Thursday, August 23, 2007

Peace good, war bad

Bruce Bawer on what he calls the Peace Racket, aka Peace Studies.

The man he dubs as the founding father of Peace Studies 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.

Bawer gives these samples of Galtung's approach to peace.

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.”

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.”

[H]e’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.”

Yes, it's all so predictable. And so old. The affection for Stalin is hardly accidental. Bawer mentions the fast footwork of the Communists in 1939 switching from anti-Fascism to Peace with Stalin's signature of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, and then back to anti-Fascism with Operation Barbarossa in 1941. But it goes back further still.

To 1928 in Brussels and the first congress of the League against Imperialism. The movement spread and morphed and culminated in the greatest gathering of all, in 1932: The Amsterdam-Pleyel World Congress against War. Over 2,000 delegates from all over the world representing progressives of every shade of red, trades unionists, pacifists, intellectuals and artists. America and Britain were attacked, Sacco and Vanzetti lionised, capitalism demonised. It was a feel-good fest of the righteous of unprecedented proportions.

And it was financed and run by the Comintern. Stalin, interested in peace? Well, yes. Stalin was afraid that the Western powers wanted nothing better than to attack and destroy the home of World Communism. What better way to forestall them than to range against the warmongers all the right-thinking opinion within their own societies? Adopt the high ambition of Peace and the appropriate tone of self-righteousness and the 'innocents' would follow. They did.

Hold on. What else was happening in August, 1932? A little something in Germany. Adolf Hitler was 5 months away from power. Pitched battles on the streets. A gang of thugs about to take control of the greatest power in Europe. What did the Peace Delegates have to say about the biggest threat to world peace of that decade? What righteous fulminations did they cast towards Berlin and Bavaria? None. At all.

Not until the Reichstag Fire were the innocents switched to anti-Fascism, only to be switched back to Peace in 1939, and once again to anti-Fascism in 1941.

A farce then. A farce now.

Addendum (from another article in the City Journal)

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things,” observed the British philosopher John Stuart Mill. “The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.”

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