by Jan Oberg
The old years went - in as little a time as it takes to turn around
and see who is tapping you on your shoulder. And it is the new, the
I hope it will pass too - in as little time as it takes for me to
turn my head and look forward again - because the face of 2017
doesn't look good or kind to me.
Neither do the next ten or so years. Beyond that the world will
become a better place. If, that is, if we survive and don't destroy
It is actually
becoming a better place!
The thing that has
too pass - or pass away - is
the United States
Empire. In a
few years it will go the way Rome and all the rest plus the Ottoman,
British and Soviet empires did. No empire lasts forever.
But before we go for it - a video from
Beirut, December 2016:
of Empire dissolution
The indicators, the
cracks, in the Empire are there for all to see - the Americans and
other Westernes will be the last and remain in denial for some time
until the discrepancy between the self-image and the reality, the
self-delusion, has grown too big.
Like East Germany
or Russia at in the early 1980s.
The rest of the
world, the non-West sees some of these cracks quite clearly:
regions such as the Middle East
lost since Vietnam, human and economic costs to the US
itself tremendous, beyond imagination.
share of the world economy than 40-50 years ago
income differences known to be harmful to any society.
of the people living under the poverty line.
Ghettoisation, dilapidated cities and infrastructure.
hope and positive vision - so much social anger.
declining status in the arts and market prices - the Chinese
credibility and legitimacy in the eyes of the rest of the
world - oh, remember the 1950s and 1960s!
violations of the UN Charter and international law with the
excuse of being "exceptionalist" - standing over and above
the law, beyond everybody else.
statistics the most killing country with the most
interventions, occupations, regime changes and arms exports
to all corners, 600+ military facilities in 130+
countries, special assassination troops in as many, drone
warfare and the Global War on Terror that has increased
terrorism 80 times since 9/11 2001.
system that can neither survive in the long run nor remain
loved by the world. Too many wounds, too many traumas in its
wake. And no apologies.
opera-, reality show-like presidential campaign that
documents that while good candidates for the US and the
world were available - Jill Stein in particular - the two
main competitors should carry names like Pest and Cholera -
most people voting on one to avoid the other. But now
morally corrupted political system in which only
material issues and things below the belt was debated; economically
corrupt politics in which you can get nowhere unless you are
a multi-billionaire or let yourself being bought by some.
Empire, the US has been teaching people and countries
lessons over 7 decades. It's consumed itself -
because # 1 in a system never learns. It teaches, only. The
pupils have tired - in Asia, in the Middle East, in Russia,
in Africa and, long ago, in South America.
The US could have promoted the Beloved Community à
la Martin Luther King at the global level. Been the world
power for good. If anybody could, it was the one.
Obama - in
spite of the good that may be said about him - has been
conducting war in more days than any other president in the
history of the US- while
president Eisenhower in his farewell
speech in January 1961 warned that the
Military-Industrial Complex could devastate the republic if
not brought under tight democratic control.
It is that
complex which has gained strength ever since and become the
Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex - MIMAC - that has won
the battle about America's destiny, not the Beloved
bullying, the violence and the war have won, not the benign power,
not the trust, common good and peace.
Now it's the time
for the US to learn and become a benevolent republic, a strong
innovative society without the self-inflicted burden of being
Master of everybody's destiny but only that of the Americans.
What a relief it
will be for them and for the rest of us.
Here is brilliant
Chris Hedges' sardonic
summary of the inner-American crisis:
future question - How will the US Empire dissolve?
West has no Gorbachev - an innovator and visionary with an ethics of
cooperation and doing good.
We have one decent,
principled - but despised - leader, Angela Merkel.
And she is not at
the level of a,
whatever great personality some of us have witnessed.
Without it being an
Hitler have done there in his bunker when he recognized that his
Empire was over, had he had nuclear weapons and a button to
presided over the least violent dissolution of an empire with its
Warsaw Pact. Who can do the same for the Western Empire - the US,
and with it, NATO?
Too hard a question
to even raise, perhaps?
In the extreme best
of cases, Donald Trump will focus on the republic and on making that
great again. That would be great for the Americans and for us - all
of us who were never anti-American but anti-Empire.
interpretation would be that he is critical to Empire-maintenance
and will fight fewer hopeless and self-destructive battles abroad.
That will be good -
and something one could not reasonably expect of a neo-conservative,
interventionist hawk by the name of
Hillary Clinton and her husband
back in the White House corridors, one of the most belligerent
presidents in modern times but charming it away.
Whaat? Yes, he
ignored all promises made to Gorbachev to not expand NATO "an inch"
and thus sowed the seeds of the Ukraine crisis today.
He bombed in,
Madeleine Albright's historic defence - the sanctions
on Iraq after 500,000 innocent Iraqis were known to have died.
And he had no
problems letting his ambassador to Croatia,
mastermind the ethnic cleansing of the Croatian Serbs out of Croatia
Over the clouds,
the skies are always blue…
So, the next ten or
so years are going to be interesting
in the Chinese sense of that word.
extrapolating the future from the past, forget about order and
common sense. Most things under the sky will have to get worse
before citizens and - new - leaders take sufficient action in
sufficiently many countries to make the world a better place.
But hey - over the
clouds, the sky is always blue - as any flight passenger knows.
Here's some elements of the way I -
try to - perceive the future:
Now 65, I
believe it's going to be difficult times until I'm 75.
I look forward to some 25 or more years - who knows, 100 years
is the new 80!? - where I believe I will see things like these:
US Empire will be the last
- no country or culture in its right mind will try to
influence or rule the whole world - and, if so, surely not
through full-spectrum dominance and predominantly military
crisis will give us some blows - unpredictably and
surprisingly - that will
re-introduce humility and encourage community. The "I"
generation, the blind materialism of eternal growth and
materialist greed will vanish.
Gandhi will - again - be
"There is enough in the world for everyone's
needs but not for everyone's greed."
a multi-polar world emerge
- a world where citizens will connect ever more and criss-crossing,
in which the nation state, nationalism and national
party-based parliaments will disappear and a new global
democracy will emerge.
Co-operative structures all over - a
passion for the common good and not for only "me and my
vertical world order will change to
spearheaded first of all by the new
Silk Road and Silk Belt projects
from China through Asia, to the Middle East, the Balkans
(Serbia and Greece, not the EU), all of Africa and,
eventually, over to South America.
infrastructure building - fast transport and communication -
it will link the new world through cultural and business
projects and bring people in touch about cooperation and
common building - not split them in warfare and making send
thousands of refugees running for asylum.
one of the most visionary - if not
the only - ideas
encompassing and touching a large majority of the world and
doing so for the common good.
Yo-Yo Ma has already done the new
Silk Road Project -
connecting people through the arts to increase global
understanding. Much more will come - culture in a broad
sense becoming as important as economics.
the Middle East - freed
from the Sykes-Picot policies one hundred years ago (1916)
will thrive as a new economic community with all it has in
Instead of fighting about, say, water resources it
will build its own Islamic economies, trade and prosper. Of
course, again, they have more in common to build on than
what separates them.
Israel will finally let
the whole region be free of nuclear weapons - because it can
live more in peace without being an occupying fortress.
transform itself radical or dissolve into the dessert…
will become the new Switzerland of the Middle East - the one
who is different, helpful to the world and becomes a
mediator and meeting place. Why should everybody go to
Geneva and only there, a foreign place to most?
left to themselves and freed from Western divide-and-rule,
the Muslim nation will build bridges between Shia and Sunni
- and turn against those, like Daesh/ISIS, who are only
misusing religion for political purposes.
Kazakhstan with its
consistent peace-with-neighbors policies and having freed
itself of all old nukes, will - in spite of being
old-fashioned authoritarian in its leadership - remain and
grow as a meeting place.
away from the post-literate, marketing-based and simplifying
media and education system that has developed the last 20 or
so years with far too much disconnected
information, less and
less emphasis on comprehensive
knowledge and never
reaching the level of wisdom.
will harness the best of new
more across all old lines - no more walls!
We'll learn and
interact on the Internet and tablets, all cell phones will
be sold with educational apps - including an app with the
basic principles of nonviolence peace-making.
human creativity will explode worldwide when schools are
de-schooled, universities become multi-versities and human
creativity is set free from all old "correct" ways of
Authoritarian states and
fake or pseudo
democracies: Watch the writing on the wall!
still be war and violence when I turn 100? Probably yes -
like there will be diseases too. But much less - because we
have switched balanced.
It will no
longer be a world in which the UN has US$ 30 billion to work
with and the military US $ 2000 billion.
the global crisis, humanity will have recognized that the
opposite proportions are much better for us all. It simple
ethics and empathy in one.
And if we
can't make that change, ask yourself whether we deserve to
survive as species.
will change too - christian values will be there but no
longer in its missionary mode but much more in a world that
blends Islam's peace philosophy, buddhism, hinduism, daoism,
quakerism and the
non-violent, stronger sides of
all religions coming
together - eucumenism and Gandhian eclecticism.
states will disappear.
sins or dangers will of course (have to) disappear - each of
us can do some of it; new policies and mass mobilization in
his spirit, the rest:
and obvious need is to replace the
repairing evil society
with the preventive good
whatever reason we operate and propagate to others a
that is not only impractical and anti-economic but also
We do all the wrong things
and then have to repair the damage instead of abstaining
from at least some of that wrongdoing in the first
We fight wars
as the first option instead of trying peaceful means first; then
we have to re-build destroyed societies (Mostar or Aleppo will
not be the same after such a re-building, it will be a replica
We kill people
and then have to go through all the inner pain, punishment and -
generation long reconciliation and forgiveness processes and
And always fear that the things we did will be
remembered, create traumas and or wish for revenge?
Wouldn't it simply be easier to not kill in the first place -
for instance talk?
And we harm
people and whole societies and then some of them turn up at our
door as asylum seekers? What do we do?
We slam the
door and not only behave in an inhuman selfish way, we also show
the rest of the world that we are brutes rather than helpers.
If we want to lower
the ever increasing figures for refugees and internally displaced
people, we just stop wars, killing and destruction and the rest will
be migrants, not refugees.
resources, produce and consume in ways that are absolutely
non-sustainable in the long run - and we have known it since world
future reports were written in the 1970s.
Then we have to invent a huge new re-cycling industry and try to
repair nature in the same tempo as we destroy it - which isn't
possible with an eternal material growth philosophy.
philosopher and novelist Villy Sørensen once shall have said:
"There are no
limits to quality but there are always limits to quantity."
Is that really so
difficult to comprehend?
will also lead to an ever increasing number of environmental
refugees. At some point - we are far from there - the whole things
becomes unbearable and conflicts will blow up - not because of the
refugees per se but because of our short-sighted brutal policies.
Just think of the
many consequences you action may have before you act - and much harm
could be avoided and more happiness and cooperation develop.
We eat and drink
and smoke in ways that are unhealthy and then have to get repaired -
or we die early. What about preventing diseases while you sit at the
table and take a walk afterwards?
To move from the
evil repair society to the prevention and happy society could be
called smart living. It would be a key to reducing most of all the
types of violence - the consequences of which we are battling in
these dark times.
As Pogo says so
Spend your new year in developing your hopes and visions. On being
for something and don't accept
the rampant fearology practiced on you in these
We are in crisis,
deep crisis, yes - but it isn't hopeless yet.
Fearlessness is a
Happy new -
visionary - year...!