15/1 – Trump and the Peak of Barbarism

By Atilio A. Boron on January 14, 2019

I just read a very interesting note by writer Peter Koenig about the renaissance and exasperation of barbarism in recent times, and I say exasperation because it has been a constant presence in history, but under capitalism, it took on new and more brutal forms.

The United States is undoubtedly the homeland of barbarism. Its status as the biggest terrorist on the planet was reached in August 1945 when it dropped atomic bombs on two defenseless cities in Japan, turning several hundred thousand of their inhabitants into ashes -or condemning them to a horrific slow death-. No one, before or since, ever perpetrated such an atrocity. Without reaching such tragic limits in recent times, the barbarism has been revived by the government of Donald Trump, a fourth-rate mafioso whose moral codes are no better than those of Al Capone or Frank Nitti. What’s more, I would dare to say that they at least possessed a mafia-like sense of honor and respect for their word that the New York tycoon completely lacks.

Koenig precisely documents that at Trump’s request, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahadi invited General Qassem Suleimani to meet him in Baghdad to suggest, given his well-known diplomatic skills, that he sought to open a channel for dialogue between Iran and the United States and between the Islamic Republic and Saudi Arabia. That was the trap, abject and cowardly, into which the Iranian general fell. This was denounced as soon as the assassination of Suleimani and a group of senior Iraqi military officials was carried out by Adil Abdul-Mahadi, who said, “Trump asked me to mediate with Iran and then murdered the person he had invited for the task. In successive press conferences, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, another serial liar, denied what the Iraqi Prime Minister had said. The White House did the same, but the credibility of these thugs is nil.

But the entire U.S. propaganda machine was put at the service of the official lies, and Suleimani, who enjoyed diplomatic immunity, was presented as a fierce terrorist who had been “eliminated” because he had planned to attack several U.S. embassies, something that days later was denied by Trump’s own Secretary of Defense. In spite of so many lies, the conviction that what happened in Baghdad was a vile murder that tried to justify itself by stigmatizing the victim as a terrorist has been embedded into the sectors of public opinion that are attentive to this type of news.

Not content with this criminal violation of international law and of the United States’ own laws, Trump ordered that Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister, be denied an entry visa to report on what happened to the United Nations Security Council in New York. In other words, zero debate, zero information: the empire’s version, impudently reproduced by the hegemonic press, is enough. This is a violation of the United Nations Charter, signed by the United States in 1947, which guarantees representatives of foreign countries unrestricted access to the United Nations headquarters. For his indelible disgrace, the Portuguese António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, remained complicit in the murder of Suleimani and also in the illegal veto of the arrival of the Iranian minister. The man worries about his checkbook and nothing else. He gets his salary and does not see, does not listen, does not speak. These are the kind of international officials the United States needs to run its empire without uncomfortable questions.

This confirms what many of us have been saying about the ineptitude of the United Nations in guaranteeing international peace and legality. Many voices have been raised, especially in peripheral countries, demanding reform of that organization. But Koenig goes a step further and wonders if the time has not come for a General Assembly vote to expel the United States (and Israel) from the United Nations for their repeated violations of the Organization’s Charter and its fundamental resolutions (including those demanding that the White House end the blockade of Cuba or that the Israeli regime withdraw from the occupied territories). The premeditated, systematic and defiant transgression of international legality is what defines “rogue states”. These types of regimes place themselves outside that legality and their expulsion would only be the recognition of a reality.

We would have, our author continues, “a renewed UN, freed from the bulky bureaucracy that paralyzes it and much more efficient in safeguarding world peace.” In addition, there are lots of countries that have been invaded, threatened, sanctioned by the United States and “many of them also have drones and master the technology of precision shooting. It is a bold, extravagant approach, but one that deserves to be thought through.”

Many economic interests would oppose this move, Koenig acknowledges, but in today’s world, the US is no longer the only one that can offer interesting business opportunities. China, India, Russia, numerous Asian countries and some others in Africa and Latin America could redefine a new framework for the world economy without the overbearing presence of the Americans. “Let’s isolate the barbarians in Washington and leave them to rot in their filthy swamp,” says Koenig. A project that today sounds like a naive utopia.

But who can assure us that in the face of the indisputable decline of US power that proposal is eternally doomed to be unachievable? Especially if one remembers these prophetic words of Oscar Wilde when he said that “The United States is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence by skipping civilization.”  And their decline could give birth to another United Nations. Why not? Or does anyone still believe that institutions created by men and women have the gift of eternity?

Source: Atilio Boron’s blog, translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau

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