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和平仍然是可能的


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全球多数时代
● 新时代 /  [塞尔维亚]日瓦丁·约万诺维奇(Zivadin Jovanovic)
● 和平仍然是可能的 / [ 瑞典] 扬·奥伯格(Jan Oberg)

文|[瑞典] 扬·奥伯格(Jan Oberg)    瑞典隆德跨国和平与未来研究基金会创始人、主任、博士        翻译|许钦铎

导读

“美国和西方日益衰弱而且跟不上时代变化,但却选择否认这一点,并将新兴的政治经济力量视为对其统治地位的致命挑战,视其对自身福利造成威胁。当然,更好的选择是双赢:如果你无法击败他们,那就加入他们” 


向以色列种族灭绝行为提供支持的回旋镖效应

对于美国、北约、欧盟来说,这将是自我毁灭

中东还能出现某种和平吗?

衰退还是“误判”,或两者兼而有之?

过去二十年的衰退因素

积极上升因素

不是结论,而是一些关于暴力的思考

 


本文从加沙种族灭绝着手。在撰写本文时,这场悲剧仍在继续上演。 它分析了西方制造的多重危机所带来的更大的破坏性协同作用。

文章还指出了一个方向,也就是,我们希望 – 最终也有可能 – 出现对人类有积极意义的发展。新的机会可以从制度危机中产生并催生新的制度,但不可否认,情况并非总是如此。

一个主要的基本论点是,虽然暴力可能会伤害其客体,但暴力使用者、暴力的主体也永远会受到伤害,随着时间的推移,甚至会达到自我毁灭的程度。

任何依赖暴力的文明都无法长期繁荣和生存。因此,未来世界的每一个愿景都必须包含减少各种形式暴力的机制。

 

向以色列种族灭绝行为提供支持的回旋镖效应

我一直在期待世界主要国家立即要求以色列领导层停止对巴勒斯坦人民的不道德、非法和野蛮——以及故意——的种族灭绝。 但没有任何国家对以色列施加任何实质性压力。 可悲的是,大多数西方政府却默默地或公开地、被动地或主动地支持以色列。这是值得注意的,因为1948年《种族灭绝公约》专门且明确地载有国际社会有义务防止或制止种族灭绝的条款。

哈马斯于2023年10月7日对以色列发动的可怕恐怖袭击值得谴责,因为从哲学上讲,除了暴力之外,总有其他选择。 甘地或小马丁·路德·金不会选择哈马斯的抵抗选择。

但正如联合国秘书长安东尼奥·古特雷斯所说,这并不是凭空发生的。人们必须在占领者或压迫者与被占领者或受害者之间的不对称冲突的结构框架内看待它——这是借助多种类型暴力(包括日常心理暴力和羞辱)来维持的以色列定居者殖民主义。

以色列和其他国家一样,拥有自卫权,但 a) 通过种族灭绝进行自卫,从本质上来说是不可接受的,b) 任何被占领的人民都有权抵抗。

但还不清楚到底发生了什么。以色列、美国和其他情报部门怎么可能错过了哈马斯必须花费数月时间准备的所有苗头?埃及军事当局是否曾亲自对可能发生的袭击警告过以色列和内塔尼亚胡总理,但徒劳无功?难道以色列早就知道了这件事并未阻拦从而提供一个借口吗?那么,关于以色列领导人与哈马斯派别合作并向他们提供大笔资金的持续报道又该如何理解呢?

越来越多的信息和当地专家的说法支持了一个可怕的假设,即以色列事前知道哈马斯的袭击计划并让它发生。据称,以色列边境设施连狐狸都无法穿过;但是,哈马斯几乎不受干扰地折腾了几个小时。

有许多迹象表明,国际政治,特别是地缘政治,并没有折射出一个高度文明、教育发达和道德高尚的世界。令人难以置信而且特别的是,犹太复国主义以色列这个犹太民族国家的系列行为并没有促使任何一个西方国家改变对其支持、谴责其行为,或者主张制裁、断绝外交关系,或要求追究内塔尼亚胡总理的法律责任,当然也没有发出逮捕令。

此外,没有人提出曾经一度流行的人道主义干预政策——国家保护责任(R2P)这个论据,尽管这个理论非常适合加沙种族灭绝。

相反,西方政客似乎相信,他们已经说了一些重要的话:我们与以色列站在一起!这是智力和道德上的懒惰:与一个人站在一起并谴责另一个人,不需要对潜在冲突有认知或者深入的理解。这种态度还阻碍了各种中立、公正的专业调解和冲突解决方面的努力。

事实上,它导致各方成千上万人的死亡,这毫无道德可言,因为完全有可能找到其它应对中东冲突方式。

在乌克兰,欧盟和北约国家站在了被入侵的弱者一边。 在这场战争中,它与强者以色列站在一起。以色列是一个拥有核武器的种族隔离占领者,在北约和欧盟政府的完全同意下,它建造了人类历史上最大的监狱。

所有这一切与这些国家对俄罗斯所采取一边倒的强烈谴责和制裁措施形成了鲜明对比:俄罗斯入侵乌克兰行为有悖国际法,但其面临挑衅而且可以说事出有因。

在这种情况下,沉默意味着同谋。与以色列开展活跃的、持续的或者强化的经济、政治和军事合作也是如此。 毫无疑问,投票反对永久停火与此类似,这是1945年以来西方最严重的种族灭绝事件。

如果美国或其他有影响力的西方政府下定决心,并表示必须以各种方式孤立以色列,直到它停止对无辜人民的残酷、蓄意和有系统的袭击,那么以色列就会不得不停止。

看来是尾巴摇狗,本末倒置了。以色列靠着美国老大的支持,什么事都可以逍遥法外。两国都践行国家例外主义,并且都是建立在消灭其领土上原始人口的基础之上。

长远来看,这种持续不断的种族灭绝可能会产生巨大的后果。世界其他国家 — 北约和欧盟世界之外的85%的国家——将对15%的西方国家所表现出的巨大且令人难以置信的虚伪和系统性的双重标准得出自己的结论。

在我们的世界,许多国家经历过殖民主义,有着被占领的历史。它们可能会感到更加强烈的渴望远离西方。西方宣扬人权,但却对人权彻底忽视。他们竭尽所能以最不正当的手段实现其地缘战略目标,且对此毫不避讳。

加沙发生的事情之所以发生,是因为那是西方的利益所在。如果没有利益关系,它早就可以阻止悲剧发生了。

 

对于美国、北约、欧盟来说,这将是自我毁灭

以下是一些可能的后果:

● 如果以色列和全世界的大多数犹太人不立即明确地与以色列这个犹太国家犯下的罪行划清界限,反犹太主义和反犹太复国主义将会蔓延。
● 一些专家预测,长远看来,这将导致以色列成为全球非西方国家眼中的贱民国家,并最终导致我们以色列的灭亡。
● 由于以色列是美国最亲密的盟友,这种发展将进一步削弱美国的地位。
● 恐怖主义将呈螺旋式上升。
● 难民问题和费用将成倍增加;全世界已经有1.1亿人被迫流离失所,还有更多人生活在战乱不断的地区。
● 以色列缺乏合理性的军事行动持续的时间越长、破坏性越大,欧盟和北约内部的重要分歧和裂痕就会发生。
● 在面临失去中东地区的可能下,美国和北约最终将军事介入中东。这很可能带来更大规模的战争。在遍及整个中东地区的新冲突中,阿拉伯世界和伊朗将重新结盟,他们也将与俄罗斯和中国结盟。
● 西方价值观、道德权威和合法性,不管还有多少剩余,都将丧失殆尽。
● 全球各地公民将走上街头,抗议将资源浪费在枪支而不是黄油上。他们还将越来越多地表现出人类与生俱来的同情心和对巴勒斯坦人的声援,因为巴勒斯坦人是今天——引用弗兰茨·法农 (Franz Fanon)1961年著作的标题——“地球上的受苦者”。

 

中东还能出现某种和平吗?    

这个极其复杂的问题不可能在短时间内得到解决,但也不能被忽视不管和放弃,因为医生绝不能只是做出诊断和悲惨的预后,然后把病人丢在一边。因此,让我引用最近由跨国和平与未来研究基金会(TFF)约30名成员签署的关于加沙种族灭绝的声明。本作者是该基金会的联合创始人兼董事:

“我们仍然相信犹太人和巴勒斯坦人可以生活在一起——他们中的许多人也这么认为。即使在目前令人震惊的情况下,双方人民和组织仍然坚持认为,他们的生活是密不可分的,和平共处是可能的。

要实现这一目标将是一条漫长而痛苦的道路——而且只有在所有人享有平等权利的前提下才有可能实现这一目标。

这需要外部的巨大压力和内部的非暴力革命才能将以色列转变为一个公正、尊重人权和尊重法律的真正的民主国家。

我们需要将整个中东视为一个地区——我们需要其密切联系的经济、文化和政治网络,来建立一个像欧安组织那样的地区冲突解决机制。这样以来,在未来几年的时间里,各方可以通过对话达成他们可以接受的长期目标。

有许多可能的因素——和平、经济、政治的密切关系;地区和自治区的创立;在互利共赢模式下在相关领土的合作;与世界其他地区(包括全球南方国家)的关系前景;中国的“一带一路”倡议(BRI)在本地区的发展。

战争不需要才智或创造力;缔造和平则两者都需要。

必须平息暴力才能走向这样的文明进程。我们需要立即停火。

理想情况下,我们需要一个庞大的联合国特派团来解除以色列和哈马斯的武装,让双方都无法再次发动战争。然后是来自世界各地的斡旋,政府(当然更多的是非政府)调解、协商、对话,这些努力会触及到每一个细节:各方到底担心什么,他们到底想要什么?

最终,经过多年的和平建设进程——各方最终将坐在谈判桌前,然后签署一项和平共处的协议,包括军方和民间。

解决冲突意味着解决双方之间的问题。它不能通过暴力、纠结于过去或对彼此针锋相对来取得成功。

相反,一个大型、综合、长期的和平方案,也就是对未来美好的愿景和设想,进行讨论、评估和总结,会将最好的元素组合安排,成就未来。

你无法改变过去,但你可以改变未来。啊-不!- 每个人都不会高兴,但所有人都可以对某些事情感到高兴,而且可以从中看到子孙们更美好的未来。

这也是真相与和解委员会可以发挥作用的地方——毕竟所有宗教都有治愈功能,都鼓励宽恕。

和平仍然是可能的。

 

衰退还是“误判”,或两者兼而有之?    

从世界秩序的另一层含义来说,加沙种族灭绝确实不是在真空中发生的。在此之前,美国、北约、欧盟等西方世界已经在其它方面做出巨大的、自我毁灭性的误判。

有些人可能会争论——并非没有道理——我在下面提到的堕落因素绝不仅仅是“误判”;它们是从全球帝国结构演绎而来,这样的结构必然会以这种方式处理危机,因为它是一个军国主义帝国,一个旨在以其“圣经”(价值观)和“剑”(战争、基地和军火贸易)统治世界其他地区的帝国。

我认为这两种观点并不存在内在或必然的矛盾。所有的帝国都会在崛起、成熟和成长之后走向衰落,然后开始发展至四处破裂。流行的说法是,过度扩张、过度军事化、在他人眼中日益缺乏合法性、集体傲慢等等。

经过长时间地顺利发展,一种智力、道德和经济上的“疲惫”开始显现出来:“我们”可以侥幸逃脱一切(我们却因他人的小问题而给予惩罚)。 我们是无所不能的; 我们是领导者。 然后,思考能力的衰退助长了军事发展和其他军备力量发展,狂妄自大和系统“超载”随之而来。

“我们”失去了谦逊,失去了从他人和自己的错误中学习的能力,然后决策的质量往往会因缺乏广泛的分析、因为恐慌、因为对他人持续服从的期待而下降:“我们不可能错”综合症,“我们”对于那些不支持我们议程的事实或观点态度漠视:危险的群体思维强化了我们无所不能的感觉,做出了一个又一个糟糕的、适得其反的决定。

随着时间的推移,这种趋势自我强化,机制带来的问题不断累积:帝国的衰落不是由外部威胁造成的,而是由系统内部的自我破坏带来的——当然,我们会投射到他人身上——是这些人威胁到我们,“攻击并伤害我们”。这里重要的两个因素是“否认”与将自己的阴暗归结到他人身上的心理政治投射。

 

过去二十年的衰退因素    

我所说的“下降”或“衰退”因素是指一系列更大的政策和趋势,随着时间的推移,这些政策和趋势会削弱实力和破坏愿景,最终成为系统崩溃的主要原因。

当一个系统崩溃时,总是可以讨论它在什么时候开始的。首先是一点点,然后裂纹越来越大,速度越来越快。就西方统治体系而言,可以从当时所谓的第三世界的去殖民化斗争开始算起。 或者,更具体地说,它可以从1975年越南战争的惨败开始,尼克松也因水门事件而辞职。

1. 作为对2001年9月11日事件的回应,美国仓促发动了全球反恐战争。这是一场全球战争——目标不是思考恐怖分子为什么成为恐怖分子,而是针对恐怖分子本身。但你不能通过杀死恐怖分子来消灭恐怖主义;每杀死一个人,就会有十个新人准备为他们的事业献身。结果,数百万人被杀死、被受伤或者流离失所,特别是在中东地区。但是,恐怖主义问题正如大量预测所指出的那样并没有得到解决。

在“9·11”之后,美国思考的问题是:他们是怎么做到的? 他们是谁?但从来没有提出最核心的问题:他们为什么要这样做? 我们也可能会问,攻击目标为什么是美帝国的经济、政治和军事中心?

2. 西部的西方国家对第一次冷战结束和东部的西方国家(即苏联及其主导的华沙条约组织成员)灭亡的反应方式。尽管北约存在的理由——东方集团——已经消失,美国和北约并没有废除北约,而是选择对世界实行残酷的单极化和全面的主导政策,并鲁莽地利用了他们的东方兄弟的虚弱。北约对南斯拉夫以及对塞尔维亚和科索沃的非法轰炸只是早期的案例之一。

所有在欧洲建立新和平框架的机会都丧失了。俄罗斯被视为朋友并受到尊重,这种可能性没有了。取而代之的是一系列的屈辱性事件,包括北约国家的干预和战争。这在苏联和华沙条约存在时绝不会发生的。

3. 冷战结束以及苏联和华沙条约组织解体后,北约进行扩张而不是废除。西方利用单极世界秩序,傲慢地将北约向十个东欧国家进行扩张,特别是吸引乌克兰加入北约,这种不存在可能性的尝试显然意味着灾难。当扩大计划进展不顺利时,美国及其北约盟国将乌克兰变成了削弱俄罗斯的代理人,因为这不会给任何北约国家带来人员伤亡。这样做的结果是,乌克兰将遭受数十万人死伤、巨大的经济破坏和腐败,而且需要几十年的时间才能重建。它也不会收复失去的领土。

尽管所有西方重要领导人都亲自向最后一任苏联总统戈尔巴乔夫做出了有据可查的承诺,但这一切还是发生了。当时的说法是,只要他接受东德与西德在北约内统一,北约就不会向东扩张“一英寸”。

4. 美国和西方针对中国的长期冷战。他们制造出来的系统性的、负面的、自我破坏性的中国形象,其实与中国的现实无关。但这一切都与衰落的“宗族”帝国对自己处境的感知有关。自己日益衰弱而且跟不上时代变化,但却选择否认这一点,并将新兴的政治经济力量视为对其统治地位的致命挑战,视其对自身福利造成威胁。

当然,更好的选择是双赢:如果你无法击败他们,那就加入他们。

5. 美国摧毁北溪管道是有史以来最广泛的基础设施破坏行动,再加上西方制裁的负面效果和针对欧洲最大国家俄罗斯的新铁幕,这一切——随着时间的推移——很可能会对欧洲产生难以言喻的破坏——无论在政治层面、经济层面还是不断扩张的军事投资购买武器装备方面。

西方现在基本上是把枪炮放在黄油之前,他们可能会走向完全毁灭性的战争经济状态,从而让社会经济和文化遭到破坏。

6. 这也与一种实际上不可能引起公众讨论的现象有关,即军国主义和无休无止的战争。我敢说,西方已经陷入了军事化的深渊。

当然,这与美国和北约国家自越南以来的每一场战争都以失败结束这个事实有关——在军事方面、法律方面、道德方面的失败,尤其是人心方面的失败(试图赢得被轰炸、被入侵或被占领国家的人们的支持)。除了那些参与这些战争的少数高薪者和腐败精英之外,他们在任何地方都没有赢得人心。

在全球“其他”国家人眼中,西方国家可能因其手机、流行音乐、娱乐和文化、消费主义生活方式以及财富数字等而具有吸引力。但它们不再像从20世纪50年代一直到2000年左右那样受到钦佩、信任,当然也不再受到喜爱。

7. 对加沙种族灭绝的支持摧毁了西方仅存的一些体面、合法性和权威。 怎么可以一方面宣扬人权、国际法和人道主义法、民主和自由,另一方面又让对占领者实行种族隔离的国家进行种族灭绝——并仅称之为“以色列与哈马斯的战争”?

西方国家这些短视的灾难性政策迟早会带来自我毁灭和挫败。狂妄自大和拒绝接受现实是一种危险的心理政治鸡尾酒。它违背了事实,为进入荒蛮状态铺平了道路。

可悲的是,就像吸毒者一步步毁掉自己的生活一样,这些堕落因素从根本上来说是西方国家自己造成的。没有人威胁西方的存在。

当美帝国最终垮台时,将是它自己造成的。就像癌症一样,它的破坏力和攻击力战胜了它的建设性和防御力,并消耗了文化创新能力和道德威信。失去这些之后,乘客很快就会像泰坦尼克号一样跳船。

8. 非理性主义和情感主义正在取代基于科学的理性分析和民主决策。 本文作者专门从事基于研究而进行的国际事务分析和辩论已有四十多年。理性分析,即不同知识分子和学术流派在真正自由的思想和研究框架内的竞争,这种状况实际上已经消失了。

西方现在的决策大多依赖于符合既定议程的构建叙事,通过所谓的自由媒体(很少对当权者进行批评)传播,并在闭环中运作,强化了精英们的信念,即“我们是正确的,我们不可能犯错。” 如果他们犯了错误,他们就会换个说法或责备别人。

如果这有些夸张,我们举一个例子来看一下,也就是芬兰和瑞典如何决定加入北约的:没有通过赞成或者反对进行全面分析,几乎没有公开辩论,主流媒体却都表态支持。瑞典、芬兰和丹麦与美国签署双边“防务”协议也是如此,这意味着美国将有权使用芬兰的15个基地、瑞典的17个基地和丹麦的3个基地。

这些决定和几十年来国家主权政策的做法背道而驰。这些协议是在议会通过之前签署的,就丹麦而言,美国国务卿布林肯首先向丹麦人通报了情况,而在他宣布这一消息的第二天,首相和国防部长才向丹麦公众通报了情况。所有这一切都仅仅是装饰:已经签署的协议无法更改,并且在未来十年内都具有约束力(!)

由于政治学、国际关系和和平研究方法变得可有可无,人们必须转向其他知识源泉来理解西方政治。

因此,我们需要心理学、精神病学和宗教学的概念和理论来理解指责他人的做法、情感主义、心理政治投射、假定无罪、否认、强迫性重复、偏执、寻找替罪羊做法、报复和侵略,这些在美国、北约和欧盟国家的各种政策中都有充分显现。

因此,冲突分析、冲突解决、调解、维持和平、谈判与和解——更不用说和平——不再属于西方外交的词汇,也不再出现在国家资助的研究或主流媒体中。

总而言之,西方正在走向一场事故。由于对乌克兰(现在是双重受害者)的自我毁灭性武装做法,西方的合法性、知识和道德储备底蕴甚至比其武器库更加空洞。

 

积极上升因素    

除了上述8个衰退因素,还有积极向上因素。虽然占人类人口15%的西方正在衰落,但全球非西方国家(或全球南方国家,其中大部分从文化角度来说是东方)正在崛起,占全球85%的人口在崛起。

主流媒体不会采用这种宏观历史视角; 媒体“用此时此地”的术语描述世界:单个事件或新闻报道成为焦点。相反,我们需要时间和空间的宏观视角:这个或那个单一事件在更深层次上到底是什么——水面下十分之九的冰山是什么样子的?

从这个角度来看,正在出现的变化是对西方领导力和主导地位的巨大挑战,但并不是为了伤害或摧毁西方。

相反,它必须被视为世界秩序——全球社会和人类未来——的一次巨大的长期重建过程。从帝国的产生、崛起、衰落和消亡的意义上来说,这是一个自然的过程。

从这个角度来看,美国主导的西方国家会自然地将其衰落归咎于其他国家——当然尤其是最大的“崛起者”中国。但这种态度对西方没有帮助。自我批评自我反思与对未来共同合作的新思考相结合会更有帮助。

那么,这个上升因素意味着什么呢?

在不对每一点进行辩论的情况下(那样做将需要一本包含例证、类别和例外的书来解),让我们用简短的俳句提一下这些可能的国际秩序过渡迹象:

● 从相信一位上帝或最高权威转向相信多种信仰和价值体系的共存;
● 从对抗性的、传教式的单极转向合作性的、非传教式的、双赢的合作多极。
● 从中心和外围(垂直架构)到有机圆形(水平架构)- 或某种混合模式。
● 从非此即彼、要么支持我们要么反对我们走向共同和包容性关系。
● 从身体和灵魂分裂走向更好的平衡。
● 从物质主义转向精神主义,走向更好的平衡。
● 从线性和相对短期的角度转向循环和长期的思考。
● 从发展、顶峰和衰退轨迹方式到永久的循环方式。
● 从责备(邪恶)个人带来冲突和暴力转向我们可以决定和改变的(邪恶)结构;
● 从自上而下的依赖、涓滴发展转向区域自力更生、全方位的涓滴发展。
● 从践行“文明使命”走向相互学习。
● 从坚持不兼容转向博采众长、结合多种制度和思维长处。
● 从核武器和其他进攻性武器作为主要安全保障转向军事和民用工具的混合型防御性,转向人类安全、共同安全以及包容性、教育赋能的冲突解决方式,尽可能减少暴力。(《联合国宪章》)。
● 从杀人的冲动转向解决问题和促进和平共处的能力(例如 1954 年的“潘查希拉”及其和平共处五项原则)。
● 从开始和结束的末世论思维转向“唯一不变的是变化”、没有开始也没有结束的概念化。

这些社会宇宙论的例子意味着什么?

首先,非物质思维非常重要。 马克思主义和其他“基础”唯物主义将成为过去。“上层建筑”正浮出水面:思想、愿景和哲学——跨文化对话中的思考——将变得更加重要,因为物质数量有限,但非物质无限。

其次,这些例子并不是预测。 我们并不是说未来世界就是这样。 第一,这样做过于理想化和简单化; 第二,我们想要传达的是,随着西方的衰落,人类现在有了一个绝佳机会,用新方式来思考——一些方式受到西方最优实践的启发,一些方式借鉴了几种全球南方文化、历史哲学和宇宙论,当然包括来自中国历史和现代哲学,如儒家、佛教、道家。

拿来主义,不拘一格,绝不强加!摆脱了西方知识统治的束缚,新的世界秩序语法正在成为可能。

 

不是结论,而是一些关于暴力的思考   

我对暴力和冲突进行了区分,认为暴力总是源于各方没有能力处理的一些潜在的冲突。冲突是各方之间需要解决的问题。这与政客和媒体几乎总是在各方之间选边站队、互相推卸罪责和仇恨截然不同。

换句话说,暴力始终是一种症状,无论它多么令人厌恶,向冲突投入更多武器会带来更多暴力,只会让一切变得更糟。这也导致消耗更多的时间才能找到解决方案:要么在新环境中和平共处,要么彼此隔离。

简单地说,冲突不一定发生暴力,但是暴力之下一定有冲突。

前面提到的所有衰落因素中的一个前后连贯的维度就是暴力,即在军国主义、“军工媒体学术复合体”(MIMAC)的意识形态中表现出来的特定类型的暴力。

过去几年,世界军费开支稳步增长,目前已达到令人难以置信的24,000亿美元。 这些国家在联合国常规预算中贡献了31.2亿美元,在联合国维和行动中贡献了约70亿美元——仅占年度军费开支的0.3%。

只有傻瓜或愤世嫉俗者才会认为,这是有道理的,这是国际社会可持续的优先事项,缔造和平只需要武器费用和军事经费的0.3%。作为正常人类,我们不得不承认这些都是变态的优先事项。

为什么要用如此强烈的措辞? 因为非常清楚的是,有了这些可量化的“优先”事项,世界并没有变得更加和平。相反,如今人们普遍认为,发生大规模战争和使用核武器的风险比 1945年以来的任何时候都要高。

如果武器能够带来和平,我们就已经长期生活在和平之中了。

除了哥斯达黎加、冰岛等少数没有常备军队的国家外,世界各国都不同程度地沉迷于武器和军事主义。与国防建设和不停地增加军备相比,使用非暴力方式解决冲突破坏更少,并且可以更有效地解决冲突,人力等成本也更低。可惜,全球大国并没有从中得到启发。

如果有一个因素从根本上威胁人类的生存,那就是这个——而且它可以比气候变化和其他灾难更快地终结人类。

因此,可以肯定的是,如果新兴的后西方多极世界采取了推动西方军国主义的思想和政策,这种国际秩序将会胎死腹中。

可以预料,它会以同样的速度毁灭自己。

为了人类的未来,我们迫切需要减少各种暴力——直接的、个人的、文化的、结构性的、性别的、环境的和军事的——并开始以新的、更文明的方式处理我们永远存在的冲突。

以“防御”的名义策划大屠杀有悖人类安全、共同安全以及所有可以想象的和平概念。违背者将永远生活在惴惴不安之中。

此外,从伦理角度来看,任何个人或团体都不应获得——或被给予——消灭人类和造物主的权力,也就是对人类进行全面灭绝或种族灭绝的权力。

只要军国主义和核武主义存在,无论世界秩序的性质如何,这些都对我们所有人构成迫在眉睫的危险。它们与全球共同利益理念以及人类和子孙后代的永续都是不相容的。

从所有帝国(包括美国主导的西方体系)的衰落中吸取的一个重要教训是,随着时间的推移,使用暴力以及越来越多的暴力成为一种坏习惯,一种上瘾。从那时起,腐坏和衰落就不可避免了。

大多数人和政府都会关注自己的暴力行为会对他人带来什么影响——它如何伤害“另一方”的身体和灵魂。

然而,人类尚未吸取的也是最容易被忽视的教训之一就是,随着时间的推移,所有暴力都会带来自我毁灭。它让暴力施加者上瘾,变得越来越傲慢,并且对自己使用暴力来实现目标的权利过于自信。 它导致“精神麻木”,毁灭人性和人们的同理心。

此外,它还会在对方或者客体中产生仇恨和复仇的愿望——因此,暴力主体会害怕对方有一天会寻求报复。这增强了主体的这样一种意识,即“我们需要准备更多的暴力武器”。这是一个永久的动态模式,持续铺平那条可预料的通往死亡和毁灭的通道,包括我们自己的死亡和毁灭之路。

也许我们永远无法摆脱所有暴力,这可能就是事实。毕竟,我们也很难摆脱所有疾病。但我们不要走向极端:每天疯狂运用暴力,而暴力武器的破坏威力又是如此巨大。我们完全可以将武器的使用调整到更低的水平,同时增强全球人类安全感。

它所需要的只是明智的政治意愿、世界和平和解决冲突方面的教育,以及基于研究的理性愿景,即我们如何共同迈向一个非常可能的、现实的暴力更少的世界,而不是持续当今的军国主义、战争和核武主义。在当今,我们只能看到病态的、捶胸顿足式的妄想,妄想我们能够克服一切困难,克服达摩克利斯之剑的威胁。这是文明幻想错觉的终极表现!

关于这一切,我们的研究、媒体关注和全球对话都太少了。 我们需要一种全球性的、包容各种文化敏感性和务实的民主意识,这样才能将这个人类最重要的问题摆上桌面。我们需要的临界质量不是来自于原子弹,而是全世界公民团结起来,创造必要的民主、非暴力的临界质量以实现和平——每个理智的人都更喜欢的和平,而非持续的战争、军备和生存挑战。

只有这样,我们才有希望通过真正的共同安全而生存,并将未来的世界秩序发展为合作的和平网络而非军国主义网络。

 


By [Sweden] Jan Oberg,

PhD , co-founder and director of  The Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, TFF, in Lund, Sweden


This article takes its point of departure in the Gaza genocide that so tragically continues to unfold while this is being written; it analyses the larger destructive synergy caused by Western-created multi-crises.

It also points in the direction that something positive for humanity may – eventually and hopefully – emerge. New opportunities can grow out of a system crisis and give birth to a new system, but admittedly doesn’t always do so.

A leading basic thesis is that while violence may hurt its objects, the violent user, the subject, will always be hurt too, even and over time to the point of self-destruction.

Therefore – and because no civilisation based on violence will thrive and survive in the longer run – every vision of the future world must contain mechanisms for the reduction of all kinds of violence.


The boomerangs from supporting Israel’s genocide

I had been waiting for major international players to immediately demand of Israel’s leadership that it stop its immoral, illegal and barbaric – as well as intentional – genocide of the Palestinian people. But no significant power has exerted any substantial pressure. Tragically, instead, most Western governments silently or openly, passively or actively, supported Israel. This is remarkable in the sense that the 1948 Genocide Convention uniquely and expressly contains the provision that the international community has an obligation to prevent or stop genocide.

Hamas’ horrific terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, can only be condemned as there are always, philosophically, alternatives to violence. Gandhi or Luther King, Jr. would not have chosen Hamas’ choice of resistance.

But as UN Secretary-General António Guterres rightly said, it did not happen in a vacuum. One must see it within the structural framework of an a-symmetric conflict between occupier/oppressor and occupied/victim – as settler colonialism upheld by several types of violence, including daily psychological violence and humiliation.  

Israel, like anyone else, has a right to self-defence, but a) self-defence through genocide is by definition unacceptable, and b) any occupied people have a right to resist.

But what is not clear is what actually happened. How was it possible that the Israeli, US and other intelligence services missed all the indicators of what must have taken months for Hamas to prepare? Is it true that Egyptian military authorities warned Israel and PM Netanyahu personally, but in vain? Did Israel know about it and let it happen to have a pretext? And what about the consistent reports that Israeli leaders have cooperated with Hamas’ fractions and given them large sums of money?

More and more info and statements from local experts underpin the dreadful hypothesis that Israel was aware of Hamas’ attack and let it happen. Allegedly, a fox would not be able to run through the border installations; Hamas did for hours.

There are many indicators that international politics, geopolitics in particular, does not reflect a highly civilised – educated and moral – world. But it is still mind-boggling and unique that what Zionist Israel, the Jewish nation-state, has systematically done has not motivated one single Western country to withdraw its support, condemn the behaviour, argue for sanctions, cut diplomatic relations, or demand that Prime Minister Netanyahu be held legally accountable, neither has an arrest order been issued.

Further, no one has raised the argument for the once-upon-a-time so fashionable policy of humanitarian intervention, the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). It would fit the Gaza genocide eminently.

Instead, Western politicians seem to believe that they say something important when stating: We stand with Israel! It displays intellectual and moral laziness: Standing with one and condemning another requires no knowledge or complex understanding of the underlying conflicts. It also prevents every kind of neutral, unbiased professional mediation and conflict resolution.

As a matter of fact, it actively promotes the death of thousands upon thousands on all sides, and it is fundamentally immoral because other ways of engaging in the Middle East conflicts were eminently possible.

In Ukraine, EU/NATO countries sided with the underdog that had been invaded. In this war, it sides with top-dog Israel, the apartheid occupier with nukes who has created history’s largest prison with the full consent of the NATO/EU governments.

All of this stands in the sharpest contrast to the across-the-board radical condemnation and concrete measures taken by the same countries in response to Russia’s international law-defying but provoked and explainable invasion of Ukraine.

In such a situation, silence means complicity – as does active, continued or increased economic, political and military cooperation with Israel. And so does, indisputably, voting against a permanent ceasefire in what is the most significant genocide in the West since 1945.

If the US or other powerful Western governments had set down their foot and stated that Israel must be isolated in various ways until it stops the brutal, deliberate and systematically planned assault on innocent people, Israel would have to stop.

It seems that the tail wags the dog, that Israel can get away with anything thanks to the support from the US topdog. Both consider themselves exceptionalist states, and both are built on the extermination of the original population on their territories.

This ongoing genocide is likely to have huge consequences in the long-term perspective. The rest of the world – the 85% outside the NATO/EU world – will draw their conclusions about the tremendous and mind-boggling hypocrisy and systematic double standards exhibited by the 15% West.

That world in which many have experienced colonialism and de facto occupation is likely to feel an even stronger urge to turn its back on the West, which preaches human rights but ignores them entirely and conspicuously to achieve its geo-strategic goals with the most perverse means available.

What happens in Gaza happens because the West has an interest in it. If it didn’t, it could have stopped it.

 

It will be self-destructive for the US/NATO/EU world

Here are some examples of likely repercussions:

● Anti-semitism and anti-Zionism will spread particularly if a majority of the Jewish people in Israel and worldwide does not urgently distance itself unequivocally from the crimes committed by Israel, the Jewish state.
● Some experts predict that, in the longer run, this will lead to Israel becoming a pariah state in the eyes of the global non-West and eventually cause the end of the Israel we know today.
● Since Israel is the closest ally of the United States, such development will further undermine the status of the U.S.
● Terrorism will spiral upwards.
● Refugee problems and costs will multiply; there are already 110 million forcibly displaced people around the world, and many more created in ongoing war zones.
● Important divisions – cracks – in the EU and NATO will occur the longer, the more devastating, and the more indefensible Israel’s behaviour gets.
● Tending to lose the Middle Eastern region, the US/NATO will end up getting involved militarily in the Middle East, most likely a larger war and the Arab world, plus Iran will re-align and align with Russia and China in a new conflict formation throughout the Middle East.
● Whatever may have been left of Western values, moral authority, and legitimacy will become null and void.
● Citizens all over will take to the streets and protest the squandering of their resources on guns instead of butter. They will also, increasingly, show their natural human empathy and solidarity with the Palestinians who today are ’the wretched of the earth’ to quote the title of Franz Fanon’s 1961 book.

 

Can a kind of peace still emerge in the Middle East?

This immensely complex question cannot be dealt with in a short space – but it can also not be ignored and excluded – as a doctor must never just make the diagnosis and a tragic prognosis and then leave the patient. Let me, therefore, quote from a recent Statement on the Gaza Genocide signed by about 30 Associates of the Transnational Foundation for Peace And Future Research, TFF, of which the author is a co-founder and director:

”We still believe that Jews and Palestinians can live together – and so do many of them themselves. Even under shocking conditions, people and organisations on both sides still insist that their lives are inextricably linked and that peaceful coexistence is possible.

It will be a long and painful path to make this happen – and it will only be possible with equal rights for all.

And it will need tremendous pressure from the outside and a non-violent revolution from the inside to change Israel into a just, human rights and law- respecting true democracy.

We need to look at the entire Middle East as a region – we need its dense network of economic, cultural, and political ties to set up an all-regional conflict-resolution mechanism á la the OSCE. This way, over several years, all parties can dialogue their way through to something they can live with in the long-term.

There are many possible elements – tie peace into economic and political mechanisms and relations; think of cantons and autonomies; think of mutually beneficial/cooperative uses of territories; think of the relations of it all with the Rest of the World, including the Global South. Tie it in with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, BRI.

Warfare requires no intellect or creativity; peace-making requires both.

The violence must die down to move towards such a civilised process. We need an immediate ceasefire.

Ideally, we need a huge UN mission to disarm Israel and Hamas to such a level that neither can re-start a war. And then all the good offices around the world, governmental but certainly more so non-governmental, to help mediate, consult, dialogue every detail: What do the many parties fear and what do they want?

And then – at the end, after years of such a peace-building process – the parties would come to a final negotiation table and then sign an agreement of peaceful coexistence with all its civilian and military modalities.
Conflict resolution means solving problems that stand between the parties. It cannot succeed by violence, looking to the past, or tit-for-tat for what was done yesterday.

It is, instead, one big, complex and long peace workshop where better futures/visions/ scenarios are brought up, evaluated, and sorted out – ending in combining the best elements into a comprehensive future arrangement.

You can’t change the past, but you can change the future. And – no! – everybody will not be happy, but all can be happy with something – and see a better future for their children.

And this is also where truth and reconciliation commissions come in – the healing and forgiveness that is found in all religions.

Peace is still possible.

 

System decay or ’miscalculations’ or both?

There is another world-order sense in which the Gaza Genocide indeed does not happen in a vacuum. It comes in the wake of other huge, self-destructive miscalculations of the collective Western – US/NATO/EU – Occidental world.

Some may argue – and not without reason – that the Fall Factors I mention below were never just ’miscalculations;’ they were growing out of a global empire structure that would necessarily handle crises this way because of being a militarist empire, a system out to dominate the rest of the world with its ’Bibles’ (values) and also its ’Swords’ (wars, bases and arms trade).

I would argue that there is no inherent or necessary contradiction in these two views. All empires go down after ascending, maturing and growing and then beginning to crack here and there – catchwords being over-extension, over-militarisation, increasing lack of legitimacy in the eyes of others, collective hubris and so on.

While things go well for a long time, an intellectual, moral and economic ’fatique’ begins manifesting itself: ’We’ can get away with everything (that we punish others for doing to a smaller degree). We are omnipotent; we are the leaders. And then – intellectual disarmament fuels military and other power armaments, and hubris and system overload set in.

The ”we” lose humility, the ability to learn from others and from their own mistakes and then the quality of decisions tends to decrease by lack of broad analyses, by panic, by expectations of continuous obedience by others: the ”We can’t be wrong,” syndrome, and ’we’ ignore facts or views that are not compatible with our agendas: the dangerous Group Think which reinforces the sense of omnipotence while making one bad, counterproductive decision after the other.

Over time, the trends and mechanisms pile up: Imperial decline caused not by external threats but by the system’s internal self-destruction – of course projected unto others who are threatening us, are ’out to get us and hurt us.’ A vitally important duo here is Denial combined with the Psycho-Political Projection of one’s own dark sides onto others.

 

Fall factors over the last two decades

What I call a Fall – or Decline – factors refer to a larger cluster of policies and trends that reduce strength and vision over time to the point of being major issues of system breakdown.

It can always be discussed when a system begins to crumble, first a little, then with larger and larger cracks and increased speed. In the case of the Western dominance system, one could start at the time of, say, the decolonisation struggles in what was then called the Third World. Or, more specifically, it could begin with the Vietnam War that ended in 1975 with a massive defeat and President Nixon’s resignation also due to the Watergate Scandal.

1. The US helter-skelter started the Global War on Terror, GWOT, in response to the September 11, 2001 events. It was a global war – not on what causes terrorists to become terrorists but on terrorists as such. But you cannot kill terrorism by killing terrorists; for each killed human being, there are ten new ones ready to die for their cause. In consequence, millions of people have been killed and harmed and displaced, particularly in the Middle East – and the problem of terrorism has, as fully predicted, not been solved.

This happened in the wake of September 11, 2001. The US chose to ask: How did they do it? And who were they? But never the most crucial question: Why? Why, we may ask, was the destruction targeting the economic, the political and the military centres of the US Empire?  

2. The way the Western West reacted to the end of the First Cold War and the demise of the Eastern West, i.e. the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact it dominated. Instead of abolishing NATO since its raison d’etre – the Eastern bloc – had disappeared, the US/NATO chose to pursue a ruthless one-polar, full-spectrum dominance policy vis-a-vis the world and – recklessly – exploited the weakness of its Eastern brother. Yugoslavia and the out-of-area, illegal bombing of Serbia and Kosovo is but one early example.

Lost were all opportunities for creating a new peace structure in Europe. And lost was the possibility that Russia could see itself treated respectfully and as a friend. What transpired was a series of humiliations – including interventions and wars by NATO countries that they would never have dared when the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact still existed.

3. NATO’s expansion instead of abolition at the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. In particular, the hubris of exploiting the one-polar world order option and the expansion of NATO into ten East-European countries and, in particular, the no-go attempt also to co-opt and woe Ukraine into NATO – both predictable disasters. When that did not go so well, the US and its NATO allies turned Ukraine into a proxy for weakening Russia without personnel costs to any NATO country. A Ukraine with hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded and tremendous physical destruction and corruption will be the result – and taking decades to rebuild. It will also not regain its lost territories.

All this occurred despite very well-documented promises made personally by all significant Western leaders to the Soviet Union’s last President, Mikhail Gorbachev. The formulation was that NATO would not expand ”one inch”, provided he accepted that Eastern Germany (GDR/DDR) could be united with Western Germany (BRD) in NATO.

4. The long Cold War build-up by the US/West against China – the systematic negative and self-destructive image of China that has nothing to do with the Chinese reality – but everything to do with the declining ”patriarch” Empire feeling its growing weakness and outdatedness but denying it and seeing up-and-coming political and economic powers as a mortal challenge to its dominance, as a threat to its own welfare.
The better option, of course, would be Win-win: If you can’t beat them, join them.

5. The US destruction of Nordstream – the most extensive infrastructure destruction ever which, together with the Western sanctions response and new Iron Curtain vis-a-vis the largest European state, Russia, is likely to have unspeakably destructive effects on Europe over time – both politically, economically and in terms of ongoing rampant militarist investments in even more armament.

The Occident now basically puts guns before butter, will likely approach a totally destructive war economy status and undermine its own socio-economic and cultural warfare.

6. This ties in with a phenomenon that is virtually impossible to get a public discussion about, namely militarism and war without end. I would venture to say that the West/Occident is already deep into militarising itself to death.

Of course, this has to do with the fact that the US/NATO countries have lost every war since Vietnam – in military terms, in legal terms, in moral terms and, not the least, in psychological terms: the attempt to win the hearts and minds of the people whose countries were bombed, invaded and/or occupied. Apart from tiny well-paid/corrupted elites ij all the war zones, no hearts and minds have been won anywhere.

In the eyes of The Rest, countries of the West may be attractive for their products such as mobile phones, pop, entertainment and culture, consumerist lifestyles, and sheer wealth – but they are no longer admired, trusted and certainly not loved like they were in the 1950s and up till about the year 2000.

7. The Gaza genocide endorsement – destroys the remaining few elements of Western decency, legitimacy and authority. How can one preach human rights, international and humanitarian law, democracy and freedom while also letting an occupier apartheid state conduct a genocide – and call that ”Israel’s war with Hamas”?

These short-sighted catastrophic policies of the general Occident will have self-destructive and self-defeating consequences, sooner rather than later. Hubris and denial make a hazardous psycho-political cocktail. And it defies reality checks and paves the way into the wastelands.

Tragically, like the drug addict who step-by-step destroys his or her own life chances, these Fall factors are fundamentally of the West’s own – kakistocratic – making. No one threatens the existence of the West.

When the US Empire finally falls, it will be of its own making. Like cancer, its destructive and offensive power has won over its constructive and defensive power and consumed the cultural creativity and ethics without which the passengers soon jump ship à la Titanic.

8. Irrationalism and emotionalism are replacing rational science-based analysis and democratic decision-making. The present author has been professionally engaged in research-based international affairs analysis and debate for over four decades. What has happened is that rational analysis, the competition of different intellectual and academic schools within the framework of truly free thoughts and research, has, for all practical purposes, disappeared.

The West now mostly rests its decision-making on constructed narratives that fit already decided agendas, are disseminated through so-called free media (which seldom apply criticism of the powers that be) and operates in a closed loop, reinforcing elite convictions that ’we are on the right track and cannot have made mistakes.’ If they do, they call it something else or blame someone else.

If that seems exaggerated, we’d like to mention as just one example, namely how Finland and Sweden decided to join NATO without any comprehensive analysis pro et con, virtually without public debate and with leading media all being in favour of that membership. The same applies to Sweden’s, Finland’s and Denmark’s signing of bilateral ’defence’ agreements with the US, implying that the US will have access to 15 bases in Finland, 17 in Sweden and 3 in Denmark.

These decisions represent a fundamental break with decades of national sovereign policies. The agreements are signed before having passed the national parliaments, and, in the case of Denmark, the Danes were informed first by US Secretary Blinken and only the day after his announcement by the prime minister and the defence minister. All this is pure window dressing: the already signed agreement cannot be changed and is binding for the next ten years (!)

With political science, international relations, and peace research approaches made completely irrelevant, one must turn to other sources of knowledge to understand Western politics.

Thus, we need concepts and theories from psychology, psychiatry and religion to understand the blame games, emotionalism, psycho-political projections, presumed innocence, denial, compulsive repetition, paranoia, scapegoating, revenge, and aggression that get full blast in various blends in the policies of the US/NATO/EU countries.

Therefore, words like conflict analysis, conflict-resolution, mediation, peacekeeping, negotiations and reconciliation – not to mention peace – no longer belong to the vocabulary of Western foreign ministries – and neither in state-financed research or in the mainstream media.

In summary, the Occident is heading for an Accident. Its reservoirs of legitimacy, knowledge and ethics are even more depleted than its arsenals of weapons have been thanks to the self-defeating armament of Ukraine – now a double victim.

 

Rise factors

Given the 8 Fall factors above, there are also Rise factors. While the Occident, with 15% of humanity, is declining, the 85% of the Global Non-West – or the Global South, much of which is the Orient culturally speaking – is rising.

The mainstream media will not grasp this macro-historical perspective; media describe the world in here-and-now terms: the single event or news item is in focus. Instead we need a macro perspective in time and space: What is this or that single event really about at a deeper level – what are the 9/10th of the iceberg under the water surface?

In such a perspective, what is emerging is a formidable challenge to Western leadership and dominance but it is not intended to harm or destroy the West.

It must be seen, rather, as a huge long-term restructuring of the world order – of the global society and humanity’s future. A natural process in the sense that empires come, rise, decline and go.

Seen in this light, it can be argued that it is only natural that the US-dominated Occident will seek to blame its decline on others – of course the largest ”Riser,” China, in particular. But that attitude won’t help the Occident. A self-critical soul-searching combined with new thinking about the common cooperative future would be more helpful.

So, what does this Rise factor imply?

Without arguing each point – that would end up being a book with examples, varieties and exceptions – let us mention these, admittedly haiku-short, likely indicators of transitions:

● from believing in one God or highest authority towards believing in the coexistence of several belief and value systems.
● from confrontational, missionary unipolarity towards cooperative non-missionary win-win cooperative multipolarity.
● from Centre/Periphery (verticality) towards Circular-Organic (horizontality) – or some kind of mixture.
● from either/or and with us or against us towards both/and and inclusiveness.
● from separating body and soul towards a better balance.
● from materialism over spirituality towards a better balance.
● from linear and relative short-term perspectives towards circularity and long-term thinking.
● from development as start, peak point and decline towards permanently circular movements.
● from conflicts and violence rooted in the (evil) individual actor towards being seen as more rooted in (evil) structures that we can decide to change.
● from top-down dependencies and trickling down development towards regional self-reliance and trickling in all directions.
● from one practising ’mission civilisatrice’ towards mutual learning.
● from adherence to one system that is seen as incompatible with other systems towards eclectically combining the best of several systems and ways of thinking.
● from nuclear and other offensive weapons as primary security providers towards defensive mixes of military and civilian tools, human security, common security and a world-encompassing, educated capacity for solving conflicts with as little violence as possible (the UN Charter).
● from an urge to kill people towards a capacity to kill problems and promote peaceful coexistence (like e.g. the 1954 Panchsheel and its five principles).
● from start-and-end eschatological thinking towards a conceptualisation that the only constant factor is change, no start and no end.

What do we mean by these examples of social cosmology?

First of all, that non-material thinking is of major importance. Marxist and other fundamental ’Base’ materialism will be a thing of the past. The ‘superstructure’ is moving up to the surface now: Ideas, visions, and philosophy – thinking in dialogues across cultures – will become more important because there are limits to material quantities but no limits to immaterial qualities.

Secondly, these examples are not predictions; we are not saying that this is how the future world will be. One, it would be too idealistic and simplifying to do that; two, what we want to convey is that humanity, with the decline of the Occident, now has a golden opportunity to think in new ways – some inspired by the best in that Occident, some borrowing from several South cultures, historical philosophies and cosmologies and of course from Chinese historical and present philosophies such as Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism.

Borrowing and eclectically combining, never impose! Freed from the chains of Western intellectual dominance, a new world-order grammar is becoming possible.

 

Instead of a conclusion, some words about violence

I have made the distinction between violence and conflicts, arguing that violence always stems from some underlying conflict(s) that the parties to the conflict do not know how to handle. Conflicts are problems in need of solutions between the parties. This is very different from taking sides among parties and apportioning guilt and hate on one another which politicians and the media almost always do.

In other words, violence is always a symptom, and no matter how repulsive it is, pumping more violence-producing weapons into a conflict will invariably only make everything worse and drag out the time it takes – later – to move towards a solution, either peaceful coexistence in a new setting or peaceful separation.

Or to put it crudely, there are conflicts without violence, but there is no violence without conflicts underneath.

One consistent dimension in all the above-mentioned Fall factors is violence, i.e. the specific types of violence that manifest themselves in militarism, the ideology of the Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex (MIMAC).

World military expenditures have grown steadily in the past years and now stand at a mind-boggling US$ 2400 billion dollars. The same governments invest US $3.12 billion in the regular budget of the United Nations and around US$ 7 billion in UN peacekeeping – 0,3% of the annual military expenditures.

Only a fool or a cynic would maintain that this is a fair or sustainable priority for the world and that peace-making only needs 0,3% of what goes to weapons and wars. Decency would compel us to state that these are perverse priorities.

And why such strong words? Because it is also abundantly clear that with these quantifiable priorities the world has not become more peaceful. On the contrary, it is commonplace today to argue that the risk of major war and the use of nuclear weapons is higher today than at any point since 1945.

If weapons could create peace, we would have lived in peace for a long time.

Except for a few countries that do not have any national military defence, such as Costa Rica and Iceland, all countries worldwide are addicted, in various degrees, to weapons and militarism. No big power has taken any inspiration from the fact that nonviolence is much less harmful and can solve conflicts more effectively and with lower human and other costs than national military defence and constant re-armament.

If there is one factor that fundamentally threatens humanity’s survival, it is this – and that one factor could end us all much faster than, say, climate change and other calamities.

Therefore, it is a safe prediction that the post-Occidental, multipolar world that is emerging will be stillborn if it takes over the militarist thinking and policies that has driven the Occident.

And it will destroy itself equally fast and predictably.

It’s imperative for humanity’s future that we reduce all kinds of violence – direct, personal, cultural, structural, gender, environmental and military – and begin to deal with our conflicts – that will always exist – in new and more civilised ways.

Planning mass killing of people in the name of ’defence’ is incompatible with human security, common security and with every thinkable concept of peace. And those who do will always live with insecurity.

Furthermore, from an ethical perspective, no individual or group should ever usurp – or be handed – the right to exterminate humanity and Creation – omnicide or genocide on humanity.

As long as militarism and nuclearism exist, these are imminent dangers to us all no matter the character of the world order. They are incompatible with every idea of the common global good and the permanence of humanity and future generations.

A major lesson to be learned from the decline and fall of all Empires – the US-dominated Occidental system – is that, over time, the use of violence and more and more of it becomes a bad habit, an addiction. And from there on, decay and decline are unavoidable.

Most people and governments look at what their violence can do to others – how it harms bodies and souls on the side of ’the Other.’

However, one of humanity’s most overlooked lessons yet to be learned is that all violence over time becomes self-destructive. It makes the user addicted, increasingly arrogant and overconfident in his or her right to use violence to achieve a goal. It promotes ’psychic numbing’ and destroys humanity and empathy alike.

Furthermore, it creates hate and a wish for revenge in the other/the object – and, thus, fear in the violent subject that the other will one day seek revenge. This promotes the feeling in the subject that ’we need more arsenals of violence to be prepared.’ This is a mobile paving invariably and predictably the road to death and destruction, including that of ourselves.

It is perhaps true that we can never get rid of all violence. We shall also hardly get rid of all diseases. But let’s not be maximalists: So absurdly much violence is used every day – and so huge is the destructive power of all the arsenals of weapons – that we can safely move down to much lower levels and simultaneously increase human and global security.

All it requires is intelligent political will, world peace and conflict-resolution education – and a research-based vision of how we can move together towards a less violent world that is eminently possible and realistic – in contrast to continuing the present-day militarism, warfare and nuclearism in which we witness only pathetic, hand wringing expressions of hopes that we shall , against all odds, survive with these Damocles Swords. That is the ultimate expression of the civilisational illusion!

About all this we – humanity – have far too little research, media attention and global dialogue. We need a worldwide, all-culture sensibility and practical democratic awareness to put this – humanity’s most important problem – on the table. The critical mass we need is not that of atomic weapons, it is that of the worldwide citizenry coming together to create the needed democratic, non-violent critical mass for change toward peace – the peace every sane human being prefers to ongoing warfare, armament and existential risks.

Only then can we hope to survive through genuine common security and develop the future world order as a network of cooperating peace – not militarist – cultures.