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From West Maui, Hawai‘i
What a week – Read Part I of World History Unfolding here !
And we have no idea how many weeks are ahead of us!! We only know that the process cannot be reversed, and we can watch on CNN+ one reason why: That lack of understanding, picking the wrong discourses. Nobody will deny that political repressions into the grotesque and economic distortion causing great misery are basic to what is unfolding. But the autocrats unmasked are also puppets at work, which should attract attention to the puppeteering in the USA and Israel.
Israel, evidently in total panic at the structure they believed to be relatively solid, based on the Camp David “peace” treaty and a peace “process” is more honest. Their concerns vary, from: 1: the supply of gas from Egypt, via 2: deep concerns whether a new Egypt will “cooperate” keeping Gaza isolated, blocking the tunnels, via 3: asking the USA to see to it that the peace treaty will remain intact, to 4: offering Omar Suleiman, the notorious vice president (of vices indeed!) of Egypt and head of the secret services since 1993 (the mukhabarat), services to keep Egypt stable. That very same Omar Suleiman, who in 1995 organized the torture of the victims of rendition by the US. Israel furthermore raises the question of 5: a possible reoccupation of Sinai to secure the “southern front” of Israel, the newly appointed head of the Israel “defense” forces being a northern front specialist. To question the fundamentals of the Israeli construction: see Ha‘aretz.
In the meantime the USA is playing who knows what double or triple games, maybe pushing Obama up front for his favorite “change” rhetoric, slowly indicating that Mubarak’s expertise may be needed for the transition. In the meantime probably cooperating with Israel for all 5 of the concerns mentioned above.
Evidently they were all taken by surprise. So were the media, and the public at large. Two empires at work: a world empire peaking in Washington and a regional empire in Jerusalem. How can anybody be surprised that there could be some resistance and not only in the shape of “terrorist” action?
Answer: because imperialism does not enter as analytical category. Question: why? Answer: because it is a complex category, with economic, political and cultural elements backed up by military action, establishing a center in the Periphery countries, rewarding them well with Camp David bribery money, turning the eye when they loot and abuse their own people, demanding political loyalty in return, exporting their culture under such labels as modernity and democracy, always ready to send the marines when needed, sending the CIA-Mossad sharks before that, as warning. Undoubtedly putting 4 or 5 brain cells to use may help in the analysis of this matter.
Instead of having a closer look at this holistic construction and evaluating its fragility when exposed to inevitable counter-forces (always a part of holism that dialectic perspective), they resort to some kind of intellectual infantilism, focusing on minor factors in the chain of events, like the social media-facebook, twitter or internet in general and “the Al Jazeera factor”-as if people have not been able to make revolts like the American, the French and the Russian by word of mouth and chains of communication before that. But holism-dialectics is not at home in US intellectualism, they probably smack of New Age and marxism for those who have heard those words, and not of, say, the Chinese cultural comparative advantage over the West’s aristotelianism-cartesianism and deductive pyramids at the foundation of their socio-political theories (of course, a good formula would be both-and, and more). Hence they will only make piecemeal changes before the whole thing collapses, including sending the marines.
This is written on Superbowl Day 2011, in Dallas, Texas, where snowfall -obviously terrorist- is threatening the stadium and that sacred time and place. Maybe the USA should focus on such events rather than messing up the lives of so many countries and peoples. They do it well and take great pleasure doing so, like they manage the life of the rich and the super-rich in West Maui, for instance.
But instead of focusing more on genuinly improving the domestic conditions in the U.S.A, President Obama’s State of the Union speech had competition on very traditional lines as its theme. Why not focus on improving the USA, competing with itself, winning over yesterday, yesteryear, September 2008 with a deeper analysis and practice? Competition in education, research and infrastructure -the point is not to beat other countries on these three. The point in a democracy would be to serve the people. There will be no improvement in education anyhow with an idiotizing TV being the major guide to the what goes on in the world – admittedly now with the better part of the Internet as a competitor. How can a child learn with parents focused on TV, and no books available? How can there be real re-search, opening new perspectives, when so much is in the service of today’s business? Is the point about infra-structure to have faster trains -it looks like the USA now wants to join that game – than others OR is it about 1: Opening all kinds of facilities including access to land for alternative, more cooperative ways of running the basic economy – that dimension of the economy serving the basic needs of the most needy? 2: Healthcare for instance, that dense network of polyclinics equipped for the most common diseases of the highest possible number of occurances with generic medicines – not waiting for the prices to go even further up when the health insurance reform makes the government pay?
Harping on old imperial themes, no deep cuts for the military, no gun control, will not help. Nor will closing one’s eyes to reality. Nor, indeed, using too few brain cells at the same time.
The USA is deeply challenged. We hope for a deeper response.
Prof. Johan Galtung is acting rector of the TRANSCEND PEACE UNIVERSITY: An All-Online educational facility for academic Peace Studies. Born in 1930 in Oslo Norway, Prof. Johan Galtung holds a PhD in mathematics from 1956 and a PhD in sociology from 1957. He is widely known as the pioneering founder of the academic discipline of peace studies. He has served as a professor for peace studies and peace research at the universities of Olso, Berlin, Cairo, Belgrad, Paris and Hawaii, just to name a few, and has mediated in about 50 conflicts between states and nations since 1957.