Saturday, March 16, 2019

Dr. Michael Ellis joins IAEWP Advisory Board 2020 -2024

Dr. Michael Ellis, MD is a GP, Integrative Medical Doctor,  futurist, and peace worker,  Founder of The Global Peace Centre, New Paradigm Journal and Medical Renaissance Group, Buddhist and Global Peace Ambassador. 

He is President of the Global Peace Centre and Club of Budapest Australia. He has been in the Peace movement for over 30 years and has initiated and convened international Peace Conferences at Melbourne University in 1995 and Deakin University, Melbourne 2012 and 2014. 

In December 2012 over two weekends Michael co-produced a Global Internet Streaming event, “Shaping the Future Global”. He has conducted regular seminars and written extensively on a wide range of topics related to the achievement of World Peace and Global Healing.




Dr. Ellis also has an Honours Degree in Literature, Arts, Philosophy and Social Psychology, He founded the Global Peace Centre in 2009 and

New Paradigm Journal in 2006

Michael arranged for the first Global Peace Centre Patron and friend, Sir Mark Oliphant to speak at the House of Lords in 1987. Michael also spoke there at the time.

He founded and convened an international conference – Conference Earth: Humanity and Planet Earth – 2001 and Beyond in 1995 in Melbourne Australia attracting national media coverage.

•    Michael produced an extraordinary 3-day event, called Shaping the Future Conference and Concert –A new image of Humanity which was held at one of Australia’s premier Universities, Deakin University, from August 15-17 2014.

•    In the book Golden Thread, a collection of practical and metaphysical wisdoms, sourced from contemporary geniuses, including renowned Deepak Chopra and a range of other experts in multiple fields; in the forward to a chapter entitled Revolutionary Doctor, written by Dr. Michael Ellis, he is described as an Integrative Medical Doctor, Doctor of Consciousness, Buddhist, Founder of Medical Renaissance Group, The Global Peace Centre and The Buddhist Centre, Global Peace Ambassador and Initiator of Global Catalytic Change.

Dr. Michael Ellis,
1 A, Ozone Road , Bayswater , Victoria ,3153 , Australia
Mobile 61-414543397 Email :


IAEWP Condemns ALL acts of terrorism.

New Zealand residents in tears over the massacre

The IAEWP President, Executive Secretariat and IAEWP membership worldwide join the world leaders and the people to condemn the senseless act of brutal violence and the deadly shooting at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

Forty-nine people lost their lives and at least 50 suffered serious injuries, some 11 people in critical condition including a four-year-old girl: in the terrorist attack of shootings targeting, the mosques during Friday prayers.

This is the latest example of rising racism and Islamophobia fascist terrorism that is leading to mass killing, regardless of motivation, motives or reason.

IAEWP joins the world in raising our voices and call for the need to introduce peace education in schools to counter all forms of the perverse and murderous ideology of fanatism by working together to counter Islamophobia and eliminate intolerance and violent extremism.

Our prayers and empathy are with the victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with the people of New Zealand, the enforcement agencies and their government against this heinous and cowardly acts violent extremism. 

We also ask everyone to continue maintaining a calm emotional temperature during this very painful period as all acts of terrorism is unjustifiable and is beyond any religion and against all principles of humanity.

Office of the  IAEWP  Executive Vice President 2,

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Peace Walkathon 2019 - Preliminary Announcement

We are pleased to inform that the groundwork has started for the organizing of a PEACE WALKATHON in support of the UN International Day of Peace in September 2019.

We encourage all National Chancellors to adopt what is  MOST appropriate for your local environment and atmosphere.

We congratulate the National Chancellor of Malaysia for executing this initiative and recommendation.

Malaysia is also releasing Mineral Water - Drink for Peace to kick start the event. The initial release is in  500ml bottles from a water harvesting source that is approved by the Malaysian Ministry of Health.

More details on the design of medals, cap, T-shirts and participation certificates would be released soon.

Office of the Executive Vice President 2


Conscious Creation to Transform the World

There is a Zen story in which the student asks the master “What is the secret of enlightenment?”  The master writes on his board “attention”.  The student asks again “Is that all?"  The master writes “Attention, attention.”

Attention-awareness is at the heart of conscious creation.  In awareness there is freedom to see things as they actually are, without distortion.  Awareness is the freeing of the mind from all symbols, images, and remembrances, for thought and feeling dissipate energy; they are repetitive, producing mechanical activities which are a necessary part of existence, but they are only part. 

 Awareness is seeing, watching, listening without a word, without comment, without opinion. With awareness the mind becomes quiet, naturally  silent, not made silent through suppression, discipline or control.   Awareness is something that requires a great deal of intelligence, sensitivity, and the capacity of love and beauty.
Awareness is the first step of empowerment. As Jackie Lapin writes “ The Art of Conscious Creation is a manual for empowerment.  It is a wake-up call for those who have spent their lives feeling powerless, victimized, or buffeted by life’s challenges.” (1) Awareness gives us insights into the working of what can be called “the Universal Force” — benevolent, loving, energetic power.  With awareness, we see how our thoughts and emotions blend with those around us to form a collective consciousness although many are not fully aware of the power of ideas and emotions to create form.

As Shakti Gawain has written in her book Path to Transformation “Whatever attitudes and beliefs are held most deeply and powerfully in the mass consciousness will, for better or worse, be manifested in the collective reality…Our own thoughts, feelings and actions are not isolated occurrences taking place within the confines of our own bodies, but are in fact manifestations of the one spiritual and energetic source that moves through everyone of us.  It is no more possible for one of us to change without changing the rest, as it is for a single wave to crest in the ocean without affecting the whole.”

Thus, we need to be aware of how the mood of others, and of the society in general influences our thoughts and emotions as we must be aware that our thoughts go to form the mood of the total society.

As Lapin writes “What we think and feel, we attract…If you are vibrating fear, victimization, and hopelessness, you’ll attract more negative energies…This ‘law of attraction’ as it’s called in the energetics world, is all about where we put our focus…The message to be learned is to focus on what you do want, not what you don’t want…We can stay centered through positive thoughts and deeds, no matter what is happening around us and continue trying to attract for the world and ourselves a better future.”

Thus, we need to be aware of how the mood of others, and of the society in general influences our thoughts and emotions as we must be aware that our thoughts go to form the mood of the total society.

As Lapin writes “What we think and feel, we attract…If you are vibrating fear, victimization, and hopelessness, you’ll attract more negative energies…This ‘law of attraction’ as it’s called in the energetics world, is all about where we put our focus…The message to be learned is to focus on what you do want, not what you don’t want…We can stay centered through positive thoughts and deeds, no matter what is happening around us and continue trying to attract for the world and ourselves a better future.”  Thus in guidelines for action Lapin advises “Send out only positive energy and that energy will eventually return.  Monitor your thoughts, feelings and actions.  Choose those that will manifest a win-win for all.  Release the fear that may cause you to make a poor judgement.”

The second step after awareness is visualization.  Visualization is a powerful tool.   Visualization is not ‘day dreaming’ but is focused thought, emotion, and energy in a one-pointed direction.  There is a form-building power of directed thought, and visualization sets this power into motion.  As Lapin recommends for creating and structuring your vision “Choose a positive focus — not one that blames or condemns.  You must operate from a framework of love for what you are bringing forth, not from fear or dread.  Use positive language in your mind, stressing the wonder and joy at this exciting new dimension coming true.  Picture it as if it has already happened, as if it already exists.  Feel like it is already here.”

The third step is action.  As Lapin notes “Vision and action unified are the most powerful combination for manifesting.  They are synergistic, amplifying the energy and power of the creator…Action is also change.  By taking action we signal to the Universe that we are ready to accept change and to create it at the same time.  We are planting the seeds for our own transformation when we act to transform what is outside of us.  Setting an intention and following through with love, kindness and compassion create the most fertile environment for growing the life we want to enjoy.”

At a time when we are sent daily negative images of violence and suffering through the media, there is a need to recognize the presence of the suffering and of economic-political tensions. Yet we need to develop a focused positive view of a world of harmony and peace and to make efforts to transform the vision into reality.

(1) Jackie Lapin. The Art of Conscious Creation: How You Can Transform the World (Charleston, SC: Elevate, 2007)


Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

Monday, February 11, 2019

Warsaw Process toward a Conference on Security and Cooperation in the Middle East

From a city that suffered from violence and destruction during the Second World War, there goes out a banner of peace held by Citizens of the World.  The Association of World Citizens stresses that the 13-14 February conference on the Middle East can begin a process that will lead to a Conference on Security and Cooperation in the Middle East on the model of the negotiations which led to the Helsinki Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Your cooperation in this great task is most welcome.

Dr. RenĂ© Wadlow is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He is President of the Association of World Citizens, an international peace organization with consultative status with ECOSOC, the United Nations organ facilitating international cooperation and problem-solving in economic and social issues, and editor of Transnational Perspectives.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Human Beings are Destroying Life on Earth but Deluding Ourselves > that > We are Not'

'Human Beings are Destroying Life on Earth
 but Deluding Ourselves that We are Not'

'Information Clearing House', USA, 

17 January 2019.

Dr. Robert J. Burrowes
IAEWP Vice President for South Pacific



Saturday, February 9, 2019

IAEWP MALAYSIA delivers aids to Indonesian Tsunami Victims.

On 28 September 2018, a shallow, large earthquake struck in the neck of the Minahasa Peninsula, Indonesia, with its epicentre located in the mountainous Donggala Regency, Central Sulawesi. Sulawesi lies within the complex zone of interaction between the Australian, Pacific, Philippine and Sunda Plates in which many small microplates are developed.

The earthquake was felt over a wide area. Noticeable shaking, ranging from II-III on the Mercalli intensity scale, was reported in Samarinda, Makassar and Tawau. The strongest shaking was felt in Donggala Regency where a maximum intensity of IX (violent) was recorded. The maximum intensity in Palu, the provincial capital of Central Sulawesi, was at VIII (severe). 

According to the Indonesian Agency for the Assessment and Application for Technology (BPPT), energy released by the quake was 200 times to that released in the 1945 nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. Analysis also showed that the shoreline which was located near the rupture in Palu and Donggala had a decrease on its height. Height drops of 0.5–1 meter were recorded, while an increase of height of around 0.3 cm was recorded in Banawa.

The magnitude 7.5 quake was located 77 km (48 mi) away from the provincial capital Palu and was felt as far away as Samarinda on East Kalimantan and also in Tawau, Malaysia. This event was preceded by a sequence of foreshocks, the largest of which was a magnitude 6.1 tremor that occurred earlier that day.

Following the mainshock, a tsunami alert was issued for the nearby Makassar Strait, but was called off half an hour later. A localised tsunami struck Palu, sweeping shore-lying houses and buildings on its way. 

The combined effects of the earthquake and tsunami led to the deaths of at least 2,256 people and 5000 gone missing. 

In one of the worst disasters in modern history, the region was also hit by a devastating tsunami in December 2004, that claimed over 230,000 lives in 14 countries along the Indian Ocean, mostly in Indonesia.

This makes it the deadliest earthquake to strike the country since the 2006 Yogyakarta earthquake, as well as the deadliest earthquake worldwide in 2018, surpassing the previous earthquake that struck Lombok a few months earlier, killing more than 500. The Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) confirmed that a tsunami had been triggered, with its height reaching an estimated maximum of 4 to 7 metres (13 to 23 ft), striking the settlements of Palu, Donggala and Mamuju along its path.

The earthquake caused major soil liquefaction in areas in and around Palu. In two locations this led to mudflows in which many buildings became submerged causing hundreds of deaths with many more missing. The liquefaction was considered to be the largest in the world and was deemed as rare.

The IAEWP National Chancellor of Malaysia,  Mr. Syed Araniri Al Idrus was appointed Chef De Mission by the Majlis Agama Islam dan Adat Istiadat Melayu Perlis (MAIPs) or the Islamic Council of the State of Perlis to deliver aids and building and repair works on the building structure of SURAU or place of worship for Muslims, very much smaller than a mosque. These suraus double up as relief centers as well as places of assembly and shelter during natural disasters and emergencies.

The Malaysian team visited Palu and Lombok from November 13-12, 2018; the team consisted of representatives of The Scouts Federation of Malaysia, Malaysian Youth Council, Universiti Malaysia Perlis and Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Perlis. Approximately USD 19,400 worth of materials and assistance was delivered by the team; this amount was collected from Islamic school children, fellow muslims and muslim organizations from Malaysia. It was a project by the muslim brotherhood of Malaysia for the suffering muslims of Indonesia.

IAEWP congratulates the National Chancellor of Malaysia, Mr. Syed Araniri for his dedication and hard work in successfully executing the above project.

Office of the  IAEWP Executive Vice President 2,

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Resignation of Blog Manager and Office Secretary

Ms. Natasha Malekka has resigned from her position as the Blog Manager and from all positions in IAEWP to focus on her growing family and her new business venture. 

She would NO LONGER be handling any communications for the IAEWP. Nevertheless, she would continue to be an ordinary member and supporter of IAEWP.

We respect her privacy and wish her all the best in her business.

IAEWP matters of the Office of the Deputy Secretary General would be temporarily handled by the newly appointed International Vice President for Accounting and Finance, Ms. Pushpa Krishna.

Ms. Puspa Krishna is a dedicated and active practicing member  of with for the last 30 years;  as well as managing her private accounting  and finance practise : for the last 15 years.

We  personally thank the Iron-Lady Ms. Natasha Malekka for her dedication to  the IAEWP for the last 20 years. 

We welcome Ms Pushpa Krishna to the IAEWP family of  international peace advocates.

The Office of the Deputy Secretary General
IAEWP ( NGO ECOSOC United Nations )
Location : Malaysia

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

In its report to the United Nations Secretary-General in January 2005, the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur insisted that crimes against humanity might, in some cases, be just as serious as genocide. Its comments highlighted what is often a sterile debate about whether to characterise acts as genocide or as “mere” crimes against humanity. Indeed, crimes against humanity was the label attached to the Nazi atrocities at Nuremberg, and it remains one of the “most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole” listed in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. 

Nevertheless, alongside the legal definition of genocide, rooted in the 1948 Convention and confirmed in subsequent case law, there is a more popular or colloquial conception. In practice, this lay understanding of genocide is more akin to crimes against humanity, in that it comprises a broad range of mass atrocities.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The War to End War 100 Years On: An Evaluation and Reorientation of our Resistance to War

Robert J. Burrowes, Ph.D.
IAEWP Vice President - South Pacific.

As we commemorate the passing of the 100th anniversary of the armistice ending ‘the war to end war’, one can only marvel at how wrong humans can be sometimes. Not content with the violence inflicted during World War I, humans used the twentieth century to systematically decimate human and other life as violence and war raged across the planet with an increasingly massive and sophisticated armory. In fact, by mid-century, in a tribute to their technological ingenuity and psychological dysfunctionality, humans had invented a weapon that could destroy life on Earth

Read more:

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The world's first online Peace-University

The Transcend Peace University (TPU) is an all-online university offering inter-disciplinary courses. We cover issues pertaining to peace and development studies while emphasizing solution-oriented approaches. Our faculty members are leading peace scholars and internationally recognized mediators.
On the right you can see some of our current courses and staff members. For more information about our programme and enrollment please go to

Monday, November 12, 2018

If You Want Peace, Prepare for Nuclear War

If You Want Peace, Prepare for Nuclear War

A Strategy for the New Great-Power Rivalry

ELBRIDGE COLBY is Director of the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security. He served as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development in 2017–18.

Afghanistan and Russia: Still Searching for Appropriate Structures of Governance

On Friday, 9 November 2018, at the invitation of the Russian Government and under the chairmanship of the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov began what has been called “The Moscow Format” to end the armed conflicts and to find appropriate structures of governance in Afghanistan. Present for the first time were representatives of the Afghanistan High Peace Council – a government-appointed body charged with overseeing the peace process first appointed by then President Hamid Kassai and a five-member delegation of the Taliban from its political office in Doha, Qatar.  

Indicating an awareness of the trans-frontier aspects of the Afghanistan armed conflicts, there  were representatives from China, Pakistan, Iran, India, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In practice each country has its favored groups within Afghanistan. The U.S.A. declined to participate but sent its  chief political officer from the Moscow Embassy as an “observer”.

This was the first time that representatives from all the concerned parties were in the same room at the same time.  In the past there have been back-channel bi-lateral meetings with the Taliban, especially in Qatar and bilateral discussions among government representatives elsewhere. However the Moscow Format was the first discussion held in public.

Sergei Lavrov articulated the long-range aim. “Russia stands for preserving the one and undivided Afghanistan in which all ot the ethnic groups that inhabit this country would live side by side peacefully and happily.”

The Taliban and Afghanistan High Peace Council each reiterated their unacceptable demands, but said that they were willing to meet again.  There were no sudden break-though to positions that could lead to negotiations and compromise, but none were expected.  The Moscow Format is a necessary first step on what is likely to be a long and difficult n process.  The Format recognizes that there are  important trans-frontier aspects and consequences of different types.

The trans-frontier aspect has been recently highlighted by the presence of fighters from the Islamic State (ISIS) in Afghanistan but also in Turkmenistan, Tajikistan , and Uzbekistan.  As ISIS is pushed out of Syria and Iraq, fighters have wished to continue their fight elsewhere and have joined with existing militant Islamist groups existing elsewhere such as those in the Central Asian States and Afghanistan.  However, the ISIS fighters have not been welcomed by the Taliban and seem to be operating separately.

It is not clear that the Government and the Taliban are in a position to negotiate a country-wide cease-fire and the creation of a structured government administration.  It is thought by observers that 30 per cent of the  country is under the control of the Government and four per cent under the Taliban.  However, “control” does not necessarily mean  that there are administrative services of health, education and agricultural development.

Afghanistan began its first post-Royal republican life in 1972 under the leadership of Sadar Mohammed Daoud who ruled until 1979.  There were few changes from the royal period, the King having been a cousin  and brother-in-law of Daoud.  However, some ideas about the need to plan on a national level were introduced by Afghan students who had studies in the Soviet Union.  The coming to power of the Presidents Hafizullah Amin and Nur Taraki, both from rival factions of the Afghan Communist Party led to a vision of national planning and agricultural reform.  

However, both reforms were undertaken with little development of a favorable public opinion.  The agricultural reforms in particular led to resistance from local power holders.  This opposition seemed to put the whole State structure into question, leading to the Soviet intervention in the first days of 1980 to support the Government.

The Soviet intervention led to armed opposition and large areas of the country fell out of the range of any form of government services.  The Soviets withdrew in 1988 leaving a country without a national administration but with a host of armed groups holding political influence over small areas of the country.

By 1996, some of these armed groups which had come together under the name of Taliban (students of theology) were able to take control of Kabul and said that they were the government of the country.  In 2001, the Taliban were pushed out of power by U.S. forces, the U.S. Government holding them  responsible for the September 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.  Since the end of 2001, there has been armed violence, a lack of economic development, and a  failure to find appropriate forms of governance.  There is a need to find appropriate forms of governance which are able to structure local traditions of social control, regional and ethnic-religious differences as well as having structures and services at the level of the State.

The Association of World Citizens has been involved since the early 1980s with discussions of appropriate forms of governance in Afghanistan.

The Ambassador Sayed Qassem Reshtia who had played a key role in the preparation of the 1964 Constitution which created a constitutional monarchy was living in exile in Geneva and was very helpful in giving background information.(1)  Dr Abdul Hakim Tabibi, the long-time Afghan Ambassador to the United Nations in New York until the Soviet intervention was also living in exile in Geneva and was most helpful with information and contacts. (2) In addition, there were Afghan intellectuals and opposition leaders passing through Geneva on their way to or from Rome where the former King Zaher Shah was living in exile.

Thus in 1983 the Association proposed that “there be a broadly-based, highly decentralized Government of National Reconciliation. Afghanistan is a country of great cultural diversity and a wide range of local conditions. Therefore, political and social decision-making must be made at the most local level possible.  There should be policies of local self-reliance based on existing regional and ethnic structures.  Such local self-government will mitigate against a ‘winner-take-all’ mentality of centralized political systems.”

The Association of World Citizens continues the con-federalist, decentralization, trans-frontier cooperation proposals of the world citizens Denis de Rougemont (1906 -1985) and Alenandre Marc (1904-2000). Thus the Association of World Citizens remains concerned with the efforts to find appropriate forms of governance  in Afghanistan.  We are still far from a condition in which “all of the ethnic groups live side by side peacefully and happily”   It took six years of negotiations in Geneva led by the experienced and skillful U.N. mediator Diego Cordovez to help in the decision of the Soviets to withdraw. (3)  It is to be seen if the Russian Government will appoint as skillful a diplomat to facilitate the Moscow Format.  We as non-governmental organization representatives must work together with the aim of the resolution of the armed conflicts and the creation of appropriate forms of governance  in view.


1) See Sayed Qassem Reshtia. The Price of Liberty. The Tragedy of Afghanistan (Rome: Bardi Editore, 1984)

2) See Abdul Hakim Tabibi. Afghanistan: A Nation in Love with Freedom

 (Cedar Rapids, IA: Igram Press, 1985)

3) Se Diego Cordovez and Selig S. Harrison. Out of Afghanistan: The inside story of the Soviet withdrawal (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995)

Dr.Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

Saturday, November 10, 2018

‘Russiagate’ Is Revealing Alarming Truths About America’s Political-Media Elites

‘Russiagate’ Is Revealing Alarming Truths About America’s Political-Media Elites

Professor Stephen F. Cohen is professor emeritus of Russian studies, history, and politics at New York University and Princeton University, as well as a regular contributor to The Nation magazine. He is arguably America’s premiere Russian & USSR historian and expert on all aspects of US/Russia relations. If you want to keep up on current information about Russia and the US/Russia relationship, we highly recommend his weekly interviews on the John Batchelor Show.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

The U.S. Military’s Empire of Secrecy

“Democracy dies in darkness.” That’s an old saying that The Washington Post recycled as its motto at the dawn of the Trump era. Truth is, the journalists at the Post don’t know the half of it; nor do they bother to report on the genuine secrecy and increasing lack of transparency in the Department of Defense. Nothing against the Post—neither do any of the other mainstream media outlets.

Read here:

The U.S. Military’s Empire of Secrecy

Maj. Danny Sjursen, a Truthdig regular contributor, is a U.S. Army officer and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, "Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge." He lives with his wife and four sons in Lawrence, Kan. Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet and check out his new podcast "Fortress on a Hill," co-hosted with fellow vet Chris "Henri" Henrikson.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Why Bloomberg Got It Wrong

Why Bloomberg Got It Wrong?

Paul J. Saunders, executive director of the Center for the National Interest and associate publisher of the National Interest, was a State Department Senior Adviser during the 
President George W. Bush administration.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Psychology Of Fascism

Dr. Robert J Burrowes
IAEWP Vice President - South Pacific

The continuing rise of fascism around the world is drawing increasing attention particularly as it takes firmer grip within national societies long seen to have rejected it.
Some recent studies have reminded us of the characteristics of fascist movements and individuals, particularly as they manifest among politically active fascists. For example, in his recent book How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us And Them Professor Jason Stanley has identified ten characteristics shared by fascists which have been simply presented in the article ‘Prof Sees Fascism Creeping In U.S.’
Please go here to continue reading:

Robert J. Burrowes
Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?‘ . His email address is and his website is at



Morality and international politics do not mix easily. For good reason. War is the distinguishing trait of relations among states. And war is all about killing and maiming other human beings. Of course, war is episodic rather than continual. But the ubiquity of conflict situations remains the hallmark of inter-state relations. Violence is omnipresent – in mind if not in act.

Yet, we are creatures who have an innate ethical sense albeit we also have the innate capability for harming others. The former has two sources. First, it derives from our awareness that survival as a species in competition with other species conveys a basic solidarity even as we contest with other humans – at times violently. Second, every organized society develops a code of conduct that proscribes a range of disruptive actions: violent attacks foremost among them. In effect, they extend the instincts/logic of family or tribal identity to an abstract grouping. Social morality in concept and doctrine derives from those elementary facts of collective life.

At the international level, there is no equivalent authoritative government, organized society or – above all – communal sentiment. Hence, the logic of realpolitik predominates. It is structurally determined whatever the proximate reasons for any particular war might be. Still, war as much as peace at any given time is a function of circumstances. The international disorder is not tantamount to a state of anarchy; violent conflict does not occur in the manner of collisions among billiard balls after the break.

So, how does morality/ethics enter into the picture?

1.     The moral standard applicable to political affairs is different from that applicable to individual behavior. The latter entails ultimate ends and abstract norms. The former gives place only to an “ethic of responsibility” – as Max Weber explained. No Ten Commandments or their counterpart in other religious traditions is an appropriate benchmark for appraising good or bad conduct.

2.     Violent actions taken against other societies usually are seen as requiring a justification. Not always, of course. At the extreme, there were the Huns, the Mongols, the Nazis who launched wars and committed atrocities because they felt like it or for self-glorification. For others, conquest was its own justification. Implicit in imperial expansion has been the notion that superiority itself endows conquest with rightness. For still others, the flame of ideology (religious or otherwise) ignites violent acts aimed at propagation of the TRUTH or to fulfill DESTINY.

3.     The more autocratic the ruler, the less accountable he or she is, the less need there is for justification. Therefore, the spread of literacy and the heightening of awareness among the mass (or some substantial segment) has made legitimation increasingly important. Popular democracy has made it an imperative.

4.     That need has proven less of a hindrance than Kant, and many others, presumed. However, justification of war does, as a consequence, draw upon some moral imagery. Where necessity is relatively less apparent, i.e. where defense of the native territory is not at issue, warring requires to be legitimated as ‘right.’

5.     A closely related, even more acute requirement, is to pursue war in a manner that conforms to general ethical standards. That has several aspects. There should be a persuasive explanation of why the country has to go to war  – that is one. Non-violent means of resolving the underlying conflicts should be pursued until proven futile – that is two. The minimum requisite force should be used – that is three.  Enemy troops should be treated humanely in accordance with the Geneva Convention and norms of the society – that’s four. Non-combatants (civilians) should be spared the dangers of combat whenever reasonably possible. That’s five.

6.     Here is where the question of war and morality gets interesting. For most of history, wars were fought between armies composed of ‘professionals’ and volunteers. They were limited in space and time. Battles were intermittent. Civilians suffered mainly from two causes: the disruption of normal civil life, and plunder. That changed with the advent of total war wherein the resources of entire societies (human and economic) were mobilized to fight prolonged wars. The logic of that circumstance made production sites and whole cities targets. Airplanes created the means to do so on a massive scale. Thus: Rotterdam, Coventry, Hamburg, Dresden, the fire-bombing of Tokyo and ultimately Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There was not any appreciable moral outrage about the resulting indiscriminate murder of hundreds of thousands of civilians.  Total war itself implied the highest stakes; therefore, everything goes.

7.     The experience of World War II did not bury the idea that there were ‘civilized’ standards of war which should be observed. The United States and other Western countries, in particular, continued to enunciate principles that forbade the committing of atrocities against individual civilians or defenseless prisoners. That code presumes that an identifiable soldier is in a position to decide whether or not to harm a vulnerable individual on the other side. In modern war, however, the ‘other side’ most often is not visible and the individual on our side does not have much discretion over how to act. Where those conditions do not obtain, ethical rules can still be applied: e.g. in the wake of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. Admittedly, many atrocities are not acknowledged or they are covered-up. (By the way, the officer who composed the first draft of the initial My Lai whitewash for the U.S. Army was then Major Colin Powell – he of ‘aluminum tubes’ fame)

8.     Overall, there has been a loosening of ethical standards and less inclination to enforce them. That trend, in the U.S., has been greatly accentuated by the War On Terror. It has something to do with the level of emotion (the thirst for revenge in the wake of 9/11), the nature of counter-insurgency warfare, a heightened sense of vulnerability, the end of the draft and the professionalization of the armed forces, the widespread use of uncontrolled mercenaries, an inattentive public absorbed with their private lives. Torture was declared the official policy of the United States government and ordered from the White House. It was widely carried out not just at Guantanamo and the ‘black sites’ but in the field as well albeit with far less attention. Round-ups and detention of suspect populations were commonplace in Iraq. They again are being done in Iraq and Syria by our local allies with American backing. Abuse of civilians in ‘search-and-capture’ missions have been frequent and remain so in Afghanistan.

9.     Most serious are the enormous civilian casualties caused by American airstrikes and artillery barrages. Some, those resulting from strikes on compounds or groups of persons by drones and planes acting blindly or at the request of local parties with their own agenda (the Kunduz hospital massacre), are specific enough to involve individual victims and individual perpetrators. Not a single one has been identified and held accountable. Far more consequential are the attacks on population centers a la WW II. The initial assault on Iraq, “Shock & Awe,” killed thousands of Iraqis. The 2004 ‘liberation’ of Falluja killed an estimated few hundreds. (Leaving aside wounded in both cases). The ‘liberation’ of Mosul and Raqqa entailed massive firepower. 20,000 bombs or artillery shells landed on Raqqa alone. 90% of the city’s buildings are destroyed. No water, no electricity, little food – still. Untold thousands died as a direct result. Estimates by neutral, knowledgeable sources suggest deaths upwards of 40,000. Many are still buried in the rubble. The United States government denies these figures; its delayed, ever changing number is 300-400 hundred. One per every 50 loads of 500 pound bombs and shells. These are lies, of course – calculated lies.

10.      The discrepancy between the nominal dedication to observing humane standards of war, on the one hand, and the realities of methods, arms, and aims, on the other, has made lies and hypocrisy the norm. Self-interested parties accept that. The public sublimates it. The racists and neo-Fascists who go berserk at Trump rallies celebrate it – as does the Orangutan himself.

11.      This is the background to the American reaction to the killing and dismemberment of Khashoggi by the Trump family’s close friend Mohammed bin-Salman. There is not much mystery about MBS’ behavior. He is an ego-maniac, somewhat unhinged, who is drunk with power and accustomed to torture and kill at whim. His campaign of annihilation against the Houthis of Yemen indicates the depths of his depravity and the scope of his ambition. So, too, his imprisoning of 400 wealthy Saudis in the Riyadh Ritz Carlton where they were physically abused until they coughed up their riches for his personal use (e.g. spending $500 million for a mislabeled ‘Leonardo’ painting). A good imitation of Caligula and Nero. So, too, his kidnapping and physical abuse of the Prime Minister of Lebanon (Saad Hariri) – who owed MBS money and, therefore, political fealty. In these ruthless ventures, he has been encouraged by the American government. The Saudi bombing of Yemen to smithereens literally, physically could not happen without participation of the Pentagon. It flies the refueling planes without which his air force could not reach their targets on two-way missions.  It provides the detailed electronic Intelligence critical to the mission. American military personnel sit in the very command rooms from which the operations are conducted. In addition, Washington provides unqualified diplomatic cover and justification. This policy was inaugurated by Barack Obama and continued by Trump. In legal terms, we are an accessory before, during and after the fact of MBS’ crimes in Yemen.

12.           What responsibility do we have for the Khashoggi murder? Our main responsibility lies in helping instill MBS’ deep sense of impunity. In addition, we encouraged the KAS’ alliance with Israel which gave MBS further confidence that active lobbying in Washington and the media would insulate him from any retribution. Hence, he is furious that some people in the West (not including the White House) are making such a fuss over the pedestrian act of whacking an annoying critic. Furthermore, we set the example and the precedent for the assassination of political enemies. Our program of drone killings in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Mali, Chad and a number of other countries has gone a long ways toward establishing the de facto legitimacy of extra-judicial murder as a standard combat tactic. In the United States, it is accepted as such. Indeed, it is praised by many as Obama’s one worthy contribution to the War On Terror since it involves no U.S. casualties – thereby, making prosecution of the War more palatable to the public. Targeted assassination is now in the playbook. The Israelis inaugurated it; we refined it and extended it; MBS emulates us; others will follow. The level of inhibition varies from leader and by target. American’s singular influence in setting fashions means that inhibition will weaken most everywhere and the range of individuals targeted will widen.

13.   The tactic of knocking-off the enemy’s chief has deep historical roots. In the age of kings and emperors, it was tempting to think of decapitating the opposition. Normally, it was a vain hope, though. They were out of reach. Also, there was always some inhibition since the prospect of retaliation in kind was unappealing. There was opportunity when a valiant leader took the field at the head of his troops – as did Alexander as well as several others. The annals are replete with tales of armies breaking and running when their champion was killed or incapacitated. In modern warfare, it is generally felt that no one leader is indispensable – certainly not generals. Think of Afghanistan, where the parade of American commanders now numbers 17, not due to attrition but rather to an odd ritual of rotation. Anyway, it has been a totally irrelevant factor – like quarterbacks for the Cleveland Browns or managers of West Ham. Robots would have done as well – or as badly. (In WW II, political leaders of extraordinary stature could make a difference: Hitler, Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill).

Multiple assassinations as a method for thinning the enemies’ leadership ranks is something new. This novel notion has emerged from the endless cogitations on how to eliminate insurgent movements, especially jihadists ones of the Islamic persuasion. Its net effectiveness is immeasurable to date. It is fair to say that never before in the annals of warfare has a fighting force been found to have so many (nominal) commanders and sub-commanders, treasurers and propaganda chiefs as recorded on kill lists and successful executions.

14.    The public reaction in the United States to Khashoggi’s grisly murder reveals some singular features of the prevailing attitude toward morality in foreign policy. The wide difference between the killing of one man in Istanbul and the decimation of thousands in Yemen by the same hand stands out – that is one. Anonymous murder on a mass scale is somehow less repugnant than the murder of one readily identifiable person by identifiable individuals – that is two. This common human trait is exaggerated by the decision of the mass media to ignore the human suffering in Yemen. That is three. If their fate had been given the graphic 24/7 publicity that deaths in Aleppo and East Ghouta allegedly caused by shelling from government forces (and fictitious gas attacks) were given, it would have registered. In the former case, you had a seemingly black-and-white story line pushed by the U.S. government – however confected – and colorized by the CIA/MI6 agents: the White Helmets. There was neither the political nor commercial motivation to lend the Yemeni atrocities similar treatment.

Morality counts for Americans. It still does even as the country has committed to playing the game of power politics most everybody else does, even as it has committed to a strategy of global dominance – by means violent as well as peaceable. They remain wedded to the belief that we are a moral people who compose a moral nation which follows the course of righteousness in the world. “When conquer we must, for our cause it is just; let this be our motto: In God is our trust.” Some acknowledge a few minor deviations; most do not go even that far. Hiroshima/Nagasaki? “We had no choice – it was them or us (hundreds of thousands G.I. casualties on the Honshu plain)”. Vietnam? Erase it from the national memory book.  The illegal invasion of Iraq? 9/11 or “we were misinformed.”  Guantanamo? Torture? ‘We have to protect ourselves?’ Raqqa? “Who’s he?” Yemen genocide? “Wasn’t the Boston bombing also genocide?” Imperialism? ‘We’re surrounded by enemies trying to do us in: Russia, Iran, North Korea, China, Venezuela, Pakistan, Mexico, Honduras’ (check your daily news source for fresh additions to the list).’

This unthinking mental universe permits us to perpetuate other myths about our place in the world. We hear senior network journalists intone somberly that: “some in Washington worry that a weak reaction to the Khashoggi death will hurt our moral standing in the world – especially in the Middle East.”  She probably does actually believe that the United States still has an exceptional moral standing to lose. Even after the record of the past few decades. Even after the kidnapping of thousands of children from their parents, scattering them to the four winds, leaving them at the mercy of predatory business outfits, and accepting that some inescapably will wind up in the hands of human traffickers. (The President’s implied message: “to Hell with the little bastards. It’s their mothers’ fault, anyway. We have to have an effective deterrence strategy – otherwise, we’ll be swamped by murderers and rapists. And I can’t let down my supporters who hate them even more than I do”).  Even though it is inconceivable that any of our major friends and allies could be so calculatingly immoral. There is the tragedy – for everyone.

For the America that so many looked to for guidance in seeking enlightened political truth has become the model and inspiration for those who seek to evade it.

Views expressed are personal.


Michael Brenner is Professor Emeritus of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh and a Fellow of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS/Johns Hopkins. He was the Director of the International Relations; Global Studies Program at the University of Texas. He has held other teaching and research appointments at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Cornell, Berkeley and the Brookings Institution. Brenner is the author of numerous books, and over 100 articles and published papers on foreign policy and politics. He is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and other news media.