Category Archives: Security Council Veto

End of Hegemony: UN Must Reflect Changing World Order

There is a rational explanation of why India and Brazil, two countries with vast populations and large and growing economies, are not permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The Council – made up of 5 permanent and ten rotating members – was designed to reflect a world order that was birthed from the horrific violence of World War II. It was as simple as this: Those who emerged on the side of the victors were granted permanent membership and a ‘veto’ power that would allow a single country to defy the will of the entire international community.

This unfair system, which has perpetually weakened the moral foundation of the UN, remains in effect to this day.

The 73rd session of the UN General Assembly just held in New York reflected both the impotence of the UN’s ability as a global platform to address pressing problems, and also the chaotic political scene resulting from the organization’s lack of unity.

The misuse of the veto, the lack of accountability and the unfair representation at the UNSC – for example, not a single African or Latin American country is a permanent member – have all emasculated an organization that is meant, at least on paper, to uphold international law and achieve peace and global security.

While Richard Falk, the former UN Special Rapporteur, advocates the “need for a stronger UN,” he argues that “from the perspective of current geopolitical trends (the UN) seems to have declined almost to the vanishing point with respect to overarching challenges that states acting on their own cannot hope to overcome.”

Some of these problems are interconnected and cannot be redeemed through short-term or provisional solutions. For instance, climate change often leads to food shortages and hunger, which, in turn, contribute to the rising levels of migration and, consequently, to racism and violence.

Late last year, the UN’s World Food Program reported that global hunger is, in fact, increasing, despite all attempts to curb it and to, ultimately, achieve the declared goal of ‘zero hunger.’ According to the WFP, 815 million people suffered from hunger in 2016, an increase of nearly 40 million from the previous year. The UN body called the latest figure an ‘indictment to humanity.’

The failing fight against climate change is another ‘indictment to humanity’. The UN-sponsored Paris Agreement of 2016 was a rare shining moment for the UN, as leaders from 195 countries consented to reduce their carbon dioxide emission through the lowering of their reliance on fossil fuel. The excitement, however, soon died out. In June 2017, the United States government pulled out of the global accord, putting the world, once more, in peril of global warming with its devastating impact on humanity.

This decision by the US Donald Trump Administration exemplifies the foundational problem within the UN – where one country can dominate or derail the whole international agenda, rendering the UN practically irrelevant.

Interestingly, the UN was established in 1945 to replace a body that, too, was rendered irrelevant and ineffective: The League of Nations.

But if the League of Nations lost its credibility because of its inability to prevent war, why has the UN survived all these years?

Perhaps, then, the UN was never established to tackle the problems of war or global security in the first place, but rather to reflect the new power paradigm that caters to those most invested in the existence of the UN in its current form.

As soon as the UN was established, the US and its allies rose to dominate the global agenda.

As experience has shown, the US is committed to the UN when the international organization serves the US agenda but is uncommitted whenever the organization fails to meet Washington’s expectations.

For example, the former US President, George W. Bush, repeatedly censured the UN for failing to support his unlawful war efforts against Iraq. In a speech before the General Assembly, in 2002, Bush asked: “Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding or will it be irrelevant?”

“The purpose of its founding” here, of course, refers to the US agenda that has remained a top UN priority for decades.

US ambassadors to the UN have worked ceaselessly to undermine various UN institutions that refuse to toe the American line. The current US ambassador, Nikki Haley, is far more aggressive than her predecessors, as her antagonistic language and undiplomatic tactics – especially in the context of the illegal Israeli Occupation and Apartheid in Palestine – further highlight the deteriorating relationship between Washington and the UN.

Indeed, the UN is not a monolithic institution. It is a supranational body that simply reflects the nature of global power. In post-WWII, the UN became divided around political and ideological lines resulting from the Cold War. At the end of the Cold War era, in the early 1990s, the UN became an American tool reflecting the US quest for global domination.

Starting from 2003, the UN has entered a new era in which the US is no longer the only hegemonic power; the rise of China and Russia as economic hubs and military actors, in addition to the rise of regional and economic blocs elsewhere, are causing a greater and growing challenge to the US at the UNSC and various other UN institutions.

Although the General Assembly remains largely impotent, it is still able to, occasionally, challenge the dominance of great powers through its support of other UN bodies, such as UNESCO, the International Court of Justice, the World Health Organization and so on.

The world is vastly changing, yet the UN continues its operations based on an archaic and faulty formula that crowned the winners of WWII as the world’s leaders. There can be no hope for the UN if it continues to operate on the basis of such erroneous assumptions, and it should not take another global war for the UN to be reformed to reflect this new and irreversible reality.

Of Genocide and Those Who Do Nothing

Of genocide one thing becomes clear: the perpetrators are usually governments. The perpetrators may be cliques within the government, using the government, but the organization of such cataclysmic events is beyond the skills of amateurs.  So it isn’t a surprise that the domain of preventing genocides is as tightly controlled as the mechanisms of punishment. A control not entirely foreseen by the conceptual author, Raphael Lemkin, was written-into the Convention on the Punishment and Prevention of the Crime of Genocide, with the support of countries which had risen to power through colonialism. It is the word “intent” as in “intent to destroy”, which is now considered a requirement, if any attempt to destroy a “national, racial, ethnical or religious” group of people is to be considered a genocide.

The mass killing has to provably have the intention of destroying one of these groups protected by the Convention.

The vagaries of “intent” and the difficulties of ever proving “intention” deep within a perpetrator’s mind is a domain claimed by the government’s policy makers, academics, inevitably psychologists, and the judiciary, who keep the Convention on Genocide basically out of the hands of the people.  The people are universally the victims.

To move beyond this control we might put aside nationalism and look at governments on one hand, and peoples on the other as not always having the same interests.

The emergency brake of puzzlement about “intent” is customarily used to obstruct application of the Convention on Genocide. It’s the standard way genocidal governments seek to avoid responsibility for their actions. Still we recognize the horror of a genocide as it occurs, which is partly that we are not doing something to stop it.

For example, can the military forces of North American countries bomb the civilian water supply of Iraq, her civilian infrastructure, entire cities, museums, bomb the country “back into the stone age,” without intention to destroy the national group? Civilian casualties were falsely referred to as “collateral damage.”

This assumed lack of intention spares our leaders and ourselves but is sophistry. Intention is established by repetition with a similar result each time leading to the inevitable mass civilian deaths. North Americans find the meaning of “intention” difficult. Too many dead Aboriginals, slaves, prisoners of our histories clogging our minds, never dealt with, never admitted. Denying the people their history leaves no chance for rehabilitation.

The U.S. having signed and after forty years ratified the Convention on Genocide presents objections as “Reservations and Declarations”1 which specifically underscore the need for intent to be present in the destruction of a group, if it’s to be considered genocide.

The Convention has already limited its own applicability to groups. It fails to specifically protect gender based and sexuality based groups, as well as the aged, the sick, ableist and groups defined by genetic traits, as well as groups defined by mental health, criminal records, or prisoners as a group. These are all vulnerable to genocide-like actions by fascist states as shown in the German Third Reich’s practices. A contemporary Convention on Genocide should include them.2

The Convention on Genocide as it appeared in 1948 was a very narrowly conceived document in one sense: it addressed the safety of the powerful victim groups of Hitler’s inhumane policies while ignoring less powerful victim groups, which in many cases continue to be victimized.

Understanding #4″ of the U.S. objections to the Convention prepares the U.S. for wars such as the destruction of Iraq by armed force. It’s very simple, it says: “4. That acts in the course of armed conflicts committed without the specific intent required by article II are not sufficient to constitute genocide as defined by this Convention” (Article II is where the Convention prohibits “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group…).

What could be interpreted at the diplomatic level as a threat to other countries, of war without quarter, possibly to assure their cooperation, was in Iraq a threat fulfilled. Through “Understanding #4” the U.S. could excuse itself from obligation at international courts as long as it controls the courts or interpretation of the law.

Not all countries agree that the U.S. can define applicability of the Convention on Genocide to itself, which the U.S. attempts in “Reservation #1” and “Understanding #5.” The Convention is considered currently applicable to actions in all countries signatory to the Convention. Under the World Court this could include the U.S., willing or not, with applicability a political issue not reliant on any statute of limitations.

Because of the U.S. extreme insistence on the element of “intent” (also specified in “Understanding #1”), as necessary to genocide, the interpretation of the Convention became slightly skewed.

The difficulty rises from an awareness which keeps asserting itself, that intent is very hard to prove. It becomes harder as perpetrators learn to disguise their intentions to avoid eventual prosecution. And harder as those who struggle to be moral, repress and twist their own motives to avoid the guilt of their own actions or inaction.

Protected from application of the Convention by the U.S. withdrawal from International Criminal Court U.S. writers and academics write more freely about genocides. Karen Goldsmith’s work, “The Issue of Intent in the Genocide Convention”3 discusses this within academic traditions, aware of attempts historically to trap interpretation of the Convention into serving the powerful. She encourages a more relaxed approach.

Instead of acceding to an academic discussion of intention which has allowed the confusion of whether an instance of insane mass murder is a genocide or not, wouldn’t it be more wise to cede a situation to the laws against genocide without immediate consideration of the issue of intent?

It may be arrogant to ever suppose to know or understand what happens in another person’s mind. It may take a long time to identify a pattern of behaviour which might prove intent through points of evidence. Realizing that the Convention attempts to shield a number of groups deserving of its protection, logically one would assign the word genocide to situations where one group as defined, is being repetitively killed or deprived of necessities or of lives for its children. It is certainly genocide to its victims.

To suggest the academic or professional jurist’s difficulty with this I recommend some consideration of the work of Kai Ambos4 who is not only an academic (professor of international criminal law) but has served as a district judge and a judge at the International Court of Justice (at the Hague), and is comfortable with the differences available in “intent to destroy.”

Is this general intent and knowledge of what one is doing, or a “surplus” of intention, an ulterior intention which exceeds the persecution of a group, a “special” intention? While the study of projected meanings presents its own kind of hell of devils dancing on the head of a pin, it makes no difference at all to the victims, their family, and village slaughtered most probably by an array of expensive modern technology.

To ascertain guilt by identifying precisely the perpetrator’s state of mind is the result of an evolution in response to the Convention’s prohibition. It is also a distraction from what is moral. Or a distraction from the pain of confronting human nature. ‘Legalese,’ by removing a subject from day to day life and placing it in a domain which is not necessarily ruled by love, may spare the judges of humanity’s excesses suffering and an ongoing PTSD syndrome.

But people at large seem to be moving beyond “dolus generalis” and “dolus specialis” as categorizations of kinds of intent to what is more simply expressed and noted by both Ambos and Goldsmith: Article 30 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

The ICC holds the Convention on Genocide within its jurisdiction since one of the Court’s purposes is to address the crime of genocide. Therefore the ICC’s interpretation of the Convention can solve years of puzzlement created by patriotic lawyers:

Article 30 Mental Element

1. Unless otherwise provided, a person shall be criminally responsible and liable for punishment for a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court only if the material elements are committed with intent and knowledge.

2. For the purposes of this article, a person has intent where:

(a) In relation to conduct, that person means to engage in the conduct;

(b) in relation to a consequence, that person means to cause that consequence or is aware that it will occur in the ordinary course of events.

3. For the purposes of this article, “knowledge” means awareness that a circumstance exists or a consequence will occur in the ordinary course of sequence or events. “Know” and “knowingly” shall be construed accordingly.

The Rome Statute’s definitions end run much of the smokescreen available in discussions of general intention versus special intention. This makes it much easier for countries subscribing to the International Criminal Court to address instances of genocide.

Because the path forward is in a way clear to address and consider instances of genocide currently in motion why haven’t the world nations attempted to honour their commitment to the Convention which demands some response when a genocide occurs?

Because a reader might not agree with one example I’ll point out four salient instances where the situation could be declared genocide by the courts:

1. The peoples of the The Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire) are being destroyed in the battle for Congo’s resources, by foreign interests.

2. Palestinians, particularly of Gaza, are being destroyed as a national and as a religious group by the Zionist government in Israel.

3. In Myanmar the Buddhist Army found few impediments to its attempted destruction of the Muslim Rohingya people. Signatory governments are complicit through inaction.

4. Indigenous peoples of Canada are subjected to extreme conditions of life, health and water by the Government over a long period of time. The government’s inability to move beyond its denial, or educate Canadians to their full rights and responsibilities under human rights law can be equated with an attempt to destroy the victim group.

Any United Nations intervention to directly counter a genocide in progress would, I think, have to pass through the Security Council for approval, and could meet a U.S. veto.

The attempts to effect the Convention on Genocide have been obstructed by:

1. The difficulty of proving intent as a condition required for identifying a genocide.

2. Likely obstruction at the Security Council where the political and financial interests of one of its members can veto intervention.

3. Lack of public knowledge and misinformation campaigns (demonization of a targeted victim group’s leader).

4. National reluctance to identify genocide since under law a signatory nation is required to intervene.

5. The fact that genocides are almost exclusively effected by governments and the Convention on Genocide can only be effected by governments or possibly large international organizations.

While genocides are waged for national or corporate purpose by governments the Convention on genocide is a mechanism of protest, alleviation, intervention, at the service only of governments. In areas where the genocide might be of gain to many governments it is less likely that the Convention will be brought into play.

Note, for example, NATO’s attempt to force the overthrow of Syria’s leadership by making conditions of life unbearable for Syria’s people. This became a concerted military effort by France, England, the U.S., Turkey, Israel and others. The resulting partial destruction of the national group was an intended genocide with a deflection of its purpose by a “civil war” waged by a minority assuming responsibility for a rebellion initiated by the foreign powers who provided funding.

There are also policies which many governments can agree on and ignore when they share the guilt. A current example is the forcible transfer of children as a way of managing migrants and asylum seekers entering the U.S.. While this isn’t accompanied by an intention to destroy a portion of a “national, ethnical, racial or religious group” it could be if the U.S. were considered responsible for destruction of the refugee’s country of origin. Both Canada and the U.K. separate children from their families when officials consider it in the “best interests of the child.” The issue has stronger interface in the area of transferring children to a country’s social services and the practices of ‘sponsoring’ the children of one protected group, with sponsors outside that group.

To address directly our own genocide defenses in North America: these almost exclusively rest with organizations funded by the government, at the service of government policy, staffed by academics with strong ties to government, or who have worked for the government, or will work for the government. Or who have government loans, or grants. The organizations’ political positions accommodate government policies, despite the innate confusion in identifying genocides, previously discussed here.

It’s unlikely that one will find in the active agendas of the genocide related NGOs any protests or any actions hampering government policy. This is particularly notable in the controversial area of Israel’s ongoing persecution of Palestinians.

If the issue may be considered within the multi-million dollar funded structure of the enterprise, or studied in a course from the hosting university, one might find that the well known NGOs are not usually allies in struggles to save the peoples oppressed criminally by the NGO’s host governments or its allies.

A run down of these specific non-governmental organizations, funded through service to the government either overtly or covertly, is avoided because much of what they accomplish does address the needs of victim groups. In a sense they pay off humanity by doing a portion of their job. The difficulty is that they refuse to address the crimes of our own governments. And they provide on occasion impetus for falsely raising the issue of genocide, in the service of government programs for corporate expansion which in situations of ‘genocide’ can threaten with military intervention.  Powerful NGOs concerned with genocide risk at some point supporting government policies which are genocidal. When they do not purvey genocides as genocide which is the major portion of their usefulness, they become complicit.

Against these difficulties with the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,” as it stands, and the difficulties of applying it, is the fact that it corresponds deeply to the beliefs of the largest portions of humankind. We believe it’s valid and necessary – not the law of it only, as much as its affirmation of our humanity – its refusal of the horror we find unacceptable.

In Rwanda after the genocide there were trials of the accused perpetrators under international law but also under Rwandan law, and then under village law in that the courts were held in the communities. In villages throughout the country people were brought together and found they had to account for themselves and explain what they did or didn’t do – their part in the genocide. These courts were known as Gacaca courts.4;5

What begins to evolve in the accounts of village trials is a world view of justice asserting itself in a landscape of the ultimate horror. And it has very little to do with arguments of what kind of intent was involved, or the mental state of the perpetrators, the Faculty coffee room, the judges or judicial chambers.

It has everything to do with surviving what the people never chose of their own accord. I think this defense might well be applied to a majority of North Americans as their corporations and capital continues to destroy less powerful nations. These instances of taking life are so much more clear in the Rwandan genocide.

This is the shadow which falls between the studies of genocide and the massive losses of humanity, decency, tenderness, life.

Prof. Giorgía Donà’s study of “situated bystandership”6 explores the realities of the bystanders, those who were neither the victims nor the perpetrators of the genocide which by her figures killed close to a million Tutsi (April 7th through July 18, 1994).

This group most closely parallels the majority of North Americans during the destructions of Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria to begin a longer more complicated list of massive loss of life and destruction.

She notes both external bystanders such as the United Nations and signatories of the Convention who knew and did nothing, and the internal bystanders who might be thought of as the people, and bear the guilt of the people for crimes that came from beyond them, were broadcast to them, programmed into them like an experiment with Rwanda as its laboratory.

A terrible thing here is that the killing was accomplished by so many and by my understanding so many were forced into the conformity of killing others lest they be killed, and under pressures that might make our judgment of them and our concept of ‘heroism’ irrelevant. In some instances those who wouldn’t kill were killed. Those who hid fugitives, if caught, were killed or forced to kill the fugitives they had harboured. Can this be considered within a context of law?

How deeply have North Americans responded to the massive death caused by our inception, our wars, armaments, economic needs, when our survival has had so many options other than war?

Donà’s paper suggests that in the aftermath of the Rwanda genocide the majority of people tried to separate themselves from the perpetrators whom they considered “extremists” and evil. The bystander majority would consider itself as retaining moral values. The Kagame government at first promoted the assessment of morally guilty bystanders, complicit through inaction.7

This group of bystanders then sorts out into those who acceded to the perpetrators’ actions and those who attempted to resist under the tremendous pressure from the overall program to kill. Those who remained non-violent would have to hide as did the victims.8 When refusing to participate in the killing meant death, some then participated. At a local factual level this was understood by the Gacaca courts, because how does one judge this with reference to the intent of genocide.

While Gacaca courts prosecuted murder and rape they didn’t the crime of non-intervention,9 and so under the policy of the community courts non-intervention was no longer necessarily one of guilt. These courts also shifted guilt and the responsibility for a crime, from mass action to the individual.

Crimes during the mass killing of the genocide were no longer abstract or collective but personal. While many of the Hutu were found guilty, many were found innocent and were freed from the condemnation of collective guilt.10

The Gacaca courts present a challenge to academic studies, and what is often an intellectual or judicial tendency to categorize and perceive through the application of abstractions. The community level courts were more realistic and humane than the courts of international law? Possibly so. But then they were addressing the people who as victim, killer or bystander, were the objects of a planned and prepared-for national atrocity.11

This focusing of attention on the bystander element of genocide may help many North Americans reconsider our own relationship to guilt, the ultimate price of silence, the relationship between our morality and what happens about us, realizing that despite the tremendous social pressures programming us by schools, corporately funded universities, from media, from history, by conformity and each other, we deserve to be judged for how we’ve responded to the crimes against others.

  1. The “Declarations and Reservations” which at ratification the U.S. added to the Convention are generally kept out of sight so I list them here:
    Reservations:
    1. That with reference to article IX of the Convention, before any dispute to which the United States is a party may be submitted to the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice under this article, the specific consent of the United States is required in each case.
    2. That nothing in the Convention Requires or authorizes legislation or other action by the United States of America prohibited by the Constitution of the United States as interpreted by the United States.
    Understandings:
    1. That the term ‘intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group as such’ appearing in article II means, the specific intent to destroy, in whole or in substantial part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such by the acts specified in article II.
    2. That the term ‘mental harm’ in article II(b) means permanent impairment of mental faculties through drugs, torture, or similar techniques.
    3. That the pledge to grant extradition in accordance with a state’s laws and treaties in force found in article VII extends only to acts which are criminal under the laws both of the requesting and the requested state and nothing in article VI affects the right of any state to bring to trial before its own tribunals any of its nationals for acts committed outside a state.
    4. That acts in the course of armed conflicts committed without the specific intent required by article II are not sufficient to constitute genocide as defined by this Convention. 5. That with regard to the reference to an international penal tribunal in article VI or the Convention, the United States declares that it reserves the right to effect its participation in any such tribunal only by a treaty entered into specifically for that purpose with the advice and consent of the Senate.
    – According to “Multilateral Treaties deposited with the Secretary-General.” Status as of 31 December 1992. United Nations, New York.
  2. I initially stated this suggestion in “An Essay on Genocide: or why the Convention on Genocide hasn’t worked,” peacemedianews (Netherlands), 1995. Reprint: Night’s Lantern.
  3. Karen Goldsmith. “The Issue of Intent in the Genocide Convention, and Its Effect on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide: Toward a Knowledge Based Approach,” Vol. 5, 2010 (Issue 3, Article 3), Genocide Studies and Prevention: an International Journal (IAGS).
  4. Kai Ambos. “What does ‘intent to destroy’ in genocide mean?” Vol. 91, #876, December 2009, International Review of the Red Cross.
  5. Giorgía Donà. “‘Situated Bystandership’ During and After the Rwandan Genocide,” Vol. 20, No.1, Journal of Genocide Research, 2018; passim.
  6. Ibid.
  7. loc. cit., p. 8.
  8. loc. cit., p. 14.
  9. loc. cit., p.17.
  10. Concerning the issue of alleged massacres of Hutu by Tutsi I suggest the work of Professor Peter Erlinder (William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota), The Rwanda Documents Project.
  11. Alison Des Forges. “The Ideology of Genocide,” Volume 23/Issue 2/1995. African Issues.

Psychopathic

Fadi Hassan Abu Salah, killed by Israeli sniper on May 14, 2018 in Gaza

Psychopathic: (Adjective) Suffering from or constituting a chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent behavior.

This is Oxford’s best shot at describing a condition I feel quite comfortable framing within its succinct parameters the State of Israel, the vast majority of its population – if the analysis of Max Blumenthal and Norman Finkelstein mean anything – the disease of Zionism, a highly virulent form of theocratic nationalism, as well as that country’s primary enabler – the greatest purveyor of terror on earth – the United States.

The instantly iconic photograph of Fadi Hassan Abu Salah, a double amputee who lost his legs during an Israeli carpet bombing of the Gaza called Operation Cast Lead in 2008 was murdered by a sniper Monday, May 14th in the context of an Israel now completely unfettered.  From the Nakba or catastrophe of 1948 – the forced displacement of Palestinians numbering in the many hundreds of thousands from their homes and homeland marking the genesis of Israel’s blood soaked breech birth – to the present moment, there have been, to be sure, many, many worse slaughters by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and its various precursors, but the non-violent nature of this particular act of Palestinian resistance, The Right of Return, has placed Israel in the untenable absurdity of ascribing kites as lethal weapons of Hamas.

Not that Israel has the least concern for world opinion.  Their psychopathic horrors are salvific in the writ of impunity granted by the United States, an American propaganda machine of stunning homogeneity and the abysmal, ahistoric ignorance of its citizenry – what Henry A. Giroux aptly refers to as a culture of manufactured illiteracy.  Genocide plays well here as it mirrors the white, western European, Christian bedrock of America’s own DNA.  Forget about the living wake of Reaganomics. America is still sheep dipped in the tragic misery of 15th century papal bulls.

How else to explain the spectacle of an indeed feckless heiress cum garmento Ivanka Trump and her ne’er-do-well moron of a husband Jared Kushner partying in Jerusalem on the site of our new embassy at the very moment 60-plus unarmed Palestinian men, women and children were being gassed and mowed down by bunkered IDF snipers less than 40 miles from the festivities.  It would be bad fiction were it not true.

And where in aggregate, exactly, is the hue and cry of the progressive Jewish diaspora outside the confines of Pacifica Radio?  Nowhere.  While I’m of the mind that all organized religion is poison, to the extent there is anything redemptive in the tenets of Judaism I would think gaggles of observant American Jewry would be falling over themselves to point out in ear splitting decibels and in the most public of ways the malign injury beyond reckoning or repair perpetrated by Zionism on one of the earth’s greatest and venerable faiths.  But no.  Fucking crickets.  Jewish Voice for Peace?  Well, bless Rebecca Vilkomerson, the organization’s Executive Director.  She gets high grades for effort but in the end her message strikes me as tepid, like an AA member telling a raging alcoholic they’ll be there when they’re ready.  Where is the bottom for American Jews?

All I do hear is fearful malevolence and psychopathy from the oxygen starved brains of barking chows Nikki Haley at the U.N. and Fox News host turned State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert – a clone of her Obama era predecessors Jen Psaki and Marie Harf.  John Kelly, John Bolton, Fred Fleitz, Mike Pompeo, Gina Haspel, US ambassador to Israel David Friedman . . . . where do we grow psychopaths of such timeless uniformity, I wonder?  At the finest colleges to be sure.  Only the best and the brightest have brought us to this moment.

When Guatemala and Paraguay are the only countries in a “coalition of the willing” to join the United States in opening embassies in Jerusalem, you know America is alone in the world and absolutely collapsing as a global empire.  All we have left are tech companies that have made the inane ubiquitous, the closely related export of death and an increasingly shaky petro-dollar.

When all one hears is the ceaseless din of an utterly seamless merger of media on the left and the right bloviating preposterous Russophobic bullshit amidst a welter of false flag chemical attacks from Syria to Britain that are debunked as fast as they occur – but not by the voices on the left who should know better – then the writing, as they say, is on the wall.

In the meantime, every day, clearly identified Palestinian healthcare workers armed with cotton balls and saline are targeted like 21 year old paramedic Razan al-Najjar who had her heart blown out through her back 100 yards from an IDF rampart Friday, June 1st, followed by her cousin Ramzi al-Najjar on Monday. Canadian Palestinian Dr. Tarek Loubani, journalists like Ahmed Abu Hussein and Yaser Murtaja continue to be scoped and then murdered or crippled in the largest open air prison on earth with a reckless abandonment by psychotic Zionists at a level of carnage approaching what Hindu nationalists have been perpetrating on Muslims, dalits, tribals and women in general throughout India for decades.  Yet another predominant genocidal theocracy with roots in Nazism and caste given to rape, hacking and immolation that make death by a clean bullet in the Gazan dirt seem like a blessing.  But then, no one but Arundhati Roy is talking about that and it is, admittedly, bad form to compare atrocities.  Most especially when the bullets aren’t clean.

IDF snipers are using what used to be referred to in 1980’s as “cop killers” or “dum-dum” bullets.  These iterations on a grisly theme mushroom and fragment upon impact to maximize the internal carnage, exiting the body through a hole the size of a fist. They’re now referred to as “butterfly bullets”.  Splendid marketing largely under-appreciated by the 123 dead and the amputees among 13,700 injured since March 30th.

The 70 year genocide of Palestinians by the State of Israel is psychopathic.  It is not a conflict.  It is genocide.

The 11 year Israeli blockade of Gaza by air, sea and land is psychopathic.

America’s support of the apartheid State of Israel through our media, billions in military hardware and United Nations obstruction is psychopathic.

Indifference is complicity and, yes, psychopathic.

As language becomes a weaponized virus unhinged from historical precedence and critical thought, precision becomes imperative to call things by their proper name.  We are all of us in the cold embrace of psychopaths.  The prisoners of Gaza and the West Bank know this.  So should we.

Beating the US “Veto”: Palestinians Need Urgent Protection from Israel

What is taking place in Palestine is not a ‘conflict’.  We readily utilize the term but, in fact, the word ‘conflict’ is misleading. It equates between oppressed Palestinians and Israel, a military power that stands in violation of numerous United Nations Resolutions.

It is these ambiguous terminologies that allow the likes of United States UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, to champion Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’, as if the militarily occupied and colonized Palestinians are the ones threatening the security of their occupier and tormentor.

In fact, this is precisely what Haley has done to counter a draft UN Security Council Resolution presented by Kuwait to provide a minimum degree of protection for Palestinians. Haley vetoed the draft, thus continuing a grim legacy of US defense of Israel, despite the latter’s ongoing violence against Palestinians.

It is no surprise that out of the 80 vetoes exercised by the US at the UNSC, the majority were unleashed to protect Israel. The first such veto for Israel’s sake was in September 1972 and the latest, used by Haley, was on June 1.

Before it was put to the vote, the Kuwaiti draft was revised three times in order to ‘water it down’. Initially, it called for the protection of the Palestinian people from Israeli violence.

The final draft merely called for “The consideration of measures to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in the Gaza Strip.”

Still, Haley found the language “grossly one-sided.”

The near consensus in support of the Kuwait draft was met with complete rejection of Haley’s own draft resolution which demanded Palestinian groups cease “all violent provocative actions” in Gaza.

The ‘provocative actions’ being referred to in Haley’s draft is the mass mobilization by tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, who have been peacefully protesting for weeks, hoping that their protests will place the Israeli siege on Gaza back on the UN agenda.

Haley’s counter draft resolution did not garner a single vote in favor, save that of Haley’s own.  But such humiliation at the international stage is hardly of essence to the US, which has wagered its international reputation and foreign policy to protect Israel at any cost, even from unarmed observers whose job is merely to report on what they see on the ground.

The last such ‘force’ was that of 60 – later increased to 90 – members of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH).

TIPH was established in May 1996 and has filed many reports on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian city, especially in Area H-2, a small part of the city that is controlled by the Israeli army to protect some of the most violent illegal Jewish settlers.

Jan Kristensen, a retired lieutenant colonel of the Norwegian army who headed TIPH had these words to say, following the completion of his one-year mission in Hebron in 2004:

The activity of the settlers and the army in the H-2 area of Hebron is creating an irreversible situation. In a sense, cleansing is being carried out. In other words, if the situation continues for another few years, the result will be that no Palestinians will remain there.

One can only imagine what has befallen Hebron since then. The army and Jewish settlers have become so emboldened to the extent that they execute Palestinians in cold blood with little or no consequence.

One such episode became particularly famous, for it was caught on camera. On March 24, 2015, an Israeli soldier carried out a routine operation by shooting in the head an incapacitated Palestinian.

The execution of Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif, 21, was filmed by Imad Abushamsiya. The viral video caused Israel massive embarrassment, forcing it to hold a sham trial in which the Israeli soldier who killed al-Sharif received a light sentence; he was later released to a reception fit for heroes.

Abushamsiya, who filmed the murder, however, was harassed by both the Israeli army and police and received numerous death threats.

The Israeli practice of punishing the messenger is not new. The mother of Ahed Tamimi, Nariman, who filmed her teenage daughter confronting armed Israeli soldiers was also detained and sentenced.

Israel has practically punished Palestinians for recording their own subjugation by Israeli troops while, at the same time, empowering these very soldiers to do as they please; it is now in the process of turning this everyday reality into actual law.

A bill at the Israeli Knesset was put forward late May that prohibits “photographing and documenting (Israeli occupation) soldiers”, and criminalizing “anyone who filmed, photographed and/or recorded soldiers in the course of their duty.”

The bill, which is supported by Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, demands a five-year imprisonment term for violators.

The bill practically means that any form of monitoring of Israeli soldiers is a criminal act. If this is not a call for perpetual war crimes, what is?

Just to be sure, a second bill is proposing to give immunity to soldiers suspected of criminal activities during military operations.

The bill is promoted by deputy Defense Minister, Eli Ben Dahan, and is garnering support at the Knesset.

“The truth is that Ben Dahan’s bill is entirely redundant,” wrote Orly Noy in the Israeli 972 Magazine.

Noy cited a recent report by the Israeli human rights organization ‘Yesh Din’ which shows that “soldiers who allegedly commit crimes against the Palestinian population in the Occupied Territories enjoy near-full immunity.”

Now, Palestinians are more vulnerable than ever before, and Israel, with the help of its American enablers, is more brazen than ever.

This tragedy cannot continue. The international community and civil society organizations, – independent of the US government and its shameful vetoes – must undertake the legal and moral responsibility to monitor Israeli action and to provide meaningful protection for Palestinians.

Israel should not have free reign to abuse Palestinians at will, and the international community should not stand by and watch the bloody spectacle as it continues to unfold.

Day of Infamy for the UN Security Council: Triggering a Devastating Humanitarian Crisis in North Korea

Ignoring the avalanche of evidence that prior sanctions on the DPRK are causing a devastating humanitarian crisis for the people of North Korea, especially the most vulnerable, on December 22, despite warnings of the catastrophic consequences to the people, the UN Security Council passed a new set of sanctions so draconian and inhumane that they must be compared to Hitler’s Nuremberg laws.

In quintessentially bad faith, many of these Security Council diplomats who voted “yes” professed ignorance of the human suffering their prior sanctions were inflicting, or are wantonly indifferent to the human agony their votes for these new sanctions make inevitable.

In view of the collapse of the DPRK’s socialist economic system these sanctions are intended to provoke, the ultimate question remains why China and Russia failed to veto these sanctions, while they have the power to prevent this catastrophe. What “arrangements” were made? Has the U.S. juggernaut succeeded in inducing the short-sighted submission of Russia and China, who must certainly anticipate the horrific results of a collapse of the DPRK, which will lead to the complete destabilization of the Eurasian continent, a permanent American military presence, and probably nuclear war. Surely Russia must remember that Gorbachev was assured by U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, that, in return for the Soviet Union’s agreement to the reunification of Germany,

NATO will not expand one inch east of Berlin.

Today Russia is surrounded by NATO bases. Was Gorbachev gullible or treacherous? Russians frequently suspect the latter.

All five permanent members of the Security Council are themselves are in gross violation of Article 6 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which requires their divesting their military arsenals of nuclear weapons; they are, instead, investing trillions of dollars in upgrading “nukes.” Article 6 of the NPT requires their negotiating, in good faith, a treaty to abolish nuclear weapons; this United Nations treaty was adopted this year, ignored by Russia and China, and opposed by the US, UK and France in a virulent campaign. The US is also violating article 1 of the NPT, placing nuclear weapons in 5 NATO countries: these 5 countries, including Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Germany are in violation of Article 2 of the NPT. In violation of the NPT, themselves, the Permanent 5 members of the Security Council have absolutely no right to condemn the DPRK, which is not even a party to the NPT.

United Nations Security Council resolution 2397 dooms the UN to a legacy of destruction of stable, progressive independent nations including Iraq, Libya, and now the DPRK.

Prior to the adoption of resolution, 2397, the UN Human Rights Commissioner revealed that the tough sanctions already imposed on the DPRK are obstructing delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid. As a result, 70% of the population, 18 million North Koreans suffer from acute food shortages. Sanctions obstructing international bank transfers are blocking UN ground operations, preventing delivery of food, medical equipment and other humanitarian aid.

According to AFP:

‘Aid groups are facing hurdles to clear customs for goods destined for North Korea, to ensure procurement and transport of aid supplies, as well as rising food prices that have shot up 160% since April,’ said UN Assistant Secretary-General Miroslav Jenca.

On December 9, NBC news reported:

The Trump administration’s primary North Korea strategy would do little to curb the country’s nuclear program, and could trigger a famine, according to experts. The White House is urging China to turn off oil supplies to the 25 million Koreans…many analysts say such a move would have minimal impact on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, and would instead hit the country’s agricultural sector, potentially leading to mass starvation.

Dr. David Von Hippel, a senior adviser at the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability warned the results of an oil embargo could have a catastrophic impact on a humanitarian level.

An oil cutoff would drastically reduce the amount of domestically grown food available to the civilian population….What arable land there is the DPRK farms intensively. They rely on tractors, irrigation pumps, refrigerators and transportation trucks to harvest and distribute food before it rots….even the current level of sanctions imposed in September (Resolution 2375) will impoverish North Korea’s breadbasket.

On October 25 UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the DPRK, Tomas Quintana stated that he was

alarmed by reports that sanctions may have prevented cancer patients from access to chemotherapy…the shipment of wheelchairs and essential equipment for persons with disabilities is now constrained…humanitarian actors are facing difficulties to source much-needed supplies and carry out international financial transactions.

Following his return from Pyongyang, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman stated:

What I was concerned about was the reduction in programs for the DPRK. The program is only 30 percent funded. It’s having a large impact on how the UN can deliver on its humanitarian programs. I was concerned about the overall lack of funding…which affects the UN’s ability to deliver life-saving equipment on the ground.

This humanitarian disaster is neither accidental nor coincidental. All this information was publicly available to all 15 members of the Security Council prior to December 22, when they inflicted even more deadly sanctions on the people of North Korea. The Security Council is an accessory to these crimes. Though they boast, irresponsibly, that the sanctions contain “humanitarian exemption,” how do they explain the alarming failure to implement these “humanitarian exemptions,” and the fact that the tragic victims of these criminal and fatal sanctions are the majority of the people of North Korea?

The damning answer is revealed in the investigation of the failure of “humanitarian aid” in the case of sanctions against Iraq, which resulted in another humanitarian catastrophe, including the death from starvation of more than half a million Iraqi children. In a brilliant work of investigative journalism by Joy Gordon, entitled “Cool War: Economic Sanctions as a Weapon of Mass Destruction,” (Published in Harper’s, 2002) Ms. Gordon States:

News of Iraqi fatalities has been well documented (by the United Nations, among others), though underreported by the media. What has remained invisible, however, is any documentation of how and by whom such a death toll has been justified for so long…..But I soon learned that all U.N. records that could answer my questions were kept from public scrutiny. This is not to say that the UN is lacking in public documents related to the Iraq program. What is unavailable are the documents that show how the U.S. policy agenda has determined the outcome of humanitarian and security judgments…The operation of Iraq sanctions involves numerous agencies within the United Nations…These agencies have been careful not to publicly discuss their ongoing frustration with the manner in which the program is operated…Over the last three years, through research and interviews with diplomats I have acquired many of the key confidential UN documents concerning the administration of Iraq sanctions. I obtained these documents on the condition that my sources remain anonymous. What they show is that the United States has fought aggressively throughout the last decade to purposefully minimize the humanitarian goods that enter the country. And it has done so in the face of enormous human suffering, including massive increases in child mortality and widespread epidemics…what is less well known is that the government of Saddam Hussein had invested heavily in health, education, and social programs for two decades prior to the Persian Gulf War of 1991. Iraq was a rapidly developing country with free education, ample electricity, modernized agriculture and a robust middle class.

The diplomats who heedlessly refer to failed “humanitarian exemptions” to these DPRK sanctions are privy to the facts excavated by Joy Gordon, and published in Harpers, and these diplomats are aware of the actual cause of the failure of “humanitarian aid.” This failure is the deliberate, premeditated killing of innocent North Koreans, and that is the purpose of these sanctions, which do not, in fact, affect the nuclear program. In any civilized, responsible organization, the perpetrators of these sanctions would be convicted of premeditated murder.

North Korea is not an aggressor: they fought successfully against brutal Japanese colonization, and were then provoked into defending themselves from guerrilla attacks by U.S. client Syngman Rhee’s army, in 1949, which violated the 38 parallel to attack North Korea, the provocation that ignited the Korean War of 1950-1953. Today, the US, South Korea and Japan are imperiling the survival of North Korea with their incessant military threats.

In the 1950-1953 U.S. led UN attack of North Korea, more than 3-4 million North Koreans were murdered by carpet-bombing, napalm, germ warfare and other weapons of mass destruction. These figures are confirmed by US General Curtis LeMay, and numerous others involved in perpetrating this massacre of North Koreans. As traumatic memories of the slaughter of 1 million Armenians by the Turks over 100 years ago still fester within the lives of today’s Armenians, as Hitler’s genocide of 6 million Jews 70 years ago cannot be forgotten by today’s Jews, so the massacre of more than three million North Koreans by a US controlled UN army can never be forgotten by North Korea, whose government is determined to protect North Korea from a repetition of this horror. And the only weapon that might deter the United States from another attempt to totally destroy the last remaining socialist country is their nuclear weapon, which might require the US to think twice before another attack.

Thus, an alternative method of slaughter, UN Security Council Resolution 2397, despite alarming warnings of catastrophic humanitarian consequences, ruthlessly cuts 90 percent of oil supplies to the DPRK; the resolution demands that 150,000 North Koreans working in other countries must be expelled, and have their jobs eliminated within 24 months, exacerbating the impoverishment of North Korea; in addition to other restrictions, and together with a large number of previous travel bans against individuals crucial to the economic sector of the DPRK, Resolution 2397 includes further travel bans against 15 key members of the economic sector, and foreign trade representatives.

Ambassador Han Tae Song, at the UN in Geneva earlier stated:

It is obvious that the aim of the sanctions is to overthrow the system of my country by isolating and stifling it and to intentionally bring about humanitarian disaster instead of preventing weapons development as claimed by the U.S. and its followers.

On December 7 it was reported that South Korea will spend almost $1,000,000.00 to purchase drones and grenade machine guns, for a “Decapitation Unit” to murder Kim Jong UN. This, of course, is not only criminal homicide, it is in violation of international law. On December 10 Reuters reported that Japan, the US and South Korea will hold additional military drills, immediately following the December 4 US- South Korea large-scale military drills held the prior week. This is an incessant military threat to the survival of the people and government of North Korea, and an intolerable provocation. On December 17 South Korean and U.S. forces conducted a joint military plan to invade North Korea, ostensibly to “remove weapons of mass destruction.” This “Warrior Strike” military exercise was held at Camp Stanley, north of Seoul, near the 38 parallel. US commander of Forces Korea Vincent Brooks, and Lt. General Thomas Vandal were present at the “Warrior Strike” military drills.

By November 28, the government of the DPRK had not tested anything for almost three months. Instead of attempting peaceful negotiations in this stable atmosphere, as required by all Security Council Resolutions, the US, on the contrary, escalated its military threats against North Korea, with a series of deadly military drills. It is therefore preposterous that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated on December 15 that North Korea must “earn” the right to negotiations. North Korea had conspicuously halted any testing for almost three months prior, and instead of seizing the opportunity to establish negotiations for peace, the US aggressively increased military threats.

The DPRK Foreign Ministry called US President Trump’s national security strategy

the most recent American policy seeking to stifle our country and turn the entire Korean peninsula into an outpost of American hegemony…Trump is seeking total subordination of the whole world.

UN Security Council Resolution 2397 will be fatal to North Korea’s economy. It will destroy the majority of the people, but have little or no impact on weapons development.

Finally, it is revealing that on December 4 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on the “Prohibition of the development and manufacture of new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons: report of the Conference on Disarmament”. The DPRK voted “Yes” in support of this resolution. The U.S. voted “No,” in opposition. Again, on the General Assembly resolution on the “Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation” the DPRK voted “Yes,” in support of this resolution, while the U.S. voted “No” in opposition. It is obvious which country is a threat to world peace: it is not the DPRK.

It is freezing in New York today. If an 90% oil cutoff were imposed on the United States, a huge number of civilians would freeze to death. The winter in North Korea is even colder. Resolution 2397 will condemn the people of North Korea to excruciating deaths. Ironically, December 22 is the United Nations “Holocaust Remembrance Day.” It is shameful that on December 22 the United Nations Security Council voted to inflict the Twenty–First Century’s Holocaust upon the people of North Korea. With the passage of Resolution 2397, the United Nations Security Council has become an instrument of barbarism and terror.

Featured image is from Zobiyen TV.

Article first published in Global Research

North Korea: UN Security Council’s 15-0 Vote Choking a Country into Submission

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is being choked into submission if not starvation by the UN Security Council, by a vote of 15-0; i.e. unanimously. None of the 15 UNSC states, let alone the five permanent members, have had the guts to say no to a killer Resolution, drafted and proposed by the United States of America, a name that increasingly stands for international rogue and crime nation.

The New York Times reports on 22 December 2017: “President Trump has used just about every lever you can use, short of starving the people of North Korea to death, to change their behavior,” the White House homeland security adviser, Thomas P. Bossert, said Tuesday. “And so, we don’t have a lot of room left here to apply pressure to change their behavior.”

Two immediate questions come to mind. First, who is Trump to blackmail the UNSC into punishing nations which do not bend to the empire’s wishes? Yes, blackmailing, because that’s exactly what is categorically part of the chief rogue’s international behavior. Case in point is the recent UN Resolution to nullify Trump’s unilateral decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, when he, the Donald, threatened he would watch closely who would vote against the US, with a view of punishing those nations monetarily or with other sanctions; and second, how come Russia and China went along with this literally genocidal program of sanctions contained in this UNSC Resolution?

Both Russia and China know that Washington’s arguments against the DPRK are based on a web of lies. That everything coming out of Washington is a lie, or untruth, or omission of facts is well known around the globe. But in this case, where two ascending super-powers, Russia and China have the veto right to say NO to these illegal sanctions, it begs the question, why didn’t they use their veto?

Even more so, since Russia and China are both also ‘sanctioned’ by Washington for not ‘behaving’, and because Russia and China are natural allies of North Korea, why were they going along with Washington’s blackmail? A veto could have sent a clear message to the sort of preposterous Nikki Haleys and Donald Trumps of this world, that there is no more fear of the devil, but that the power plates are clearly shifting away from Washington.

Was it out of fear that the madman could possibly press the red bottom, if provoked? Voting with the madman is certainly no reason to believe that the Mad Man will not press the nuclear bottom.  Then, what kind of diplomacy is it?  The fear of more sanctions directed at Russia and China? This would be outright ridiculous, as both countries, founders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), are almost fully detached from the western dollar economy and are heading a new economy that already comprises about half of the world’s population and one third of the globe’s economic output. Hence, they can function fully independently from the west. There are no fears of sanctions either.

Then why?

Maybe because they, Russia and China, want to show the world that no matter how they vote, they will do what they deem correct, like in this case not adhering to the sanction, as they will not let North Korea’s people, their friends and allies, suffocate to death. This would tell those nations who still do not dare contradict the US of A: “Don’t be afraid, we are on your side.”

Already a month ago, Reuters reported that according to the North Korean representative at the UN Geneva, those who most suffer from the sanctions are women and children. This is a classic. It applies almost everywhere when sanctions are dished out. For example, in Iraq where under the Clinton sanctions program, following a 1995 UN report, 576,000 Iraqi children may have died since the end of the Persian Gulf war because of economic sanctions imposed by the Security Council, according to two scientists who surveyed the country for the Food and Agriculture Organization.” In addition, the study found “steeply rising malnutrition among the young, suggesting that more children will be at risk in the coming years.” Indeed, close to a million Iraqis have died as the result of a decade long US-imposed UN sanctions scheme.

Will the world allow similar numbers – or higher – of people to die in North Korea, just because the DPRK has opted to defend herself against the self-proclaimed exceptional nation that has for over 60 years refused to sign a peace agreement and instead constantly threatened North Korea with annual high-powered military war games along the Korean Peninsula?

North Korea has done no harm to any other nation. Indeed, North Korea does not intend to start a war with anyone. North Korea has had the courage and strength to rebuild as a socialist nation in almost full isolation from a 1953 US-devastated country with the loss from then one third of the population, about 3 million people. Does anyone wonder why North Korea has opted to defend herself – come what may?

And does anybody realize, including the 15 UNSC countries having condemned the DPRK to starve, that North Korea has declared numerous times that she wants nothing more than Peace, that she is willing to sign a nuclear weapons disarmament program along with all the other nuclear powers; and she is ready to negotiate, as long as Washington stops its high-handed and dangerous military maneuvers and jet fighter territorial overflights.

Why would North Korea, or any nation for that matter, not have the same right as the US, UK, Russia, China, France, Israel, India, Pakistan, and the NATO member nuclear weapons sharing states of Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey, all of which have acquired atomic weapons for alleged “defense purposes”?

Trump Administration ends 2017 on a Sour Note

As if Trump’s crass announcement moving the US embassy to Jerusalem wasn’t enough, his minions on Monday vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution calling on the President to withdraw US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Even his hand-in-hand friend Theresa May, another pimp for Israel, is against him in this. “On Jerusalem, I made it clear that we disagree with the United States’ decision to move its embassy and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement,” she declared. “Like our EU partners, we will not be following suit, but it is vital that we continue to work with the United States to encourage it to bring forward proposals that will re-energise the peace process. That must be based around support for a two-state solution and an acknowledgement that the final status of Jerusalem must be subject to negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.”

What exactly would final status and a two-state solution look like? Nobody is saying. Possibly because they all know that the idea has been filed in the too-difficult tray for at least 20 years. There was nothing wrong with the original UN plan to make Jerusalem an international city under separate control. Why not revive that? And if the international community really wanted two states why did they spend decades giving Israel endless opportunities to establish irreversible ‘facts on the ground’ designed to make the occupation permanent? Nothing will now change without the use of force or extreme sanctions. And there’s no sign of that happening.
So please do everyone a favour, US, UK and EU. Spare us that tired old mantra.

Trump’s interference in Jerusalem’s status “null and void”

The draft resolution vetoed by the US was supported by all 14 other members of the Security Council. It called on the US President to withdraw recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and said “any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void, and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.” It required all countries not to establish diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

America’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, stretched credibility far beyond breaking point by saying that the veto was “in defense of American sovereignty and in defense of America’s role in the Middle East peace process…. The United States will not be told by any country where we can put our embassy.

“Today” she said, “for the simple act of deciding where to put its embassy, the United States was forced to defend its sovereignty… Today, for acknowledging the basic truth that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, we are accused of harming peace. The record will reflect that we reject that outrageous claim.”

When did Israel’s claim to Jerusalem become a “basic truth”?

Haley boasted that the US had done more than any other country to assist the Palestinian people, providing them with more than $5 billion in assistance since 1994 and funding 30% of the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) budget. In reality these mighty sums subsidise Israel’s ongoing illegal military occupation. Had Palestinians been left in peace they would be making their own way in the world at no cost to others.

Haley also seized the chance to slam UN Security Council Resolution 2334 adopted a year earlier. Obama, who was President then, opted to abstain rather than veto the measure, allowing it to pass.

2334 reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;

It reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respects all of its legal obligations in this regard;

It underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations;

And it stresses that the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-state solution, and calls for affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground that are imperiling the two-sate solution.

What is there not to like or understand about that? Nevertheless, “Given the chance to vote again on Resolution 2334,” Haley said, “I can say with complete confidence that the US would vote ‘no’; we would exercise our veto power.”

Netanyahu’s reaction to UNSC Resolution 2334 had been entirely predictable: “Peace will come not through UN resolutions, but only through direct negotiations between the parties.” He would say that, wouldn’t he, with his military jackboot on the neck of the Palestinian people. His style of negotiation, as always, is holding a gun to the head of the other party. As everyone, especially America, knows, peace doesn’t suit Israel’s purpose although the pretense of seeking peace does.

What sensible peace proposals have there been?

Haley insisted that while Resolution 2334 described Israeli settlements as impediments to peace, it was the resolution itself that was an impediment. “Misplacing the blame for the failure of the peace efforts squarely on Israeli settlements, the resolution gave a pass to Palestinian leaders who for many years rejected one peace proposal after another,” she said.

Have there been any credible peace proposals? By now, surely, everyone realises that the Israeli regime has never wanted peace. They’ve said so loud and clear. Land-grabbing and ethnic cleansing is what they do, so the jackboot of Israeli occupation must remain firmly on the Palestinians’ neck.

And as far as I’m aware, no-one has actually told us what the two-state solution they keep banging on about would look like. No-one, that is, since Ehud Barak and his “generous offer” to the Palestinians in the summer of 2000. Zio enthusiasts like Haley, to this day, heap blame on the Palestinians for turning down Barak’s bizarre plan and others like it.

So what did this amazing deal amount to? The West Bank and the Gaza Strip, seized by Israel in 1967 and occupied ever since, comprise just 22% of pre-partition Palestine. When the Palestinians signed the Oslo Agreement in 1993 they agreed to accept the 22% and recognise Israel within the internationally recognised ‘Green Line’ borders (i.e. the 1949 Armistice Line established after the Arab-Israeli War). Conceding 78% of the land that was originally theirs was an extraordinary gesture on the Palestinians’ part.

But it wasn’t enough for greedy Israel. Barak’s oh-so-generous peace offer demanded the inclusion of 69 Israeli settlements within that 22% Palestinian remnant. It was obvious on the map that those settlement blocs created impossible borders and already severely disrupted Palestinian life in the West Bank. Barak also demanded the Palestinian territories be placed under “Temporary Israeli Control”, meaning Israeli military and administrative control indefinitely. The offer also gave Israel control over all the border crossings of the new Palestinian State. What nation in the world would accept that? Of course, it was rejected. But the ludicrous reality of Barak’s two-state solution was cleverly hidden from the rest of the world by elaborate propaganda spin.

Later, at the Taba talks, Barak produced a revised map but withdrew it after his election defeat. The ugly facts of the matter are well documented and explained by organisations such as Israel’s own Gush Shalom, yet Israel lobby stooges continue to peddle the lie that Israel offered the Palestinians a deal they couldn’t refuse. Is Barak’s crazed vision of two states the one the US, UK and EU still have in mind when they prattle on about a peace process?

Crude blackmail

In response to America’s veto an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly (where vetoes are not permitted) was called on Thursday to consider a resolution, co-sponsored by Turkey and Yemen, calling Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel “null and void” and reaffirming 10 security council resolutions on Jerusalem, dating back to 1967, including the requirement that the city’s final status must be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

It also demanded that “all states comply with security council resolutions regarding the holy city of Jerusalem, and not recognise any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions”.

Trump had threatened to withhold $billions of US aid from countries that voted in favour. Ambassador Haley wrote to about 180 of 193 member states warning she would be “taking names” of countries that voted for the resolution.

The Guardian reports Trump as saying: “Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care. But this isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said. “We’re not going to be taken advantage of any longer.”

His remarks appeared to be directed at UN member states in Africa, Asia and Latin America who are vulnerable to US pressure, including Egypt which drafted the UNSC resolution vetoed by the US and which received $1.2bn in US aid last year. Trump’s threat could also affect the UK which hopes to negotiate a favourable post-Brexit trade deal with Washington.

But his gutter tactics backfired spectacularly. 128 member countries including, I’m glad to say, the UK voted in favour of the resolution supporting the longstanding international consensus. Only nine states – including the United States and Israel – voted against; the rest either abstained or stayed away. A stinging rebuke, then, for Trump and his delinquent diplomacy.

Iran vilified as usual

Earlier, we saw a Saban Forum interview with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son in law and senior adviser on Middle East peace. Questioned about why his ‘team’ had no experts, Kushner replied: “It’s not a conventional team, but it’s a perfectly qualified team. When we were thinking how to put a team together, the President and I focused on who are the most qualified people, who had the right qualification and whom we both trusted.”

So they opted for a real estate lawyer and a bankruptcy lawyer. They have nobody truly qualified in Middle East affairs.

Talking about the Palestinians and Israelis Kushner insisted that “both sides really trust the President, and that’s very important”.

He observed: “Many countries in the region see Israel as a much more likely ally than it was 20 years ago because of Iran, because of ISIS.” He spoke of issues of great concern: “You have Iran and their nuclear ambitions and their expansive regional mischief…”

No mention, of course, of Israel’s nuclear domination and expansive regional mischief.

And he simply couldn’t stop himself demonising Iran. “A lot of countries felt Iran was being emboldened and there was no check on their aggression,” he added. “The president has been very clear about his intentions on this issue, and going to Saudi Arabia and laying out a priority of fighting Iran’s aggression was significant.” Kushner said that unifying everyone against Iran’s aggression is a “world problem”.

He should read the history of US (and UK) aggression against Iran before opening his mouth again of this subject.

There was no mention of international law in the interview, just getting deals done. Peace and strengthening US-Israel relationship is central, according to Kushner. Which, of course, disqualifies the US as a broker.

The Saban Forum interview is touted by some as a humiliation for Kushner. I don’t agree. Jared Kushner came across as an intelligent and even likable specimen of Zionism, thoughtful and with none of the usual arrogance. But he was shown up as naive, out of his depth and unfit to serve in that position. His performance also emphasised the lunacy of allowing the commander-in-chief of a so-called democracy to bring in his family members and business cronies to meddle in the affairs of state. There’s an unfortunate word for that: nepotism.

It is surely time for Trump, as a world leader, to decide whether to live up to his responsibility to respect and uphold international law and the norms of human conduct. Otherwise he should find other employment before he does any more damage.

The last word goes to the Palestinian ambassador in London, Prof Manuel Hassassian, who hits the nail smack on the head:

The US has dug itself into a position where it is set to find itself, alongside Israel, in a face-off with the majority of world nations – outlaws trying to dictate the law. We hope and trust the global community will not waiver in the face of such bullying tactics and do the right thing under international law and the right thing for Palestine and the Palestinians.

Repair or Replace?

There are very few inventions which are perfect at the moment of their creation, or which cannot be improved over time. The League of Nations was a new invention when it was first created after the First World War. It was the first attempt to form a global organisation whose main purpose was to prevent war through achieving disarmament and settling disputes through negotiation and arbitration. Like most new inventions, it wasn’t perfect. It failed, and World War Two followed.

However, the League did have some partial success. It established for the first time the concept of international law, the idea that there should be global laws to which every nation should conform. And it established the concept of international government, that some sort of international body should coordinate and regulate the international relationships between countries. The League failed, but it was a start; and when the United Nations was created after World War Two there was an old model upon which it could be based, and whose weaknesses and mistakes could be improved upon in the new model.

But like the League before it, the UN hasn’t lived up to the hopes and aspirations of many of those who created it. But also like the League, it has had some partial success. The concept of international law, although still poorly policed, is now even more firmly established in the global consciousness. The UN Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and several other internationally accepted treaties are fine achievements, slowly building an infrastructure of standards to which all nations should conform. So although the UN has clearly failed to create world peace, it has provided another useful stepping stone in the gradual evolution of what our planet desperately needs: an effective world government.

The UN has been very useful in one other important way: it has shown us what not to do; its failures have particular reasons for failing, and a clearer understanding of those reasons, and how to avoid them happening again, will help in designing the next stage in the evolution of world government.

The emperor is dead. Long live the emperor.

A brief glance at the short history of the United Nations quickly provides more than sufficient evidence of its main problems.

The period covering the fall of the British Empire probably started and ended with the United States. The end of the American War of Independence in 1783 was the first time a sizeable British colony successfully broke free of England’s control, and the conclusion of the Atlantic Charter, an agreement between Britain and the USA in 1941, effectively transferred control of what remained of Britain’s imperial pretensions to Washington. The Charter was Britain’s only chance of avoiding an early defeat by Germany in World War Two, and it marked the end of the British Empire, together with the birth of the American Empire. It was effectively a hostile takeover, an old and decrepit global corporation being bought out by a young and ambitious one.

Britain had started a war it had no chance of winning without American support, support they had no right or reason to think would be forthcoming. When the crunch came, and it came within the first two years of Britain’s six year war, the US found itself sitting in the pound-seats – the only nation capable of saving Britain’s neck. The US would do so, but at a price of its choosing. The Atlantic Charter was a bill of sale, transferring ownership of the planet from one grasping corporation to another.

Arrangements for the future shape of the new world order began well before the end of WW2. The first major issue to be resolved was how the new global economy would be managed — especially regarding the new global currency. Prior to the war British pounds were the most widely-used currency. After the war it would be the US dollar. British negotiators battled hard and valiantly at Bretton Woods to prevent this happening. Their lead negotiator, the famous economist JM Keynes, knowing the pound had had its day but wanting to prevent the inevitable, proposed a novel idea whereby no one country would control the global currency. But the moment had gone. If his ideas had been forthcoming and acted on twenty years earlier they might have succeeded and the war avoided altogether, but in 1945 it was too late; bankrupt, war-torn Britain had no bargaining power left, and the mighty US dollar won the day.

The next big question to be resolved was how international affairs would be administered, what new system would replace the League of Nations?

The San Francisco Conference

Delegates from fifty countries met in San Francisco in 1945 to create the United Nations. But right from the very beginning political games between the three major powers – Britain, US, and USSR – were being played. The other forty six countries were effectively little more than on-lookers. When the US emerged from the war as the most powerful country on earth, effectively the last man standing, it had absolutely no intention of equitable power-sharing. The UN would become an agent for implementing US foreign policy, or it would not exist at all. President Truman, writing in his memoirs, explained that the intentions of the US delegates to San Francisco would be to make sure the new UN would provide, the maintenance of United States military and strategic rights… [and] such control as will be necessary to assure general peace and security in the Pacific Ocean area as well as elsewhere in the world…”

Gabriel Kolko goes on to point out:

The assumption of this statement hardly concealed the strategic objectives of the United States, for it was perfectly clear that the United States sought to advance its national interests in the guise of performing erstwhile international obligations, obligations which threatened to take it to every corner of the globe.1

The position of the other main players, USSR and Britain, although individually far weaker than the US, was nevertheless significant. If the US was too blatant or greedy in its efforts to control the new world body they too could have refused to play; and Britain especially, with its crumbling but still vast imperial possessions still wielded considerable diplomatic influence around the world.

No doubt Britain mourned the loss of its imperial crown, and had to try to gain as much influence as it could with the new emperor. Fortunately both nations shared a common dread of the USSR and could see that working together would be in both their interests.

From the beginning of the postwar period until the present day, a primary aim of the leading Western states – and especially the United States and Britain – has been to render the United Nations an instrument of their foreign policies: serviceable as such when required; discarded when not…

A British Foreign Office memorandum of 1952, for example, called for strengthening the UN ‘as an instrument of Anglo-American foreign policy’.2

It must also have been very apparent to the delegation from the USSR, in the early days of the San Francisco conference, that their position was especially vulnerable. They were the only communist country in existence, and were only too well aware – after the numerous shenanigans played by their so-called allies during the war – that they could not trust the new global imperium one inch.

So the compromise arrangement, which would appear to ensure no one country had too much power, was the creation of the Security Council (SC), an “upper chamber” of the UN, comprising the handful of most powerful nations, any one of which could override any General Assembly (GA) decision, or any draft resolution made by fellow SC members.

However, there can be little doubt that by the 19990s the UN had evolved to pretty much serve the purpose for which the US originally intended it:

The dominant elite view with regard to the UN was well expressed in 1992 by Francis Fukuyama, who had served in the Reagan-Bush State Department: the UN is ‘perfectly serviceable as an instrument of American unilateralism and indeed may be the primary mechanism through which that unilateralism will be exercised in the future.’3

But ten years later a certain arrogant indifference had developed. The UN could be useful when compliant, irrelevant when not:

[A] senior Bush administration official explained in October 2002 that ‘we don’t need the Security Council.’ So if it ‘wants to stay relevant, then it has to give us similar authority’ to that just granted by Congress – authority to use force at will. The stand was endorsed by the president and Colin Powell, who added that ‘obviously, the Council can always go off and have other discussions,’ but ‘ we have the authority to do what we believe is necessary.’ Washington agreed to submit a resolution to the Security Council (UN1441), leaving no doubt, however, that the exercise was meaningless. ‘Whatever the diplomatic niceties, Mr Bush made it clear that he regarded the resolution to be all the authority he needed to act against Iraq should Mr Hussein balk.’ Diplomatic correspondents observed, ‘Though Washington would consult other members of the Security Council, it would not find it necessary to win their approval.’ Echoing Powell, White House chief of staff Andrew Card explained that ‘the UN can meet and discuss, but we don’t need their permission.’4

The UN in Action and Inaction

With over seventy years of UN history to consult there are two fairly damning pieces of irrefutable evidence showing how an organisation that showed so much promise for achieving great good has been abused and manipulated into presiding over very great evil: the record of vetoes cast in the so-called “Security Council”; and the record of trade sanctions imposed by the UN.

The Veto Record

The very concept of the Security Council (SC) veto is something which should be deeply pondered. What is the point of having a world assembly if one of five countries (the US, UK, Russia, France, or China) has the power to overrule its decisions? It’s a point that’s been raised before:

As the 1994 report of the International Commission on Peace and Food notes, ‘in no other constitution or organisation founded on democratic principles is it accepted that a few members [in the Security Council] may thus invalidate the decisions of the majority [in the General Assembly].5

The record of vetoes cast in the Security Council since the creation of the UN up to recent times is interesting. According to the Dag Hammarskjold Library (a UN service) a summary of vetoes cast is as follows:

  1. USSR (and later the Russian Federation): 107
  2. The USA: 78
  3. The UK: 29
  4. France: 16
  5. China: 10

Interestingly, the USSR used its veto seventy eight times in the first twenty years of the UN’s life, whilst the USA didn’t use theirs at all. Ever since then, over the last fifty years, the USSR/Russian Federation have used their veto 29 times compared to the USA’s 78 times. In fact, American vetoes cast during the last half century almost equals the number of vetoes used by the other four permanent SC members put together.

The power of the veto can be immense. It is, for example, the main reason why the living nightmare in Occupied Palestine has been going on for almost seventy years, and still shows no sign of ending. There, despite numerous efforts by the UN to bring a semblance of justice to that tragic land, the US routinely prevents it doing so by wielding its veto.

The Sanctions Record

Whilst the veto can work as an effective means to prevent the UN doing something helpful and useful (as in Palestine), the use of the UN to impose trade sanctions on a country can be every bit as horrific as declaring war on it. Trade sanctions imposed on Iraq, for example, in the lead-up to the 2003 war there, are known to have been directly responsible for the deaths of over half a million children – as well as many uncounted others. Madeleine Albright, US Ambassador to the UN at the time, infamously agreed that this was an “acceptable price” to pay for what amounted to achieving a US foreign policy objective.6

Looking at the data for the occasions when the UN has imposed trade sanctions on a country, a very clear pattern once again emerges.

My second edition copy of Economic Sanctions Reconsidered was published in 1990, so obviously only has information up to that time (more recent editions are available). The book does not cover every instance of economic sanctions, but does focus “on the use of sanctions to achieve foreign policy goals”.7

Starting just after the creation of the United Nations, the USA imposed trade sanctions a massive seventy five times. No other country comes close. The second most prolific user was USSR, which imposed them seven times. All the other countries put together imposed sanctions just fifty times.

So it’s very clear to see, from the use of the Security Council veto, and the record of trade sanctions, how the US has used and abused the United Nations.

The “Security Council” and the war industry

It’s interesting to reflect on the fact that the five permanent members of the UN’s so-called Security Council are also homes of the biggest arms makers in the world, and that the USA is by far the biggest of them all. Given that weapons of war contribute vastly to global insecurity, the conflict of interest for the five permanent members of the SC — and especially the extreme capitalist nations of USA, UK and France — is obvious to see. How could these nations possibly be striving for global security when they are the main providers of the principle means for guaranteeing insecurity? How could they possibly be active in achieving global arms reduction if their most powerful and politically influential arms manufacturers are amassing vast profits from producing weapons of war?

The enormous war machine known as NATO has engineered for itself the incredible situation where its member nations are bound to spend a minimum of around 2% of their annual GDP on “defence”. In effect this means constantly purchasing new war materials from the main providers — war materials which must of course continually be used in order to justify to taxpayers the need for this horrendous expense.

The USA is currently believed to be spending over six hundred billion dollars (about three per cent of US GDP) this year on its “defence” — more than China, Russia and the other countries on the “Security Council” put together.

Looking at the statistics, it’s stunning to compare the data for Costa Rica, for example, where a long line of zeros appear by the side of its name. Why does one country need to spend almost a trillion dollars a year on its “defence”, when another can maintain a truly peaceful existence without spending a single cent on armies? And this when wholly surrounded by countries which have been torn apart by war and revolution for many decades.

The enormous amount of money spent by the US on its war machines is a major driver for global insecurity. Given that the US, more than any other country since the end of WW2, has been instrumental in overthrowing at least fifty foreign governments, many of which were democracies, it’s very clear to see that it’s the US rather than any other country, which causes most global conflicts.

The economics of war clearly favour the US. The hundreds of billions of dollars it spends every year come from its own money, of which it has a limitless supply. Other nations must obtain their dollars (for most arms deals are done in US dollars) by using some sort of real commodity — like oil, for example. This is one reason why Saudi Arabia has one of the biggest military machines in the world. It has more oil than it knows what to do with — a product highly desired by the biggest arms maker in the world.

Nations who have every reason to feel seriously intimidated by the US – such as the USSR – are forever trying to keep up with their arch-nemesis. But unlike the US, they must sell real commodities in order to obtain the dollars they need to purchase the necessary raw materials or high-tech products in order to keep up. Wasting their precious foreign exchange this way obviously makes it impossible to spend money on more socially useful goods. This is, of course, a common problem that also effects most other nations. Kept permanently intimidated, one way or another, by the world’s biggest bully they too feel they must waste precious foreign currency purchasing vast quantities of military hardware – which must be used in artificially contrived wars to justify the expense to their taxpayers.

The Empty Vessel

The fact that the so-called “Security Council” is capable of turning UN decisions into dead letters is seriously important, but it’s only half the problem. The other issue which prevents the UN being anything other than an empty vessel is the fact that it cannot control the finances it needs for its works.

From its earliest days, UN finances have been administered mainly in US dollars, which means that the US effectively controls its spending.

So if we put together all of these factors — the use of vetoes to override the General Assembly — mainly by the USA; the use of trade sanctions as a weapon of war — mainly by the USA; the fact that the USA is by far the biggest arms dealer on the planet — the single greatest cause of global insecurity; and the fact that the US has almost total control of the UN’s finances; it’s very clear to see that not only is the UN largely incapable of performing the function for which it was intended, it has been wholly subverted by the US so that it’s no more than another agent for implementing US foreign policy — pretty much as intended by American elites since before it was founded.

Repair or Replace?

When things get old and worn out we’re often faced with a dilemma: should we repair them or replace them?  Usually repairs are only a serious possibility when the damage is superficial or fairly minor. When it comes to the UN, its worst problems are considerably more serious and of a similar nature to those identified by Tom Paine, writing about the British government over two hundred years ago:

The defect lies in the system. The foundation and the superstructure of the government is bad.8

Unfortunately we’re still waiting to replace Britain’s corrupt system. It’s to be hoped that the wait to replace the UN is not near so long.

Daniel Moynihan, who served as the US ambassador to the UN in the 1970s, verified what was already becoming standard practice:

The United States wished things to turn out as they did [in East Timor], and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success.9

There is a certain gloating smugness to his comment, as though it was something Mr Moynihan felt proud about. But the success he speaks of resulted in one of the worst genocides of the twentieth century. About three hundred thousand East Timorese — a third of the population — were murdered by the Indonesian government The fact that just one member country of the UN could ensure it was “utterly ineffective” at preventing such horrors indicates the major systemic problem of the UN, a problem which is surely beyond repair.

The Repair Option

One of the most frustrating things which surely effects every waking minute of most activists’ lives is the certain knowledge that things could be so much better, so easily. It’s not as though we knew about some comet heading for earth that would annihilate the world and there was nothing we could do about it. The problems that plague our planet are entirely man-made. We could easily do something about them — if the political will was there to do so. But it isn’t, and never has been.

For this reason it isn’t very realistic to think the UN could be repaired. The USA, being by far the most powerful nation on earth, could, if it so chose, be a real force for real good. It could, almost single-handedly, transform the UN so that it was able to work in the way that most hoped it would work. But given that there’s absolutely nothing in the entire history of the USA to suggest that it has ever done anything other than enhance the interests of its own rich and powerful elites, at the expense of the poor and powerless, we should not only not expect the US to undertake such repair work, we should expect the US to fight tooth and claw to prevent anyone else doing so either. This suggests that replacement of the UN, by others, is the best option.

The Replace Option

At first glance, replacement may seem far-fetched. But we often have to use our imaginations to find innovative solutions, to ponder “what if…”. Given that the UN is clearly no longer fit for purpose, if indeed it ever was, it’s surely time to imagine what a properly-functioning world government should look like.

Perhaps the first question to ask is do we need one at all? I believe we do, for the simple reason that mankind has not yet evolved to such an advanced state that greed and ambition, the curse of humanity, has been eradicated from human DNA. Until that happy day arrives we will need governments to try to curb the worst excesses of human nature. And no government is more important, or more needed, than an effective world government.

Our most serious immediate problem is time. Our planet is perilously close to ecological and environmental catastrophe. Species are going extinct today at a faster rate than at any other time since the extinction of the dinosaurs. This is clearly directly related to the one species whose numbers are exploding — human beings. China is the only nation that has attempted to address this issue, at first with its one-child policy, and now with a far more sensible and perfectly adequate two-child policy. Promoting this as an urgently-needed global cause, arguably even more important than the need to eradicate Permanent War, is something that only a world government could achieve — in the time we have remaining.

So if we accept that we do need a world government, what should it look like?

Fortunately we do not have to invent something that’s never been seen before. The basic concept of a world government has been around now for about a hundred years. It simply needs to be tweaked, improved on, genetically mutated as a natural evolutionary process. I don’t think very much needs to change, except for a few key functions. A handful of foundational and structural improvements may not create the perfect government, but they would surely vastly improve what we have, and that has to be a good thing.

The first thing that has to go is the so-called “Security Council”. Given its long record of vetoing many of the good works the UN has tried to achieve — like bringing justice to Palestine — together with its imposition of hundreds of cases of murderous economic sanctions, together with its total failure to hold to account the principal villains responsible for Permanent War, this Orwellian construct has without doubt been responsible for more global insecurity than any other single factor in recent history. Any new world government cannot allow any one country to have the right to veto the democratic decisions of the government — like some king or emperor overruling parliament.

The next most important requirement is for our new government to have independent economic control. It must have its own currency, which it and it alone controls, and which is acceptable legal tender anywhere amongst member nations. This money should be used to finance the operations and activities of the new government, and every member nation should automatically receive an allocated amount of this money every year, according to the size of its population, and the needs of that nation for essential goods and services.

Next up is an effective global police force. This does not need to be an army, it simply needs to be a proper police force that can work with national police forces to arrest and bring to justice anyone, anywhere, charged with contravening international law.

One other vitally important function, which is not provided for by the UN, is a reliable information service. Most nations are fed false and deceitful information all of the time by their mainstream media, mainly to serve the venal purposes of corrupt leaders. Everyone on the planet should be able to access information whose accuracy and credibility is second to none; information which is not only seen as accurate and credible at the time it is happening, but which fifty or a hundred or two hundred years later would still be viewed as truthful and balanced. A new global government could and should provide such a global information service.

Very little else about our existing UN needs to change, because much about the UN is very good. It has a fine Charter, and its Universal Declaration of Human Rights is just about perfect, as are many of its other international agreements – such as the recent treaty signed by 122 nations to ban all nuclear weapons. So most of the UN’s basic organisation is good and doesn’t need to change much. But if we could make the four changes shown above, and properly administer them, massive improvements would materialise in a very rapid space of time.

Steps to Achieve

The USA could and should be a loud voice demanding these changes, but there’s no reason to think it will be. Quite the opposite. Therefore something else needs to happen.

It’s unrealistic and unnecessary to imagine somehow overthrowing the USA and thereby reforming the UN. But could it be simply bypassed?

What if an embryonic alternative international organisation, such as BRICS, say, started to create a replacement UN? What if the new replacement was designed so that, unlike the old one, it could not possibly be used to promote and further the interests of just one country, or group of countries? What if it drafted a new constitution based on the existing UN Charter, including its UDHR, but left out the possibility of any one nation having veto powers over the democratic decisions of fellow members? What if it started its own currency unit, and created its own police force — not an army, just a police force? This principle has worked for Costa Rica for seventy years, why should it not work for the whole planet? What if we suddenly had access to good, reliable and trustworthy information about world events? What if the new embryonic government invited any country in the world to join it, to help create the world future generations desperately need right now?

Such an organisation would pose no threat to the people of the USA — or anywhere else. It would have no army, so would not be capable of invading anyone. Membership would be voluntary and open to any country that subordinated itself to the constitution. It would not take long to see that such a body would be infinitely more useful to its members, and the planet generally, than the existing United Nations; and membership of the UN would slowly become irrelevant, useful only for the fact of the rung it once provided on the evolutionary ladder to a properly functioning world government. The USA, just like any other country, should be invited and encouraged to join the new organisation — but it would have to understand that, contrary to its existing position, it is NOT exceptional, it is no more or less important than any other country in the world, and its people and their “interests” are no more or less important than other people and their interests anywhere else in the world.

The planet, as a whole, faces a very considerable danger: its fantastic multitude of species of animals and plants are being wiped out at a faster rate than at any time since dinosaurs became extinct — because of the actions of human beings. This danger cannot be fought and overcome by one country or a small group of countries acting alone — especially when one or two powerful rogue states routinely ignore the long-term health of the planet for their own selfish short-term gain. It’s a global problem and needs a global solution, a solution that could only be found, and properly acted upon, by a properly functioning world government, a government that acts in the best interests of the planet as a whole – not the best interests of a handful of super-rich individuals controlling the world’s most powerful nation.

  1. Politics of War, Gabriel Kolko, p. 466.
  2. The Great Deception, Mark Curtis, p. 176.
  3. Hegemony or Survival, Noam Chomsky, p. 29.
  4. Ibid, p. 32.
  5. The Great Deception, Mark Curtis, p. 199.
  6. Hidden Agendas, John Pilger, p. 54.
  7. Economic Sanctions Reconsidered, Hufbauer, Schott and Elliott, p. 2.
  8. Rights of Man, Tom Paine, p. 315.
  9. Hidden Agendas, John Pilger, p. 302.