By Maxim Nikolenko.
The “general debate” of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly had opened on Tuesday, September 19, 2017.
“Focusing on people: striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet”, was the primary theme of the session; indeed, ironic as it may sound now. The Empire was given floor on the opening day of the assembly, articulating that it strives “for peace” by declaring war and threatening ‘genocide’ against tens of millions of human beings.
“The United States is ready, willing, and able”, stated the imperial ‘messenger’, Donald Trump, “to totally destroy North Korea”, a country of 25 million men, women, and children. It was a remarkable statement. The strongest military and economic power in the world has openly threatened to annihilate an entire society. No American leader had stated anything comparable to this at the United Nations podium.
A minor backlash followed this fascist rhetoric. Donald Trump once again received the lion’s share of criticism, as if he was the only warmonger, the only individual who is always on the wrong side of history. In the worldview of a liberal-minded America, Trump might be wrong by threatening genocide against an entire society, but North Korea is still “our enemy.” Thus, nothing should be done to reverse the artificially created and escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula, to stop the American military expansion in the Asia-Pacific, so long as these actions are implemented quietly, and the genocidal threats are echoed via euphemisms.
Almost none look at Trump “the symptom and caricature of an enduring system of conquest and extremism”, a renowned investigative journalist and filmmaker, John Pilger, famously said.
Trump’s opponent in the election, Hillary Clinton, expressed her choice of a country which should be destroyed. “If I’m the president, we will attack Iran”, she declared in an interview with ABC News, back when she was running against Barack Obama. ‘We will attack’ a country is a softer replica of we will “totally destroy” a country, thus no one took notice. Indeed, there is nothing to worry about.
Similarly, no one took notice when Congress voted 89 to 8 for a record $692 billion defense budget, a massive expropriation of American tax dollars to Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Boeing, while a death sentence to thousands of defenseless human beings in countries of the third world.
Trump delivered these ‘great news’ to the audience at the UN: “It has just been announced that we will be spending almost $700 billion on our military and defense. Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been.”
While lacking knowledge on both the history and foreign policy of the United States, President Trump did learn from his “great generals” a Machiavellian vision of achieving “peace through strength.” And that strength is demonstrated in braggadocios manner in front of ‘them’, a handful of “Rogue regimes represented” in the United Nations who “not only support terror but threaten other nations and their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity.”
The foreign minister of America’s biggest ally in the Mideast and the region’s main sponsor of terrorism, Saudi Arabia, enjoyed these remarks. The Prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, also enjoyed the 41 minutes of ego-centric talk of exceptionalism and warmongering. Netanyahu later had his moment of fame, declaring before the world that “penguins” in Antarctica “are also enthusiastic supporters of Israel.” Why? Because “penguins”, he continued,” have no difficulty recognizing that some things are black and white, are right and wrong!”
In geopolitics that translates as ‘them’ and ‘us’, with ‘us’ being the chosen ones and them being the “unpeople.”
Trump’s rhetoric about rogue regimes does not apply to a war criminal monarchy of Saudi Arabia nor does it apply to the guardians of an apartheid regime of Israel. Undoubtedly, the regime which criminally threatened to “totally destroy North Korea”, is predestined to be in no “moral equivalence” to the country it is prepared to annihilate.
Apart from the “Rocket man” on a “suicide mission” North Korea, Trump also spotted Iran as a target, “a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy”, as he explains. Following these remarks, an idea of regime change was proposed, referring that “oppressive regimes cannot endure forever”, and that Iranian people will either “continue down the path of poverty, bloodshed, and terror, or will the Iranian people return to the nation’s proud roots as a center of civilization, culture, and wealth,”
The ‘proud roots” resemble the time when Americans marionettes ruled Iran, and Washington maintained control of the country’s vast oil reserves. Those glorious days of “civilization, culture, and wealth” ended with the revolution of 1979 and the end of pro-Western Shah’s regime.
A final target of the “barking” Empire is Venezuela, a country with the world’s largest oil reserves; the wealth which has been preserved from extractive and profit-seeking multinational corporations, and rather redistributed for the empowerment of Venezuelan people. Thus, “the problem in Venezuela”, explains the imperial messenger, “is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.” To deal with such a ‘faithful’ leadership of a “sovereign” Bolivarian Republic, the promoter of “sovereignty” had threatened Caracas with military action back in August, of course, after consulting on the option with his “great generals.”
It is extremely doubtful that Trump has any clue about Iran or Venezuela or the ideology that he criticized for being “faithfully implemented.” However, he is the product of a system within the United States, its gospel of the fundamentalist neoliberal free markets, and a well-established instinct of self-righteousness to impose upon the world. The only quality which distinguishes Trump from preceding executives of the White House is his unconcealed expression of hegemonic extremism.
Less extreme and more concealed imperialists such as Angela Merkel chose to be absent during Trump’s speech.
All the countries which American president threatened with obliteration, regime change, and isolation were absent as well.
The adversaries of Washington; the incompetent in the eyes of neoliberal advocates, the representatives of these countries had returned to the assembly in the following days.
All the ideas expressed in their speeches would never fit into this article and indeed, that’s not the intention. Nonetheless, it is worth suggesting that anyone can widen their worldview by taking one or two hours and listening or reading full speeches vocalized by delegates of Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, Bolivia, etc. One would undoubtedly spot biases articulated by any representative from any country, but one can also compare the perspectives these speeches convey and the ideas they present.
Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez, for instance, reflected on the doctrine of militarism: “Military expenditures have increased to 1.7 trillion dollars. This reality contradicts those who claim that there are not enough resources to eradicate poverty.”
Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, confronted the imperialist instincts of geopolitical superpowers, outlining “moderation” as the “chosen path” of Iranian people. “Moderation”, explains Rouhani, “seeks neither isolation nor hegemony; It implies neither indifference, nor intransigence. The path of moderation is the path of peace; but a just and inclusive peace: not peace for one nation, and war and turmoil for others.” Therefore, “moderation is the synergy of ideas and not the dance of swords.” This particular comparison perhaps echoes President Trump and the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and their dance with swords in Saudi Arabia, where they celebrated the $109.7 billion arms contract signed with the country’s corrupt elites.
“Moderation nurtures beauty”, continued Rouhani: “Deadly weapons exports are not beautiful.”
After his country was hammered by economic sanctions and threatened with military action to restore ‘democracy’, Venezuelan foreign minister Jorge Arreaza stated before the audience: “If any country does not belong to Human Rights Council of the United Nations, it is precisely the United States of America.” Furthering his statement Arreaza pointed that the United States “is the greatest violator of human rights not only on its own territory but throughout the world”, with “unjustified wars, economic sanctions, and refusal to ratify “72% of the major treaties for human rights.”
The minister of foreign affairs of North Korea, Ri Yong-ho, outlined in his speech on September 23 that: “The very reason the DPRK had to possess nuclear weapons is because of the U.S. and it had to strengthen and develop its nuclear force onto the current level to cope with the U.S.”
Under international sanctions and at a missile-point, along with China, from hundreds of American military bases stationed in the Asia-Pacific, Pyongyang voiced that realizing “genuine international justice before anything else”, is the only path which would guarantee “peace and a decent life” for “all countries and people.”
Speaking about “peace and a decent life”, Bolivian President Evo Morales, pointed to the growing threat of climate change to the well-being of mankind. “We have the climate crisis”, the “product of a capitalist model of consumption and industrialization.” After striking the inconvenient core of the problem, Morales condemned the U.S. for pulling out from the Paris Agreement. “It is unjustifiable; it is inadmissible that the United States decided to turn its back on the Paris Agreement.” As one of the world’s biggest contributors to pollution, Washington “has become a threat to Mother Earth.”
Another threat to humanity is the “gulf between those who have everything and those who have virtually nothing”, as it widens every year. Morales declared before the audience: “inequality is immoral” while referring to the Oxfam study which found that as few as 8 billionaires are as wealthy as half of humanity (over 3.75 billion people). Just like with climate change, a reliance on “leaders of the capitalist world”, would not solve this problem.
“What is the miraculous recipe that President Donald Trump recommends to us in the absence of the financial flows of the Marshall Plan”: asks the foreign minister of Cuba, Bruno Rodriguez. “President Trump ignores and distorts history and portraits a chimera as a goal to be pursued. The production and consumption patterns proper of neoliberal capitalism are unsustainable and irrational and will inexorably lead to the destruction of the environment and the end of the human species.” “Does anyone know of any recipe of neoliberal capitalism that has been better applied than those which destroyed the Latin American economies in the 1980s?” Thus, he continued: “It is both indispensable and urgent for the United Nations to work in order to establish a new participatory, democratic, equitable and inclusive international economic order, as well as a new financial architecture that takes into account the needs and peculiarities of developing countries and the asymmetries that exist in world trade and finances as a result of centuries of exploitation and plundering.”
While speaking on behalf of his country and its uniquely resilient and successful egalitarian struggle Rodríguez concludes: “While inequality, the opulence of a few and the marginalization of many are growing in today’s world, the Cuban people will keep up its struggle to achieve the most just society possible. We will continue to steadily advance down the path of revolutionary transformations that has been sovereignly chosen by all Cubans to further improve our socialism.”