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How U.S. Has Virtually Destroyed U.N.

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Under President Donald Trump, the U.S. has basically eliminated the only real international authority the U.N. used to have. Here is how this was done:

The equivalent, in international law, to a domestic-law crime involving murder, rape, and theft, is an international invasion that’s purely for aggressive purposes and not at all authentically a defensive act against an authentic foreign threat that was coming from the invaded foreign country. Consequently, for the U.S. Government now to have removed the U.N. from any authority over international invasions, is, in domestic-law equivalency, like removing a national government from authority regarding murders, rapes, and thefts, which occur inside that nation. Such a ‘government’ is no government at all. But, tragically, this is what has happened; and, so, we are now careening into World War III, in this international “Wild West” world, which we live in (and may soon die in, as things thus head into WW III).

The U.S. Government no longer even nominally cares whether or not the U.N. authorizes its invasions; but, as recently as 2003, it used to, even if only nominally, care. The U.S. has thus effectively discarded the U.N. altogether, whenever violating the U.N. is the only way to impose its will against a given target-country.

In late 2002 and early 2003, U.S. President George W. Bush nominally expressed a desire for the U.N. to authorize an invasion of Iraq, but failed to receive that authorization and then did the invasion anyway, along with only UK, Australia, and Poland, joining the U.S.-led gang, in this destruction of Iraq.

At a press conference on 6 March 2003, just 11 days before he (on March 17th) ordered the U.N. weapons-inspectors to leave Iraq, and then invaded Iraq on March 20th, Bush said:

Elizabeth.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. As you said, the Security Council faces a vote next week on a resolution implicitly authorizing an attack on Iraq. Will you call for a vote on that resolution, even if you aren’t sure you have the vote?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first, I don’t think — it basically says that he’s in defiance of 1441. That’s what the resolution says. And it’s hard to believe anybody is saying he isn’t in defiance of 1441, because 1441 said he must disarm. And, yes, we’ll call for a vote.

Q No matter what?

THE PRESIDENT: No matter what the whip count is, we’re calling for the vote. We want to see people stand up and say what their opinion is about Saddam Hussein and the utility of the United Nations Security Council. And so, you bet. It’s time for people to show their cards, to let the world know where they stand when it comes to Saddam.

Mark Knoller.

Q Mr. President, are you worried that the United States might be viewed as defiant of the United Nations if you went ahead with military action without specific and explicit authorization from the U.N.?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I’m not worried about that. As a matter of fact, it’s hard to say the United States is defiant about the United Nations, when I was the person that took the issue to the United Nations, September the 12th, 2002. We’ve been working with the United Nations. We’ve been working through the United Nations.

Subsequent U.S. Presidents haven’t been even that respectful of the U.N.’s authority; and current U.S. President Donald Trump is blatantly dismissive of it, so that he’s not even requesting U.N. authorization for his invasions.

Thus, the lesson that the U.S. Government learned from the Iraq invasion isn’t that the U.S. Government should never again lie about what the evidence actually shows, in order to invade a country, but instead that the U.S. Government should simply ignore the U.N. whenever the evidence doesn’t persuade other Governments that an invasion would be authentically defensive instead of purely an act of international aggression.

What might turn out to have been “The Most Important U.N. Security Council Vote Ever” was the 10 April 2018 U.N. Security Council’s failure to require the U.S. and its allies to provide evidence to prove that Syria’s Government had gassed its own people in Douma on April 7th as the U.S. and its allies alleged, before the U.S. and its allies could, with even just possible legal justification, launch a promised massive bombing of Syria as supposed punishment for the gas-attack that they were alleging. The question of whether or not the U.N. would authorize the American invasion wasn’t even being raised; the question was only whether the alleged gas-attack needed to be independently verified before an invasion might possibly legally be launched — and no proposal was passed. Unlike in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the U.S. never tried to win U.N. authorization to invade Syria in 2018, but simply invaded, casually ignoring all laws, and even denying the need for evidence to back up its allegations against Syria.

If the Russian Government’s proposal that the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) must investigate the case and issue a report on its findings, before any action, such as an invasion, is done by any country, had passed the Security Council, then that would be applying standard legal and juridical practice (that no punishment be imposed unless and until guilt has been proven), and likely no invasion of Syria (such as occurred on April 14th) would have been done, at least until the OPCW’s report is issued. But the U.S. and its allies refused to adhere even to this, the minimal legal requirement in any democracy. They instead demanded, and won, a U.S.-and-allied international dictatorship — a lawless, might-makes-right, international world.

A U.N. like this is, essentially, no U.N. at all, just a talking-forum — and that’s what now exists: it’s a forum merely for the constituent Governments to present their respective propagandas to the world, but no longer actually to negotiate anything, since the U.N. has no military, and now the U.S. Government has become effectively whatever the U.S. military (including its armaments corporations such as General Dynamics) want it to be — and, “To hell with the U.N.!” The way now to buy the U.S. Government has become to buy those corporations’ weapons, and then the U.S. Government will ally itself with that country. This is purely transactional, in the interests of America’s armaments-firms, not in the interests of the invading public, and certainly destructive of the interests of the invaded public, no matter how profitable it may be for the owners of those armaments-firms. (One can talk instead about “Wall Street,” but they’re mainly the sellers of stock in America’s armaments-firms and associated products and services; so, they are middle-men who represent the interests of the aristocracy, not really themselves necessarily principals — people who are within the aristocracy.)

Among the contrary accounts regarding that alleged Douma gas-attack was “What really happened — Chemical Attack that lead to missile Strikes on #Syria”, presenting it as having been set up by the ‘rebels’ that the U.S. Government supports. But truth is irrelevant for people with power, especially if it runs contrary to the lies that they are pushing.

President Trump came into office promising a rebirth of American manufacturing, but, so far, the vast majority of his boost to U.S. manufacturing has been only to the U.S. weapons-manufacturers — actually by far the largest international arms-sale in world history. On 21 May 2017, I headlined it “U.S. $350 Billion Arms-Sale to Sauds Cements U.S.-Jihadist Alliance” and reported that the day before, “

U.S. President Donald Trump and the Saud family inked an all-time record-high $350 billion ten-year arms-deal that not only will cement-in the Saud family’s position as the world’s largest foreign purchasers of U.S.-produced weaponry, but will make the Saud family, and America’s ruling families, become, in effect, one aristocracy over both nations, because neither side will be able to violate the will of the other. As the years roll on, their mutual dependency will deepen, each and every year.” That, sadly, has turned out to be true — and not only regarding America’s carrying the Sauds’ water (doing their bidding) in both Yemen and Syria, but in other ways as well.

On 21 March 2018, CNBC bannered “Trump wants Saudi Arabia to buy more American-made weapons. Here are the ones the Saudis want”

, and reported what Trump had just negotiated with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud, which was a step-up in that $350 billion sale, to $400 billion. CNBC associated the Sauds’ arms-purchases with ‘investments’ in the U.S., so as to mislead their audience to think favorably of these sales, but if these sales were actually investments in anything, it was in the ability of the Saud family to join even more fully with America’s aristocracy so as for them jointly to impose their will upon any country where they both want “regime-change” — control by themselves, instead of by that invaded country’s local aristocracy. (Then, the U.S. Government issues economic sanctions against Russia for ‘interfering in our democracy’. But the Sauds, and their allies, Israel’s aristocracy, actually do precisely that, routinely, and very effectively!) So: CNBC said: “During the Oval Office talks, Trump touted a creation of 40,000 American jobs due to Saudi military sales.

The president used several maps and charts of Saudi acquisitions to further make his point. The crown prince, likewise, added that last year’s Saudi pledge of $200 billion in investments will rise to approximately $400 billion and that a 10-year window to implement the deal was already under way.” That was a misleading statement about the amounts, too. Here is how Indian Express had headlined and reported on 18 May 2017: “Saudi Arabia to invest $200 billion in US, purchase arms worth $300 billion

: “As President Donald Trump prepares for his first overseas trip, Saudi Arabia has announced to make a whopping USD 200 billion investment in the US and intends to purchase arms worth USD 300 billion from America, a senior administration official has said.” There, too, the Saudi masters got their propagandists to refer to “investments” in relation to “purchase arms worth $300 billion,” which turned out, just two days later, on 20 May 2017, to be actually $350 billion — and which amount of arms-purchases now has risen instead to $400 billion, which will be paid, as listed in that CNBC news-report to: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Honeywell, and Raytheon. When Trump campaigned for the Presidency, he had promised to be anything but a sales-person for America’s war-machine. But, he is so, and this is fascism: socialism for the rich, and ‘survival of the fittest’ for everyone else. Trump certainly isn’t a sales-person for the poor, anywhere. He’s what his fellow-fascists call a ‘populist’, in order to insult the public that they must appeal to for votes.

American ‘productivity’ thus will increase in the production of death and destruction; but, as economists view things, that is “productivity” and added “Gross National Product,” regardless of how much it actually immiserates the world (and, so, economic theory is part of the fraud that enables all of this, essentially, corruption). Thus, economic theory is as fraudulent as is the international ‘news’ that the propaganda-agencies spread to the public. It’s all a “pile of bull,” but lots of consumers are buying it, because it’s all that they know and it satisfies them — they’re not even looking for more than the myths.

Previously, the “Biggest Arms Deal in History” was between UK’s aristocracy and the Sauds, the Al-Yamamah deal, which boosted UK’s biggest weapons-maker, BAE, and in which the massive corruption became the subject of scandals and a Governmental inquiry, which Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud forced UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to close with no report being issued. And both the UK and U.S. claim to be ‘democracies’ — and both Governments accuse Russia of ‘interfering’ in their ‘democracy’!

If the reader wants to know why a web-search for the title of this article “How U.S. Has Virtually Destroyed U.N.” probably turns up no mainstream ‘news’media in the U.S.-allied world, and even very few “alternative news” sites, then the reason isn’t that they weren’t offered the article, because they all routinely receive the submission of each of my articles but routinely turn them down. The reason is instead that the most important truths are prohibited from publication in the U.S.-allied world — it’s a world dominated by lies. After all: we invaded and destroyed Iraq for no real defensive reason, and our Government has never apologized for that, much less been held accountable, at all, for it. And now, because of the U.S. Government, the U.N. isn’t even really a debating-forum, any more. It’s just a propaganda-forum, now.

first published at strategic-culture.org

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010

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Hardened US and Iranian positions question efficacy of parties’ negotiating tactics

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The United States and Iran seem to be hardening their positions in advance of a resumption of negotiations to revive a 2015 international nuclear agreement once Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi takes office in early August.

Concern among supporters of the agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program which former US President Donald J. Trump abandoned in 2018 may be premature but do raise questions about the efficacy of the negotiating tactics of both parties.

These tactics include the Biden administration’s framing of the negotiations exclusively in terms of the concerns of the West and its Middle Eastern allies rather than also as they relate to Iranian fears, a failure by both the United States and Iran to acknowledge that lifting sanctions is a complex process that needs to be taken into account in negotiations, and an Iranian refusal to clarify on what terms the Islamic republic may be willing to discuss non-nuclear issues once the nuclear agreement has been revived.

The differences in the negotiations between the United States and Iran are likely to be accentuated if and when the talks resume, particularly concerning the mechanics of lifting sanctions.

“The challenges facing the JCPOA negotiations are a really important example of how a failed experience of sanctions relief, as we had in Iran between the Obama and Trump admins, can cast a shadow over diplomacy for years to come, making it harder to secure US interests,” said Iran analyst Esfandyar Batmanghelidj referring to the nuclear accord, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, by its initials.

The Biden administration may be heeding Mr. Batmangheldij’s notion that crafting sanctions needs to take into account the fact that lifting them can be as difficult as imposing them as it considers more targeted additional punitive measures against Iran. Those measures would aim to hamper Iran’s evolving capabilities for precision strikes using drones and guided missiles by focusing on the providers of parts for those weapon systems, particularly engines and microelectronics.

To be sure, there is no discernable appetite in either Washington or Tehran to adjust negotiation tactics and amend their underlying assumptions. It would constitute a gargantuan, if not impossible challenge given the political environment in both capitals. That was reflected in recent days in Iranian and US statements.

Iranian Spiritual Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested that agreement on the revival of the nuclear accord was stumbling over a US demand that it goes beyond the terms of the original accord by linking it to an Iranian willingness to discuss its ballistic missiles program and support for Arab proxies.

In a speech to the cabinet of outgoing President Hassan Rouhani, he asserted that the West “will try to hit us everywhere they can and if they don’t hit us in some place, it’s because they can’t… On paper and in their promises, they say they’ll remove sanctions. But they haven’t lifted them and won’t lift them. They impose conditions…to say in future Iran violated the agreement and there is no agreement” if Iran refuses to discuss regional issues or ballistic missiles.

Iranian officials insist that nothing can be discussed at this stage but a return by both countries to the nuclear accord as is. Officials, distrustful of US intentions, have hinted that an unconditional and verified return to the status quo ante may help open the door to talks on missiles and proxies provided this would involve not only Iranian actions and programs but also those of America’s allies.

Mr. Khamenei’s remarks seemed to bolster suggestions that once in office Mr. Raisi would seek to turn the table on the Biden administration by insisting on stricter verification and US implementation of its part of a revived agreement.

To achieve this, Iran is expected to demand the lifting of all rather than some sanctions imposed or extended by the Trump administration; verification of the lifting;  guarantees that the lifting of sanctions is irreversible, possibly by making any future American withdrawal from the deal contingent on approval by the United Nations Security Council; and iron-clad provisions to ensure that obstacles to Iranian trade are removed, including the country’s unfettered access to the international financial system and the country’s overseas accounts.

Mr. Khamenei’s remarks and Mr. Raisi’s anticipated harder line was echoed in warnings by US officials that the ascendancy of the new president would not get Iran a better deal. The officials cautioned further that there could be a point soon at which it would no longer be worth returning to because Iran’s nuclear program would have advanced to the point where the limitations imposed by the agreement wouldn’t produce the intended minimum one year ‘breakout time’ to produce enough enriched uranium for a bomb.

“We are committed to diplomacy, but this process cannot go on indefinitely. At some point, the gains achieved by the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) cannot be fully recovered by a return to the JCPOA if Iran continues the activities that it’s undertaken with regard to its nuclear program…The ball remains in Iran’s court, and we will see if they’re prepared to make the decisions necessary to come back into compliance,” US Secretary Antony Blinken said this week on a visit to Kuwait.

Another US official suggested that the United States and Iran could descend into a tug-of-war on who has the longer breath and who blinks first. It’s a war that so far has not produced expected results for the United States and in which Iran has paid a heavy price for standing its ground.

The official said that a breakdown in talks could “look a lot like the dual-track strategy of the past—sanctions pressure, other forms of pressure, and a persistent offer of negotiations. It will be a question of how long it takes the Iranians to come to the idea they will not wait us out.”

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Wendy Sherman’s China visit takes a terrible for the US turn

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Photo: Miller Center/ flickr

US Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, had high hopes for the meeting in China. At first, the Chinese side did not agree to hold the meeting at all. The reaction had obvious reasons: Antony Blinken’s fiasco in Alaska left the Chinese disrespected and visibly irritated. This is not why they travelled all the way.

So then the State Department had the idea of sending Wendy Sherman instead. The US government actually needs China more than China needs the US. Sherman was in China to actually prepare the ground for Biden and a meeting between the two presidents, expecting a red carpet roll for Biden as if it’s still the 2000s — the time when it didn’t matter how the US behaved. Things did not go as expected.

Instead of red carpet talk, Sherman heard Dua Lipa’s “I got new rules”. 

That’s right — the Chinese side outlined three bottom lines warning the US to respect its system, development and sovereignty and territorial integrity. In other words, China wants to be left alone.

The bottom lines were not phrased as red lines. This was not a military conflict warning. This was China’s message that if any future dialogue was to take place, China needs to be left alone. China accused the US of creating an “imaginary enemy”. I have written about it before — the US is looking for a new Cold War but it doesn’t know how to start and the problem is that the other side actually holds all the cards

That’s why the US relies on good old militarism with an expansion into the Indo-Pacific, while aligning everyone against China but expecting the red carpet and wanting all else in the financial and economic domains to stay the same. The problem is that the US can no longer sell this because there are no buyers. Europeans also don’t want to play along.

The headlines on the meeting in the US press are less flattering than usual. If the US is serious about China policy it has to be prepared to listen to much more of that in the future. And perhaps to, yes, sit down and be humble.

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Why Jen Psaki is a well-masked Sean Spicer

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When Sarah Huckabee Sanders showed up on the scene as White House Press Secretary, the reaction was that of relief. Finally — someone civil, normal, friendly. Jen Psaki’s entry this year was something similar. People were ready for someone well-spoken, well-mannered, even friendly as a much welcome change from the string of liars, brutes or simply disoriented people that the Trump Administration seemed to be lining up the press and communications team with on a rolling basis. After all, if the face of the White House couldn’t keep it together for at least five minutes in public, what did that say about the overall state of the White House behind the scenes?

But Psaki’s style is not what the American media and public perceive it to be. Her style is almost undetectable to the general American public to the point that it could look friendly and honest to the untrained eye or ear. Diplomatic or international organization circles are perhaps better suited to catch what’s behind the general mannerism. Jen Psaki is a well-masked Sean Spicer, but a Sean Spicer nevertheless. I actually think she will do much better than him in Dancing With The Stars. No, in fact, she will be fabulous at Dancing With The Stars once she gets replaced as White House Press Secretary.

So let’s take a closer look. I think what remains undetected by the general American media is veiled aggression and can easily pass as friendliness. Psaki recently asked a reporter who was inquiring about the Covid statistics at the White House why the reporter needed that information because Psaki simply didn’t have that. Behind the brisk tone was another undertone: the White House can’t be questioned, we are off limits. But it is not and that’s the point. 

Earlier, right at the beginning in January, Psaki initially gave a pass to a member of her team when the Politico stunner reporter story broke out. The reporter was questioning conflict of interest matters, while the White House “stud” was convinced it was because he just didn’t chose her, cursing her and threatening her. Psaki sent him on holidays. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

Psaki has a level of aggression that’s above average, yet she comes across as one of the most measured and reasonable White House Press Secretaries of the decade. And that’s under pressure. But being able to mask that level of deflection is actually not good for the media because the media wants answers. Style shouldn’t (excuse the pun) trump answers. And being able to get away smoothly with it doesn’t actually serve the public well. Like that time she just walked away like it’s not a big deal. It’s the style of “as long as I say thank you or excuse me politely anything goes”. But it doesn’t. And the American public will need answers to some questions very soon. Psaki won’t be able to deliver that and it would be a shame to give her a pass just because of style.

I think it’s time that we start seeing Psaki as a veiled Sean Spicer. And that Dancing with the Stars show — I hope that will still run despite Covid.

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