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。
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。
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。
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。
● 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”。
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。
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？
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”？
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。
● 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）。
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。
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。
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.
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.