Peace War And Defense Essays In Peace Research Academy

If you want peace, prepare for war.” Thus counseled Roman general Flavius Vegetius Renatus over 1,600 years ago. Nine centuries before that, Sun Tzu offered essentially the same advice, and it’s to him that Vegetius’s line is attributed at the beginning of a film that I saw recently at Oslo’s Nobel Peace Center. Yet the film cites this ancient wisdom only to reject it. After serving up a perverse potted history of the cold war, the thrust of which is that the peace movement brought down the Berlin Wall, the movie ends with words that turn Vegetius’s insight on its head: “If you want peace, prepare for peace.”

This purports to be wise counsel, a motto for the millennium. In reality, it’s wishful thinking that doesn’t follow logically from the history of the cold war, or of any war. For the cold war’s real lesson is the same one that Sun Tzu and Vegetius taught: conflict happens; power matters. It’s better to be strong than to be weak; you’re safer if others know that you’re ready to stand up for yourself than if you’re proudly outspoken about your defenselessness or your unwillingness to fight. There’s nothing mysterious about this truth. Yet it’s denied not only by the Peace Center film but also by the fast-growing, troubling movement that the center symbolizes and promotes.

Call it the Peace Racket.

We need to make two points about this movement at the outset. First, it’s opposed to every value that the West stands for—liberty, free markets, individualism—and it despises America, the supreme symbol and defender
of those values. Second, we’re talking not about a bunch of naive Quakers but about a movement of savvy, ambitious professionals that is already comfortably ensconced at the United Nations, in the European Union, and in many nongovernmental organizations. It is also waging an aggressive, under-the-media-radar campaign for a cabinet-level Peace Department in the United States. Sponsored by Ohio Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich (along with more than 60 cosponsors), House Resolution
808 would authorize a Secretary of Peace to “establish a Peace Academy,” “develop a peace education curriculum” for elementary and
secondary schools, and provide “grants for peace studies departments” at campuses around the country. If passed, the measure would
catapult the peace studies movement into a position of extraordinary national, even international, influence.

The Peace Racket’s boundaries aren’t easy to define. It embraces scores of “peace institutes” and “peace centers” in the U.S. and Europe, plus several hundred university peace studies programs. As Ian Harris, Larry Fisk, and Carol Rank point out in a sympathetic overview of these programs, it’s hard to say exactly how many exist—partly because they often go by other labels, such as “security studies” and “human rights education”; partly because many “professors who infuse peace material into courses do not offer special courses with the title peace in them”; and finally because “several small liberal arts colleges offer an introductory course requirement to all incoming students which infuses peace and justice themes.” Many primary and secondary schools also teach peace studies in some form.

Peace studies initiatives may train students to be social workers, to work in churches or community health organizations, or to resolve family quarrels and neighborhood disputes. At the movement’s heart, though, are programs whose purported emphasis is on international relations. Their founding father is a 77-year-old Norwegian professor, Johan Galtung, who established the International Peace Research Institute in 1959 and the Journal of Peace Research five years later. Invariably portrayed in the media as a charismatic and (these days) grandfatherly champion of decency, Galtung is in fact a lifelong enemy of freedom. In 1973, he thundered that “our time’s grotesque reality” was—no, not the Gulag or the Cultural Revolution, but rather the West’s “structural fascism.” He’s called America a “killer country,” accused it of “neo-fascist state terrorism,” and gleefully prophesied that it will soon follow Britain “into the graveyard of empires.”

No fan of Britain either, Galtung has faulted “Anglo-Americans” for trying to “stop the wind from blowing.” If the U.S. and the U.K. oppose a dangerous development, in his view, we’re causing trouble—Milošević, Saddam, and Osama are just the way the wind is blowing. Galtung’s kind of thinking leads inexorably to the conclusion that one should never challenge any tyrant. Fittingly, he urged Hungarians not to resist the Soviet Army in 1956, and his views on World War II suggest that he’d have preferred it if the Allies had allowed Hitler to finish off the Jews and invade Britain.

Though Galtung has opined that the annihilation of Washington, D.C., would be a fair punishment for America’s arrogant view of itself as “a model for everyone else,” he’s long held up certain countries as worthy of emulation—among them Stalin’s USSR, whose economy, he predicted in 1953, would soon overtake the West’s. He’s also a fan of Castro’s Cuba, which he praised in 1972 for “break[ing] free of imperialism’s iron grip.” At least you can’t accuse Galtung of hiding his prejudices. In 1973, explaining world politics in a children’s newspaper, he described the U.S. and Western Europe as “rich, Western, Christian countries” that make war to secure materials and markets: “Such an economic system is called capitalism, and when it’s spread in this way to other countries it’s called imperialism.” In 1974, he sneered at the West’s fixation on “persecuted elite personages” such as Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov. Thirty years later, he compared the U.S. to Nazi Germany for bombing Kosovo and invading Afghanistan and Iraq. For Galtung, a war that liberates is no better than one that enslaves.

His all-time favorite nation? China during
the Cultural Revolution. Visiting his Xanadu, Galtung concluded that the Chinese loved life under Mao: after all, they were all “nice and smiling.” While “repressive in a certain liberal sense,” he wrote, Mao’s China was “endlessly liberating when seen from many other perspectives that liberal theory has never understood.” Why, China showed that “the whole theory about what an ‘open society’ is must be rewritten, probably also the theory of ‘democracy’—and it will take a long time before the West will be willing to view China as a master teacher in such subjects.”

Nor has Galtung changed his tune over the decades. Recently he gave a lecture that was a smorgasbord of wild accusations about America’s refusing to negotiate with Saddam, America’s secret plans to make war in Azerbaijan, Nazis in the State Department, the CIA’s responsibility for 6 million covert murders, and so on. Galtung called for a Truth and Reconciliation Committee in Iraq—to treat America’s crimes, not the Baathists’.

Galtung’s use of the word “peace” to legitimize totalitarianism is an old Communist tradition. In August 1939, when the Nazis and Soviets signed their nonaggression pact, the same Western Stalinists who had been calling for war against Germany did an about-face and began
to praise peace. (After Hitler invaded Russia, the Stalinists reversed themselves again, demanding that the West help Stalin crush the Third Reich.) The peace talk, in short, was really about sympathizing with Communism, not peace. And it continued after the war, when Stalin’s Western supporters whitewashed his monstrous regime and denounced anti-Communists as warmongering crypto-fascists. “Peace conferences” and “friendship committees” drew hordes of liberal dupes, who didn’t grasp that their new “friends” were not ordinary Russians but the jailers of ordinary Russians—and that the committees were about not “friendship” but deception, exploitation, and espionage.

The people running today’s peace studies
programs give a good idea of the movement’s illiberal, anti-American inclinations. The director of Purdue’s program is coeditor of Marxism Today, a collection of essays extolling socialism; Brandeis’s peace studies chairman has justified suicide bombings; the program director at the University of Missouri authorized a mass e-mail urging students and faculty to boycott classes to protest the Iraq invasion; and the University of Maine’s program director believes that “humans have been out of balance for centuries” and that “a unique opportunity of this new century is to engage in the creation of balance and harmony between yin and yang, masculine and feminine energies.” (Such New Age babble often mixes with the Marxism in peace studies jargon.)

What these people teach remains faithful to Galtung’s anti-Western inspiration. First and foremost, they emphasize that the world’s great evil is capitalism—because it leads to imperialism, which in turn leads to war. The account of
capitalism in David Barash and Charles Webel’s widely used 2002 textbook Peace and Conflict
leans heavily on Lenin, who “maintained that only revolution—not reform—could undo
capitalism’s tendency toward imperialism and thence to war,” and on Galtung, who helpfully revised Lenin’s theories to account for America’s “indirect” imperialism. Students acquire a zero-sum picture of the world economy: if some countries and people are poor, it’s because others are rich. They’re taught that American wealth derives entirely from exploitation and that Americans, accordingly, are responsible for world poverty.

If the image of tenured professors pushing such anticapitalist nonsense on privileged suburban kids sounds like a classic case of liberals’ throwing stones at their own houses, get a load of this: America’s leading Peace Racket institution is probably the University of Notre Dame’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies—endowed by and named for the widow of Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s, the ultimate symbol of evil corporate America. It was the Kroc Institute, by the way, that in 2004 invited Islamist scholar Tariq Ramadan to join its faculty, only to see him denied a U.S. visa on the grounds that he had defended terrorism.

Peace studies students also discover how to think in terms of “deep culture.” How to prevent war between, say, the U.S. and Saddam’s Iraq? Answer: examine each country’s deep culture—its key psychosocial traits, good and bad—to understand its motives. Americans, according to this bestiary, are warlike and money-obsessed; Iraqis are intensely religious and proud. Not surprisingly, the Peace Racket’s summations of deep cultures skew against the West. The deep-culture approach also avoids calling tyrants or terrorists “evil”—for behind every atrocity, in this view, lies a legitimate grievance, which the peacemaker should locate so that all parties can meet at the negotiating table as moral equals. SUNY Binghamton, for instance, offers a peace studies course that seeks to “arrive at an understanding of contemporary violence in its ideological, cultural, and structural dimensions in a bid to move away from ‘evil,’ ‘inhuman,’ and ‘uncivilized’ as analytical categories.”

For the Peace Racket, to kill innocents in cold blood is to buy the right to dialogue, negotiation, concessions—and power. So students learn to identify “insurgent” or “militant” groups with the populations they purport to represent. A few years ago, a peace organization called Transcend equated the demands of the Basque terrorist group ETA with “the desires of the Basque people”—as if a “people” were a monolithic group for whom a band of murderous thugs could presume to speak. The complaints that Transcend made about the Spanish government’s “blockade positions”—its refusal to cave to terrorist demands—and the Spanish media’s lack of “objectivity”—their refusal to take a middle position between Spanish society and ETA terrorists—are standard Peace Racket fare. Similarly, during Saddam’s dictatorship, “peace scholars” wrote as if Iraq were equivalent to Saddam and the Baath party, entirely removing from the picture the Shiites and Kurds whom Saddam’s regime subjugated, tortured, and slaughtered.

The recipes for peace that flow from such thinking seem designed not only to buttress oppression but to create more of it. For if democracies consistently followed the Peace Racket’s recommendations, what they’d eventually reap would be the kind of peace found today in Havana or Pyongyang.

The Peace Racket maintains that the Western world’s profound moral culpability, arising from its history of colonialism and economic exploitation, deprives it of any right to judge non-Western countries or individuals. Further, the non-West has suffered so much from exploitation that whatever offenses it commits are legitimate attempts to recapture dignity, obtain justice, and exact revenge. Have Third World terrorists taken Americans hostage? Don’t call the hostages innocent victims. After all, as Americans, they’re complicit in a system that has long inflicted “structural violence” (or “structural terrorism”) upon the Third World poor. Donald Rothberg of San Francisco’s Saybrook Institute explains: “In using the term ‘structural violence,’ we identify phenomena as violent that are not usually seen as violent. For example, Western economic domination.”

It is this mind-set that leads peace professors to accuse the U.S. of “state terrorism,” to call George W. Bush “the world’s worst terrorist,” and even to characterize those murdered in the Twin Towers as oppressors who, by working at investment banks and brokerage houses, were ultimately responsible for their own deaths. Barash and Webel, for instance, write sympathetically of “frustrated, impoverished, infuriated people . . . who view the United States as a terrorist country” and for whom “attacks on American civilians were justified” because one shouldn’t distinguish “between a ‘terrorist state’ and the citizens who aid and abet that state.” They also approvingly quote Osama bin Laden’s claim that for many “disempowered” people, “Americans
are the worst terrorists in the world”—thereby inviting students to consider Osama a legitimate spokesperson for the “disempowered.” Speaking at a memorial concert on the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks, George Wolfe of Ball State University’s peace studies program suggested that we “reflect on what we as Americans may have done or not done, to invoke such extreme hatred.” The Kroc
Institute’s David Cortright agrees: “We must ask ourselves . . . what the United States has done to incur such wrath.”

In short, it’s America that is the wellspring of the world’s problems. In the peace studies world, America’s role as the beacon of opportunity for generations of immigrants is mocked, its defense of freedom in World War II and the cold war is reinterpreted to its discredit, and every major postwar atrocity (the Gulag, the Cultural Revolution, genocide in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Sudan) is ignored, minimized, or—as with 9/11—blamed on the U.S. itself.

One peace studies motif holds that the U.S. intentionally preserves its enemies to justify military expenses. According to a 2000 article by Michael Klare, professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, for instance, the Pentagon deplored the prospect of peace between the Koreas because it “would erase the most menacing of our putative ‘rogue state’ adversaries” and thus “imperil . . . future military appropriations.” (For Klare, North Korea is only “putatively” a rogue state.) The director of Cornell’s peace studies program, Matthew Evangelista, blames the cold war on the U.S. Defense Department and claims that it ended only because a good-hearted, newly enlightened Gorbachev “heeded the advice of transnational [peace] activists.” You might think that no one could fall for such nonsense. But keep in mind that the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and that students starting college in 2007 arrived in the world a year later. They don’t remember the cold war—and are ripe targets for disinformation.

As for America’s response to terrorism, Barash and Webel tidily sum up the view of many peace studies professors: “A peace-oriented perspective condemns not only terrorist attacks but also any violent response to them.” How should democracies respond to aggression? Hold dialogue. Make concessions. Apologize. Neville Chamberlain’s 1938 capitulation to Hitler at Munich taught—or should have taught—that appeasement just puts off a final reckoning, giving an enemy time to gain strength. The foundation of the Peace Racket’s success lies in forgetting this lesson. Peace studies students discover that the lesson of World War II is the evil of war itself and the need to prevent it by all possible means—which, of course, is exactly what Chamberlain thought he was doing in Munich. What they learn, in short, is the opposite of the war’s real lesson.

Warblogger Frank Martin described his visit to the military cemetery at Arnhem, in the Netherlands, where a teenage guide said that the Allied soldiers “were fighting for bridges; how silly that they would all fight for something like that.” Martin was outraged: “I tried to explain that they weren’t fighting for bridges, but for his and his families’ freedom.” That teenager articulated precisely the kind of thinking that peace professors seek to instill in their students—that freedom is at best an overvalued asset that can hinder peacemaking, and at worst a lie, and
that those who harp on it are either American propagandists or dupes who’ve fallen for the propaganda. In March, Yusra Moshtat, an associate of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, and Jan Oberg, director of the foundation, wrote that “words like democracy and freedom are deceptive, cover-ups or Unspeak.” And in a 1997 speech at a Texas peace foundation, Oscar Arias, ex-president of Costa Rica and founder of his own peace foundation, described the American preoccupation with freedom versus tyranny as “obsolete,” “oversimplified,” and above all “dangerous,” because it could lead to war. In other words, if you want to ensure peace, worry less about freedom. Appease tyranny, accept it, embrace it—and there’ll be no more war.

That’s the Peace Racket’s message in a nutshell—and students find themselves graded largely on their willingness to echo it. For while the peace professor argues that terrorist positions deserve respect at the negotiating table, he seldom tolerates alternative views in the classroom. Real education exposes students to a range of ideas and trains them to think critically about all orthodoxies. Peace studies, as a rule, rejects questioning of its own guiding ideology.

Take the case of Brett Mock, who writes in FrontPage Magazine that a peace studies class he’d taken in 2004 at Ball State University—“indoctrination rather than education,” as he puts it—had been “designed entirely to delegitimize the use of the military in the defense of our country.” The teacher, George Wolfe, “would not allow any serious study of the reasons for the use of force in response to an attack,” and students were expected to “parrot . . . back views we did not agree with.” To get full credit, moreover, Mock reports, students had to “meditate at the Peace Studies center,” “attend Interfaith Fellowship meetings,” or join Peace Workers—a group that Wolfe founded and that, according to Sara Dogan of Students for Academic Freedom, “is part of a coalition of radical groups that
includes the Muslim Students Association . . . and the Young Communist League.” Kyle Ellis, another Ball State student, added that “Wolfe has required students to attend a screening of the antiwar propaganda film Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the War in Iraq, without material critical of the film and representing the other side.”

Then there’s Andrew Saraf, who in 2006 objected publicly to the one-sidedness of a peace studies course taught at his Bethesda high school by Washington Post columnist Colman McCarthy. “The ‘class,’ ” Saraf complained, “is headed by an individual with a political agenda, who wants to teach students the ‘right’ way of thinking by giving them facts that are skewed in one direction.” McCarthy shrugged off the criticism, having long ago admitted his course’s bias: “Over the years, I’ve had suggestions from other teachers to offer what they call ‘balance’ in my courses, that I should give students ‘the other side.’ I’m never sure exactly what that means. After assigning students to read Gandhi I should have them also read Carl von Clausewitz? After Martin Luther King’s essay against the Vietnam War, Colin Powell’s memoir favoring the Persian Gulf War? After Justice William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall’s views opposing the death penalty, George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein’s favoring it? After a woman’s account of her using a nonviolent defense against a rapist, the thwarted rapist’s side?” (Note, by the way, the facile juxtaposition of Bush and Saddam.)

Mock and Saraf are the exceptions—students who raise questions. One can begin to form a picture of the typical peace studies student by reading the testimonials by students and graduates that many of these programs have posted online. Essentially the same story occurs over and over in these accounts: the privileged upbringing; the curiosity about other cultures; the visit to the Third World, where the poverty shocks, even transforms, the student (“I . . . would never be the same after experiencing what I did in Honduras”); and, finally, the readiness to swallow the peace professors’ explanation for it all—namely, that it’s America’s fault—and to work for revolutionary change. Many students make it clear that they’re ashamed to be American; one of them, listing her aspirations, writes, “I envision myself American, not needing to be embarrassed of it.” They view themselves instead as “global citizens.”

The more one considers oneself a global citizen, of course, the less one considers oneself an American citizen whose loyalty is to the Constitution and its freedoms. Each new global citizen, in fact, transfers his loyalty to the Peace Racket. No wonder these students often sound like cultists: “I have pledged my passion, dedication, and undying energy to the World Peace Program and the ongoing fight for a more peaceful world for all people.” They may think that they’ve figured out the world (“Global Militarism and Human Survival . . . has allowed me to analyze how the United States’ military agenda denies indigenous rights and crushes people’s hopes for social justice all over the world”), but all they’re doing is regurgitating ideological clichés.

Reading these personal accounts, I remembered being 17. I’d never been outside North America, but I’d paid attention in history class and, being curious about the world, had read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Babi Yar, 1984, John Gunther’s Inside series, several books about the USSR, and much else. I had an uncle who’d been in a Nazi POW camp, a Polish-speaking grandmother who felt blessed to be an American citizen and not a Soviet vassal, and a Cuban schoolmate whose father, a journalist, Castro had tortured and blinded. I knew what totalitarianism was. The young people who get taken in by the Peace Racket, though, seem not to have had much of a clue about anything before visiting Haiti or Ghana or wherever. And their peace studies classes and international adventures don’t exactly wise them up. A peace studies student at McGill University, recounting her internship with a “Cuban NGO” (as if there really were such a thing!), refers enthusiastically to her participation in “the largest demonstration in Cuban history.” She doesn’t elaborate, but the reference is clearly to a government-organized protest against the U.S. trade embargo. This perilously naive young woman has no idea that she was the tool of a dictatorship.

For Canadian Davis Aurini, who in a May 2007 e-mail described himself as “sorely disappointed” by his peace studies
experience, his naively socialist classmates were at least
as problematic as the professors. One prof consistently ridiculed Western “science and knowledge”: every time he quoted a Western writer, he would mockingly add, “So he told me,” then clap his hands, then repeat, “So he tooooold me!” and clap his hands again. “He thought he was some kind of native spiritualist,” explained Aurini. The classes were “nothing but a disjointed ramble against anything remotely military or Western. And the students loved it.”

George Orwell would have understood the attraction of privileged young
people to the Peace Racket. “Turn-the-other-cheek pacifism,” he observed in 1941, “only flourishes among the more prosperous classes, or among workers who have in some way escaped from their own class. The real working class . . . are never really pacifist, because their life teaches them something different. To abjure violence it is necessary to have no experience of it.” If so many young Americans have grown up insulated from the realities that Vegetius and Sun Tzu elucidated centuries ago, and are therefore easy marks for the Peace Racket, it’s thanks to the success of the very things the Peace Racket despises above all—American capitalism and American military preparedness.

What’s alarming is that these students don’t plan to spend their lives on some remote mountainside in Nepal contemplating peace, harmony, and human oneness. They want to remake our world. They plan to become politicians, diplomats, bureaucrats, journalists, lawyers, teachers, activists. They’ll bring to these positions all the mangled history and misbegotten ideology that their professors have handed down to them. Their careers will advance; the Peace Racket’s influence will spread. And as it does, it will weaken freedom’s foundations.

Johan Vincent Galtung (born 24 October 1930) is a Norwegian sociologist, mathematician, and the principal founder of the discipline of peace and conflict studies.[1]

He was the main founder of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) in 1959 and served as its first director until 1970. He also established the Journal of Peace Research in 1964. In 1969 he was appointed to the world's first chair in peace and conflict studies, at the University of Oslo. He resigned his Oslo professorship in 1977 and has since held professorships at several other universities; from 1993 to 2000 he taught as Distinguished Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Hawaii, and he is currently based in Kuala Lumpur, where he is the first Tun Mahathir Professor of Global Peace at the International Islamic University Malaysia.[2]

Galtung is known for contributions to sociology in the 1950s, political science in the 1960s, economics and history in the 1970s, macrohistory, anthropology, and theology in the 1980s. He has developed several influential theories, such as the distinction between positive and negative peace, structural violence, theories on conflict and conflict resolution, the concept of peacebuilding,[3] the structural theory of imperialism, and the theory of the United States as simultaneously a republic and an empire.[4] He has often been critical of western countries in their attitude to the Global South. Galtung has been a major intellectual figure of the New Left since the 1950s.[5] He was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1987 and has received many other prizes and accolades.


Galtung was born in Oslo. He earned the cand. real. (PhD)[6] degree in mathematics at the University of Oslo in 1956, and a year later completed the mag. art. (PhD)[6] degree in sociology at the same university.[4] Galtung received the first of thirteen honorary doctorates in 1975.[7]

Galtung's father and paternal grandfather were both physicians. The Galtung name has its origins in Hordaland, where his paternal grandfather was born. Nevertheless, his mother, Helga Holmboe, was born in central Norway, in Trøndelag, while his father was born in Østfold, in the south. Galtung has been married twice, and has two children by his first wife Ingrid Eide, Harald Galtung and Andreas Galtung, and two by his second wife Fumiko Nishimura, Irene Galtung and Fredrik Galtung.[8]


Upon receiving his degree, Galtung moved to Columbia University, in New York City, where he taught for five semesters as an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology.[9] In 1959, Galtung returned to Oslo, where he founded the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). He served as the institute's director until 1969, and saw the institute develop from a department within the Norwegian Institute of Social Research into an independent research institute with enabling funds from the Norwegian Ministry of Education.[10]

In 1964, Galtung led PRIO to establish the first academic journal devoted to Peace Studies: the Journal of Peace Research.[10] In the same year, he assisted in the founding of the International Peace Research Association.[11] In 1969 he left PRIO for a position as professor of peace and conflict research at the University of Oslo, a position he held until 1978.[10]

He then served as the director general of the International University Centre in Dubrovnik, also serving as the president of the World Future Studies Federation.[12] He has also held visiting positions at other universities, including Santiago, Chile, the United Nations University in Geneva, and at Columbia, Princeton and the University of Hawaii.[13] He has served at so many universities that he has "probably taught more students on more campuses around the world than any other contemporary sociologist".[12] Galtung is currently teaching courses in the Human Science Department at Saybrook University.[14][not in citation given]

In December 2010, Galtung gave a lecture entitled "Breaking the Cycle of Violent Conflict" at the University of San Diego's Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Distinguished Lecture Series.

Galtung is a prolific researcher, having made contributions to many fields in sociology. He has published more than 1000 articles and over 100 books.[15] Economist and fellow peace researcher Kenneth Boulding has said of Galtung that his "output is so large and so varied that it is hard to believe that it comes from a human".[16] He is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.[17]

In 2014 he was appointed as the first Tun Mahathir Professor of Global Peace at the International Islamic University Malaysia. The chair is supported by the Perdana Global Peace Foundation and is named for its founder and chairman, Malaysia's fourth prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. The aim of the chair is to "create greater awareness, promotion and advocacy of global peace including the protection of human rights and criminalization of war."[18]

Mediation for peace[edit]

Galtung experienced World War II in German-occupied Norway, and as a 12-year-old saw his father arrested by the Nazis. By 1951 he was already a committed peace mediator, and elected to do 18 months of social service in place of his obligatory military service. After 12 months, Galtung insisted that the remainder of his social service be spent in activities relevant to peace, to which the Norwegian authorities responded by sending him to prison, where he served six months.[9]

Because Galtung's academic research is clearly intended to promote peace, in 1957, after mediating in Charlottesville, his sociological work shifted toward more concrete and constructive peace mediation. In 1993, he co-founded TRANSCEND: A Peace Development Environment Network,[19][20] an organization for conflict transformation by peaceful means. There are four traditional but unsatisfactory ways in which conflicts between two parties are handled:

  1. A wins, B loses;
  2. B wins, A loses;
  3. the solution is postponed because neither A nor B feels ready to end the conflict;
  4. a confused compromise is reached, which neither A nor B are happy with.

Galtung tries to break with these four unsatisfactory ways of handling a conflict by finding a "fifth way", where both A and B feel that they win, when Both give in expecting nothing but peace. method also insists that basic human needs – such as survival, physical well-being, liberty, and identity – be respected.[21]

Major ideas[edit]

Galtung first conceptualized peacebuilding by calling for systems that would create sustainable peace. The peacebuilding structures needed to address the root causes of conflict and support local capacity for peace management and conflict resolution.[22]

Galtung has held several significant positions in international research councils and has been an advisor to several international organisations. Since 2004 he has been a member of the Advisory Council of the Committee for a Democratic UN.

He has also written many empirical and theoretical articles, dealing most frequently with issues of peace and conflict research. His work is distinguished by his unique perspective as well as the importance he attributes to innovation and interdisciplinarity.

He is one of the authors of an influential account of news values which are the factors which determine what coverage is given to what stories in the news. Galtung also originated the concept of Peace Journalism, which is increasingly influential in communications and media studies.

Galtung is strongly associated with the following concepts:

  • Structural violence - widely defined as the systematic ways in which a regime prevents individuals from achieving their full potential. Institutionalized racism and sexism are examples of this.
  • Negative vs. Positive Peace - popularized the concept that peace may be more than just the absence of overt violent conflict (negative peace), and will likely include a range of relationships up to a state where nations (or any groupings in conflict) might have collaborative and supportive relationships (positive peace). These terms were, in fact, previously defined and discussed in 1907 by Jane Addams and in 1963 by Martin Luther King.

He has also distinguished himself in public debates concerning, among other things, less-developed countries, defence issues, and the Norwegian EU debate. In 1987 he was given the Right Livelihood Award. He developed the TRANSCEND Method described above. Economist and fellow peace researcher Kenneth Boulding has said of Galtung that his "output is so large and so varied that it is hard to believe that it comes from a human".[16]

The US as a republic and empire[edit]

For Johan Galtung, the US is simultaneously a republic and an empire, a distinction he believes is highly relevant. The US is on one hand loved for its republican qualities, and on the other loathed by its enemies abroad for its perceived military aggressions. Its republican qualities include its work ethic and dynamism, productivity and creativity, the idea of freedom, or liberty, and a pioneering spirit. On the other hand, its military and political manipulation are censured for their aggressiveness, arrogance, violence, hypocrisy and self-righteousness, as well as the US public ignorance of other cultures and extreme materialism.[23]

In 1973, Galtung criticised the "structural fascism" of the US and other Western countries that make war to secure materials and markets, stating: "Such an economic system is called capitalism, and when it's spread in this way to other countries it's called imperialism", and has praised Fidel Castro for "break[ing] free of imperialism's iron grip". Galtung has stated that the US is a "killer country" guilty of "neo-fascist state terrorism" and compared the US to Nazi Germany for bombing Kosovo during the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.[24][25]

According to Galtung, the US empire causes "unbearable suffering and resentment" because the "exploiters/ killers/ dominators/ alienators, and those who support the US Empire because of perceived benefits" are engaging in "unequal, non-sustainable, exchange patterns". In an article published in 2004, Galtung predicted that the US empire will "decline and fall" by 2020. He expanded on this hypothesis in his 2009 book titled The Fall of the US Empire - and Then What? Successors, Regionalization or Globalization? US Fascism or US Blossoming?.[26][27]

However, the decline of the US empire did not imply a decline of the US republic, and the "relief from the burden of Empire control and maintenance...could lead to a blossoming of the US Republic". Elaborating on the radio and television program Democracy Now, he stated that he loved the American republic and hated the American empire. He added that many Americans had thanked him for this statement on his lecture tours, because it helped them resolve the conflict between their love for their country and their displeasure with its foreign policy.[28]


Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Galtung has made several predictions of when the United States will no longer be a superpower, a stance that has attracted some controversy. In an article published in 2004, he lists 14 'contradictions' that would cause the 'decline and fall' of the US empire.[27] After the beginning of the Iraq War, he revised his prediction of the "downfall of the US-Empire", seeing it as more imminent.[29] He claims the US will go through a phase as a fascist dictatorship on its path down, and that the Patriot Act is a symptom of this. He claims the election of George W. Bush cost the US empire five years – although he admits that this estimate was set a bit arbitrarily. He now sets the date for the end of the American Empire at 2020, but not the American Republic. Like Great Britain, Russia and France, he says the American Republic will be better off without the Empire.


Criticism by Bruce Bawer and Barbara Kay

During the course of his career, some of Galtung statements and views have drawn criticism, most notably his criticism of western countries during and after the Cold War and what his critics perceived as a positive attitude to the Soviet Union, Cuba and Communist China. A 2007 article by Bruce Bawer published in City Journal magazine and a subsequent article in February 2009 by Barbara Kay in the National Post criticised some of Galtung's statements. Both authors criticized Galtung's opinion that while Communist China was "repressive in a certain liberal sense", Mao Zedong was "endlessly liberating when seen from many other perspectives that liberal theory has never understood" because China showed that "the whole theory about what an 'open society' is must be rewritten, probably also the theory of 'democracy'—and it will take a long time before the West will be willing to view China as a master teacher in such subjects." The authors also criticized Galtung's opposition to Hungarian resistance against the Soviet invasion in 1956 and his description in 1974 of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov as "persecuted elite personages".[24][25]

Statements on Israeli influence on U.S. politics

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz accused Galtung in May 2012 of antisemitism for: (1) suggesting the possibility of a link between the 2011 Norway attacks and Israel's intelligence agency Mossad; (2) maintaining that "six Jewish companies" control 96% of world media; (3) identifying what he contends are ironic similarities between the banking firm Goldman Sachs and the conspiratorial antisemitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion; and (4) theorizing that although not justified, antisemitism in post–World War IGermany was a predictable consequence of German Jews holding influential positions.[30] As a result of such statements, in May 2012 TRANSCEND International, an organisation co-founded by Galtung, released a statement attempting to clarify his opinions.[31] On August 8, 2012, the World Peace Academy in Basel, Switzerland announced it was suspending Galtung from its organization, citing what it posited were his "reckless and offensive statements to questions that are specifically sensitive for Jews."[32] Galtung himself has vehemently repudiated the above attacks as "smearing and libel" in a published statement[33] and a public lecture at the end of the year 2012.[34]

Selected awards and recognitions[edit]

  • Dr honoris causa, University of Tampere, 1975, peace studies
  • Dr honoris causa, University of Cluj, 1976, future studies
  • Dr honoris causa, Uppsala University, 1987, Faculty of Social Sciences[35]
  • Dr honoris causa, Soka University, Tokyo, 1990, peace/buddhism
  • Dr honoris causa, University of Osnabrück, 1995, peace studies
  • Dr honoris causa, University of Torino, 1998, sociology of law
  • Dr honoris causa, FernUniversität Hagen, 2000, philosophy
  • Dr honoris causa, University of Alicante, 2002, sociology
  • Dr honoris causa, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, 2006, law
  • Dr honoris causa, Complutense University, Madrid, 2017, politics and sociology
  • Honorary Professor, University of Alicante, Alicante, 1981
  • Honorary Professor, Free University of Berlin, 1984–1993
  • Honorary Professor, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 1986
  • Honorary Professor, Witten/Herdecke University, Witten, 1993
  • Distinguished Professor of Peace Studies, University of Hawaii, 1993-
  • John Perkins University Distinguished Visiting Professor, 2005-
  • Right Livelihood Award, 1987
  • First recipient of the Humanist Prize of the Norwegian Humanist Association, 1988
  • Jamnalal Bajaj International Award for Promoting Gandhian Values, 1993[36]
  • Brage Prize, 2000
  • First Morton Deutsch Conflict Resolution Award, 2001
  • Honorary Prize of the Norwegian Sociological Association, 2001
  • Premio Hidalgo, Madrid, 2005
  • Augsburg Golden Book of Peace, 2006
  • Member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
  • Honorary member of the Green Party, 2009
  • Erik Bye Memorial Prize, 2011

Selected works[edit]

Galtung has published more than a thousand articles and over a hundred books.[15][37]

  • Statistisk hypotesepröving (Statistical hypothesis testing, 1953)
  • Gandhis politiske etikk (Gandhi's political ethics, 1955, with philosopher Arne Næss)
  • Theory and Methods of Social Research (1967)
  • Violence, Peace and Peace Research (1969)
  • Members of Two Worlds (1971)
  • Fred, vold og imperialisme (Peace, violence and imperialism, 1974)
  • Peace: Research – Education – Action (1975)
  • Europe in the Making (1989)
  • Global Glasnost: Toward a New World Information and Communication Order? (1992, with Richard C. Vincent)
  • Global Projections of Deep-Rooted U.S Pathologies (1996)
  • Peace By Peaceful Means: Peace and Conflict, Development and Civilization (1996)
  • Johan uten land. På fredsveien gjennom verden (Johan without land. On the Peace Path Through the World, 2000, autobiography for which he won the Brage Prize)
  • 50 Years: 100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives (2008)
  • Democracy – Peace – Development (2008, with Paul D. Scott)
  • 50 Years: 25 Intellectual Landscapes Explored (2008)
  • Globalizing God: Religion, Spirituality and Peace (2008, with Graeme MacQueen)[38][non-primary source needed]


  1. ^John D. Brewer, Peace processes: a sociological approach, p. 7, Polity Press, 2010
  2. ^
  3. ^"Peacebuilding and The United Nations - United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office". 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2013-11-18. 
  4. ^ ab"Johan Galtung", Norsk Biografisk Leksikon
  5. ^Egil Børre Johnsen, Trond Berg Eriksen, Norsk litteraturhistorie 1920–1995, p. 293, Universitetsforlaget, 1998, ISBN 9788200127529
  6. ^ ab"CV_Galtung". Retrieved 2013-11-18. 
  7. ^"Johan Galtung". Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  8. ^Genealogical data for Johan Galtung
  9. ^ abLife of Johan Galtung (in Danish)
  10. ^ abcPRIO biography for Johan Galtung
  11. ^History of the IPRAArchived 2011-12-03 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ ab(E. Boulding 1982: 323)
  13. ^Dagens Nyheter 2003-01-15.
  14. ^
  15. ^ abTRANSCEND biography on Johan Galtung
  16. ^ ab(K. Boulding 1977: 75)
  17. ^"Gruppe 7: Samfunnsfag (herunder sosiologi, statsvitenskap og økonomi)" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Retrieved 26 October 2009. 
  19. ^
  20. ^"Interview - Johan Galtung". Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  21. ^[1]
  22. ^PEACEBUILDING & THE UNITED NATIONS Peacebuilding Support Office, United Nations
  23. ^Article by Dr Zeki Ergas "Out of Sync with the world: Some Thoughts on the Coming Decline and Fall of the American Empire".
  24. ^ abThe Peace Racket by Bruce Bawer, City Journal, Summer 2007.
  25. ^ abBarbarians within the gate by Barbara Kay, National Post, February 18, 2009.
  26. ^Prof. J. Galtung: 'US empire will fall by 2020' on YouTube Russia Today.
  27. ^ abOn the Coming Decline and Fall of the US Empire by Johan Galtung, Transnational Foundation and Peace and Research (TFF), January 28, 2004.
  28. ^Galtung on Democracy Now, 2010
  29. ^Amerikas imperium går under innen 2020Adressa September 23, 2004.
  30. ^Aderet, Ofer (30 April 2012). "Pioneer of global peace studies hints at link between Norway massacre and Mossad". Haaretz. Retrieved 7 September 2012. 
  31. ^"TRANSCEND International's Statement Concerning the Label of anti-Semitism Against Johan Galtung". TRANSCEND International. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  32. ^Weinthal, Benjamin (August 9, 2012). "Swiss group suspends 'anti-Semitic' Norway scholar". Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on August 11, 2012. Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  33. ^"STELLUNGNAHME/035: Professor Galtung zu den Vorwürfen des Antisemitismus (Johan Galtung)". Schattenblick. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 2016-01-12. 
  34. ^"Grenzach-Wyhlen: Zwei Vorträge mit Johan Galtung | SÜDKURIER Online". SÜDKURIER Online. Retrieved 2016-01-12. 
  35. ^
  36. ^"Jamnalal Bajaj Awards Archive". Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation. 
  37. ^"Pioneer of Global Peace Studies Turns Out to be an Antisemite". Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  38. ^"Johan Galtung's Publications 1948-2010"(PDF). Archived from the original(PDF) on 1 September 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 


  • Bawer, Bruce. 2007. "The Peace Racket". City Journal. Summer 2007. Link.
  • Boulding, Elise. 1982. "Review: Social Science—For What?: Festschrift for Johan Galtung." Contemporary Sociology. 11(3):323-324. JSTOR Stable URL
  • Boulding, Kenneth E. 1977. "Twelve Friendly Quarrels with Johan Galtung." Journal of Peace Research. 14(1):75-86. JSTOR Stable URL

External links[edit]

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