This week on September 19 General Debate began at the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York and will continue until September 25. At the General Assembly, Heads of State or government, or their representatives, address the United Nations stating their priorities for themselves, the world and the UN itself.
A low point, exhibiting for all to see the deep crisis in which the U.S. is mired, was the performance of its President Donald Trump. His vehement rhetoric promising fire and brimstone to all non-believers in the U.S. democracy shows how desperate the United States has become because it cannot command that the world fix its economic and all-sided crisis. The more it declares that it is the indispensable nation, the more all others become aware of the need to make sure they are not dispensed with.
Despite the fact that the U.S. and the failure of its democracy are culpable for the anarchy and violence which prevail worldwide, Trump blamed the “[a]uthority and authoritarian powers [who] seek to collapse the values, the systems, and alliances, that prevented conflict and tilted the world toward freedom since World War II.”
Notwithstanding the failure of U.S. institutions to resolve the contradictions within the ruling circles or any problem in which the U.S. is mired, Trump cited the U.S. Constitution as a timeless and universal document which extends to the entire world. “We are celebrating the 230th anniversary of our beloved Constitution, the oldest constitution still in use in the world today. This timeless document has been the foundation of peace, prosperity, and freedom for the Americans and for countless millions around the globe whose own countries have found inspiration in its respect for human nature, human dignity, and the rule of law,” he said.
“In America, the people govern, the people rule, and the people are sovereign. I was elected not to take power, but to give power to the American people where it belongs,” Trump asserted.
He put forward an irrational notion of sovereignty in which the U.S. has the sovereign right to decide what is best for it and everyone else:
“We must fulfill our sovereign duties to the people we faithfully represent. We must protect our nations, their interests and their futures. We must reject threats to sovereignty from the Ukraine to the South China Sea. We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow.”
He issued a direct threat against the Korean people: “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea … the United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about. That’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.”
He attacked Iran threatening to scrap the deal negotiated in 2015 between Iran, all Security Council members plus Germany, as well as the European Union, to limit its peaceful nuclear energy program in return for the dropping of sanctions. “We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program. The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it. Believe me,” Trump said.
Trump then threatened the entire world with the U.S. war of terror. “From now on, our security interests will dictate the length and scope of military operation, not arbitrary benchmarks and timetables set up by politicians. I have also totally changed the rules of engagement in our fight against the Taliban and other terrorist groups,” Trump declared.
“America stands with every person living under a brutal regime. Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action. All people deserve a government that cares for their safety, their interests, and their well-being, including their prosperity.”
For its part, the Government of Canada used its intervention during the UN General Assembly to contribute to the image that its Prime Minister is the Great White Hope who will achieve success where those who threaten fire and brimstone do not.
The fear and even terror inspired by the fire and brimstone performance of the U.S. President should not divert attention from the fact that the allegedly kinder and gentler Great White Hope serves the same private interests both governments represent.
In response to Trump’s threats to “totally destroy” the DPRK, Prime Minister Trudeau was silent and instead joined Trump in blaming the DPRK for the dangerous situation. He told a news conference, “I share everyone’s concern over the reckless behaviour by the North Korean regime, and continue to believe that working with partners and allies in the region and around the world … is the best way to de-escalate this situation.” His answer to de-escalating this situation: allies and partners should also threaten the DPRK rather than the U.S. going it alone.
To show what this means, he opened the door to officially joining the U.S. missile defence program, which is part of U.S. pre-emptive strike capabilities against other nations. “We’re continuing to look at the situation,” he said. “We have not changed our position at this point, but we continue to engage in thoughtful ways to ensure we’re doing everything we can and we must do to keep Canadians safe,” he added.
At a gala reception, September 19, held by NATO’s Atlantic Council on a decommissioned U.S. aircraft carrier, Trudeau received the Council’s Global Citizen Award and delivered a speech — described by the Council as a “Rallying Cry to Save the Global Order” — that was almost identical to Trump’s remarks earlier that day.
“Alliances that have underpinned global security and prosperity since 1945 are being put to the test, and the urgency of the challenges we share in common — climate change and drought, income inequality, violent extremism, civil war and the mass migrations that result — continues to grow,” Trudeau said.
“Worldwide, the long-established international order is being tested. With Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and encroachment in Ukraine, we have seen the first major territorial seizure in Europe since the Second World War” he said.
“This is not the time for retrenchment. It is a time for the Atlantic democracies to renew our commitment to universal standards of rights and liberty, enforced through a multilateral, rules-based order that has promoted peace and stability, and stood the test of time.”
This multilateral, rules-based order enforced by the UN, NATO, NORAD, and the World Trade Organization, spans both “soft and hard power,” which is why, he said, Canada is also significantly boosting its defence spending.
While echoing Trump’s threats against the Korean people, Trudeau hypocritically called for “opposing the scourges of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ethnic and religious bigotry, neo-fascism, neo-Nazism, and the violent extremism of Daesh that confront us in 2017.”
“We cannot waver. It would be unconscionable to take even one step back in upholding the standards of decency of the sisterhood and brotherhood of the human family that won the day in the most painful struggles of the last century,” Trudeau said.
The UN has become an antiquated body which is no longer capable of upholding the international rule of law adopted in the post-WWII period. The takeover of the world by police powers in the hands of oligopolies and private interests, which will stop at nothing to make money, means that a new balance of power is required which can hold the destructive forces in check. There can be no expectation that such a power can be created within the imperialist system of states. It has to be created by humanity uniting in action in defence of its own interests.
The Time to Act Is Now!
Make Canada a Zone for Peace!
Uphold Rights by Virtue of Being Human!
One Humanity, One Struggle!
Source: TML Weekly, September 23, 2017 – No. 29