Connect with us

Americas

How Americans Struggle Between Nobility and Mean Reality

Published

on

As a years-long assiduous follower of American academia and thinkers I was somehow misled into believing that the United States is a nation driven by nobility; my mind was blinded to the widespread cruelty in American society. I credit President Donald Trump’s nasty behavior during his presidential tenure for overcoming my obliviousness, allowing me, finally, to notice that the U.S. even declines to employ the remedy of knowledge and noble values that it prescribes to the rest of the world!

American Universities and the knowledge they generate are “heaven on earth”! They are designed to nurture and fulfill their students mentally, physically, and spiritually with the aim of stimulating them to produce ideas and innovations to make this world a better place, result in having 40 percent of all Nobel Prize winners in diversified fields. Yet American executives and lawmakers don’t turn to Academia’s substance and values when shaping their policies or handling crises; U.S. decisions are formulated based on interests, practicalities and leverage – with the option of having them aggrandized by well-educated citizens.

“American Exceptionalism”, which refers to the belief that the U.S. has a destiny and responsibility towards the rest of the world, is the ultimate American society fairytale! The fact that a nation that abides by the values of individual liberty, entrepreneurship and a strong economy is a superpower does not necessarily mean that these attributes are designed to better serve the world. In fact, they could be America’s means to economic growth and world domination!

The myth of “American Exceptionalism” is often countered with the “World Reality” concept that holds that the U.S. must deal with the world as it is, which necessitates  compromising American values; a proposition that overlooks the possibility that the United States might be shaping, or at least contributing to form, the development of world cruelty to better suit American interests, as best exemplified by American arms sales. The argument is that refraining from exporting weapons to nations engaged in warfare will only lead to expanding arms sales by America’s rivals – in other words, people are better off fighting and dying with American weapons than with those of U.S. adversaries.     

Moreover, although consecutive United States administrations have worked to charm the world with American knowledge and innovation supremacy, U.S. interests have usually surpassed any kind of noble motivation. The USAID budget allocation is a clear example; it has been providing my country, Egypt, with a steady military assistance of USD 1.3 billion annually for over four decades. However, the amount of U.S. economic aid to Egypt, which used to be quite close to the amount of military assistance, has been declining regularly, dropping to under USD 150 million yearly–an indication of the United States’ value to each field!

In any given industry, respective executives naturally tend to produce products that capitalize on the latest industrial knowledge and technology. Politics is an exception here; politicians tend to use their political leverage to serve their narrow self-interests –going so far as to mislead their citizens by spreading false information. The United States’ invasion of Iraq is a clear example of political manipulation that only served President George W. Bush’s desire for war, at the expense of the entire Iraqi population. 

The liberties that American citizens enjoy, and their ability to fulfill individual interests while living in their own isolated bubble, have mentally distanced Americans from thinking of the true mission of their nation! The U.S. enables academics to advocate for peace and prosperity in their books, while allowing arms manufacturers to produce and export their lethal products. Americans are living in a hypocritical, harmonized society, accepting their supremacy, both in the area of noble values and the field of arms proliferation, but unaware of the negative impact the later has on the rest of the world.

President Trump’s naturally impulsive ruling behavior, his failure to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the recent pardons he granted to a number of his lawbreaker allies, his entertainment of the possibility of applying martial law and finally inciting his supporters to invade the Capitol to prevent the Congress from certifying the election results – all these acts that consequently happened after losing the presidential election have not yet produced a critical mass that recognizes the deficiency of the American political structure. Ironically, seventy-four million Americans recently voted for Trump to stay on for another presidential term.

Noble American ambitions are an optional blessing offered to whoever wants to exploit them; American realism, however, is imposed on universal citizens. The United States’ supremacy in many fields and its dominant position in the world have failed to produce constructive policies that could make this world a better place. That said, there is some progress in the American scholarly field, where some have begun to use the term “invading Iraq” to define the U.S.’s intervention in Iraq – a sign of progress, but one that has not yet led to the development of a desperately needed new American mission that includes a more productive foreign policy.

Mohammed Nosseir is an Egyptian liberal politician, living in Cairo and advocating for political participation, liberal values and economic freedom. He tweets @MohammedNosseir

Continue Reading
Comments

Americas

Kerry’s China Visit: ‘A Weasel Paying a New Year Call to a Chicken’

Published

on

A section in the international press claims the US climate envoy John Kerry’s mid-week Shanghai visit was aimed at the White House “wooing Beijing” before the upcoming Earth Summit on April 22. But some foreign commentators while not disagreeing see Kerry’s task as arduous. Then there are those who no doubt believe the visit to be an essential part of Biden’s “climate diplomacy” and as a “bright spot” in tension-ridden China-US relations. Not unexpectedly, Beijing has mandated Xie Zhenhua, China’s “environment man” and Kerry’s old buddy, to go by the script and stick to protocols while hosting his US visitor.

***

On April 13, the US State Department website claimed, the President’s special climate envoy John Kerry will be visiting Shanghai and Seoul from April 14 -17. The agenda for the visit was mentioned as to conduct consultations on global climate crisis. Seasoned diplomatic affairs commentators in Beijing sensed something odd in the sudden state department announcement. Li Guangman, a veteran IR analyst and widely respected “influencer” in the arena of foreign policy opined: “The fact that the news was released only after Kerry departed for Shanghai is an indication it was perhaps only a last-minute decision in Beijing to host Kerry. This also shows Beijing could have declined the visit too.”

As regards on the purpose of Kerry visit, a section of the international press has been fed, i.e. the visit is “seen as a chance to set aside existing political tensions and focus on areas of potential climate collaboration.” Highlighting Kerry as the first high-level Biden administration official to fly into China – though not into the capital city Beijing, the US as well as Western media took particular notice of the visit’s timing, that is, just days ahead of Joe Biden’s virtual summit with world leaders on climate change on April 22. It was on expected lines that the foreign media did not fail to mention the failure of the first top officials-level dialogue in Alaska exactly a month ago in “yielding a breakthrough,” when speculating whether Kerry’s travel to China would be any different.     

In sharp contrast, Beijing’s foreign ministry mandarins did not seem particularly enthused by the visit. Without either referring to the upcoming virtual Earth Summit or attaching extraordinary attention to the first trip to China from the highest official in the Biden government since January 20, China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment disclosed on Wednesday: “The U.S. president’s special climate envoy John Kerry will visit China from Wednesday to Saturday.” In a rather curt and short press release, the foreign ministry in Beijing said: “China’s special climate envoy, Xie Zhenhua, will meet with his U.S. counterpart John Kerry in Shanghai this week and exchange views on a key United Nations climate conference or COP26 at Glasgow later this year.” 

Beijing Downplays Kerry’s Visit

Besides downplaying the high-profile maiden trip to China by Kerry as the US climate envoy, a lot is being read into Beijing keeping the US visitor strictly within “visiting one city, meeting one official” limits. China’s English language Caixin Daily has confirmed “after talks in China, Kerry will travel on to Seoul, South Korea. The US Embassy in Beijing said no media events are planned before Kerry heads to Seoul.” Remember, John Kerry has been flying around the world with twin purposes, namely: one, to urge various countries to commit themselves to fight against climate change in time for the Washington initiated Earth Summit beginning on Thursday; second, starting from the Earth Summit and before the UN conference on climate in November this year, reclaim America as a leader on climate action.

One of the key stated agendas of Kerry’s visit was to seek China’s endorsement to Biden’s ambitious plan to prod countries to step up their respective carbon emissions reduction goal in order to limit planetary warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius – a goal set by the Paris Agreement in 2015. Biden has invited nearly 40 world leaders to assemble for the Earth Summit, including China’s President Xi Jinping and the Russian leader Vladimir Putin. To help Biden achieve climate change mission, Kerry has already visited several countries including UK, India, Bangladesh and United Arab Emirates. However, not only China, there are many other countries and individuals/institutions who do not trust the US to fulfill its own climate change commitments. A Bloomberg report last Friday has observed: “Before the U.S. can lead, however, it will first have to overcome the world’s mistrust. After all, the country has reneged on its climate promises before.”

A former Obama administration official, Pete Ogden currently serving as vice president for energy, climate and environment at the United Nations Foundation, was cited in the Bloomberg report mentioned above as saying: “They’ve [the White House] clearly been looking to try to encourage other countries to also increase their ambition, but I don’t think this is the date. I do not expect that everything will be on a glide path to 1.5 degrees after the [Earth] summit.” While Kerry and Biden most likely are going to fail in cajoling major emitter countries barring a few close US allies such as Canada, Japan and maybe South Africa as it [Washington] must first “overcome the world’s mistrust.” India and Brazil, notably, have already indicated the two countries strongly differ with the US-led developed countries’ offered solution at the coming Earth Summit.

China or Xi Jinping might skip the earth Summit

Kerry’s “mission Shanghai” may not have been as “fiery” as the Alaska talks, yet one is certain it must have been equally, if not less, testy visit. According to a Chinese article, both the timing and agenda of Kerry’s “mission Shanghai” are seen as problematic in Beijing for following few reasons. First, as pointed out above, Beijing no doubt views both Biden’s promised commitment to Paris Climate Accord and inviting world leaders to the Earth Summit as mere attempts to salvage the damaged US image on one hand, and to establish the United States as the leader in the global fight against global warming on the other. In other words, it is Biden’s political and not climate change agenda.

Second, just like on the eve of the Alaska talks the secretary of state Blinken made provocative statements in Tokyo and Seoul making Beijing unhappy. This time round too Washington initiated not one but two highly provocative moves to gauge the mood in Beijing: one, just as climate envoy Kerry was packing bags for Beijing, the Biden administration dispatched three former US officials with high credentials to Taiwan in an unmarked private jet last Wednesday; two, the US intelligence chief Avril Haines in a report released on last Wednesday has repeated the China threat to the US saying: “There is no other country that represents a more severe threat to our [the US] economic security, innovation and ideas than China, a threat which is deep, wide and persistent.” It is ridiculous to expect Beijing to promise “tangibles” to Kerry in this backdrop, observed a scholar in Beijing.

Third, while officially the PRC government strongly objected to and challenged the Biden-Suga joint statement at the end of the two leaders’ first in-person meeting at the White House last Friday. Typically, reactions from China’s strategic and security affairs community have been far more bellicose and scathing on the mention of Taiwan in the US-Japan joint statement. The last such mention in their joint statement was made in 1969 during Nixon-Sato talks. Disdainfully rejecting any claims that the timing of Kerry’s visit overlapping with Biden-Suga jointly plotting against China as “mere coincidence,” a Chinese commentator seriously wondered if this was “how the US wants to improve relations” with China?

Finally, no doubt President Biden has been consistent during the presidential campaign last year and since he took office in January this year, that “effectively tackling climate change requires cooperation with China.” But in response to Blinken and Kerry persistently seeking China’s support and cooperation on global warming, a recent statement by the foreign ministry spokesperson in Beijing, Zhao Lijian, should leave no one under any illusion why Beijing is not going to oblige Washington. “The cooperation between China and the US in certain areas such as climate change is not a flower in a greenhouse, and is bound to be closely related to all pervasive bilateral relationship,” (emphasis added) Zhao Lijian had stated.   

No wonder, Beijing has been questioning the Biden administration’s credentials, or in other words, the US “eligibility” in seeking China’s cooperation on the so-called “areas of convergence.” It seems Beijing has seen through Biden’s “climate diplomacy” trickery. Why else ancient Chinese idiom “a weasel paying a New Year call to a chicken” – someone with evil intentions – is being invoked by scholars to describe Kerry’s “mission Shanghai?”                 

Continue Reading

Americas

How COVID- 19 weakened American leadership

Published

on

Unlike Hollywood movies where Americans have the lead in saving the world, the crisis of the corona virus pandemic has shown the opposite. The first major test showed that the American health care system was inferior to the Russian one, created during the Cold War. And while the Kremlin has managed to provide real assistance to a number of European countries, certainly using it for propaganda purposes, Washington’s actions can be characterized as a sign of weakness.

In the race for a quality vaccine, Moscow has shown that it is ahead of its competitors, and despite the rigorous blockade, more and more European countries want the Russian vaccine Sputnik V, which proved to be better than Pfizer and Modern. The United States and Britain have experienced a major slap in the field of science, but from their perspective even more on propaganda. Attempts by Western countries to maintain a monopoly on vaccines in Europe, despite the fact that citizens are dying in large numbers because of that policy, showed how far American diplomacy is ready in sacrificing people in the Western Hemisphere due to the conflict with Russia.

Unlike Western vaccines, which cause numerous complications, Sputnik vaccine was rated as far better, which resulted in large agreements between Russia and foreign countries regarding sales and joint production.At the same time, there are simply no reports about similar complications caused by the Russian vaccine, even though the European Commission and Brussels have been keeping a close eye on the effects of its use in European countries, including Serbia and Hungary, which have already taken the first deliveries of the Sputnik V vaccine. What is the reason for the US demonstrating its weakness? How come that in the midst of the epidemic Washington was unable to find the resources to demonstrate its readiness to lend a helping hand to its European allies? Unfortunately, one of the reasons was that the Americans simply freaked out.

The truth is, the US healthcare system is rather decentralized and unorganized. People with good health insurance have little to worry about. However, in a situation of a pandemic, the US medical facilities are pretty hard to manage, so one has to do it manually. Compounded by the general atmosphere of panic and the fact that the poorest strata of society, who have no health insurance and constitute the main risk zone (obesity due to malnutrition, advanced chronic diseases and other COVID-inducing conditions), the system simply collapsed. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Trump administration tried to keep maximum resources at home.

Moreover, the businessman-turned-president, who had openly spoken about “exporting security,” never missed a chance to make it clear to his allies that US assistance is never free. As a result, he was replaced by Biden, a Democrat who advocates maximum support for all democratic forces. However, Democrats usually provide moral or military support, but they have proved equally unprepared to line up any serious assistance to the countries hit the hardest by the pandemic.Moreover, it was actually at the suggestion of the United States and the UK that the COVAX system, a global initiative aimed at providing equitable (but not free) access to COVID-19 vaccines for countries in need, stalled. It turned out (who might have guessed?) that both the US-developed Moderna and the British AstraZeneca vaccines are primarily needed by their own electorates, and only then by countries that need them, but are unable to produce their own vaccine.

Meanwhile, India with a population of over 1 billion,managed to fulfill its obligations, and Russia is ready to launch the production of vaccines in Europe. However, bending under Washington’s pressure, the European Union has banned the import of Russian, Indian and Chinese vaccines, without bothering to explain the reasons for this ban.A country, claiming world domination cannot lead in everything, of course.  Therefore, it is not surprising that the healthcare systems of many European countries, like Sweden and Switzerland, are way better that what they now have in the United States. That being said, the world leader still bears full responsibility for its allies and cannot leave them to their own devices, not only in the event of a military conflict, but also in the midst of a pandemic. However, this is exactly what it did…

Continue Reading

Americas

U.S. Gov’t. Walks Back Lie Against Russia But Says that Russia Must Be Apologizing

Published

on

biden-foreign-policy
Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

On April 15th, the Biden Administration, which has been saying that Russia probably placed a “bounty” on corpses of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, said that, actually, “U.S. intelligence only had ‘low to moderate’ confidence in the story,” but “This information puts a burden on the Russian government to explain its actions and take steps to address this disturbing pattern of behavior.” For good measure, the U.S. Government has now added yet more sanctions against Russia.

Adam Rawnsley and Spencer Ackerman of The Daily Beast headlined on the 15th, “U.S. Intel Walks Back Claim Russians Put Bounties on American Troops”, and reported that “Translated from the jargon of spyworld, that [statement from the Biden Administration] means the intelligence agencies have found the story is, at best, unproven — and possibly untrue.”

This lie had first been broadcasted on the front page of the New York Times on 26 June 2020, under the headline “Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says”, and they reported that:

American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter. The United States concluded months ago that the Russian unit, which has been linked to assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe intended to destabilize the West or take revenge on turncoats, had covertly offered rewards for successful attacks last year.

The following day, the Washington Post bannered “Russian operation targeted coalition troops in Afghanistan, intelligence finds”, and reported that:

A Russian military spy unit offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to attack coalition forces in Afghanistan, including U.S. and British troops, in a striking escalation of the Kremlin’s hostility toward the United States, American intelligence has found. The Russian operation, first reported by the New York Times, has generated an intense debate within the Trump administration about how best to respond to a troubling new tactic by a nation that most U.S. officials regard as a potential foe but that President Trump has frequently embraced as a friend, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive intelligence matter.

Repeating their performances regarding numerous other such lies — including against Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” and threat of “a mushroom cloud that was allegedly only 6 months away on 7 September 2002 — America’s trashpapers of record (the nation’s two ‘top’ ‘news’-papers) have done yeoman’s work for Lockheed Martin and other ‘defense’ industry corporations, by deceiving the American public to support a military-industrial government of perpetual war and of fake dangers, when the real dangers against the American people continue to grow domestically and to rot away America’s economy. 

The beneficiaries of this scam are called America’s “Deep State,” and they rule here no matter whether serving Republican Party billionaires or Democratic Party billionaires.

This scam on behalf of America’s billionaires is called “neoconservatism,” but it really is only American imperialism, and it has already destroyed Vietnam, Iran, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ukraine, and many other countries. More gradually, however, it has been destroying America itself.

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Development17 mins ago

Digital Technologies Can Help Maldives Build Back Better From the COVID-19 Shock

Maldives can leverage digital technologies to build back better for a more green, resilient, and inclusive development following the COVID-19...

Reports2 hours ago

Major Opportunities in Decarbonizing Maritime Transport

The World Bank today published new research on decarbonizing the maritime transport sector with findings that indicate significant business and...

Development5 hours ago

ADB, Habitat for Humanity to Support Housing Microloans for Vulnerable Communities

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has teamed with Habitat for Humanity International to help microfinance institutions (MFIs) deliver housing loans...

Reports6 hours ago

COVID-19 spending helped to lift foreign aid to an all-time high in 2020

Foreign aid from official donors rose to an all-time high of USD 161.2 billion in 2020, up 3.5% in real...

Reports8 hours ago

Export competitiveness key to Nepal’s green, resilient, and inclusive recovery

After contracting for the first time in 40 years in FY2020, Nepal’s economy is projected to grow by 2.7 percent...

Africa Today9 hours ago

The Gambia Secures More Funds for COVID-19 Vaccines

World Bank Board approved $8 million additional financing from the International Development Association (IDA) to provide The Gambia with safe...

coronavirus people coronavirus people
Reports10 hours ago

Policy reset can deliver a stronger, equitable and sustainable post-pandemic recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought social and economic disruption worldwide, but is also providing governments with the opportunity to put...

Trending