradictions flow the fourteen surface contradictions, visible to everybody, the subject of journalism. The deep contradictions almost never are. Therefore, the basic model explored so far is:
Four deep contradictions imply 14 surface contradictions
As the 14 mature, synchronize and synergize the Center may loosen the grip on the Periphery in one conscious, enlightened act (de Gaulle) or see the Empire dissolve, slowly (UK) or quickly (the Soviet Union). USA, the choice is yours.
Nevertheless, the USA now behaves like a wounded elephant, lashing out in all directions. This is the boiling stage of demoralization, with emotions impeding rational thinking about is and ought, to be followed by a frozen stage, a “let go”, more like the Soviet Union, or Clinton. Demoralization is oscillating before it stabilizes. Like individual pathologies, healing is related to the ability to come on top of the pathology rather than the other way round. Like now, with the USA driven by a conflict mainly of its own making.
The model above can now be expanded:
 implies  implies Demoralization implies- implies -The 4 deep lead to 14 surface contradictions and demoralization which leads to a let go of Empire and the dissolution of the 14. However:the 4 may have deeper roots. Thus, where does the inequity come from? From an unfettered capitalism so inequitable that it needs some military protection. But where does capitalism come from? And all that violence? The cultural superiority complex with missionary right and duty, and no duty to understand other cultures, may be related to the sense of exceptionalism as God’s Chosen People and Country. But where does that idea come from? And so on and so forth. The 4 defining the US Empire are not uncaused, not unconditioned. But the focus here is on their removal and not on removing even deeper, but very evasive causes. This can happen through negative feedback loops via waning faith in the viability of the Empire as a system, in other words demoralization.
The 14 may have other roots.The economic contradictions come from capitalism; the USA was violent before the US Empire; some EU members may hate the US Empire because it stands in the way of their own ambitions; the same applies to competitive cultures such as an Islam that wants an expandingdar-al-Islam, the abode of Islam, as successor to the battlefield, thedar-al-harb. However, the world is better off under USA than under EU or Islam, some say.
There is some truth to all of that. Nevertheless, the problem is not only the US share of the world capitalist pie but also how it implies killing, domination and alienation. This has to decline, fall andgo, while paying attention to all the other contradictions.
There will be class, generation, gender, nation struggle also without the US Empire. True, but today that is the major problem.
The 14 may strengthen the resolve to maintain the 4. In the beginning, and one at the time, yes. Cosmetics may be applied, bland compromises entered, people articulating the contradictions silenced, ridiculed, persecuted, killed. It is thesynergy of several contradictionsthat leads to demoralization and ultimate decline. Contradictions between dominant and dominated nations within a country tend to bounce back and find new outlets. The dominated face brutal force but not nagging doubts about viability. Their national home is a dream untested by contradictions whereas the empire has been tested and found nonviable at any speed.
Demoralization may not negate the 4. What we are talking about is decreasing faith in the viability; even decreasing faith in the legitimacy, of the Empire, with boiling anger at first, then a frozen let go, with the possibility of an autonomous let go. Either the Center deliberately looses the grip, or the Periphery slips out its clammy, feeble claws. Either way, decline and fall.
However, after a phase of demoralization a new political class may decide not to let go but just the contrary, to strengthen the grip, like the USA is trying right now. Given the obvious, the impermanence of everything, this will only postpones the inevitable.
Negating the 4 may not negate the 14. This is certainly more true than untrue. As explored below, we may even talk about an objective contradiction having lost, or even crushed, its subject in search of a new subject. There are many other roots for many of the contradictions. That one contradiction (syndrome) may conceal another, the latter blossoming when the former is wilting, is clear. But that daoist insight will not stop contradictions from maturing. As to the US Empire, there is light at the end of a long and twisting tunnel. But after that tunnel there are new tunnels–
On Contradictions in General
The concept itself harbors contradictions in the sense of tensions among meanings. The common factor seems to be a whole, aholon, asystem, with at least two forces operating. The tension is between the forces. There is no assumption of only two forces, nor that they are exactly opposite, nor that they are of the same size. Newton’s Third Law is written that way, expressing a contradiction. That is a special case and should not distort our ideas of social systems. We need a more general discourse.
Before two or more forces let us explore the cases of 0 or 1.
Even with the vagueness of “force” it is not unreasonable to attribute the property “dead” to a system with no force, no movement, tendency, inclination. The objection may be that much happens to a buried corpse: “to” yes, but not “in”. The forces are exogenous to the system, not endogenous, like in a live organism.
Introduce one force, like running. The body spends energy. And the counterforce is not slow in announcing itself as fatigue, trying to change a motion into a non-motion referred to as “rest”. The mechanical analogue brings up the idea of R, a dynamically changing resultant force that reflects magnitude and direction of all forces. The system will move or rest with the resultant. R>0 means move, R=0 means equilibrium, R<0 means rest deficit.
Is a force always accompanied by a counterforce? Is there always areactiowith anactio? And in systems with foresight, could there even be aproactiofor any expectedactio? And apro-proactio? I find this a very useful an axiom in the analysis of social and personal systems. But I see no reason to assume thatreactioandproactioare necessarily opposed. They could also be aligned withactioand, at least to start with, reinforceactio.
The idea of force-counterforce twins might lead us to an even number of forces as they come in pairs. We do not say that one is producing or generating the other since that leads to an infinite number. Rather, we assume synchronicity; they are “co-arising” as Buddhist epistemology will have it rather than one force generating the next, generating the next, etc. And there is no reason to land on an even number. Another metaphor might be a bundle of forces somehow accounting for the tensions in the system.
Let us move from general talk about “systems” and “forces” to more specific social and personal systems. In the conceptual neighborhood is the idea of “conflict” as tension in goal-seeking systems because of incompatibility between the goals. Goals are then associated with life even when attributed metaphorically to non-life as in “mountains striving upward”. If incompatible goals are in the same system we have adilemma, if in different systems we have adispute. A goal-holder conscious of the goal is anactor, if not conscious aparty. And that brings in the major distinction between subjective and objective contradictions.
A subjective contradiction passes through and is reflected by the human brain; as thought/consciousness, as speech/articulation as action/mobilization. However, not necessarily in that order, intellectualized like a philosopher who first reflects, then writes and then – maybe does nothing. We could just as well assume the opposite order, the actor mobilizing for action out of old habit, then saying what he feels he thinks and thinking what he feels. Or any other sequence. But sooner or later there is consciousness.
With two goals we get two goal-seeking forces, A and B, and three possibilities for the resultant: R=A (A wins), R=B (B wins) or R=0, an in-between equilibrium, also known as a compromise.
At that point, the mechanical analogy breaks down. The three cases do not exhaust the possibilities. Moreover, they do not eliminate the contradiction. A or B wins does not mean that the dissatisfied loser no longer has the same or some other goal incompatible with the winner’s goal. The contradiction is still there, under the lid of the boiling cauldron of a defeat. And a compromise may leave both of them semi-dissatisfied. If we use the term “sharp” to describe the contradiction as it was, “blunt” may apply to a compromise. Nevertheless, how do we transcend the contradiction?
Since the three possibilities exhaust the logic of opposing forces within a system, the answer is “by changing the system”. This is what Gorbachev faced in the contradiction between the Soviet Empire and the social forces wanting basic change in the DDR: he let the DDR go. The contradiction now being between people and party elites in the DDR, the latter then yielded to West Germany, BRD, eventually to be absorbed by them. As a result, the Soviet Empire declined and fell and BRD absorbed DDR. The contradiction is still there, but finds other articulations.
And this is what Gorbachev’s successors never managed to do with Chechnya. All they could do was to prevent them from winning, not to transcend the contradiction. For that to happen they would have to let Chechnya go, which will happen sooner or later anyhow.
For the contradiction to be transcended, and the tension to be released, system change is needed, and more so the deeper the contradiction is in the system. An empire is not changed by suppressing, winning, over some party or even actor; that only makes the empire more imperial. An empire is changed by becoming less imperial. And that is known as a decline from the empire’s point of view. At the end of that road is its fall.
The stages in the contradiction life cycle can be summarized:
 Objective contradiction independent of consciousness
 Consciousness-formation through THOUGHT (intrasubjective)
 Articulation through SPEECH (intersubjective)
 Mobilization through ACTION (private and/or public)
 Struggle among mobilized actors
– violent or nonviolent
– quick or slow
– without or with outside parties mediating
– with less or more polarization = decoupling
 Outcomes of struggle
[a] prevalence or compromise – back to -
[b] transcendence = a new reality
– negative transcendence under a new actor
– positive transcendence as new coupling
Through the -- sequence a party becomes an actor pursuing goals by more or less adequate tactics chosen from .
[5a] does not end the lifecycle of a contradiction, only a lidonit or a bluntingofit, as has been argued above.
[5b], transcendence, is the end of that contradiction lifecycle. This does not mean the end/death of the system as it may harbor other contradictions at various lifecycle stages.
Transcendence, going beyond, is the creation of a new reality: –negativetranscendence, neither-nor; goals not achieved.
–positive transcendence, both-and; goals achieved, with a twist.
Take the Ecuador-Peru conflict over where to draw the border in a contested 500km2zone up in the Andes, with three wars to settle the issue. Military victory for one of them, annexing the zone to their national territory, is “prevalence”. Drawing a border, for instance along a ceasefire line, is “compromise”. Negative transcendence could be to give the zone to the UN or the OEA, creating a new social reality. And positive transcendence could be a binational zone, owning it together, with the twist that neither country has monopoly. A new reality. In addition, both new realities, systems, would in turn produce their own contradictions.
Time has then come to explore the problematic relations between objective and subjective contradictions.
A social system comes withdifferencesbetween categories– like genders, generations, races, classes, nations, territories– which then becomerelationsin an interaction system; which then becomefaultlines, usually because the interaction is on unequal terms; which then may lead topolarizationand astructure of discriminationaccompanied by aculture of prejudice. All known societies harbor more or less of these inequalities and inequities.
An empire uses such structures and cultures as building blocks, and can be seen as a two (or multi-)tier system linking domestic and global faultlines. There is a Center and a Periphery inthe global systemof countries. Inside the Center, and inside the Periphery, there is also a center and a periphery. All three systems may be based on the logic of quadruple inequity (for killers-killed sometimes substitute the softer guards-prisoners).
The linchpin in the system is the harmony between the center in the Center and the center in the Periphery. The USA is right now (Summer 2003) trying to construct an Iraqi center in harmony of interest with the USA state/corporate center. The Iraqi center must do the four jobs locally and deliver the fruits of unequal exchange such as economic value, wanted terrorists, obedience, conditioning to the center in the (USA/UK) Center, keeping a commission. They are rewarded with material living standard at a US elite level.
What has just been described is asimple empirelinking three systems of unequal exchange, two domestic and one global. The US empire iscomplex; being a world hegemon no domestic system is entirely delinked from that empire. The EU empire links 15 (soon 25) Center countries to 100+ Periphery countries, but softly so.
There are also other divisions than the faultlines in domestic and global society, like among political parties in more or less democratic societies, and groups of countries in an undemocratic global system. Social movements, the subjective contradictions, more or less conscious, articulated and mobilized across some primordial or newly created dividing lines, prepolarize the system, and are ready for , struggle. But for what?
Ideally for the objective contradiction, with an unresolved issue at the center which then has to become the cause of the movement. And that gives rise to basic problem ofadequacyin the coupling between subjective and objective contradictions, between the causes and the issues. Both are parts of social reality. But the movements may have an inadequate consciousness and cut the issues wrongly. And the issue may be an orphan, waiting to be picked up by a movement with adequate consciousness. There may be a contradiction between movement contradiction and issue contradiction. And the result is bad, derailed politics.
Thus, the subjective contradiction in Myanmar/Burma between the autocratic military government SLORC and the pro-democracy movement headed by a woman, identified with one nation in a multi-national society, one upper/middle class in a very poor society, married to a Westerner in a country developing its own identity, may be inadequate for the objective contradictions of the country. From a Western point of view the basic contradictions are autocracy vs (Western) democracy and closure vs openness of the country to economic and cultural penetration. The subjective contradiction is adequate for those issues. But there are other issues. Inadequacy may derail the process. The objective and the subjective must somehow mirror each other.
Thus, Gandhi had literally speaking to divest himself of his Westernness and his high caste paraphernalia, become very Hindu and share the living conditions of the lower castes and untouchables before he could lead Indian masses toward freedom and democracy. The leader of Free India, however, Jawaharlal Nehru, was very Western, very high caste, very secular and steered India exactly in that direction. Gandhi wanted an India based on the “oceanic circles” of autonomous, self-reliant villages; Nehru a modern, secular, industrial, socialist India. The subjective matters.
Liberals tend to study the subjective movements and Marxists the objective issues. The argument here is for both-and, and more particularly for the contradiction between the two contradictions.
An example from Norway: the objective contradiction a century ago between the “well conditioned” and the majority “populace”, in steep livelihood gradients, and the subjective contradictions in the party system. The populace lived on farming, fishing, hunting, and as employees; the well conditioned from fortune, as employers or self-employed. There were grey zones. The Labor Party, through an act of political genius, created an alliance of farmers, fishermen and industrial workers, very adequately posited against the well conditioned. They won the elections, prevailed for two generations, and created a new social reality, the welfare state.
That society had its own objective contradictions, positing a minority of aged-women-frail/handicapped-foreign workers against the rest. Uncarried by adequate subjective contradictions the objective contradiction deepens in the midst of plenty. The Labor Party was totally inadequate. And the issue remains unsolved.
Movements against the US Empire: social reality is complex.
Only when cause and issue coincide will the movements be adequate.
. From Susan George, “The Corporate Utopian Dream”,The WTO and the Global War System, Seattle, November 1999. He is missing the political dimension and might have added “a fair amount of bullying” or “arm-twisting” after killing.
. For this way of seeing reality, see Johan Galtung,Peace By Peaceful Means, London: SAGE, 1996, chapter 2.
. That not very intelligent term obscures the difference between those who are against both Republic and Empire (americaphobia?; very few, it seems) and those who are against one but not the other. Unconditional love for both, (americaphilia?) is quite frequent. It should be noted that “America” actually refers to the whole hemisphere, making the term “anti-American” also a sign of geographical confusion.
. Many pairs come to mind, we just pick five as examples:
Mossadegh was intervened, the Shah’s dictatorship not;
Very much has been done to overthrow Castro, not Batista;
very much was done to overthrow the Sandinistas, not Somoza;
very much is being done to overthrow Chavez, not Jimenez;
Lumumba was intervened and killed, not Mobutu.
The basic criterion is “free trade”, not democracy/dictatorship.
. Johan Galtung,The Decline and Fall of Empires: A Theory of De-development, Geneva: UNRISD, 1995 (but not published by them), seewww.transcend.org.
. Johan Galtung, with Tore Heiestad and Erik Rudeng, on the decline and fall of empires: the Roman empire and Western imperialism compared. Oslo: University of Oslo, Chair in Conflict and Peace Research, 71 pp. (Trends in Western civilization program, 15), (Oslo Papers, 75). Also published at: Tokyo: UN University, 1979, 71 pp (HSDRGPID‑l/UNUP‑53), and in Immanuel Wallerstein (ed.)Review. New York: Research Foundation of the State University of New York, IV, 1980, 1, pp. 91‑154. Condensed version in: Comprendre: revue de politique de la culture, XLIII/XLIV, (1977/78), pp. 50‑59.
. Johan Galtung, with Dag Poleszynski and Erik Rudeng,Norge foran 1980‑årene(Norway facing the 1980s). Oslo: Gyldendal, 1980, p. 85.
. But Canada and New Zealand, also Anglo-Saxon dominated, did not follow suit. Because they are more diverse, with non-Anglos like the French-speaking and First Canadians in Canada, and the Maoris in New Zealand to take into account? clearly, there is no longer a massive Anglo-Saxon bloc.
. In the USA, the alternative is often seen in terms of a Chinese Empire, in line with the old Anglo-Saxon tradition of seeing the relation between No. 1 and No. 2 in power as zero sum game. For England, the country allegedly with no permanent friends, no permanent enemies but permanent interests, this used to be France, but after the country was beaten by united Germany in 1870-71 and displayed its industrial prowess the Germany was appointed enemy. China as enemy disregards thousands of years of Chinese history with no imperial systems outside the borders of the Himalayas, the Gobi, the Tundra and the Sea. China is self-centered in its development/modernization and still tends to see the world outside those borders as South, West, North and East Barbarians.
. Thus, the author’s “A Structural Theory of Imperialism” (inEssays in Peace Research, Volume IV, Copenhagen: Ejlers, 1980, pp. 437-91) is underlying the development of the theory of imperialism into its decline and fall in this essay.
Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of theTRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environmentand rector of theTRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. Hehas published 164 bookson peace and related issues,of which 41 have been translated into 35 languages, for a total of 135 book translations, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’published by theTRANSCEND University Press-TUP.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 25 April 2016.