Sputnik discussed relations between Russia and the West with Dr. Jan Oberg, the director of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research.
Sputnik: So why is Russia viewed as a hostile country by the West and namely by NATO, lots of people have been discussing this especially after Vladimir Putin's re-election as president what's your take on it?
Dr. Jan Oberg: My take on it is that threats, threat images people who are your enemies, is something you construct, it's not something that you measure objectively and then you shape your defense system or security politics accordingly, you have what I used to call the "military industrial media academic complex," MIMAC, and that turns out weapons and new technologies and companies earning money from doing these products and arms traders are profiting from selling them around the world, and in order to do that you have, one, to make people fear, because they are the tax payers that are supposed to finance this madness, and the other thing is that you create these images of who you should fear and if you have no enemies this system of continuous production of the MIMAC would not exist, would not be possible.
Sputnik: Do you think the world will ever see an environment without, you mentioned the word MIMAC, do you think we could ever aspire or live in a world where we are totally comfortable within our country bounds and not feel any threats from any forces external, from any other countries it would be a wonderful existence if we could, and we wouldn't be going through this constant barrage and we wouldn't be having this conversation to start with, would we? What's your feeling about that?
Dr. Jan Oberg: I think that's perfectly possible, I have been a professional peace and conflict researcher for about 40 years, and that's the kind of things we are working with, we are working with constructive images of what the world should be like and how nations should behave and governments should behave in order to create a more secure, safe and peaceful world and it is perfectly possible, it's just not possible with the mainstream thinking that security means military, getting your way means military, and if you do not like a country or government it means military. I mean, the Western world which is so superior to Russia, NATO's 29 countries having something like 12 times more military expenditures than Russia, there is much less balance, the whole thing is much less balanced than it was during the first Cold War and, anyhow, they have this hysteria going on everywhere that we are threatened in the West, so there is no doubt we could live much more peacefully, I'm glad you're raising this questions, because no journalist usually raises that type of alternative questions, and it would have to do with all countries having defense, it would have to mean that we would have to invest much more in learning to handle conflicts intelligently. The reason so much weaponry is used and wars are fought, is people are illiterate when it comes to handling their conflicts because, you know, there will always be conflicts, there are conflicts in any family, between people at their workplace, conflicts are something good and violence is something bad and we should learn, and that's why I believe in education all over the place, we should learn how to conflict intelligently instead of ending up somewhere where survival is being threatened, that's perfectly possible but it takes research, it takes effort, it takes interest, it takes political interest and that interest does not exist because of the because of the undemocratic cancer that is growing on societies with militarism.
Sputnik: That's why it's so depressing, isn't it? You've mentioned why is a journalist asking you this alternative question, I think we get to a stage as human beings we're so tired of living in a post-fact and post-evidence society that we have to question it, and any normal human being who's got sensitivity will feel totally depressed the way the world is thriving and driving forward, there's got to be another way forward truly there must be something this global audience can do to affect a change, it just appears that it is going to take a hell of a long time and it does concern the general public. Do you think that Washington's current course includes treating Russia as a partner or as an adversary? What are the reasons for it? It doesn't seem anything else but as an adversary, does it?
Dr. Jan Berg: Let me just respond to one little thing that you've said about being depressed, because I never want to leave people feeling depressed or anyone else feeling depressed. I'm totally sure that there is a great and more peaceful world ahead of us, if we survive the next five or ten years, and that five or ten years is the fall of the US empire, after that there are all opportunities for a cooperative world, no single country trying to dominate everybody, this will be the last empire in human history, because nobody will try to dominate 7, 8, 10 billion people's lives anymore, this is the last.
And secondly, there are so many good things happening in the world, there so many people in the world that think like you and me, it's just for the media, to them bad news is good news and there's no good news out of the good news in the media. There's a certain type of partnership in Syria on small points, but I think at the moment the US is so desperate about it losing power internationally that it sees, basically, everybody as an enemy.
The views and opinions expressed by Dr. Jan Berg are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.