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Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson: Surfing the American Demographic Tsunami

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Image source: judiciary.senate.gov

CNN online recently reported ” According to an average of polls by Gallup, Fox, Monmouth University, Quinnipiac University and the Pew Research Center, about 53% of Americans supported her(Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s)  confirmation, with about 26% of Americans opposed. This is good for a +27-point net popularity rating.

If Jackson’s ratings hold up through her likely confirmation, she would be the most popular nominee to be confirmed since John Roberts in 2005. Jackson’s popularity should only help her in the confirmation process.”

White Supremacy is a racist  oligarchal dominant ideology which through Eurocentric colonial hegemony has ruled the world for centuries through inventions of notions of White superiority over conquered, oppressed , and exterminated Non-White peoples and their institutions and communities. In being so, White Supremacy is not only a dominating belief system which is embraced by many though not all people of White Eurocentric descent , it  is also  effectively sustained and reproduced when internalized and embraced by Non-Whites who though  systemic victims conform to the value and identity dictates of their White Supremacy perpetrators of their insidious systemic dehumanizing oppression.Such natures, ironies, and paradoxes of White Supremacy has been written about for generations such as by Frederick Douglass,  William E. B.  DuBois, Franz Fanon, and more contemporary observers.

 In many respects,  the historic U. S. Senate  confirmation hearing  of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson   to the U S.  Supreme Court symbolizes the  21st century  deepening  cracks  in White Supremacy in American dominant political culture and in our general private and public lives as Americans. Neo-antebellum ultra right influenced Republicans and their White nationalist hate lobbies  could not sink the  superbly  prepared savvy Judge or rattle her as, perchance, it would have occurred less than a generation ago and definitely earlier due to the acceptable Jim Crow norms of American elite political culture. Just recall Clearance Thomas ‘ screeching “hi tech lynching” allegation  in his 1991  Supreme Court confirmation hearing . Sure now Associate Justice  Thomas  got the job but has been tainted in public imagery ever since as being appointed through manipulating  elite White male guilt  than displaying significant judicial competencies thus being forever viewed ironically by many as what he opposes most: being  an affirmative action appointee in the worst pejorative way.

Every one who has taken a first grade Sociology class on  the coded languages of racism realize the traditional stereotypes about Black people being soft on crime and approving sexual deviant behavior let alone being overly sexualized creatures, in this case gendered stereotyped prejudices about Black women,are being covertly pedaled  by neo-antebellum ultra right  Republican Senators during the hearings. It is not working as significantly as hoped for by White nationalists disciples seen by the popularity  of Judge Brown Jackson in well respected national polls.

 So , the  racist ploys  advanced by the neo- antebellum ultra right  Republican Senators during the confirmation hearings  which also included subtle reminders that the Judge is not only interracially married ( forgetting for convenience Associate Justice Thomas is as well and that Associate Justice Barrett has adopted Black children) and that the Judge does not know what a woman is , subtext meaning White women , like the lowly regarded   White female  Senator from Tennessee define womanhood who had the audacity to imply such gendered sexist racism, are proving to be ineffectual if not backfiring. Instead what we have on full display is just another indicator of White Supremacy in the societal ICU unit dying while refusing to call for a  hospice faith leader to administer  the final rites.

White Supremacy is in a  resistant desperation phase,  at times,  materialized as  condoned violent  tactics of the  ultra right in Congress, in the Supreme Court  and in state governments , and  in civil society.  It is a crumbling  degrading and divisive manner of systemic and insidious racism attempting to spread its filthy now weakening wings through secret as well as reported  donors funders  to derail the demographic tsunami in electoral politics , in key areas of all education levels , in consumer, legal, and health sectors, and in faith which is sweeping the nation. The dominant  elite media exacerbates the massive denial of the inevitable death of White Supremacy through  conveying the  mass consumer   sense that the demographic tsunami is in  the mysterious mystical  distant  future when it is already quite here in so many ways and places.

The problem is  it is commonplace  for we human beings to internalize and use  obsolete knowledge to deal with the present let alone future. So while our ways we use to view racialized issues are stuck in 19th/20th  centuries lingo and prejudicial cognitive styles, what we are thinking and saying in our obsolete  ways of  viewing racialized selves and others  are becoming disconnected from what is really happening on the ground in a society experiencing an unprecedented transforming demographic tsunami. 

What the Judge Brown Jackson confirmation hearing  is symbolizing is  its obsolete White Supremacy styles of elite  discourse both in positive and negative senses.  Such positive ways  as President Biden  in his well intended though archaic way introducing  Judge Brown Jackson  as a Black  judicial superstar  rather than as the most competent on his short list for the job without mentioning her race or gender though making the campaign promise to nominate a Black  woman to the Supreme Court.  As well, by Senators on both sides of the aisle, especially Democrats, pointing out  the truism about how extraordinary  Judge Brown Jackson is; well exemplified by Senator Booker’s sermon of joy. Nice and well meaning but without sobering  public acknowledgement let alone sensitivity and awareness  that  such  Black and other Non-White accomplished  rarity is a historical structural outcome of sustaining inequality expressed in  the habitual ways Non-Whites  who have competitive extraordinary talents are  repressed and ignored or discounted or marginalized enough or just discarded  along the way.They never taste the privilege of even  reaching  for the door knob to enter  the doors of White power and privilege circles; especially  their most sacred inter sanctuaries.And when a rarefied Black and other wise Non-White does gets to turn the door knob and walks in more often than not they find themselves among White peers they are ten times  at least more competent both in interpersonal and analytical skills.

 Historically speaking, to provide an illustration of the “over competency ” dilemma Blacks no matter their careers  face we can note  the pertinent observations of recently deceased Harvard Distinguished Sociologist  Charles V.Willie. Namely,  Willie astutely claimed  that like in any other reputable university, to make it at Harvard  as a promoted and  tenured Professor, most Whites have had to be just “good enough” not stellar; an observation I  certainly noticed while on the Yale faculty and in other prominent American universities and a few abroad. And we see that is the case everywhere else in American society,including the U.S. Supreme Court, merit for Whites means being good enough be it brains, publications, or connections or cash or all  the above while for the rest of us it still is being a  Moses dividing the Red Sea or a Jesus walking on water  be it wearing pants or a skirt.

So racism can have the appearance of good intentions as well as bad as already stated about the circus performance of the confirmation led by neo- antebellum Southern racist Republican Senators stupidly trying to smear the impeccably competent  Judge using embarrassingly absurd obsolete ploys and rhetoric of a gradually declining era  of  standard habitual racial bigotry still embraced by  their delusional   racist White nationalist ultra right constituencies which includes Gina, wife of Justice Thomas who saw  no wrong in doing harm to the credibility of her Black husband in indulging in her  White privileged access to the Trump White House to delegitimate  the Presidential election of Joe Biden. Both in the Senate and in civil society the delusional  ultra right dreaming about making America White Again are putting on a  public show of desperation in their ineffectual efforts to derail yet another indication of the demographic tsunami transforming America no matter what they say and do.

With this said another most tragic example of the disjuncture between what used to be and what is as we slip away from being a White Supremacy ruled land is what we Black and otherwise Non-

 Whites internalize what we assume we must say and do to make it up some privileged career ladder. We Black  Baby-boomers and Xers  still think in too many cases like our Depression Generation parents and grandparents we have to be pleasing and appeasing to Whites in an era such butt kissing and apple polishing as well as smiling and joking or even being polite, gracious,  and considerate is drifting away  . We can and must stand up for our dignity rather than waste our time with appeasement and selling our integrity and identity for  a few silver coins tossed our way. We can scheme  and   get the  crown which we just might find is not that golden after all since we sold out to those Whites and other Non-Whites who had mixed feelings or  doubts of our capacities  since learned in childhood who 

now have proof we cannot be trusted since we cave  in when convenient  and thus have no moral scruples while  they do or as what they too lack. 

This is to say, if  elite circle climbing Black folks

 appease rather than stand for decency, honesty, and integrity, especially in this age when we really don’t have to,things will get worse for us once we get the position since during the interview process and before we even start on my  way, we have made it  clear we can be bent whenever it is convenient for those in power. 

We saw this in now UN Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield ,a seasoned Black woman diplomat specializing in Africa. Her Senate confirmation hearing was abysmal with the usual Republican  neo-antebellum circus guys especially Senator  Ted Cruz eating her for lunch such as forcing her to apologize for a balanced speech she gave on China in Africa at a Black university and to say no when asked if China was doing any good things in Africa. As a senior diplomat, like in the case of other Biden appointees on the hot seat such as,Deb Haaland the first Native American to head up the Department of the Interior, it was tragic she did not use her diplomacy skills not to put herself in such compromised positions, equivalent  to begging for the job,which has made her a rubber stamp for the Biden administration in the United Nations at times in need of push back rather than conformity .It has also weakened her negotiating power with China and Russian before and during the Russian-Ukraine conflict. 

We saw this also with Judge Brown  Jackson promising to recuse herself from the Harvard affirmative case which will deprive potential support colleagues of a crucial vote in a polarized court where supporters probably are outnumbered by their opponents. Certainly Judge Brown Jackson  is on the Harvard Board of Trustees, but she could have used her impeccable brilliant interpersonal skills to get around the issue such as stating she could not answer a question of a case before the court as she said when asked questions about her views on abortion cases or about expanding the Supreme Court. Or if pressed, she could have said it would be a matter of conference  justices discussion  since several had  previous Harvard connections and at least one Justice, was a direct beneficiary of affirmative action.Or, she can  take a   leave of absence  from the Harvard Board Board of Trustees  once the Harvard admissions case hit the docket– perhaps, this is not my lane. 

Nevertheless, how can you claim through your  public relations life story that you  understand the historical struggle of Black Civil rights and then promise to recuse yourself from participating in a critical affirmative action case? What this does is create a double standard for herself while you don’t see present  male Supreme Court justices accused of sexual improprieties or/ and being involved in the Federalist Society recusing themselves in cases with potential conflict  of interest perceived or real. One wonders what would have happened in Supreme Court racial and gender  civil rights decisions if  Associate Justices Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Ginsburg would have recused themselves due to their prior involvements in respectively Black and Women civil rights organizations and movements?

This is to say being polite, patient, gracious,  calm, charming, and grateful are all virtues to be embraced and admired as long as they are authentic and do not provide license to emotional abuse. While Senators were expected to ask Judge Brown Jackson tough questions some crossed the line of professionalism and common decency and were just  bone headed racist.  Rather than smiling and being so calm, there were some responses the Judge should have addressed more sharply and sternly because she could have without jeopardizing her confirmation given her credentials and responding to questions clearly out of line making it clear she would not tolerate inappropriate line crossing which White Supremacists assumed she would just roll over about. That speaks of the era we are now in. Speak up . Stand up when obvious lines of dignity and decency have been crossed  because that is the era we are now in; no longer having to sit there and take emotional abuse just because you are Black and want the job. And if we such stand tall  embedded in the sort of  well documented high competencies and political support Judgw Brown Jackson possess and get punished by not getting the gig,best not go there anyways.

It will take another few Presidential and Congressional elections and  changes in leadership in business, media, faith,  law, mental health, and all levels of education for us to swing the pendulum in the direction we are already  struggling to begin to become due to the nature and dynamics of the demographic tsunami existing and growing among us. Leaders who know how to surf the waves of the tsunami here and coming rather than drowning in them, thus  transforming us into the multicultural democracy we have always been and must become more so authentically through  effective 21st century restorative justice standards of living and being where mutual dignity  , mutual understanding,  and mutual respect with unity among all reigns with a new language of love and care for each other we embrace and share.

 What we observed last week in the Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Supreme Court confirmation hearings were the cracks in the sea of White Supremacy with the  demographic tsunami flooding away old racist systems without the language and the cognitive awareness or effective policy  practices yet to more than symbolically  grasp and embrace what is going on thus being paralyzed in the obsession of paranoid fear on all sides.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing demonstrated though through the neo-antebellum clowns Blackburn, Cotton,Cruz, Graham Hawley Senate   circus and other grotesque rituals such as the misfortune of  racist hate crimes and street  violence as indices of White Supremacy resistance to its inevitable decline, we are all getting there, just need the  societal restorative justice leadership to lead us and sustain us  there. It is surely coming and is here already. Just stay tuned. 

Meanwhile, as we say in America, ” back to the ranch.   I found  the following while  browsing Facebook. It  is a prayer for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during her U.S. Supreme Court Justice confirmation hearings  before the US Senate offered by Father Michael Pflrger:

” For overqualified women who remain calm, friendly,knowledgeable,  and professional in front of underqualified men, in your mercy, hear our prayer.”

Amen to all that.

Director ASARPI: The Institute for Advanced Study of African Renaissance Policies Ideas Mauritius and South Africa former University of Mauritius SSR Chair of African Studies

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Americas

America and the World: A Vital Connection

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“The egocentric ideal of a future reserved for those who have managed to attain egoistically the extremity of `everyone for himself’ is false and against nature.”-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man

Human “oneness” represents an incontestable truth.[1] It is axiomatic. At the same time, all derivative imperatives of universal cooperation remain subordinate to belligerent nationalism.

               Why? The contradictions are glaring. Everywhere, including the United States, national governance continues to rest on conspicuously “false” ideals of “everyone for himself.”  

               In such determinative matters, nothing truly fundamental ever seems to change.

               What next? The negative outcomes of these contradictions are stark and unambiguous. For the most part, they suggest endless spasms of war, terrorism and genocide. It follows, among other things, that without a more willing rejection of “everyone for himself” philosophies, the American nation and many others will be left increasingly fragile. Already, roiled by needlessly rancorous national behaviors, we can expect only further increments of  unsustainable decline.[2]

               There are also pertinent specifics. It’s not just about general or overarching conditions. Credible national expectations exist not only in the tangible matters of weapons and infrastructure, but also in variously underlying national security doctrines.

               Core issues here are not really complicated. In these unprecedented nuclear times – times that are sui generis by any plausible definition – zero-sum orientations to national security are more-or-less destined to fail. In the final analysis, recalling French Jesuit philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, this intolerable “destiny” exists because such consistently shortsighted orientations are “false and against nature.”

                History can be instructive. By definition, former US President Donald J. Trump’s “America First” misfired on all cylinders. Trump’s conflict-directed orientation, driven by gratuitous rancor and a narrowly bitter acrimony, portended more than “just” incessant geopolitical loss.  It also signified a doctrine-based incapacity to protect the United States from catastrophic wars.  In a worst-case but still easily-imagined scenario, such wars could quickly become nuclear.[3]

               A once-distant prospect is being rendered less unimaginable because of Russia’s escalating aggressions against Ukraine.[4]

               To progress beyond the self-reinforcing debilities of “America First,” America’s national security problems should be assessed in proper analytic context. From the mid-seventeenth century to the current moment – that is, during the continuously corrosive historical period that dates back to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 – our inherently adversarial “state system” has produced neither peace or justice. Prima facie, there is nothing on any foreseeable horizon that points promisingly to national or world system transformations.

               Even now, we cling desperately to the “unspeakable lies”[5] of politics.

               Exactly where does the persistently fragmented world political system “stand?” To begin, global anarchy is not about to disappear or give way to more rational configurations of cooperative security. This evident lack of world-system governance can never become a propitious context for civilizational atonement, advancement or human survival. Though generally unacknowledged,  Realpolitik[6] or power politics has always proven its own insubstantiality.

                As a single state in world politics –  and as a “powerful” player among almost 200 unequal nation-states – the US is not immune from planet-wide responsibilities. This sober conclusion about global peace and justice is largely unassailable. It remains just as applicable to the “great powers” as to presumptively less powerful actors.  Indeed, regarding future US foreign policy obligations, nothing could be more readily apparent or ominously prophetic.[7]

               There is more. At the beginning of his time in office, former President Donald Trump’s “everyone for himself” view of the world was revealed by his national security advisor, H.R. McMaster. Expressed in a Wall Street Journal Op Ed piece dated June 3, 2017, General McMaster declared: “President Trump has a clear-eyed outlook that the world is not a `global community,’ but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage.” For additional emphasis, the cliché-captivated general added naively: “Rather than deny this elemental nature of international affairs, we embrace it.”[8]

               But exactly what was being “embraced?” It all sounded reasonable, of course, but it also made no intellectual or historical sense. Even under a more stable and less dissembling American president, Trump’s supposedly “realistic” view of the world now remains significantly unmodified. Responding to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the United States has thrust itself into an ever-expanding nuclear arms race without any theory-based conception of a successful “endgame.” Though Vladimir Putin’s crimes ought certainly not go unpunished,[9] the result of accelerating tit-for-tat operations in both Moscow and Washington can only be further military escalations and (ultimately) uncontrollable world system breakdowns.

                Real history, as we may learn from Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, is the “sum total of individual souls seeking some form of redemption.”[10] Recognizable expressions of any broader human search for security can be detected in the self-centric legal ideals of sovereignty and self-determination. The oft celebrated “self” in these ideals, however, refers to entire peoples, and not to individual human beings. This self-actualization references perpetually conflicting states, collectivities that are preparing not for coexistence, but for recurrent war[11] and genocide.

               If real history continues to be ignored, the lamentable result can only be yet another measureless orgy of mass killing, one dutifully sanitized (per earlier simplifying determinations of retired US General H.R. McMaster) as “realistic.”

               For Americans, it’s finally time to think seriously.  Immediately, world-system context must be more fully understood and intelligently acknowledged. Always-primal human beings, divided into thousands of hostile “tribes” (almost two hundred of which are called “states”) still find it temptingly correct to slay “others.”

               What about “empathy?” Normally, amid such self-destroying human populations, this capacity is reserved for some of those within one’s own “tribe.” Moreover, this reservation holds true whether relevant tribal loyalties are based on geography, nationality, ideology or religious faith.

                It follows, inter alia, that any deliberate expansion of empathy to include “outsiders” represents a distinctly necessary condition of global progress, and that without such an expansion our species will remain fiercely dedicated to policies of nationalistic predation.How shall we best proceed? What should be done in the extant American union to encourage expanding empathy and more caring feelings between “tribes”?  Reciprocally, we should inquire further: How can we improve the state of our world to best ensure a more viable fate for the beleaguered American commonwealth?

               For the United States, these are difficult intellectual questions, challenging queries that will demand conclusive victories of “mind over mind,” not just ones of “mind over matter.”[12]

                At some point, the essential expansion of empathy for the many could become dreadful, improving human community, but only at the expense of private sanity.  And this could quickly prove to be an intolerable expense. We humans, after all, were “designed” with very particular boundaries of permissible feeling. Were it otherwise, a more extended range of compassion toward others could bring about total emotional collapse and derivatively collective disintegrations.

               Always, humankind must confront a strange and self-contradictory kind of understanding. This potent confrontation suggests that a widening circle of human compassion represents both an indispensable prerequisite to civilizational survival and an inevitable source of private anguish. 

               There is more. Sometimes, truth can emerge only through paradox. According to certain ancient Jewish traditions, the world rests upon thirty-six just men – the Lamed-Vov.  For them, the overall spectacle of the world is grievously combative and endlessly insufferable. 

               But is there anything useful to be learned from this parable about the state of a nation and the state of the world?

               What if these two conditions are intersecting or even synergistic? In the latter case, a specific subset of the former, the “whole” of any outcome is actually greater than the sum of its “parts.”[13]

               There are many conceivable meanings to this elucidating Jewish tradition, but one is expressly relevant to struggles between “America First” and “World Civilization.” A whole world of just men and women is plainly impossible. Ordinary individuals could never bear to suffer the boundless torments of other human beings beyond a narrow circle of identifiable kin. It is precisely for them, the legend continues, that God created the Lamed-Vov.

               What are the core lessons here? Empathy on a grander scale, however necessary in principle, must also include a prescription for individual despair. What happens then? How shall humankind reconcile two utterly indispensable but mutually destructive obligations?

               It’s a fundamental question that can no longer be ignored.

               To arrive at a meaningful answer, greater analytic specificity will be needed. What happens next regarding the increasingly fragile American union? What exactly should be done? How shall interacting nations deal with a requirement for global civilization that is both essential and unbearable?

               Once made aware that empathy for the many is a precondition of any more decent world civilization, what can best create such necessary human feeling without occasioning intolerable pain?

                For certain, clarifying answers to such a starkly complex question can never be found amid the “unspeakable lies” of political oratory. They can be discovered only in the resolute detachment of individual human beings from their crudely competitive “tribes.”  Recalling French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, any more perfect society, whether national or international, must stem from a carefully-calculated replacement of civilization with “planetization.” Furthermore, any such redemptive replacement would need to be premised upon an inextinguishable global solidarity, that is, on a carefully designated order of planetary “oneness.”

               Going forward, individual flesh and blood human beings[14] and not their cumulative nation-states, should become the primary focus of  national and global reform. Without such a rudimentary transformational focus, there could be no long term human future for planet earth. In turn, this vitally gainful replacement would depend upon certain prior affirmations of self, most urgently regarding steadily expanding acceptance of a universal sacredness.

                There is more, Such short-sighted American policies as former US President Donald J. Trump’s “America First” should never disregard the human rights of persons who live in other countries.[15] In more precisely legal terms, the former president’s blatantly neglected human rights imperative was not just a matter of volitional cooperation or acceptable choice. It represented an integral requirement of a US domestic law, one that had already long-incorporated variously binding norms of international law.

               For those casual doubters of “incorporation” who remain politically committed to contrived bifurcations of US law and international law, they can learn what is necessary by examining Article 6 of the US Constitution. This “Supremacy Clause” mandates adaptations of authoritative treaty law. These obligatory adaptations are plain and unambiguous.

                Overall, Americans should finally understand that the state of their domestic union can never be any better than the state of their wider world.[16] To act pragmatically upon this core understanding, an American president must first wittingly range far beyond any traditionally “realistic” orientations to world politics. To competent logicians and scientists, these simplifying orientations are obviously fallacious. More specifically,as easily determinable errors of logical reasoning, they represent evident examples of an argumentum ad bacculum.[17]

               “America First” was a colossal mistake, one that continues to disadvantage the United States. The state of the American union should never have been fashioned or articulated apart from much broader considerations of planetary security and survival. These considerations, in turn, have been drawn from the authoritative law of nations (international law) into US law. In the revealing words of William Blackstone, whose Commentaries on the Law of England[18]  reflect the most basic foundations of US jurisprudence: “Each state is expected, perpetually, to aid and enforce the law of nations, as part of the common law, by inflicting an adequate punishment upon the offenses against that universal law.”[19]

               There could never be a more reasonable or decent expectation.[20]


[1]The history of western philosophy and jurisprudence includes variously illustrious advocates of global unity, interrelatedness or “oneness.” Most notable among them are Voltaire and Goethe. We need only recall Voltaire’s biting satire in the early chapters of Candide and Goethe’s oft-repeated comment linking belligerent nationalism to the declining stages of civilization. One may also note Samuel Johnson’s expressed conviction that patriotism “is the last refuge of a scoundrel;” William Lloyd Garrison’s observation that “We cannot acknowledge allegiance to any human government…Our country is the world, our countryman is all mankind;” and Thorsten Veblen’s plain comment that “The patriotic spirit is at cross-purposes with modern life.” Similarly, straightforward sentiments are discoverable in writings of the American Transcendentalists (especially Emerson and Thoreau) and Friedrich Nietzsche’s Human, all too Human. Let scholars also recall Santayana’s coalescing remark in Reason and Society: “A man’s feet must be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.” The unifying point of all such cosmopolitan remarks is that narrow-minded patriotism is not “merely” injurious, it is also de facto “unpatriotic.”  

[2] See, by this writer, at Israel Defense (Tel Aviv): Louis René Beres, https://israeldefense.co.il/en/node/28784

[3] On irrational nuclear decision-making by this author, see Louis René Beres, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: https://thebulletin.org/2016/08/what-if-you-dont-trust-the-judgment-of-the-president-whose-finger-is-over-the-nuclear-button/ See also, by Professor Beres, https://warroom.armywarcollege.edu/articles/nuclear-decision-making/ (Pentagon). For authoritative early accounts by Professor Beres of nuclear war expected effects, see: Louis René Beres, Apocalypse: Nuclear Catastrophe in World Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980); Louis René Beres, Mimicking Sisyphus: America’s Countervailing Nuclear Strategy (Lexington, Mass., Lexington Books, 1983); Louis René Beres, Reason and Realpolitik: U.S. Foreign Policy and World Order (Lexington, Mass., Lexington Books, 1984); and Louis René Beres, Security or Armageddon: Israel’s Nuclear Strategy (Lexington, Mass., Lexington Books, 1986). Most recently, by Professor Beres, see: Surviving Amid Chaos: Israel’s Nuclear Strategy (New York, Rowman & Littlefield, 2016; 2nd ed. 2018). https://paw.princeton.edu/new-books/surviving-amid-chaos-israel%E2%80%99s-nuclear-strategy

[4] See by this writer at JURIST, Louis René Beres: https://www.jurist.org/commentary/2022/03/louis-rene-beres-worst-does-sometime-happen-nuclear-war-ukraine/

[5] See Rainer Maria Rilke, the Dionysian poet famous for philosophical matters of “being” (in German, “Existenzphilosophie)”: Possibility of Being, 1957.

[6] For an early book by this author on this doomed orientation to world affairs, see: Louis René Beres, Reason and Realpolitik: US Foreign Policy and World Order (1984). See also, by Professor Beres, Terrorism and Global Security: The Nuclear Threat (1987) and America Outside the World: The Collapse of US Foreign Policy (1987).

[7] Never to be overlooked is that international law is a part of US domestic law. In the precise words used by the U.S. Supreme Court in The Paquete Habana, “International law is part of our law, and must be ascertained by the courts of justice of appropriate jurisdiction, as often as questions of right depending upon it are duly presented for their determination.  For this purpose, where there is no treaty, and no controlling executive or legislative act or judicial decision, resort must be had to the customs and usages of civilized nations.”  See The Paquete Habana, 175 U.S. 677, 678-79 (1900).  See also:  The Lola, 175 U.S. 677 (1900); Tel-Oren v. Libyan Arab Republic, 726 F. 2d 774, 781, 788 (D.C. Cir. 1984) (per curiam) (Edwards, J. concurring) (dismissing the action, but making several references to domestic jurisdiction over extraterritorial offenses), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1003 (1985) (“concept of extraordinary judicial jurisdiction over acts in violation of significant international standards…embodied in the principle of `universal violations of international law.'”).

[8] Although highly unlikely that either McMaster or Trump was actually aware, the philosophic origins of such “realistic” thinking lie in the classical “Argument of Thrasymachus,” offered in Book 1 of Plato’s Republic: “Right is the interest of the stronger.” In the final analysis, such alleged realism is perpetually self-destructive and effectively naive.

[9] See by this writer, at JURIST:  Louis René Beres, https://www.jurist.org/commentary/2022/05/louis-rene-beres-putins-nuremberg-level-crimes/  See AGREEMENT FOR THE PROSECUTION AND PUNISHMENT OF THE MAJOR WAR CRIMINALS OF THE EUROPEAN AXIS POWERS AND CHARTER OF THE INTERNATIONAL MILITARY TRIBUNAL.  Done at London, August 8, 1945.  Entered into force, August 8, 1945.  For the United States, Sept. 10, 1945.  59 Stat. 1544, 82 U.N.T.S. 279.  The principles of international law recognized by the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and the judgment of the Tribunal were affirmed by the U.N. General Assembly as AFFIRMATION OF THE PRINCIPLES OF INTERNATIONAL LAW RECOGNIZED BY THE CHARTER OF THE NUREMBERG TRIBUNAL.  Adopted by the U.N. General Assembly, Dec. 11, 1946.  U.N.G.A. Res. 95 (I), U.N. Doc. A/236 (1946), at 1144.  This AFFIRMATION OF THE PRINCIPLES OF INTERNATIONAL LAW RECOGNIZED BY THE CHARTER OF THE NUREMBERG TRIBUNAL (1946) was followed by General Assembly Resolution 177 (II), adopted November 21, 1947, directing the U.N. International Law Commission to “(a) Formulate the principles of international law recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the judgment of the Tribunal, and (b) Prepare a draft code of offenses against the peace and security of mankind….” (See U.N. Doc. A/519, p. 112).  The principles formulated are known as the PRINCIPLES OF INTERNATIONAL LAW RECOGNIZED IN THE CHARTER AND JUDGMENT OF THE NUREMBERG TRIBUNAL.  Report of the International Law Commission, 2nd session, 1950, U.N. G.A.O.R. 5th session, Supp. No. 12, A/1316, p. 11.

[10] See C. G. Jung, The Undiscovered Self (1957.

[11]Under international law, the question of whether or not a condition of war exists between states is often unclear.  Traditionally, a “formal” war was said to exist only after a state had issued a formal declaration of war.  The Hague Convention III codified this position in 1907.  This Convention provided that hostilities must not commence without “previous and explicit warning” in the form of a declaration of war or an ultimatum.  See Hague Convention III on the Opening of Hostilities, Oct. 18, 1907, art. 1, 36 Stat. 2277, 205 Consol. T.S. 263.  Presently, a declaration of war could be tantamount to a declaration of criminality because international law prohibits “aggression.” See Treaty Providing for the Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy, Aug. 27, 1948, art. 1, 46 Stat.  2343, 94 L.N.T.S.  57 (also called Pact of Paris or Kellogg-Briand Pact); Nuremberg Judgment, 1 I.M.T.  Trial of the Major War Criminals 171 (1947), portions reprinted in Burns H. Weston, et. al., INTERNATIONAL LAW AND WORLD ORDER  148, 159 (1980); U.N. Charter, art. 2(4).  A state may compromise its own legal position by announcing formal declarations of war.  It follows that a state of belligerency may exist without formal declarations, but only if there exists an armed conflict between two or more states and/or at least one of these states considers itself “at war.”

[12] This distinction figured importantly among the ancient Greeks and Macedonians. See, for example, F. E.  Adcock’s classic text: The Greek and Macedonian Art of War (1957)

[13] See by this author, at Harvard National Security Journal, Harvard Law School: Louis René Beres, https://harvardnsj.org/2015/06/core-synergies-in-israels-strategic-planning-when-the-adversarial-whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts/

[14] See, in this regard, Miguel de Unamuno’s discussion of “The Man of Flesh and Bone,” in his modern existentialist classic: Tragic Sense of Life (1921).

[15] Interestingly, the founding fathers of the United States – believing firmly in natural law and natural rights – held that the human rights expectations of the Declaration of Independence necessarily apply to all peoples, for all time, and can never be properly reserved solely to Americans. Says Rabbi Avraham Kook, somewhat similarly: “The loftier the soul, the more it feels the unity that there is in us all.”

[16]Says Marcus Aurelius in Meditations: “What does not benefit the entire hive is no benefit to the bee.”

[17] See by this author, at Israel Defense (Tel Aviv), Louis René Beres: https://israeldefense.co.il/en/node/30288

[18] See Book IV.

[19] The related principle of universal jurisdiction is founded upon the presumption of solidarity between states.  See generally Hugo Grotius, ON THE LAW OF WAR AND PEACE (Francis W. Kilsey, tr, 1925) and Emmerich de Vattel, LE DROIT DES GENS, OU PRINCIPES DE LA LOI NATURELLE 93 (1916).  The case for this principle is also built into the four Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, which impose upon the High Contracting Parties the obligation to punish “grave breaches” of their rules, regardless of where the infraction was committed or the nationality of the perpetrators.

[20]Humankind must first cease making itself into what C.G. Jung calls a “quantité négligible,” into a creature who is a “conscious, reflective being, gifted with speech, but lacking all criteria for self-judgment.”

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Americas

Decoding Biden’s Saudi Arabia-Israel visit

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Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

US President Joe Biden’s Middle East Policy is likely to be influenced by US domestic politics over the next few months. First, the US President needs to keep domestic oil prices under the check in the run up to the US mid terms later this year, and in that context, the announcement by  Ministers of Saudi led OPEC along with its allies, earlier this month that OPEC+, will drill more oil is welcome news. During the ministerial meeting on June 2, 2022, Ministers of OPEC+ countries agreed on adding 6,48,000 barrels of oil daily in July and August as opposed to the earlier 4,32,000 barrels per day  . After the commencement of the Ukraine-Russia war, Biden had asked Saudi Arabia and UAE to drill more oil, but they had both declined.  The US President has denied that his visit, which has faced scathing criticism from not just human rights activists, but a number of democrat lawmakers, to Saudi Arabia in July 2022 has been prompted by the oil factor. Said Biden while commenting on his Saudi visit in July 2022:

    ‘The commitments from the Saudis don’t relate to anything having to do with energy. It happens to be a larger meeting taking place in Saudi Arabia.’

While oil is an important aspect, Biden is also keen to broker a deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel (the US President shall also be visiting Israel), along the lines of the Abraham Accords signed between UAE, Bahrain and Israel in 2020 with the US being a mediator (trade between UAE and Israel was estimated at USD 1.2 billion in 2021 and both countries also signed a Free Trade Agreement FTA in May 2022)

Senior officials from Saudi Arabia and Israel have been meeting in recent months. In 2020, former Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu visited Saudi Arabia to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in 2020 for talks pertaining to advancing diplomatic relations. Apart from high level interactions between officials of Israel and Saudi Arabia, the last few months have been witness to visits by heads of Israeli tech companies to Saudi Arabia. Saudis have also invested USD 2 Billion venture in a private-equity fund, Affinity Partners, headed by Jared Kushner (son in law of former President Donald Trump who was also envoy to the Middle East during the Trump Administration). Saudi Arabia has also invested in Israeli start ups via a venture fund headed by Steven Mnuchin, Treasury sector in the Trump administration.

Israeli Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid while commenting on Biden’s Middle East visit said:

“The fact that the president’s going to fly directly from here to Saudi Arabia is probably signifying that there is a linkage between the visit and the ability to improve relations,” 

While Saudi Arabia has repeatedly stated that normalisation of ties with Israel will be subject to the addressal of the Palestinian issue, both Israel and Saudi Arabia view Iran as a common threat, and as discussed earlier are keen to strengthen economic ties.  Both countries could begin with direct commercial flights (last year an Israeli private jet landed in Saudi Arabia for the first time) and greater economic linkages

Any progress in Saudi Arabia-Israel ties with US backing could help Biden to prevent his popularity from sliding down any further since he could tout it as a foreign policy achievement. This would further bolster MBS’s image at home, and abroad and also help in strengthening Israeli PM Naftali Bennett’s image at home. Bennett is a right winger and while Israel has been critical of the Iran deal and taken a different stance on the Ukraine issue, he runs a coalition which consists of left leaning outfits as well as centrists which will prevent him from being as hawkish as his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu. The next few months are likely to pose numerous challenges for the Biden Administration, it remains to be seen if his Middle East visit in July 2022 pans out.

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Americas

How did America become ruled by its military-industrial complex?

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image source: Wikipedia

The U.S. Government spends on its military, annually, in not just its ‘Defense’ Department, but all of its departments taken together, around $1.5 trillion dollars.  (Much of that money is hidden in the Treasury Department and others, in order to convey to the public the false idea that ‘only’ around 800 billion dollars annually is now being spent for the U.S. military.)

On 25 April 2022, the Stockholm Internal Peace Research Foundation (SIPRI) headlined “World military expenditure passes $2 trillion for first time”, and reported that, “US military spending amounted to $801 billion in 2021, a drop of 1.4 per cent from 2020. The US military burden decreased slightly from 3.7 per cent of GDP in 2020 to 3.5 per cent in 2021.” However, they did not include the full U.S. figure, but only the portions of it that are being paid out by the U.S. ‘Defense’ Department. Consequently, a more realistic global total would have been around $2.8 trillion, which is around twice the approximately $1.5T U.S. annual military expenditure. All of the world’s other 172 calculated countries, together, had spent an amount approximately equivalent to that.

Prior to the creation by U.S. President Harry S. Truman of the U.S. ‘Defense’ Department, on 18 September 1947, replacing the U.S. War Department that had been created on 7 August 1789 by America’s Founders (shortly after the U.S. Constitution had become effective on 4 March 1789), the U.S. was a democracy — however flawed, but a real one, nevertheless. The U.S. actually began its transformation into a dictatorship (serving the owners of the military corporations and of their extraction-corporate dependencies such as Chevron) when, on 25 July 1945, Truman decided that if the U.S. wouldn’t conquer the Soviet Union, then the Soviet Union would conquer the U.S., and, so, he started the Cold War, on that date, determined that his top priority as the U.S. President, would be to place the U.S. Government onto a virtually permanent war-footing, even though World War II against imperialistic fascisms (the “Axis” powers) was just about to end at that time, and would clearly be a victory for the U.S. allies — mainly, the Soviet Union, and the UK empire. Truman, very much unlike his immediate predecessor, FDR, who had been a passionately committed anti-imperialist, had previously been on the fence about empires; but, going forward after that date, he would be totally committed to making the entire world into the first-ever single global empire, which would be in control over the entire planet by the U.S. Government and shared only by its ‘allies’ (vassal nations). That was Truman’s American dream, and it contrasted starkly against FDR’s dream of a future United Nations that would possess a global monopoly on all strategic weaponry and serve as a democratic global federal republic of all nations, each of which nation would have its own legal system for internal affairs, but all of which nations would be subject to the sole authority of the United Nations regarding all international matters. Truman despised FDR and got rid of FDR’s entire Cabinet and close advisors, within less than two years. Truman enormously admired General Dwight Eisenhower, whose advice to him had clinched in Truman’s mind on 25 July 1945 that Winston Churchill was right that if the U.S. would not conquer the Soviet Union, then the Soviet Union would conquer the United States. (Eisenhower, at the very end of his own Presidency, warned Americans against the military-industrial complex that Truman and he himself had jointly created. He was one of history’s slickest liars, and wanted history to remember him as having been a man of peace. He was actually just as much of an imperialist as Truman had been.) And that decision, by Truman, on that date, is what placed the U.S. Government inexorably onto the path toward future rule by a military-industrial complex that would rape the U.S. Constitution — undo the most important achievement of America’s Founders.

The U.S. Constitution had been written by people who loathed the very concept of “standing armies” — any permanent-war government. They had rebelled against an empire, and condemned all empires. This is the reason why they did everything within their power to design a Government that would prohibit any such thing here. And their Government, designed in this way, served the nation well throughout the years from 1789-1947, after which their Constitution gradually became practically abandoned.

A document dated 21 January 1946 from the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and titled “STATEMENT OF EFFECT OF ATOMIC WEAPONS ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND MILITARY ORGANIZATION”, opened with a “Memorandum by the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army,” which itself opened:

Upon reading the Joint Strategic Survey Committee’s statement on the above subject (J.C.S. 1477/5), I obtained a somewhat unfavorable over-all impression. While most of the specific statements made seem reasonable, the over-all tone seems to depreciate the importance of of the development of atomic weapons and to insist unnecessarily strongly that the conventional armed services will not be eliminated. While I agree entirely, so far as the immediate future is concerned, with the latter concept, I have not felt that there is strong public demand at the present that the services be in fact eliminated. The general tone of the statement might therefore be misconstrued by Congress and the public, and be looked upon as an indication of reactionism on the part of the military and an unwillingness under any circumstances to reduce the size of the military establishment. 

That was at a time when the widespread American assumption was that there would continue to be no standing army in this country. Within less than two years of FDR’s death on 12 April 1945, such a permanent-war U.S. Government became officially created. FDR’s plan for a U.N. that would internationally outlaw all empires became replaced by Truman’s plan for an America that would itself become what Hitler, himself, had only aspired to create: the world’s very first all-encompassing global empire. Truman’s dream is today’s American dream, in today’s Washington DC; and here was how the Nobel Peace-Prize-winning U.S. President, Barack Obama (the other of history’s slickest liars), stated it to graduating West Point cadets, on 28 May 2014:

The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come. … Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums. … It will be your generation’s task to respond to this new world.

It’s endlessly onward and upward, for the U.S. All other nations are “dispensable.” And that objective is backed-up now, by half of the world’s military expenditures.

This is how it happened. It happened by deceit, at every step of the way.

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