By Jan Oberg*
Lund, Sweden, November 30 2016 ((TFF–Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research) – These two top officials behind major US wars (Iran/Afghanistan and Vietnam/ Cambodia/Laos) and regime change (against Allende, Chile) will speak at the first of a new event, The Nobel Peace Prize Forum Oslo, created by the Nobel Institute in Oslo. More here.
The leaders of the two institutions declare that they are proud to have succeeded in getting these two diplomats to Norway – and the media of course will be there. The event is sponsored by the California-based company InCircl – a marketing and mobile payment company.
These two experts on warfare and interventionism will – Orwellian style – speak about “The United States and World Peace After The Presidential Election”.
This is the country that, since 1980, has intervened violently in Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Kosova/Serbia, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, i.e. 14 Muslim countries. It has some 630 base facilities in 130+ countries. It has its US Special Forces (SOF) in 133 countries.
It has used nuclear weapons without apology and owns the second largest arsenal of nuclear weapons.
The US stands for about 40% of the world’s military expenditures, is the world’s leading arms exporter and has killed more people than anybody else since 1945. It’s the master of (imprecise) drone strikes.
It presently supports Saudi Arabia’s bestial war on Yemen and conducts a military build-up in Asia and the Pacific planning, as it seems, for what looks like a future confrontation with China. And not with terribly positive results in its Middle East policies since 1945.
So with all these credentials, please tell us about world peace!
The U.S. should be seen as quite incapable of peace-making – not the least thanks to Dr. Kissinger (now 93) who is associated with major “war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offences against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture” in places such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Timor, and Chile as stated in the classical book about his peace-making by Christopher Hitchens “The Trial Of Henry Kissinger”.
Here is Carl Estabrook’s trustworthy account with personal references.
Brzezinski (now 88) doesn’t have as much blood on his hands but his hawkish “Realpolitk” contributions to US foreign policy – including its failures – over decades are well described here.
So, undoubtedly these voices from past militarism and imperialism – here understood as theoretical concepts, not as ideological slogans – are supposed to enlighten the participants in Oslo, young university students in particular, in the right teachings, in U.S. international political history and concepts, promote their surreal peace concept and present an interpretation of the – surely – benign US and its exceptionalist role in the future world (dis)order.
Let me be very clear: I am in favour of universities being open, of free academic debate and freedom of expression. These two cast-off ideologues are entitled to that too – in Oslo for sure.
But I do have this to ask:
Who will get the same honour while holding the different, opposite views – as should be the case in normal academic-intellectual settings?
Will the Nobel Institute and Oslo University honour intellectuals with such other values and perspectives? Would they invite victims of the policies of the US under the influence of Kissinger and Brzezinski?
And would somebody be invited to a similar high-profiled event who work with peace concepts that – in stark contrast to these two – are based on conflict analysis, anti-imperialism, anti-militarism, disarmament, nonviolence, reconciliation, forgiveness and the cultures of peace including dialogue and negotiations?
Would the two institutions be equally proud to invite scholars and diplomats who – in stark contrast to these two – stand firmly on the United Nations Charter provisions that war shall be abolished and that peace shall be established by peaceful means, meaning that all civilian means shall be tried and found in vain before the UN organises a military action? In other words, supporters of international law and not violators of it?
This brings me to a confession of sorts:
While I am in favour of intellectual freedom and open debate, I am not in favour of the Nobel Institute inviting people such as Kissinger and Brzezinski. The Institute as well as the Nobel Committee that decides who shall be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize has a mandate based upon the will of Alfred Nobel.
And he wrote there that he wanted his Prize to go to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
It goes without saying and without further discussion that the two visitors have done nothing – nothing – for that.
To award prizes – and honour by invitations – alleged, non-convicted war criminals should, by simple logics, be unthinkable. Impossible.
The link between the prize committee and the institute is clear; that link is embodied in professor Olav Njölstad, a historian, who both heads the Nobel Institute and is a member (secretary) of the Nobel Committee.
The Kissinger-Brzezinski event is nothing less than a slap in the face of everyone working for peace and of Alfred Nobel’s will.
It’s a crystal clear violation of that will and legal authorities as well as the Swedish Nobel Foundation ought to secure that anything like this can never happen again. I know from experience that none will take action.
Peace is war and war is peace – and why should they care about a will and legal issues when they honour people who have systematically broken international law or advocated the breaking of it?
Or, in other words, anybody who feels they need to be enlightened by two of the oldest and worst representatives of the most militant and war-fighting nation on earth about the world’s future and about peace signals only one thing: The intellectual and moral decay of a small Western country totally submissive to the US – which itself is in utterly clear moral, intellectual, political and economic decay – and Empire fast approaching its end thanks to its own policies.
One way to go: Boycott the event and let Kissinger, Brzezinski, Njölstad and Ottersen be the only ones who turn up in that huge hall on December 11th.
Or, go there – students, media and civil society – and raise all the questions any independent, decent academic must. And anyone must who takes the word peace seriously.
*About the author: Dr Jan Oberg, Peace studies professor. PhD in sociology, peace and future researcher. Associate professor (Docent) at Lund University, thereafter visiting or guest professor at various universities.
Former director of the Lund University Peace Research Institute (LUPRI); former secretary-general of the Danish Peace Foundation; former member of the Danish government’s Committee on security and disarmament.
Visiting professor at ICU (1990-91) and Chuo Universities (1995) in Japan and visiting professor for three months at Nagoya University in 2004 and 2007 and four months in 2009 – at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. Oberg has taught peace courses for more than 10 years at the European Peace University (EPU) in Schlaining, Austria and teaches MA courses twice a year at the World Peace Academy (WPA) in Basel, Switzerland. Learn more about Jan Oberg.
Jan Oberg’s article was published in: TFF – Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research. Go to Original.
About TFF: TFF is an independent think tank, a global network that aims to bring about peace by peaceful means. It inspires a passion for peace from the grassroots to the corridors of power.
TFF is an all-volunteer global network. It promotes conflict-mitigation and reconciliation in general, as well as in a more targeted way in a selected number of conflict regions – through meticulous on-the-ground research, active listening, education and advocacy.
2016 Human Wrongs Watch