Keynote, 13th Session World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” – Rhodes, Greece, 9 Oct 2015
The strength of this forum is its civilization focus; let us use it for analysis and remedies. Major forms of disorder use violence; war is state organized violence. The most belligerent states are the United States of America and Israel, both with civilization roots.
National Evangelism, the US Protestant Christian civilization– more national than evangelical–justifies US warfare as exceptionalism of a people chosen by God, with a manifest destiny to run the world. Orthodox Judaism justifies Israeli warfare to conquer and expand from Nile to Euphrates as a religious right and duty to the Eternal One.
The third most belligerent country, the UK, no longer believes it is God-chosen but chosen by the USA; not quite the same but something.
But the root cause of global disorder lies in the Occident–with Islam–seeing itself as the single, universal civilization valid for all at all times, all others being mistakes. Missionary activity, slavery, colonialism, exploitative trade, robbery capitalism, follow.
The USA got from Judaism the idea of Chosen People-Promised Land. Yet Israel is actually the opposite of the USA: a land for Jews only, for 0.2% of humanity; not a world for everybody run by US hegemony.
These anomalies must come to an end. They spell disaster for whoever stands in the way of the Chosen Ones, with USA killing in 100+ countries and Israel into a Third Intifada after cruel attacks on Gaza. Both with nuclear bombs, at God’s level of destruction, on the ready.
The ways out pass through softer Christianities and Judaisms, through no military aid for the USA or Israel, through boycott and other forms of resistance; but above all through alternative policies. For the USA to retreat to a Northamerican Mex-Us-Can, for Israel to a UN-guaranteed enclave in the WANA, West Asia-North Africa region, in the old millet autonomy tradition of the Ottoman Empire-caliphate.
Like people informed of impending death they both deny any crisis in their world and regional empires. But reality strikes back, denying the denial. More adequate steps will be taken, maybe before 2020.
This perspective locates solutions in regions, not in inter-state relations; more particularly WANA and North America. With mechanisms for trauma conciliation, conflict solution, cooperation for mutual and equal benefit, harmony, sharing up and downs–four tasks!–veto-free regions can do very well. Their relation could be handled by a United Regions parallel to United Nations; but with no region above others.
Look at the map: three more regions missing. Two in Asia: a Central Asian region centered on Afghanistan-Pakistan with the Durand 1893 line gaping wound removed by open borders; and a Northeast Asian Community, NEAC, for cooperation between Japan and Russia Far East, two Chinas and two Koreas, sharing disputed islands and sovereignties.
In Europe a European House for the European Union and the large Russia+, for the four tasks. In that House U-kraina–at the 1600 years old Catholic-Orthodox border–could be a federation with rotating presidents, neutral, gas-oil flowing from East to West, EU trade from West to East, and Crimea 2014 understood as a correction of 1954.
This leads to an important point for mediation: identify major trends and build solutions on them. A swimmer who wants to swim a long way fast should swim with, not against, the river’s current. In a world with states withering away into regions–except for the five, six biggest–solve conflicts in regions; like in the four proposed here.
The Islamic State is a region; trendy. Russia makes a mistake killing them: kill one, get 10 more, also from inside Russia. Like the attack on Afghanistan 1978-79: “There they go again“, Muslims say.
But the states also yield to local communities and civil society. Build on that, more of the economies in local hands, fight inequality by lifting up the most miserable in the most miserable communities.
Then the civilizations, but not as clashes; the word Huntington’s publisher took from Bernard Lewis for a book about regions. Let us focus on their positive aspects, for cooperation, not for clashes:
- Judaism: dialogues as truth not final declarations; intellectuality;
- Orthodoxy: long term optimism Sunday Christianity-“Christ arisen”;
- Catholicism: forgiving the sinner who confesses and rejects his sin;
- Protestantism: individualism/I-culture Individual responsibility
- Americanism: freedom to innovate in science, culture, economy;
- Islam: collectivism/We-culture submission sharing rich to poor;
- Africanism: women in power distribution more than growth ubuntu;
- Hinduism: celebrating birth-protection-death linguistic communities;
- Buddhism: society as nets of relations-networks not individual knots;
- Daoism: reality as holisms forces/counterforces yin/yang dialectics
- Confucianism: both rights and duties, both at the top and the bottom;
- Chinaism: synergy buddhism-daoism-confucianism lifting the bottom up;
- Humanism: humans as the measure of all things (Protagoras);
- Naturism: nature–diversity-symbiosis–as the measure of all things;
Stimulate cooperation based on positives, and not paranoid security based on negatives: “security studies” being academic paranoia.
Example: China and India could exchange lifting the bottom up for true federalism; Protestantism-Americanism could soften individualism learning from Islam-Buddhism, in turn learning freedom and innovation.
And they could all learn never-ending dynamism from Daoism. And a basic key to stability from naturism: diversity with symbiosis.
What a rich world! Something for everybody to learn everywhere.
Today’s refugees, migrants? NO: a Völkerwanderung; whole peoples on the move, 50 million, 50 years? From Africa devastated by slavery, colonialism, trade, capitalism, from Africa and West-Central Asia from wars mainly by the West. We get a search for livelihood, for maternal care from colonial Mother Countries, as uninvited settlers like the colonizers, but willing to abide by local norms. Now it is our turn.
The solution? Africa develops itself, like East Asia once did using the Japanese model, not Smith-Ricardo but Kaname Akamatsu used by China, unacknowledged. Gaddafi, killed, favored that model.
The role of the EU? Host millions even if only to compensate for low European fertility; otherwise stay off, apologize, compensate. The West has done enough damage in the world; better, reinvent itself.
19 October 2015