Johan Galtung: What Comes After The U.S. Empire?


Richard Moore

   "So let me end by simply saying that I was asked to say
    something on the state of the world. I've done that. And, if
    anybody can come up with ideas on how to speed up
    constructive, creative, concrete development, please don't

Hi Johan,

I find your analysis quite informative, but I cannot go along with a 
strengthened UN as a solution. Indeed, it is Washington that is pushing in that 
direction as they pursue what they call "UN reform".  Like you, they want to end
the veto power, and they also want to centralize power in the Secretary General.
They understand, from a systems perspective, that the larger the state, the 
easier it is for a privileged clique to usurp and maintain power. The scam of 
liberal democracy has been given a two-century trial, and where it leads has now
been made clear by the neocons. Trying more of the same on a larger scale is not
a good idea.  

My own understanding of solutions goes in the opposite direction, toward local 
sovereignty. See:
Community Democracy Framework:


Original source URL:

What Comes After The U.S. Empire?

Introductory Speech at the TRANSCEND International Meeting - 6-12 June 2007, 
Vienna, Austria

By Johan Galtung

07/20/07 "ICH" -- - I first want to say a few words about the current G8 
meeting, and then talk about major conflicts in the world. This will cover much 
of the world situation, a reflection on global capitalism, and the US Empire and
its imminent demise and what will happen after that.

The G8 meeting is actually an act of sabotage, and in my view a deliberate one. 
It sabotages and undermines the UN. In 1975, the meeting was established as a 
small forum for intimate meetings between 3 leaders from each participating 
country. However, from a purely economic agenda it has become much more, 
incorporating a lot of UN agenda items (security issues and global warming etc.)
and thereby actually hijacking the subjects of global importance to about 8 
countries only. Russia, which was invited under Yeltsin, is the black sheep in 
the community. Also, not inviting Chindia is a guarantee for sabotage, as is 
talking about Africa without having even one African representative present. The
good news is that there were 100'000 demonstrators, and the bad news is that 
there were some violent idiots.

If the nonviolent majority could practice the technique of 20 nonviolent 
encircling every violent one in a nonviolent way, incapacitating their capacity 
for violence, it would be an enormous feat. There is, however another piece of 
what I would call bad news; the 100'000 without constructive, positive ideas. 
I've gone through the whole rigmarole of the slogans. Personally, I don't like 
the slogans against globalization; there is no way in the world to stop 
globalization because it is driven by things we all love: communication and 
transportation. We are not going to turn that backwards. A good slogan would be 
"another globalization is possible" and spelling out that better globalization 
as opposed to the economically exploitative process we know.

So, having said that, we have dark days in front of us. We have impending 
climate and economic disaster and on top of that a political military issue, the
so-called Shield. There isn't hardly a person in the world who believes it is 
against Iran. It is a part of a policy started in 1996, counter-posing against 
each other, on the one hand NATO and AMPO (the US-JAPAN arrangement), and on the
other hand the SCO countries, the biggest alliance in human history: the 
Shanghai Cooperation Organization, with 6 full members and 3 observers. The 6 
members are China, Russia and four of the former Central Asian republics, 
excluding Turkmenistan. The three observers are India, Pakistan and Iran. 
Together, it's about 50% of humanity, confronting a relatively small country 
called the United States of America, with only 300'000'000, not a very 
impressive size these days.

I have said this, knowing that of the 10 points of the Project for the New 
American Century--written by people who are still in power, although there is an
erosion among them--point number 7 is to change regime in China. I am of the 
opinion that whatever be the method, that the Chinese will rather do the change 
of regime themselves, and are not enthusiastic about being encircled. It is the 
major conflict confrontation of the world today, between NATO/AMPO and SCO, and 
since it is the major one, it is also the one least talked about. The Shield has
to neutralize missiles from Russia and China. I think Putin understood it 
correctly in Munich, and sees it in the light of the cancellation of the ABM 
treaty, which was a cornerstone of the peaceful development during the Cold War.
It was canceled unilaterally by the United States, The anti-missile capacities 
in the Czech Republic and Poland come on top of the US and NATO breaking the 
promises made to Gorbachev at the end of the Cold War: that the Soviet Union 
would withdraw from Eastern Europe, including Eastern Germany, and the United 
States would not follow suit, whereupon the United States had filled almost 
every base opportunity, and enrolled practically speaking all the countries in 
NATO. That has heightened the tension immensely. Whether it will dominate the 
Heiligendamm [G8 meeting] meeting, I don't know, but I would imagine that it 
could be quite important. The guess is that the US would do anything they can in
order to bribe the citizens of the villages selected in Poland and the Czech 
Republic with high amounts of money in order not to demonstrate against. So, G8 
spells only bad news, as introduction to the six conflicts:

1. Economic Contradiction: Global Capitalism

Let me just say a word about global capitalism. The two antidotes to the market 
mechanism that have been effective have been, on the one hand, a welfare state, 
and on the other hand, protectionism. Microcredit, you can forget about it, 
these are small drops in the bucket, giving relief to some small groups. The 
countries that practice it most, Bangladesh and Bolivia, are still at the 
bottom, economically speaking. The combination of selective protectionism and 
welfare state, that is the real stuff. The way Japan did it, the way Taiwan did 
it, the way South Korea did it, the way Hong Kong did it, the way Singapore did 
it, the way Malaysia did it, with considerable success. You find in the whole of
the East Asia/South East Asia conglomerate countries that have been doing 
exactly this. That is important, and the neo-liberal free market syndrome is of 
course against that. They are doing everything they can to eliminate the two 
factors. That means that the global market place becomes a vertical assembly 
line for the transportation of capital from the bottom to the top. And this 
works with three mechanisms: monetization, privatization and globalization, 
border-free market, of which globalization is the least important. The most 
important is monetization, setting a monetary price on everything. It is the 
most important because it means that those who have no money have no chance, and
they are about 1'000'000'000. Their option, that is very clear, is to join the 
ranks of the dying; 125'000 dying every day with 25'000 starving and 100'000 
dying from preventable and curable diseases, for which cures exist, but they are
monetized. User's fees in Africa are a disaster. All of this is known today! 
Adam Smith warned against unmitigated markets; David Ricardo warned against 
unmitigated labor markets in periods with high labor supply, saying that it 
would have lasting unemployment as a result, and extreme poverty among the 

From global capitalism as it is operating today, we can expect no solution to 
these problems. So let me then add the kind of approach that I, as one person, 
would advocate; taming capitalism, by introducing at the same time about 14 
other types of economies. In other words, it is a little bit like the thinking 
about energy: we don't say an unconditional no to hydrocarbons, but we introduce
6, 7, 8 other methods. The energy profile becomes complex. Time does not permit 
me to get into all 14, I'll not do it, some of you have the manuscript and the 
book A Life-Sustaining Economy is close to completion. The point I am arguing is
a pluralistic economy. There is no single formula that covers all the 
alternatives, and the pluralistic profile must be adjusted to the preconditions 
in space and time.

2. Military Contradiction: Terrorism and State Terrorism

Number two on this list is the military contradiction between terrorism and 
state terrorism. The USA state contradiction on terrorism has now entered 
military intervention number 73 since the Second World War; Number 73 being what
they are doing in Lebanon right now: killing Palestinians. There are 470'000 
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, almost half a million, scattered in camps from 
the north to the south. We now know the number of the people who were driven out
of the territory that became the Jewish state during the Naqba, the Catastrophe:
the number of Palestinians driven out was 711'000, very far from 'a couple of 
thousand'. It is a very major number for a small nation. Some of them, not 
necessarily in that period, found their way to Lebanon. This is number 73 and 
the number of people killed in overt Pentagon-driven military action after the 
Second World War is now between 13 and 17 million. The number of people killed 
in covert action is at least 6 million. The number of people killed by 
structural violence could be 125'000 people per day, but for that the USA is not
alone responsible. What the USA is responsible for is giving the military cover 
for that economic system. You can go through the total amount of interventions, 
243, since Thomas Jefferson started, and you will find that almost without 
exception the interventions are triggered by some political action that sounds 
like or might lead to redistribution of wealth and power somewhere in the world.
So, you get this endless pairing: intervening when the Sandinistas are in power 
but not when Somoza is in power, intervening when Chavez is in power but not 
when, for instance, Jimenez is in power. Both of them were darlings of the 
International Monetary Fund, a solid pillar of exploitation.


Right now the major arena is Iraq, the coming arena may be Iran. One 
particularly gifted journalist, Andreas Zumach, has written an article saying 
that for the Iran war everything is prepared. It is totally wrong to assume that
because the US has problems in Iraq it will not attack Iran. I will also say 
that it is totally wrong to assume that the US is losing in Iraq. You will only 
assume that if you assume that the major goal of the United States is a cohesive
Iraq entity that has some semblance to parliamentary democracy. If you look at 
the real goals, oil and military bases, they may ever be winning. There could be
an oil law, the chances that it could be passed are not that small. And it is 
the Paul Bremer concept they are working on that essentially presupposes that 
the oil resources are put on the global market, bought up by the 5 big 
companies, with 100% repatriation of profit.

It is sometimes pointed out that the US Empire is not colonial. That is correct.
They had colonies in the past, after they in 1898 stepped into the Spanish 
empire and acquired some major indigenous problems. One interesting thing about 
colonialism, however, is that it gave colonizers some paternalistic sense of 
responsibility that you can forget about when it comes to what's going on under 

Let me just add one point to that. I find the idea of pulling out of Iraq one of
the most cowardly, dishonorable ideas I can imagine, so let me immediately 
formulate an alternative. Shed the uniform, and start helping the Iraqi people 
you have brutalized. Compensate, apologize, you have a lot of infrastructure at 
your disposal, you US army could still do a decent job. And one of the worst 
proposals in addition to that is to say "Just go to your bases and stay there". 
Those bases are for the coming war with SCO, that's why they are there. Have a 
look at the analysis of the length of the runways and you will see the purpose 
behind them.

Let me come back for a second to the idea of pulling out, which in my mind is 
such a bad idea that we could expect it from the US. What it means is that you 
pull out so that you don't suffer any humiliating defeat. You make yourself 
unavailable for defeat. I can understand the reason, it is not difficult. The 
30th April 1975, the humiliating defeat in Vietnam became a major trauma. To 
avoid that situation is the priority of course, pulling out better than to 
continue killing, but, I just think one should call a spade a spade, and no way 
I see cut and run as peaceful action. We shouldn't, I would say, contaminate the
concept of peace with cowardice, trying to "save face" after having killed 
750'000 so far. Multiply that by 10 for the bereaved--the persons who feel the 
loss of a friend, a spouse, a brother, a sister, a child, a parent, a colleague,
a neighbor--multiply 750'000 by 10 and you have an estimate of the hatred that 
has been created. Add to that the 4 million who are displaced, some of them 
among the 7,5 million I just mentioned; and add to that the psychosis induced in
the high number of US military who have been to Iraq; and add to that the about 
25'000 wounded who have come back to the US and you may probably add 10% of them
dying. The definition of a person of the US army personnel killed in the war is 
that he dies in Iraq, that means "Put them on the plane get them to Walter Ried 
as quickly as possible, don't let them die in Iraq". I am not saying that to get
somewhere closer to realism when discussing this enormity.

Why don't the USA with some allies win? Because they are against an enemy that 
is unconquerable, and why is that? Because of "asymmetric warfare" is too 
sterile. Of course they are using "improvised explosive" devices against these 
sophisticated things that the US army used. But they have two more arms at their
disposal: time and space.

An unlimited time perspective. There is no point called "capitulation" in their 
rules, that can just be forgotten, it belonged to the old days. We are dealing 
with a type of warfare where what used to be called the weaker party has any 
amount of time at its disposal. These people are trained in fighting a 
government empire for 400, 500 years, like the Serbs were fighting the Turks for
500 years. The Orthodox, among the three Christianities, have a time perspective
very similar to the Islamic one. I don't think you will find 500 years patience 
in Washington, maybe not even 5 months for that matter.

And, they have space, there are 57 members of the OIC, the Organization of the 
Islamic Conference. 56 of them are states, number 57 are the 160 million or so 
Muslims in India. Most of the borders of the 56 countries are drawn by the West;
they are borders that make no sense to Islam at all. That doesn't mean there are
no fault lines inside Islam. More important than Shia-Sunni is probably 
Arab-non-Arab. The non-Arab countries are in the majority, of the 56 only 22 are
Arab. Of the 1.350.000.000 Muslims, 300.000.000 are Arab. If the Arabs feel that
the religion is essentially theirs, then they are in a minority position. That 
is becoming something interesting, and of course the US plays on those fault 
lines. It seemed to work as long as they were dealing with Khomeini, he is a 
Shia, the "bad" Islam. But, bin Laden, a Wahab, was a Sunni, and didn't look 
much more attractive than Khomeini. So something went wrong somehow with that 
Harvard University distinction.

Harvard University, by the way, is the university that by far has contributed 
most economists to the neo-liberal attack on humanity. Like Jeffrey Sachs, a 
major person in the destruction of Bolivia and of Russia, and now proceeding to 
the whole world. He has changed his rhetoric, even humanized the rhetoric. But 
if we look at the measures, they look very much like what he did to Bolivia and 

Having said that, if you have time and space on your side, then you are dealing 
with enormous resources. In principle, the whole Islamic world is on the other 
side. This constitutes the "Clash of Civilizations" that Samuel Huntington's 
publisher stole from Bernard Lewis, a far more important intellectual, professor
at Princeton University, and a major advisor to Cheney. One of those who, more 
than anybody else, has whispered in Cheney's ears "Attack Iraq!". Everybody is 
blaming Samuel Huntington, best read the book, you'll find almost nothing about 
civilization. Read Bernard Lewis, and you will find quite a lot, particularly 
about Islam.

It is a complete mistake to talk about this as a civilizational-religious clash 
only. It's economic, military, political, it's the full house. The more one says
the "clash of civilizations", the more is one inclined to forget the economic, 
political, military interests hidden underneath. It must be wonderful for 
Washington to have all this clash-of-civilization-talk and establish 14 military
bases, and then try to put your paw on all the oil. "Keep them discussing 
civilization". And this of courseis why we need the concept of imperialism, 
because it is holistic, one reason why the concept does not have a very high 
standing in the USA. The war of state terrorism against terrorism is an elitist 
warfare against peoples warfare. The people's war is close to unbeatable, but it
may take time. That holds for Iraq and it holds for Afghanistan. Anybody who 
knows a little bit of the history of Afghanistan and the British attacks in 1838
and 1878 and the Soviet attack in 1978, also know how it ended; with humiliating
defeats. The one in 1878 ended even with the massacre in the British embassy in 
Kabul in 1883. I think they would have wished for good life insurances for those

How is it possible to enter a thing when so much knowledge would indicate 
otherwise, with all these negative indicators? Is it permissible to be that 
ignorant of history? To deny entirely a whole lot of facts that nevertheless 
somehow play a role? I myself think we give much too much credit to facts, but 
some facts are quite useful. It tells a lot to have a President who has both 
ignorance and denial fitted into his mental framework, but I would warn strongly
against associating the calamity with Bush alone.

The US empire is resting on a deep structure and a deep culture. Let me take the
deep culture first. There is both Chosenness, the vision of past and present 
glory, and a strong sense of trauma. There is Dualism, Manichaeism, and the 
sense that Armageddon will solve it. But, this is no Republican monopoly. It is 
found in both corporate parties, with some fringes that feel some uneasiness. 
And, of course, of those, the Republicans have suffered the humiliation of 
losing the elections. But the two parties re-cohered, voted for the "surge", 
voted for 100 billion more money, adding some clauses. In other words, we are 
faced with a Republican Democrat entity, a Repucrat, Repurat, whatever we want 
to call it; a single-party coalition with two wings. That was the bad news, the 
good news are the 50% who don't vote. Somewhere in those 50% there is a 
solution, not as one person. In other words, there is good news and bad news.

How does a person like Andreas Zumach, very well informed, think that the war 
against Iran will be? It could be based on a provocation, constructed, fake and 
false. Like Racak in Kosovo. A Finnish forensic specialist has now released her 
report which was silenced by Joschka Fischer at a critical moment, and the 
report on Racak is very clear: there was a gun-powder slam, but, the slam was on
their hands and not on the neck. In other words, it was on those who had been 
shooting, not on the executed victims. Killing had been done in an ordinary 
manner and they then assembled the corpses and lay them out. They need a US 
ambassador to make that, it bears the stamp of William Walker. The total number 
of killed in Kosovo was not 150'000, but 8'000 over the years, 5'000 Albanians 
and 3'000 Serbs. I am just saying that because we have been treated to lies, and
if there is the war against Iran it will be initiated by lies. To propagate 
those lies we have the corporate press, meaning press owned by the corporation. 
Information is easily arranged.

From the plans that have emerged it looks as if the 100'000 targets have been 
identified in Iran. These targets include not only some nuclear arrangements, 
but the total military infrastructure of the country, that means any kind of 
center of command, naval points, air bases, anything that has to do with 
missiles. But that would only amount to one half of the 100'000 targets, the 
other targets would be anything that has to do with civilian infrastructure in 
the sense of railroads, airports, roads of course, sewerage, bridges, canals or 
watering, electric power plants, anything that keeps the civilian population 
going. Starting at 5 am some morning, 100'000 targets, in association with 
Israel. As far as I understand the Iranian counterattack will be considerable. I
don't know, but I could guess there could be dirty bombs inside the US, ignited 
by remote control. Only an idiot will use missiles. They will of course use 
totally different methods. So I mention it as an example of what we may be 


In March I was invited to give a talk for three ministries in the UK, the 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry or Department of Defense, and the 
Department for International Development (DFID). It was organized by the latter.
I was a little surprised when I was asked to give the keynote address, and in 
the chair was the former Foreign Minister. The keynote was about Afghanistan, 
Nepal and Sri Lanka. And since I have just been mentioning Afghanistan, let me 
say some words about what I saw as possible solutions. The basic point I have 
just made: you can forget any possibility of winning. You may have a lull, and 
God bless you when it comes to what happens after the lull: Osama bin Laden. You
can also forget calling your enemy Taliban, Talib means "student", it's a highly
anti-student type of word, you can forget about that too. We are essentially 
dealing with the Afghan people. I remember a discussion I had myself in that 
meeting, with an Afghan general. He gave a talk about how many small weapons he 
had confiscated, 90'000, and how his forces were fighting. And I said to him 
"General, tell me a little bit more about that fighting", and he looked at me 
and said, "Of course it doesn't work. I cannot ask my Afghan troops to kill 
Afghans, it makes no sense for them. The Russians, no problem." He didn't say, 
but he was thinking "Americans, no problem", but that was not politically 
correct at such a conference in London. I will never forget how the twinkle in 
his eyes met with the twinkle in mine, twinkle meets twinkle, and we understood 
each other perfectly.

The 5 points that would give a solution to Afghanistan would be the following 
from the TRANSCEND mediation in Peshawar in February 2001.

1. Make a Coalition Government with the Taliban. 100% Taliban is intolerable. 
But the Taliban has a moral fiber, which most others don't have. If you 
eliminate them you will get heroin and corruption and not much more. They are 

2. Afghanistan is the material from which a Federation is made, not a unitary 
state, even if the Northern Alliance based on Tadjiks and Pashtuns with Kabul in
the middle, count for half. There are at least ten others. To call potential 
Prime Ministers "warlords" is an insult. You have to be very much removed from 
reality to believe that by insulting them you can eliminate them or make them 
your friends.

3. A Central Asian Community surrounding Afghanistan with the countries that 
contribute to the national mosaic that is Afghanistan, the Pashtuns from 
Pakistan, the Tadjiks from Tadjikistan and the Dari-speaking from Iran, and so 
on and so forth, would make a lot of sense. That will include Kashmir, and 
Pakistan, and Iran. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization has almost realized 
it. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization does not publish much, but moves in 
very, very clever, slow, movements. It moves so slowly that the journalists do 
not discover it, because it would have to move from day to day in order for a 
jour-nal to record it.

4. Make Basic Needs the leading line of the Government policy. That means food, 
education, health, clothing, whatever is needed for the somatic human being, 
shared by all, and available to men and women alike. That last problem can only 
be solved on a Quranic basis, and is being solved in a number of Islamic 
countries. One of the most interesting solutions was by Saddam Hussein, number 3
of the 14 good things he did. He told the Iraqi women, "From tomorrow on you 
decide whether to wear the hijaab or not. Only you. And if anybody tries to 
change your view come to me." Now, to come to Saddam Hussein was not a very 
appetizing invitation, so this was definitely under threat, but it worked. It 
created a very, very vibrant group of women in Iraqi society. That of courseis 
now all disappearing.

5. Security, provided by cooperation between the UN Security Council and the 
Organization of the Islamic Conference. The UN Security Council has a veto 
nucleus of 4 Christian powers, and one Confucian. It has no legitimacy 
whatsoever in the Muslim world, that has to be understood. To believe that one 
can organize a UNSC-sponsored security operation in a country that hates the UN,
not only because of the composition of the Security Council, but for having 
killed 1 million through the Iraq sanctions, is naive. And they gave a very 
clear expression for their hatred by killing the Secretary-General's 
representative in the Iraq UN building. It doesn't help much to call the people 
who did it "extremists". In the war we had against the German occupation in 
Norway, the people who did violent acts were extremists, and most people were 
sitting on the fence, applauding. But, don't be confused, don't call the 
fence-sitters moderates. They were waiting for the wind to blow a little bit 
more clearly and then jumped down taking a clear stand.

With those 5 points, I think one could arrive at something. It is not for us to 
impose any solution on anybody, and TRANSCEND in this case was essentially the 
Canadians. I was an adjunct. One of them was an Afghan Canadian, Seddiq Veera, 
of considerable diplomatic acumen. When that report was read in front of the 
working groups, a former Cabinet Member said "This is the best I've ever seen, 
the only problem is it has no chance... Why, because," he added, "the Americans 
will attack us in October 2001, because they want to control pipelines, and they
want bases." So I asked him, "How do you know that?". And he said, "Would you 
mind coming to my room this evening?" The room was very dark, and had a 
considerable amount of electronics, and quite good assistants who were very 
discrete, and he presented quite a lot of very interesting pictures. "When the 
Americans attack in October, they will put their military bases exactly here", 
he took a map and put his finger exactly where a major base is today. You will 
of course remember that this was to be exact seven months before 9/11.

But having said that, the question comes up: "How does one move a plan like 
those 5 points?" Well, the reports from the conference, with the keynote 
address, is there, circulated to all kinds of governmental circles, not only in 
England. I don't know, but we need a better dissemination technique. The 
corporate press will do their best to deny us that access, because we are 
uncontrollable, unpredictable. And I think they want it to remain like that, and
so do we.

3. Nations and States Contradiction: 200 States, 2000 Nations

Let me go on to number three, very briefly, 200 states, 2000 nations. In Kosova 
they are now practicing the principle of self-determination. They are not 
practicing it in Republica Srpska, they are not practicing it in Transdniestria,
they are not practicing it for the Tamils in Sri Lanka. They are practicing it 
where they want to practice it. What TRANSCEND tries to do is to open the space 
between independence and unitary states. And we have a lot of research done and 
a lot of experience when it comes to the range of in between points. And the 
three best known points are of course federation, confederation and devolution. 
Those are in-between parts. We did not have any success so far in Sri Lanka. The
parties are not convinced that they can win, but they are convinced that they 
can deprive the other side from winning. Not quite the same, but almost equally 
good. If both of them want to deprive the other side of winning it can go on for
a considerable amount of time, because you won't even have the mechanism of 
victory or capitulation which sets some full stop, for some period. They needed 
of course the cease-fire agreement brokered by the Norwegian government in order
to arm and re-deploy, and both parties make use of it. During that period, there
was not a single serious effort to solve the conflict; certainly not by the 
Norwegian government, nor by the others. A very sad picture. And I'm afraid that
whatever beautiful peace-building efforts one can make, it has limited impact. 
There has to be a solution. The good news from my own experience: the moment you
do have a solution, it is incredible how much bad sentiment and behavior can 
evaporate quickly because the solution is there.

4. Cultural Contradiction: Islam vs Christianity

Number four, the cultural one. Imagine that you take the TRANSCEND 5 point 
diagram and you simply say Islam hates Christianity, wants to kick it out, and 
Christianity hates Islam, wants to kick it out. That formula is called 
intolerance. We are against that. There is the neither/nor possibility they may 
both conclude that there is something crazy in both religions. Let us turn to 
Buddhism, or let's become secular. Secularism, I think, can partly be traced 
back to the 30 years war in Europe (1618 ­ 48). I don't have the historical 
evidence, but I have at least the hypothesis that a high number of people came 
to the conclusion that if these are two Christianities that both define 
themselves as the only correct one, and that's the way they treat each other, 
there must be something basically wrong in the whole Christian message. At the 
time, they did not have alternative religion, so they turned to secularism.

Secularism supported itself as science, and they fell into a very deep dark 
hole. Science, as you know, is based on data as the ultimate arbiter between 
hypotheses. But, data come from the past. In opting for science you give the 
past practically speaking 100 percent of the power. I have been struggling 
almost all my life to develop epistemology that does not take that dramatic 
position, but maneuvering even-handedly between past and future. It means that 
you give the potential, the negatively non-existing, as much praise as the 
positively existing. The moment secularism allies itself with science, it allies
itself with the past. It is very easy to understand why they do it: because they
are Christians, maybe Jews, maybe Muslims, and God created the world, and if God
is perfection then His work must also be perfection. To talk about an 
alternative future is to challenge the creation. Any alternative future from a 
science point of view is speculation. From that point of view Darwinism and 
intelligent design are very very similar. The driving forces are in the past. 
What could be a true global future of this relation? We should draw on the 
potential of future wishes, of the dreams and the wishes and the values as an 
equally important part of the intellectual enterprise, and here I am not with 
Noam Chomsky. Brilliant, he is a digger for facts, and I dig him too. But he is 
chemically free from any concrete, constructive and creative future. There isn't
one single idea except "writing a letter to your Congressman". And he has proven
again and again and again how futile that exercise is. He is called the major 
intellectual in the world.

So, having said that, I am very much attracted by a statement by an Iranian, and
that statement by an Iranian is as follows. I will read it to you in English. It
is the 14th Century Persian Sufi poet Hafiz and his ultimate words about the 
distinction and struggle between Christianity and Islam:

"I have learned so much from God that I can no longer call myself a Christian, a
Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew. The truth has shed so much of itself in me 
that I can no longer call myself a man, a woman...".

The latter is going a little bit too far, I'm not sure I can follow him into 

"...An angel or even a pure soul, love has befriended Hafiz so completely, has 
turned to passion, freed me of every concept and image my mind has ever loved...
man/woman, thing."

 And that is what I for reasons of time will say about number 5 on the list:

5. Sufism

It comes straight out of the Axis of Evil. Ahmadinejad wrote a letter of 18 
pages to Bush, a little bit repetitive at times, but a fascinating letter. What 
an indictment of the Western civilization that they are not even able to answer 
that letter. Nobody is of course expecting any answer from George Bush, but he 
has a couple of people: couldn't Condi try her hand at it for instance? I mean, 
she is a bright woman. Why not?

 A quote from Daoism:

"Sharing the suffering of others, the life and joy of others. Use the good 
fortune of others as your own good fortune. View the losses of others as yours."

This is "we-ness", this is swinging in harmony, two persons, or, humanity 
swinging in harmony, sensing each other's delight and suffering. Compare that 
with the profoundly egoistic lex talionis: "Do unto others as you want others to
do unto you." Why is it so profoundly egoistic? Because it ends up with my ego, 
somebody should do something good to me, but I'm so smart that I know that the 
best way to get that is to be nice to that person, you get much more from him 
with that method. If you treat him badly you might get nothing or worse. A 
light-year away from the Daoism of creating we's. This is the kind of thing that
I find fascinating in connection with religion: it is not neither/nor, it is not
the compromise, it is not one dominating over the other. Better, try to take the
both/and, pick up the gems from all of them, make them coalesce, cohere somehow!
A fascinating challenge, a little bit ahead of its time, or then maybe not. 
Maybe a lot of people think that way, it only has to be released, perhaps, in 
public space.

6. The US Empire

Let me introduce number 6, with a quotation from the South African Nobel Prize 
winner in literature J.M. Coetzee. Absolutely brilliant. The essay he wrote and 
published in 1974, when he was 34 years old, was about South Africa and the 
Vietnam War. He wrote a statement about the USA, putting it in the working of a 
specialist in a U.S. think tank in California, southern part. The project he is 
working on is how to break the wild of the Vietcong, and substitute for Vietcong
goals goals that are compatible with the sincere US love for the Vietnamese 
people. He writes:

"If the Vietnamese had come singing towards us through the hails of bullets, we 
would have knelt down and embraced them."

If they can come singing through the hails of bullets. A good way of putting it.
Yes, if only it's exactly what happens. The idea that we can bomb the people 
into submission, and make them love us, is insane. When the Germans were "bombed
into submission", it actually strengthened the Nazi party. What then happened to
the Germans was something else. At a certain point they realized that their 
whole project was doomed, the whole Nazi project was wrong wrong wrong. They 
were not taught a lesson by being bombed. "If only they would come singing 
through the hail of bullets, we would go down on our knees and embrace them." 
The perception of their own project came from the inside. What Coetzee leads up 
to is psychosis, diagnosis maybe a combination of narcissism, megalomania and 
paranoia, maybe with elements of a fantastic detachment from reality. But we are
not dealing with psychopaths, we are dealing with socio-paths. Maybe lovely 
individuals, but with an image of the world totally devoid of any humanitarian 
reality when those attacked refuse to do what Reagan said when he was entering a
helicopter, in connection with Nicaragua. "Mr. President, what do you want them 
to do?" "All I want them to do is to say 'Uncle'", meaning "I submit."

It doesn't work like that with a deep culture and a deep structure at work. US 
political science and US economics have no concept of history, and, it seems, 
only two concepts of structure, hierarchy and anarchy. If you come from a Nordic
country, or from the European Union, you have no problem what equity is about, 
even if I had to make up the word "equiarchy", to add to hierarchy, polyarchy 
and anarchy. Their only approach to equity was and is the signed agreement, 
contract, regardless of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th level consequences. Similarly, 
solution to them means settlement, a signed document, and I would argue it isn't
good enough, solution is deeper.

So how is the US Empire performing these days? There are 15 contradictions at 
the end in the hypothesis made in the year 2000. Let me say what the basic 
theory is about. An Empire is a transborder arrangement that combines economic, 
military, political and cultural power. It's an enormous power display that 
obviously brings with it contradictions. Contradictions are problems you cannot 
solve unless you change the system, but you can coexist with a couple of 
contradictions. When the contradictions start multiplying, synchronizing and 
synergizing, they become serious.

For the Empire people hit by an Empire start understanding that they have a 
common cause: get rid of the Empire ­ like colonialism, like slavery.

I can now pick up some of them, such as the amount of Euros passing the Dollars 
in circulation last December, Toyota passing GM in January, and you have the 
number of patents in the world with the US proportion sinking in comparison with
other countries passing the US in one domain after the other. There is all of 
this happening, and much much more.

Let me point to a key factor. It hasn't happened yet. But, many Europeans have 
felt bothered, and the moment they meet people in the Iraqi resistance movement 
and they compare notes, a sense of a common cause may start arising. If I now 
take all of these 15 points, some of them also inside the US, and Americans also
sense that they are better off without the US Empire, the moment that common 
cause factor comes about, the US Empire is doomed. That is what happened to the 
Soviet Union. My prediction made in 1980 was that the wall would fall before 
1990 and that the Soviet Empire would follow and they performed on time. The 
prediction of the US Empire is by 24 October 2020, the UN day and also my 90th 
anniversary, and you are all invited to celebrate. And let us combine it with a 
TRANSCEND meeting, but we need to make a jump, because they are now in odd 

What comes after the U.S. Empire?
A. The European Union as Successor

And then what? Three possibilities. 1) A Successor Country or Countries, 2) A 
Regionalizing World, 3) Another Globalization. Let me say a couple of words on 
all three. And you will take note, of course, that the end of an Empire is the 
most natural thing in the world. Empires come and go, it's been like that all 
the time. No empire lasts forever. However, this one happens to be so brutal, so
killing, so intervening, doing so much damage that you would expect it to be 
more short-lived than many of the others. It didn't have the decorum and the 
sense of responsibility sometimes exercised by the English and the French, to a 
large extent by the Spanish, to a minor extent also by the Dutch, much less by 
the Portuguese and the Belgians. You will of coursealso remember that the 
Portuguese in Brazil, with the US, were hanging onto slavery more than any 
other. So there is a tradition here.

But leaving that point aside, I think China is one of the least likely successor
candidates. On my list, candidate number one is the European Union. You need a 
sense of universalism, China has nothing of that. They are still convinced that 
it is surrounded by barbarians. They are willing to buy quite a lot. The annual 
global income is 54 trillion dollars, and China's reserves are more than one 
trillion. The US currency reserves right now amount to 47 billion, which is 
nothing. That means when you want 100 billion for more fighting in Iraq and 
Afghanistan, you have to take more loans. That they get those loans is something
still a little bit strange, but they do pay something in return, namely access 
to the US markets. So, having said that, a likely successor is the European 
Union, very universalist, with the 11 major colonial powers all members, and all
concerned about their part of the world. And they are willing to say "I'll not 
protest if you do something in your part if you'll not protest when I do 
something in my part". It is European political common market. There is much 
more to the European Union, but this is one important aspect.

We had a conference on peace studies in Hull in England one week ago, about 
democracy and peace. And I launched the idea of the European Union as a 
successor, after 19 reasons why the hypothesis of "democratic peace" is false, 
even a fraud, but I leave out all of that. The point I'm making is simply that 
the European Union has the deep culture and the deep structure it takes to 
become an empire. There were protests to the effect that there was no such plan 
also from Members of the European Parliament. Back then, a German from the 
European Commission raised his hand and said: "I'll tell you one thing, I work 
in the European Commission, but occasionally I go over to the Council of 
Ministers and whenever I am in the building, so many of the people walking 
around are in uniform, they suddenly disappear into some room, and it is very 
clear that the doors are closed." There is of course also the Tindemans plan, 
and the Tindemans plan is exactly what they need for that successor purpose. So 
let me proceed to what I think is most likely, regionalization.

B. Regionalization

We have 4 regions or maybe 5, EU, AU, SAARC and ASEAN. Number 5 is the G8, it's 
not contiguous, but it doesn't have to be contiguous to be a region. And we have
4 regions that are coming, and they have one thing in common: they are not going
to ask Washington for permission.

The first one is the Estados Unidos de America Latina y el Caribe, the United 
States of Latin America and the Caribbean. The common currency will be a 
Bolivar. Nine of the countries met in La Paz in December and drew up the basic 
plans for the Charter. A basic pattern of thinking is what they call a "social 
economy" and about that one I will just say one or two lines. When sanctions 
came to Cuba in 1960, or 1961 rather, the only trading possibility was with the 
Soviet Union, meaning sugar in return for shoddily manufactured goods. The 
Soviet Union collapsed, so did the trade, and Washington was already looking 
forward to the collapse of Cuba. What did they do then? First of all they 
switched to organic agriculture to be self-sufficient. In industrial products, 
they have enormous shortages, but they have some trade possibilities. And then 
you would immediately say that it was obvious, but not everybody thought about 
it. "We have human material, let us process that human material to as high a 
level as possible." That started university education to an extent unknown in 
most other countries, with a science and training center outside Havana for the 
training of doctors, dentists, engineers, social workers, educators, teachers of
all trades. Thousands and thousands of them, ready to go to Latin America. But 
they didn't have the money till Chavez. He had the money, and a messianic 
complex. He is the Messiah with a budget. Imagine Jesus Christ with an oil 
budget? You see the triangular theme? Chavez pays Cuba for providing the 
manpower for lifting the bottom level of those 9 countries, starting with the 
slums, and they pay Chavez a certain allegiance to the Estados Unidos, which is 
evolving everyday today. Venezuela then, a couple of weeks ago left the World 
Bank and the IMF. You cannot leave it unless you have paid all your debts and 
Venezuela paid them some time ago. The other countries cannot leave because they
haven't paid their debts, so Venezuela is going to pay their debts for them. The
Messiah with a budget. The difficulty of it is, that Messianism might go to his 
head and make his populist democracy, as opposed to the usual Latin American 
elitist democracy, similar to people's democracy in Eastern Europe, as opposed 
to any democracy. As it is obvious I like his policies, I would hate to see that

The second one is an Islamic community from Morocco to Mindanao. 1'300'000'000 
Muslims crossing almost 1'300'000'000 Hindus, from Nepal to Sri Lanka, like two 
highways, but at the same level. A major potential for a major conflict, making 
small riots in India look microscopic. I use that as an exercise for diplomats 
and say, "Please come up with 5 solutions for this one".

Third, an East Asia Community, without Japan and with India, possibly combined 
with SCO.

And fourth, possibly, Putin could pull it off, but he may not be the man for it,
is a Russian Union with a Chechnya having as much autonomy as the Netherlands in
the European Union. Today widely off the mark. Tomorrow? Maybe. It would be 
widely in Russia's interest. The problem is that Putin came to power by being 
anti-Chechen. So, let us see. Maybe somebody can come to power by being 

In a regional world we do not have any guarantee for peace. As a matter of fact,
the country that will benefit most from the decline and fall of the US Empire 
will be the US Republic. They may start sleeping well at night, and they might 
use their enormous natural and human resources for innovative projects and their
capacity for cooperation, all of that, for better purposes, and make a decent 
country out of the USA.

C. Another Globalization

That means of course a stronger UN with globalization through the United 
Nations. I was advisor to the Commission for Global Governance. They had a lot 
of good ideas whose time had not come, so let me just say the three that for me 
are most important.

Abolish the veto power. They may meet, in the G8, but put their agenda on the UN
agenda, and if they don't like what they come up with, outvote them by expanding
the Security Council to 54 members like the Economic and Social Council, and see
to it that all parts of the world are there. That's point one.

Point two, democratize the United Nations. They can mobilize an enormous amount 
of initiatives through a democratic United Nations. Maybe with one 
representative for each 1 million inhabitants, some say for each 10 million.

And, point three, take the United Nations out of the United States and put it 
somewhere else. Put it in a more friendly environment. This can all be done 
within a span from 5 to 20 years. If democracy is such a good idea, then why not
practice it?

My own book on The Decline and Fall of the US Empire--And Then What? is 
scheduled for next Spring. The book on alternative economics is also for next 
year, and so is the book on deep culture. Books, books, books, what matters more
is peace, peace.

So let me end by simply saying that I was asked to say something on the state of
the world. I've done that. And, if anybody can come up with ideas on how to 
speed up constructive, creative, concrete development, please don't hesitate!

 Thank you.

Johan Galtung, Dr hc mult, Professor of Peace Studies; Founder, TRANSCEND, a 
peace and development network ( )

15 contradictions of the US

1. Between growth and distribution: overproduction, 1.4 billion below 1 dollar a
day, 100'000 die a day from preventable and curable diseases and 25'000 from 

2. Between productive and finance economy: currency, stocks, bonds, overvalued, 
crashes, unemployment, contract jobs, not positions;

3. Between production/distribution/consumption and nature: ecocrisis, 
depletion/pollution, global warming;

4. Between US state terrorism and terrorism: blowback;

5. Between US and allies: except UK-Germany-Japan, allies will say "enough";

6. Between US Eurasia hegemony and Rus-Chindia triangle with 40% of humanity;

7. Between US-led NATO and the EU army: a Tindemans follow-up;
8. Between USA and the UN: the UN ultimately hitting back;
9. Between USA and the EU: vying for Orthodox/Muslims support;

10. Between US Judeo-Christianity and Islam: the UNSC nucleus has four 
Christian, and none of 56 Muslim countries;

11. Between US and the oldest civilizations: Chinese, Indian, Egyptian, 
Mesopotamian, Aztec, Inca, Maya;

12. Between US and EU elite cultures: France, Germany etc.

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. Between myth and realities: the US dream and US reality.

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