US Declares War on ‘Troika of Tyranny’ Pushing Them Closer to Russia

US Declares War on ‘Troika of Tyranny’ Pushing Them Closer to Russia

US Declares War on ‘Troika of Tyranny’ Pushing Them Closer to Russia

The US is going to extend its “combat operations” — the sanctions war aimed at reshaping the world — to Latin America. Tough new penalties are planned against the “troika of tyranny,” consisting of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua “in the very near future.” This announcement was made by National Security Adviser (NSA) John Bolton on Nov.1 — a few days before the US mid-term elections — in an attempt to draw more support from Hispanic voters, especially in Florida. An executive order on sanctions against Venezuela has already been signed by President Trump, but that’s just the beginning.

It was rather symbolic that on the same day the NSA delivered his bellicose speech, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) voted overwhelmingly in support of a resolution calling for an end to the US economic embargo against Cuba. The document did not include amendments proposed by the US that would put pressure on Havana to improve its human-rights record.

This is a prelude to a massive escalation in US foreign policy, which will include the formation of alliances, in addition to the active confrontation of those who dare to pursue policies believed to be anti-US. “Under this administration, we will no longer appease dictators and despots near our shores,” Bolton stated, adding, “The troika of tyranny in this hemisphere — Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua – has finally met its match.” Sounds like a declaration of war. Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, and Peru are probably some of the nations the US is eyeing for a potential alliance.

Bolton’s “troika” includes only countries ruled by governments that are openly “red” or Communist.  The list of nations unfriendly to the US is much longer and includes Bolivia, Ecuador, Dominica, Grenada, Uruguay, and some other states ruled by leftist governments. Andrés Obrador, the president-elect of Mexico, takes office on Dec. 1. The Mexican leader represents the country’s left wing and looks like a tough nut to crack. Outright pressure may not be helpful in this particular case.

Now that this new US policy is in place, Moscow and Washington appear to have another divisive issue clouding their relationship. The “troika of tyranny” against which Washington has declared war enjoys friendly relations with Russia.

With Cuba facing tougher restrictions, new opportunities are opening up that will encourage the Russian-Cuban relationship to thrive.   The chairman of the Cuban State Council and Council of Ministers, Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his official visit to Moscow Nov. 1-3.  Their joint statement reaffirmed the strategic and allied relations between the two counties. Their long list of joint projects includes the deployment of a Russian GLONASS ground station in Cuba, which will give it access to a broad array of technical capabilities for satellite and telecommunications services and for taking remote readings of Earth. Russia will modernize Cuba’s railways. Sixty contracts are scheduled to be signed during President Putin’s visit to Cuba next year. Rosneft, the Russian state oil giant, has recently resumed fuel shipments to Cuba and is negotiating a major energy agreement.

Military cooperation is also to get a boost. The military chiefs are to meet this month to discuss the details. Moscow is considering granting Havana €38 million for Russian arms purchases.

The US-imposed restrictions are a factor spurring Russian exports to Cuba and other regional countries. When the US cut aid to Nicaragua in 2012, Russia increased its economic and military cooperation with that country. The memorandum signed between the Russian and Nicaraguan governments on May 8, 2018 states that the parties are to“mark a new step to boost political dialog” in such areas as “international security and cooperation through various international political platforms.”  Russia accounts for about 90% of Nicaraguan arms and munitions imports. It has far-reaching interests in building the Nicaraguan Canal in its role as a stakeholder and partner responsible for security-related missions.

President Vladimir Putin offered support for his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro after the United States rejected his reelection in May.  Russian energy giant Rosneft plays an important role in that country’s energy sector. It was Russia that came to Venezuela’s rescue in 2017 with a debt-restructuring deal that prevented the default that was looming after the US sanctions were imposed. This was just another example of Moscow lending a helping hand to a Latin American nation that was facing difficult times.

Russia is currently pursuing a number of commercial projects in the region, in oil, mining, nuclear energy, construction, and space services. It enjoys a special relationship with the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), which was founded by Cuba and Venezuela and includes Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua, among other countries. This grouping is looking to create economic alternatives to Western-dominated financial institutions. This cooperation with Latin American nations goes far beyond ALBA. For instance, the Peruvian air force is in the process of contracting for 24 additional Mi-171s, as well as establishing a maintenance facility for their helicopters near the La Joya base in Arequipa. A contract to upgrade its aging Mig-29 fighters is under consideration. In January 2018, Russia signed a number of economic agreements with Argentina during President Macri’s visit to Moscow.  All in all, trade between Russia and Latin American countries reached $14.5 bln in 2017 and is growing.

RT Spanish was launched in 2009, featuring its own news presenters and programming in addition to translated content, with bureaus operating in Buenos Aires, CaracasHavanaLos AngelesMadridManagua, and Miami.  Russia’s Sputnik media outlet has been broadcasting in Spanish since 2014, offering radio- and web-based news and entertainment to audiences across Latin America.

Some countries may back down under the US sanctions and threats, but many will not. There’s a flip side to everything. The policy could backfire. The harder the pressure, the stronger the desire of the affected nations to diversify their international relations and resist the implementation of the Monroe doctrine that relegates them to the role of America’s backyard.

Photo: Flickr

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Who profits from the end of the mid-range nuclear treaty?

October 26, 2018

Who profits from the end of the mid-range nuclear treaty?

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with The Asia Times by special agreement with the author)

The US move to shelve the Intermediate-range Nuclear-Forces treaty could accelerate the demise of the whole post-WWII Western alliance, and herald a bad remix of the 1930s

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved its Doomsday Clock to only 2 minutes to midnight. It might be tempting to turn this into a mere squabble about arrows and olives if this wasn’t such a terrifying scenario.

US president Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, secretary-general of the USSR, signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 1987.

The Arms Control Association was extremely pleased. “The treaty marked the first time the superpowers had agreed to reduce their nuclear arsenals, eliminate an entire category of nuclear weapons, and utilize extensive on-site inspections for verification.”

Three decades later, the Trump administration wants to unilaterally pull out of the INF Treaty.

Earlier this week President Trump sent his national security adviser John Bolton to officially break the news to Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

As they were discussing extremely serious issues such as implications of a dissolving INF Treaty, the perpetuation of anti-Russia sanctions, the risk of not extending a new START Treaty and the deployment, in Putin’s words, of “some elements of the missile shield in outer space”, the Russian President got into, well, arrows and olives:

“As I recall, there is a bald eagle pictured on the US coat of arms: it holds 13 arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other as a symbol of peaceful policy: a branch with 13 olives. My question: has your eagle already eaten all the olives leaving only the arrows?”

Bolton’s response: “I didn’t bring any olives.”

A ‘new strategic reality’?

By now it’s clear the Trump administration’s rationale for pulling out of the INF Treaty is due, in Bolton’s words, to “a new strategic reality”. The INF is being dismissed as a “bilateral treaty in a multipolar ballistic missile world”, which does not take into consideration the missile capabilities of China, Iran and North Korea.

But there is a slight problem. The INF Treaty limits missiles with a range from 500 km to 5,000 km. China, Iran and North Korea simply cannot pose a “threat” to the United States by deploying such missiles. The INF is all about the European theater of war.

So, it’s no wonder the reaction in Brussels and major European capitals has been of barely disguised horror.

EU diplomats have told Asia Times the US decision was a “shock”, and “the last straw for the EU as it jeopardizes our very existence, subjecting us to nuclear destruction by short-range missiles”, which would never be able to reach the US heartland.

The “China” reason – that Russia is selling Beijing advanced missile technology – simply does not cut it in Europe, as the absolute priority is European security. EU diplomats are establishing a parallel to the possibility – which was more than real last year – that Washington could nuclear-bomb North Korea unilaterally. South Korea and Japan, in that case, would be nuclear “collateral damage”. The same might happen to Europe in the event of a US-Russia nuclear shoot-out.

It goes without saying that shelving the INF could even accelerate the demise of the whole post-WWII Western alliance, heralding a remix of the 1930s with a vengeance.

And the clock keeps ticking

Reports that should be critically examined in detail assert that US superiority over China’s military power is rapidly shrinking. Yet China is not much of a military technology powerhouse compared to Russia and its state of the art hypersonic missiles.

NATO may be relatively strong on the missile front – but it still wouldn’t be able to compete with Russia in a potential battle in Europe.

The supreme danger, in Doomsday Clock terms, is the obsession by certain US neocon factions that Washington could prevail in a “limited”, localized, tactical nuclear war against Russia.

That’s the whole rationale behind extending US first-strike capability as close as possible to the Russian western borderlands.

Russian analysts stress that Moscow is already – “unofficially” – perfecting what would be their own first-strike capability in these borderlands. The mere hint of NATO attempting to start a countdown in Poland, the Baltics or the Black Sea may be enough to encourage Russia to strike.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov starkly refuted Trump and Bolton’s claims that Russia was violating the INF Treaty: “As far as we understood, the US side has made a decision, and it will launch formal procedures for withdrawing from this treaty in the near future.”

As for Russia’s resolve, everything one needs to know is part of Putin’s detailed intervention at the Valdai Economic Forum. Essentially, Putin did not offer any breaking news – but a stark reminder that Moscow will strike back at any provocation configured as a threat to the future of Russia.

Russians, in this case, would “die like martyrs” and the response to an attack would be so swift and brutal that the attackers would “die like dogs”.

The harsh language may not be exactly diplomatic. What it does is reflect plenty of exasperation towards the US conservatives who peddle the absurd notion of a “limited” nuclear war.

The harsh language also reflects a certainty that whatever the degree of escalation envisaged by the Trump administration and the Pentagon, that won’t be enough to neutralize Russian hypersonic missiles.

So, it’s no wonder that EU diplomats, trying to ease their discomfort, recognize that this, in the end, is all about the Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine and the necessity of keeping the massive US military-industrial-surveillance complex running.

Even as the clock keeps ticking closer to midnight.

PRE-WAR HYSTERIA: TRUMP VOWS TO BUILD UP US NUCLEAR WEAPONS, INF TREATY COLLAPSES

Pre-War Hysteria: Trump Vows To Build Up US Nuclear Weapons, INF Treaty Collapses

A US Air Force B61-12 nuclear bomb (Photo by the USAF)

PRE-WAR HYSTERIA: TRUMP VOWS TO BUILD UP US NUCLEAR WEAPONS, INF TREATY COLLAPSES

23.10.2018

After declaring that the US would be withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, President Donald Trump has just vowed that Wahington will build up its nuclear weapons in order to force Russia and China to “come to their senses”.

The most interesting thing is that Trump and his National Security Adviser John Bolton now claim that China violates the INF Treaty even despite the fact that it’s not part of it. So, the US administration has the “legal” right to do all what it wants.

In an interview with the Russian newspaper Kommersant, Bolton, who is now visiting Moscow, said that the US was planning to pull out of the INF Treaty because not only Moscow, but other countries, including China, Iran, and North Korea, were free to develop weapons prohibited under the pact.

“There is only one country in the world that is bound by the conditions of the document: the United States,” Bolton claimed adding that Russia allegedly violates it for years.

The INF treaty prohibits the US and Russia from possessing, producing, or deploying ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of 500-5,500 km. It was originally was designed to de-escalate the situation between the US and Russia (then the USSR) in Europe. If Mr Bolton looks at the map, he will eventually find that North Korea and China are not located there.

However, in an interview with WSJ, Bolton found how to explain the US stance. He claimed that the fact that North Korea and China are not a part of the INF Treaty poses a threat to “potentially deployed American forces”.

“So, having an arms-control agreement that limits us on a global basis leaves many of our friends and allies around the world, and potentially deployed American forces, at considerable risk,” Mr. Bolton said. “And I think that’s something Russia should be concerned about from its own perspective, sharing, as it does, a border with China.”

Now it’s clear. Chinese missiles are posing a threat to Russia. So, the US is free to withdraw from the INF Treaty. It’s a bit complicated to expect a stabilization of the international situation while the US administration employs such policy.

Trump Regime Refuses World Court Rulings on Palestine and Iran, US Withdrawal from the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations

Source

By Stephen Lendman,

Is Trump being held captive by political operatives within his Cabinet – notably Pompeo, Bolton and Haley on geopolitical issues?  They’re  hostile to world peace,  democratic values, and respect for international law. 

On Wednesday, John Bolton announced the Trump regime’s withdrawal from the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR) optional protocol.

The 1961 international treaty defines the legal way diplomatic relations between countries are supposed to be conducted.

It codifies basic rules of diplomatic law, enabling diplomatic missions to operate without fear of coercion or harassment where they’re located.

According to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), its success depends on observance of international law.

Its optional protocol on settling international disputes permits  ICJ adjudication when petitioned by a VCDR member state.

It’s charged with settling disputes between member states, along with providing advisory opinions when asked.

Chapter XIV of the UN Charter authorizes the Security Council to enforce its rulings – compromised by veto power of the five permanent members – America, Britain, China, France, and Russia.

On Wednesday, John Bolton issued a statement, saying

Trump  “decided that the United States will withdraw from the optional protocol and dispute resolution to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.”

“This is in connection with a case brought by” the Palestinian Authority (PA) – petitioning the ICJ to compel Washington to shut its Jerusalem embassy, adding its move from Tel Aviv violated the Vienna Convention, requiring embassies to be located in host countries.

Jerusalem is a UN-established international city – Resolution 181, 1947, designating the city a “separate entity” under a world body protectorate.

Unanimously passed Security Council Resolution 476 (June 1980) declared “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant (Fourth Geneva) violation.”

Israel claiming the city, “complete and united, as (its) capital” has no legal standing. East Jerusalem is illegally occupied territory. So is historic Palestine.

Security Council Resolution 478 (1980) “call(ed) upon all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem.”

It “demand(ed) that all states comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem, and not to recognize any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions.”

Security Council Resolution 2334 (December 2016, adopted 14 – 0 with the US abstaining) said settlements have “no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation under international law.”

It demanded “Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”

It recognized no territorial changes “to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.”

It “(c)alled upon all States, to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.”

It “(c)alled for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation and destruction, calls for accountability in this regard…”

The US and Israel consistently ignore SC resolutions and other international laws opposing their imperial agenda.

Israel unlawfully considers Jerusalem its exclusive capital. Under international law, it was illegally annexed.

On September 28, the PA petitioned the ICJ, stating:

“The relocation of the United States embassy in Israel to the Holy City of Jerusalem constitutes a breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 18 April 1961” – as well as UN resolutions discussed above.

The PA called on the ICJ to declare moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem a violation of international diplomatic law – demanding it be withdrawn.

In 2012, Palestine was granted non-member UN observer status. Law Professor Francis Boyle earlier said:

“The world had inflicted a terrible injustice upon the Palestinian people in 1947-1948.

There would be no peace in the Middle East until this injustice was somehow rectified; and

The Palestinian people were certainly entitled to an independent nation state of their own.”

Diplomatic recognition by over two-thirds of UN member states affords Palestine de facto membership in the world body – de jure status “only a matter of time,” said Boyle.

Withdrawing from the Vienna Convention protocol is all about the Trump regime’s unwillingness to accept lawfully binding ICJ rulings – including its decision for Iran, saying certain US sanctions on the country violated the 1955 US-Iran Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights, the ruling discussed in a same-day article.

Bolton said the Trump regime “will commence a review of all international agreements that may still expose the United States to purported binding jurisdiction dispute resolution (sic) in the International Court of Justice.”

US aggression against one non-threatening country after another, along with countless other hostile actions, clearly shows it’s an international outlaw, a pariah state, under Republicans and undemocratic Dems.

Neocon extremists in charge of Trump’s geopolitical agenda match or exceed the unlawful actions of their predecessors – their policies further isolating the US from the world community.

*

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Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

From Turquzabad to Dimona (and a little fun on the way!)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Prime walks with his stage props to the podium at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters in New York, the United States, on September 27, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Prime walks with his stage props to the podium at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters in New York, the United States, on September 27, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

By Hossein Jelveh

(Hossein Jelveh is an independent Iranian journalist based in Tehran. He has graduated with a master’s degree from the Faculty of World Studiesat the University of Tehran. You can follow him on Twitter @hossein_jelveh)

 

Let’s be fair. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asks for it.

He has been exposed to the Iranian people’s unrelenting mockery of his foolishness before. So when he took his stage props up to the podium at the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2018, showing the picture and map coordinates of what he said is a “secret atomic warehouse” in a suburb of Tehran called “Turquzabad,” Mr. Netanyahu must have known that there would be verbally barbed consequences.

In the speech, Mr. Netanyahu claimed he was “disclosing” the site “for the first time,” and said Iran was keeping “massive amounts of equipment and material” there for future use in its “nuclear weapons program.” He said the site was just 100 meters from “the Kalishoi” — which by the way sounded like a Japanese martial art the way he said it — as if that style of direction-giving would be more accurate than longitudes and latitudes.

At one instant, he pointed to the picture of the building and said, “How about inspections right here, right now?” At another, with a triumphal look about him, he said,“[L]adies and gentlemen, rest assured […] what Iran hides, Israel will find.”

The Iranian people wouldn’t let that circus come and go without adequately making fun of Mr. Netanyahu. And they were sure up to the task. Naturally, tongue-in-cheek stuff flooded the social media.

Let me just quickly offer here my picks of the top two jokes and move on (and please excuse the colorful language — Mr. Netanyahu brought it upon himself):

“Yesterday, we had lentil stew for lunch and red kidney bean side dishes for dinner [both of them highly intestinal gas-inducing food]. Today, we warmed the leftovers [from both] and had them for lunch. I’m thinking Netanyahu will find our house and ask for ‘inspections right here, right now!’”

And second place goes to:

“Dude! That’s where we throw [off-the-radar] parties. Good luck screwing that with those map coordinates!”

*

The word “Turquzabad” itself, while referring to a real place, has somewhat humorous, local connotations for Iranians. In Persian, it is something like “John Doe,” except that is used to refer to places, not people.

Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister and a former nuclear negotiator, repeatedly attempted not to chuckle when he spoke about it following Mr. Netanyahu’s remarks.

“Seriously, seriously, I think someone is sending Netanyahu on a wild-goose chase. This time, they have referred him to Turquzabad!” Mr. Araqchi said, with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif — also laughing and visibly speechless with amusement — next to him.

Mr. Netanyahu can speak about Iran all he wants. But wouldn’t he be better off running things by somebody before he speaks them? Seriously.

‘What a showman!’

It was not the first time Mr. Netanyahu was staging a show. His past performances include

(1) an appearance, also at the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, during which he famously held up a cartoon bomb that looked pretty much like the ones in Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner and that the White House later trolled;

(2) a speech at the US Congress in March 2015, which served well to deepen a schism between him and then-President Barack Obama; and

(3) a closed-door meeting with 22 US lawmakers in August 2015, after which one stunned lawmaker said of Mr. Netanyahu, “What a showman!”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepares to display a photograph as he addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters, in New York, the United States, on September 27, 2018. (Photo by AP)

And then there was his appearance on early-morning live TV beaming into President Donald Trump’s bedroom in April 2018, revealing what Mr. Netanyahu claimed was nuclear-related material from an Iranian “atomic archive.”

But Mr. Netanyahu’s showing at the General Assembly on September 27 this year was certainly the first time he was drawing the most embarrassing rebuttal of his oft-repeated anti-Iran allegations.

“I have a message to the head of the IAEA, Mr. Yukiya Amano. I believe he’s a good man. […] Well, Mr. Amano […] Go inspect this atomic warehouse, immediately, before the Iranians finish clearing it out,”

the Israeli prime minister said, at least implying that he thinks the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency “goes inspecting” sites himself.

Anyway, Mr. Amano must have been watching the speech over pizza because it didn’t take him long to show up to, essentially, demolish Mr. Netanyahu.

In an October 2 statement that read like an adult’s solemn reminder to a child yet to fully develop his cognitive capabilities, the IAEA chief said,

“It should be noted that under the existing verification framework the Agency sends inspectors to sites and locations only when needed. […] The Agency […] has conducted complementary accesses under the Additional Protocol to all the sites and locations in Iran which it needed to visit.”

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano (C) is flanked by Secretary General of the European Union External Action Service (EEAS) Helga Schmid (to his left) and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi during a special meeting of the parties to the Iran nuclear deal at Coburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, on May 25, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

When Iran and originally six world powers plus the European Union (EU) struck a nuclear deal in 2015 — the very deal that all of Mr. Netanyahu’s theatrical gimmicks have been aimed at derailing — they agreed to put the organization under Mr. Amano’s watch in official charge of monitoring the implementation of the technical aspects of the deal.

The IAEA’s October 2 statement was a clear sign that, for all of their drama, Mr. Netanyahu’s attempts are falling flat.

But, in the futile Israeli attempt to dramatize the Iranian nuclear program, there is not just absurdity. There is also irony:

Iran is a member of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Israel is not.

Iran has no military nuclear program. Israel does.

Iran has, under the nuclear deal, allowed enhanced monitoring by the IAEA of all of its nuclear activities. Israel has allowed no inspections at all of its covert nuclear program.

Still, there is more Israeli behavior that flies in the face of the international world.

For one thing, Mr. Netanyahu on August 29, 2018 issued a threat of a nuclear attack against Iran from inside an Israeli nuclear facility in the Negev Desert — formerly known as Dimona.

This file photo, taken on March 8, 2014, shows a partial view of a nuclear facility, formerly known as Dimona, in the southern Israeli Negev Desert. (By AFP)

Israel is believed to have at least 200 nuclear warheads in a military nuclear program active since decades ago. According to The Washington Post, the United States initially opposed and worked to stop that program.

‘Quite simply, they were lying’

“So the Israelis turned to France, which […] in 1957 secretly agreed to help install a plutonium-based facility in the small Israeli city of Dimona. Why France did this is not settled history. French foreign policy at the time was assiduously independent from, and standoffish toward, the United States and United Kingdom,” according to the 2013 article on The Washington Post.

While working together, Israel and France kept everything secret from the US.

“When U.S. intelligence did finally discover Israel’s nuclear facility, in 1960, Israeli leaders insisted that it was for peaceful purposes and that they were not interested in acquiring a nuclear weapon. Quite simply, they were lying, and for years resisted and stalled U.S.-backed nuclear inspectors sent to the facility,” the article reads.

Ultimately, however, Washington made some sort of an unspoken deal with Tel Aviv, agreeing to an Israeli nuclear program over the pretext that Israel lacked conventional means for protection at the time.

That happened during a September 1969 White House meeting between US President Richard Nixon and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.

According to The Washington Post, which cited the Nixon administration’s “meticulous records,” the bargain was that Israel would “make no visible introduction of nuclear weapons or undertake a nuclear test program” in return for the US keeping mum.

But since, the Israeli regime’s conventional military power has increased. And “[s]ome scholars are beginning to ask whether the old deal is outdated,” according to the Post.

Speculation came up (unnecessarily) when US National Security Adviser John Bolton met with Israeli nuclear officials in August. Mr. Bolton, who likes to present himself as a wild pro-Israeli hawk, dismissed all such speculation.

“‘I don’t think there is anything out of the ordinary or unexpected,’ Bolton said of the meeting. Asked to elaborate, he added only: ‘No change in policy,’” Reuters reported later in August.

When Mr. Netanyahu less-than-tacitly brandished nuclear weapons against Iran at the Israeli facility in Negev in late August, he basically violated even that purported agreement with the US.

Israel’s Sorek nuclear reactor center is seen near the central town of Yavne, on July 5, 2004. (File photo by AP)

Bahram Qassemi, spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said on Monday that international inspections of the Israeli nuclear program had to be put on the global agenda and that the current inaction on the matter was not sustainable.

There is no questioning of the fact that that should happen.

But at one point or another, Israel’s shameless even if laughable attempts to derail the Iranian nuclear accord with the remaining five parties will have to be addressed, too.

All the derision that the Turquzabad remarks sparked, and the fact that Israeli accusations against Iran are being taken increasingly less seriously, in no way remove the need to confront Israeli cheekiness against the greater part of the world that is both law-abiding and civilized.

Related

Enemies of our future: Donald Trump and John Bolton

Enemy of Our Future

John Bolton and Donald Trump

 

The reactionary

If you look up the meaning of the term “reactionary,” you will probably get something like the following: “A reactionary is a person who holds political views that favour a return to the status quo ante, the previous political state of society, which they believe possessed characteristics that are… absent from the contemporary status quo of a society.” 

Historically, this sort of person pops up over and again: the agents of monarchy fighting to reimpose the divine right of kings, the devotee of religious movements seeking to return society to some purer golden age, the leader of the social movement seeking to censor evolution, and, more to our present point, Donald Trump’s call to “Make America Great Again” by reintroducing racism and ultra-nationalism as guides for public policy. As the last example suggests, it is usually bad news when the reactionary gains power.

One aspect of the status quo ante we are dealing with here is represented by the Trump administration’s assertion that, as the leader of the government of a sovereign state, he has the right to act in an unrestrained manner. For President Trump, such an alleged right is a sine qua non for “making America great again”. This assertion is, of course, not unique to Trump. Most US presidents (and other leaders) have sought to act in an unrestrained way. But most have also given at least lip-service to a set of international rules – even if they are only of a diplomatic nature. Not so with Trump, who seems willing to dismantle treaties, alliances and trade pacts based on personal feelings. His only enduring alliance is with Israel, perhaps based on mutual racist inclinations.

Present (that is, status quo) institutions that attempt to impose international rules of behaviour are targets for Trump and his reactionary allies. To Trump, these institutions must be done away with just because they stand in the way of the nation’s alleged traditional unfettered right to act as, in this case, President Trump sees fit.

Specifically, which institutions are we referring to? They are the relatively weak international institutions that came into being after World War II, such as the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC). These are organisations put into place to discourage the type of state-bred chaos and crimes that almost destroyed civilisation in the 1930s and 1940s. Therefore, there is no doubt that this effort is central to the world’s future peace and progress. As George Santayana famously noted, “those who forget the the past are condemned to repeat it”. The same goes for those who simply ignore the past’s lessons

The ICC, which was established by a multilateral treaty known as the Rome Statute, has been functioning since 2002. It seeks to prosecute, among other things, any repeat of two horrid past mistakes: the commission of war crimes and the practice of apartheid. Recently, the ICC has sought to officially investigate possible US war crimes in Afghanistan as well as Israeli policies and actions against Gaza and on the occupied West Bank.

John Bolton

It appears that these efforts on the part of the ICC have set off a storm of indignation at the White House. In response, President Trump has set loose his present national security adviser, John Bolton, to orchestrate an attack on the international court. Bolton is nothing if not a pit bull in human form – the perfect point man to carry on the administration’s war on those who would keep the peace through the application of international law.

Thus, in early September 2018 Bolton declared the following: “The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court.” Alas, Bolton is using “false news” here. There is nothing illegitimate about the ICC. As noted, its establishment was by international treaty and followed a strict ratification process. To date, 123 countries have ratified the Rome Statute. Also note that Bolton is assuming future prosecution as a reason for trying to block the present investigation. That would suggest that he believes the US is vulnerable. And, finally, the allies referenced here amount to just one. Bolton stated that the “Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s office in Washington was being ordered closed out of concern about Palestinian attempts to prompt an ICC investigation of Israel.”

So, what will the US do if the ICC persists? Bolton, at this point working up a real head of steam, declared that “We will not cooperate with ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.” In addition, “if the inquiry goes ahead, the administration will consider banning judges and prosecutors from entering the United States, put sanctions on any funds they have in the US financial system and prosecute them in American courts.”

An enemy of our future

To the extent that the United States, or any other country, reverts to ultra-nationalism and stands against institutions such as the United Nations and the ICC, it endangers the future of not only Americans, but everyone else.

And that is one of the reasons why John Bolton, and his boss President Donald Trump, are enemies of our future. It is not that they have forgotten the tragedies brought upon the world by nationalism and its wars – culminating in the genocidal bloodbath of World War II. It is probable that they do not see these tragedies as criminal. Rather, they see them as necessary actions on the road to national greatness. This is a perspective they would call “realistic” and in line with mankind’s aggressive nature. Thus, institutions that seek to criminalise such behaviour are just hopelessly “idealistic” roadblocks to the pursuit of the national interests of the United States.

Perhaps more important is that the rest of the world’s population has also either remained ignorant of or forgotten such vital lessons, and so once more can be led by dangerously narrow-minded leaders into the next abyss. Karl M. von der Heyden, who as a small child survived the destruction of Berlin at the end of World War II, has written a brief testimony to the consequences of war and inadequate memory. Mr von der Heyden tells us that now, “70 years after World War II, millions of people in the US and Europe have forgotten the lessons learned from that war”. That is why “ultra-nationalist and xenophobic appeals” are once more politically acceptable and successful. Thus, in the long run, “nothing can be taken for granted”.

Placing people like Trump and Bolton into leading government positions is the same as inviting fascism back into our national lives. And, we have issued that invitation quite democratically. This raises questions about the adequacy of not only our political system, but also our educational system. It would seem that the two are different sides of the same coin. The political system can work only if the educational system can sustain the memory of important national lessons learned in the past. At this point both systems have failed us – allowing into power enemies of our future.

John Bolton, and his boss President Donald Trump, are enemies of our future.

Enemy Of Our Future
By Lawrence Davidson

If you look up the meaning of the term “reactionary,” you will probably get something like the following: “A reactionary is a person who holds political views that favor a return to the status quo ante, the previous political state of society, which they believe possessed characteristics that are … absent from the contemporary status quo of a society.”

Historically, this sort of person pops up over and again: the agents of monarchy fighting to reimpose the divine right of kings, the devotee of religious movements seeking to return society to some purer golden age, the leader of the social movement seeking to censor evolution, and, more to our present point, Donald Trump’s call to “make America Great Again” by reintroducing racism and ultra-nationalism as guides for public policy. As the last example suggests, it is usually bad news when the reactionary gains power.

One aspect of the status quo ante we are dealing with here is represented by the Trump administration’s assertion that, as the leader of the government of a sovereign state, he has the right to act in an unrestrained manner. For President Trump, such an alleged right is a sine qua non for “making America great again.” This assertion is, of course, not unique to Trump. Most U.S. presidents (and other leaders) have sought to act in an unrestrained way. But most have also given at least lip-service to a set of international rules—even if they are only of a diplomatic nature. Not so with Trump, who seems willing to dismantle treaties, alliances and trade pacts based on personal feelings. His only enduring alliance is with Israel, perhaps based on mutual racist inclinations.

Present (that is, status quo) institutions that attempt to impose international rules of behavior are targets for Trump and his reactionary allies. To Trump, these institutions must be done away with just because they stand in the way of the nation’s alleged traditional unfettered right to act as, in this case, President Trump sees fit.

Specifically, which institutions are we referring to? They are the relatively weak international institutions that came into being after World War II, such as the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC). These are organizations put into place to discourage the type of state-bred chaos and crimes that almost destroyed civilization in the 1930s and 1940s. Therefore, there is no doubt that this effort is central to the world’s future peace and progress. As George Santayana famously noted, “those who forget the the past are condemned to repeat it.” The same goes for those who simply ignore the past’s lessons

The ICC, which was established by a multilateral treaty known as the Rome Statute, has been functioning since 2002. It seeks to prosecute, among other things, any repeat of two horrid past mistakes: the commission of war crimes and the practice of apartheid. Recently, the ICC has sought to officially investigate possible U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan as well as Israeli policies and actions against Gaza and on the occupied West Bank.

Part II—John Bolton

It appears that these efforts on the part of the ICC have set off a storm of indignation at the White House. In response, President Trump has set loose his present National Security Adviser, John Bolton, to orchestrate an attack on the international court. Bolton is nothing if not a pit bull in human form—the perfect point man to carry on the administration’s war on those who would keep the peace through the application of international law.

Thus, in early September, 2018, Bolton declared the following: “The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court.” Alas, Bolton is using “false news” here. There is nothing illegitimate about the ICC. As noted, its establishment was by international treaty and followed a strict ratification process. To date, 123 countries have ratified the Rome Statute. Also note that Bolton is assuming future prosecution as a reason for trying to block the present investigation. That would suggest that he believes the U.S. is vulnerable. And finally, the allies referenced here amount to just one. Bolton stated that the “Palestinian Liberation Organization’s office in Washington was being ordered closed out of concern about Palestinian attempts to prompt an ICC investigation of Israel.”

So what will the U.S. do if the ICC persists? Bolton, at this point working up a real head of steam, declared that “We will not cooperate with ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.” In addition, “if the inquiry goes ahead, the administration will consider banning judges and prosecutors from entering the United States, put sanctions on any funds they have in the U.S. financial system and prosecute them in American courts.”

Part III—Enemy of Our Future

To the extent that the United States, or any other country, reverts to ultra-nationalism and stands against institutions such as the United Nations and the ICC, it endangers the future of not only Americans, but everyone else.

And that is one of the reasons why John Bolton, and his boss President Donald Trump, are enemies of our future. It is not that they have forgotten the tragedies brought upon the world by nationalism and its wars—culminating in the genocidal bloodbath of World War II. It is probable that they do not see these tragedies as criminal. Rather they see them as necessary actions on the road to national greatness. This is a perspective they would call “realistic” and in line with mankind’s aggressive nature. Thus, institutions that seek to criminalize such behavior are just hopelessly “idealistic” roadblocks to the pursuit of the national interests of the United States.

Perhaps more important is that the rest of the world’s population has also either remained ignorant of or forgotten such vital lessons, and so once more can be led by dangerously narrow-minded leaders into the next abyss. Karl M. von der Heyden, who as a small child survived the destruction of Berlin at the end of World War II, has written a brief testimony to the consequences of war and inadequate memory. Mr. von der Heyden tells us that now, “seventy years after World War II, millions of people in the U.S. and Europe have forgotten the lessons learned from that war.” That is why “ultra-nationalist and xenophobic appeals” are once more politically acceptable and successful. Thus, in the long run, “nothing can be taken for granted.”

Placing people like Trump and Bolton into leading government positions is the same as inviting fascism back into our national lives. And, we have issued that invitation quite democratically. This raises questions about the adequacy of not only our political system, but also our educational system. It would seem that the two are different sides of the same coin. The political system can work only if the educational system can sustain the memory of important national lessons learned in the past. At this point both systems have failed us—allowing into power enemies of our future.

Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

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