NEW DELHI/SAN FRANCISCO: Editors Note: US Domestic and Foreign Policy Analyst Mark Mason speaks to The Citizen on the current Trump administration and its world view, with specific focus on West (Iran) and South (India,Pakistan) Asia. Mark Mason offers analyses of United States domestic and foreign policies for the international news media. He was trained as a biological anthropologist educated at the University of California, Berkeley, and recently engaged in the Occupy and bioregional green and peace social movements. His recent publications include Demystifying US and Israeli Power. This interview is the first of an irregular series of conversations between The Citizen and scholars in different parts of the world. Feedback is very welcome at email@example.com. [DS added the link.]
“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?” — Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948
When the UN was established on 24th October 1945, little over five months after the end of World War II, the organization’s stated aims were to prevent further devastating conflicts. In spite of the fact that 193 out of the world’s 195 nations are Member States, it has failed woefully.
On Tuesday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on whether Trump can just up and nuke people or not. The hand-picked witnesses, all former military, all said there was some chance that if Trump ordered a nuking, somebody might refuse to carry out the order. On what grounds? No witness or Senator ever mentioned the illegality of war under the UN Charter or the Kellogg-Briand Pact. But one witness brought up “necessity” and “proportionality” as grounds for deeming a particular apocalypse-creating act illegal and another legal. But these “just war” concepts are not empirical. There’s no standard for determining whether an action is “necessary” or “proportional.” It comes down to the mood the commander of Strategic Command is in that day, or the partisan identity of some official, or the courage and integrity of rank-and-filers ordered to begin the earth’s destruction. If, like me, you’re not convinced that’s good enough, here are some other possible approaches:
An American political commentator denounced the US government as the world’s biggest terrorist organization, saying such an empire would never honor treaties or deals because upholding an agreement means the US is not really an empire.
When in 1978 the 31-year old Afghan Communist politician-activist, Mohammad Najibullah, arrived in Tehran, “exiled” to neighboring Iran as Afghanistan’s Ambassador, I had just left Iran where I had worked throughout the year of 1977. Najibullah’s political party, the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) had come to power in Kabul in April, 1978 in what is known as the Saur Revolution, the name of the month in the Afghan calendar when the Communist Revolution took place. Far from united, the PDPA was divided into two factions: the more revolutionary faction (Khalq-People’s) that first took power in Kabul in that crucial year of 1978 (crucial in both Afghanistan and Iran), preferred to have the charismatic Najibullah of the Parcham faction (Banner) of the PDPA far from the halls of power.
Before decertifying the Iran nuclear deal, the US should approach the UN Security Council and the P5+1 with evidence that Iran is not in compliance, this is a multilateral deal says Professor Vijay Prashad.
Germany and France have backed the stance of Russia and China for negotiations to avert the Korea crisis. South Korea and Japan also seem to be amenable to recent calls by Russian President Vladimir Putin for exclusively diplomatic efforts. Any other option in the alarming standoff with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program portends disaster.
Both houses of Congress have now passed big new sanctions bills by veto-proof majorities, in fact with near unanimity. The vote this week in the House of Misrepresentatives was 419–3 on a bill to sanction Russia, Iran, and North Korea as punishment for primarily imaginary crimes, despite the sum total of the global legal bodies having asked the United States to judge these crimes, skip over a trial, and move right ahead with punishment being exactly equal to the number of principled opponents of war employed on Capitol Hill.
‘It has been a splendid little war, begun with the highest motives, carried on with magnificent intelligence and spirit, favored by that Fortune which loves the brave.’ US Secretary of State John Hay, defining the Spanish-American War of 1898, in a letter to Theodore Roosevelt, July 27 of that year, the war ushering in America’s Imperial era and unequivocally heralding its hegemonic ambitions.
The U.S. Senate has increased sanctions on the people of Iran and Russia, if the House and President go along. The Senate vote was 98-2, with Senators Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders voting no, the latter despite his support for the Russian half of the bill.