Tag Archives: Trump

Due process

In a 2002 article, respected linguist and dissident Noam Chomsky asks:

What is the proper response to the crime? Whatever the answer, it must at least satisfy a moral truism: If we propose some principle that is to be applied to antagonists, then we must agree — in fact, strenuously insist — that the principle apply to us as well.

A reaction or response to the chemical weapon incident in Syria a few days ago therefore demands due process, i.e. that international law (and domestic law) is respected. Reacting to a war crime with another war crime would would violate the above principle.

To find an appropriate response, we first have to assess the situation: The origin of the chemical weapon incident has not been proven. It might have been an accident when a stock of chemical weapons was hit. It might have been one of the many terrorist groups (euphemistically called “rebels” in the western media) or even ISIS to evoke a reaction by the US. It might even have been a false flag operationa tactic well known to be used by the US especially since Iraq 2003 but also before (Gulf of Tonkin incident). Therefore, until the origin is proven without any doubts, any military strike is unlawful and against the moral standards of the West.

A military strike against another country is only legal if the UN gives its approval or if a country is in danger and the military action can prevent more violence. In this case, there was no UN approval at all—not even a demand—and the US was in no way in any danger. The military strike against Syria by Donald Trump is therefore a war crime.[1]

Thirdly, a military action should reduce future violence. Often an attack worsen the conflict as in the case of the Balkan wars in the 1999[2]. An action that leads to an entirely predictable attack on the civilian population can not be an appropriate response to an (alleged) war crime. The strike might pressure Assad and lead to increased violence. It could even escalate into a confrontation with Russia. A highly risky action therefore—strategically and as well from the humanitarian perspective.

The way to peace

Let’s have a look at “the grand chess board” of the Middle East: The US wants a regime change in Syria to redraw the borders as John Bolton has expressed[3]. In addition, the there are plans to build a pipeline through Syria that will transport gas to Europe. This pipeline is nothing less than an economic weapon against Russia as it threatens Russia’s income from gas exports. Russia therefore will do anything to prevent a regime change by the US.[4]

The only way to peace is therefore that the US gives up its imperial strategy and stops “arming and training rebel groups” (i.e. supporting terrorism). Then a diplomatic option might have a chance and after a truce, an established peace, a transition period (with Assad in power), free and fair election could take place.

But first and foremost, the US has to give up its imperial aims in the region.

***

1 It is even a war of aggression. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_aggression

2  NATO commander Wesley Clark reported «that on March 6 he had informed Secretary of State Madleine Albright that if NATO proceeded to bomb Serbia, “almost certainly” the Serbs would “attack the civilian population” and NATO would be able to do nothing to prevent that reaction on the ground.», Noam Chomksy, Hegemony or Survival, p. 59

3 http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/25/opinion/john-bolton-to-defeat-isis-create-a-sunni-state.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region

4 If you look at Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, Russia can morally defend their action to a certain extend as leaving the ground to the US will most likely lead to chaos. Syria would just become another failed state.

2 Comments

Filed under politics

The daily Trump resistance

Do not try to cure one evil with an even worse:

And it is important to resist them. And there are lots of really great ways to resist them, such as getting courts to restrain them, citizen activism and, most important of all, having the Democratic Party engage in self-critique to ask itself how it can be a more effective political force in the United States after it has collapsed on all levels. That isn’t what this resistance is now doing. What they’re doing instead is trying to take maybe the only faction worse than Donald Trump, which is the deep state, the CIA, with its histories of atrocities, and say they ought to almost engage in like a soft coup, where they take the elected president and prevent him from enacting his policies. And I think it is extremely dangerous to do that. Even if you’re somebody who believes that both the CIA and the deep state, on the one hand, and the Trump presidency, on the other, are extremely dangerous, as I do, there’s a huge difference between the two, which is that Trump was democratically elected and is subject to democratic controls, as these courts just demonstrated and as the media is showing, as citizens are proving. But on the other hand, the CIA was elected by nobody. They’re barely subject to democratic controls at all. And so, to urge that the CIA and the intelligence community empower itself to undermine the elected branches of government is insanity. That is a prescription for destroying democracy overnight in the name of saving it. And yet that’s what so many, not just neocons, but the neocons’ allies in the Democratic Party, are now urging and cheering. And it’s incredibly warped and dangerous to watch them do that.

Glenn Greenwald, Democracy Now

cf: http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/17/rogue-elephant-rising-the-cia-as-kingslayer/

Leave a comment

Filed under politics, Uncategorized

Real Trump-resistance is fact-based

In his article in the Swiss newspaper NZZ, Slavoj Žižek warns rightly that the left’s response to Trump’s election should not just be self-complacent moral indignation but include hard self-criticism. I can’t agree more. Even when I embrace and welcome actions of icons like Meryl Streep or companies that back away from the new president, there is a big danger just below the surface. When large companies known for their precarious social impacts[1] or celebrities that belong to the establishment and supported Hillary Clinton[2] are now portrayed or portray themselves as the spearhead of resistance, the anti-Trump movements descends into a rebranding event for the establishment where the exponents of society fight as the brave against the villain (who is eventually removed) and where at the end the Statue of Liberty is replaced by a statue of Hillary, the new Jeanne d’Arc of America … In other words, a Hollywood-like show for a big whitewash of the current establishment and its economic order.

True critique has to address more than the person of Trump. Even when Trump is vulgar and lacks almost all presidential qualities, it is the things he stands for that have to be addressed and fought against: Unconstitutional decrees first, but also increased military spending, social injustice, tax exemption for the rich, illegal wars, etc.

As Žižek writes, the left has the unique opportunity to renew itself. The left lost because they (i.e. the Democratic Nomination Committee) sidelined and boycotted Bernie Sanders, because they ignored the urge for true change, because they – the establishment – wanted to go on and on with profits for the rich and losses for the poor ignoring the underprivileged in the middle of their country. With Trump in the Oval Office the left (the DNC and the Democrats) should finally see the writing on the wall and act. Only a radical departure from the current economic system that is socially, ecologically and morally corrupt and rotten can bring a change. Only a departure from the neo-liberal credo will mobilise the masses.[3]

For once the press is not blindly parroting and blandishing the actions of the White House as they usually do. It is therefore the time for true critique.

Overcoming Trump means …

  • replacing the aggressive, (regime-changing) foreign policy of the last 65 years with a policy of mutual respect, acceptance of international law and the pursuit of peace (including the abolishment of nuclear weapons worldwide)
  • reducing military spending from 50% gradually to 5%[4]
  • ending NATO[5]
  • ending the fossil fuel era and shifting to 100% sustainable energy
  • preventing climate change[6]
  • reducing threats to democracy like extreme wealth concentration[7]
  • ensuring minority rights and counteracting racism[8]
  • lessoning the gap between rich and poor
  • creating a single payer health care system

We truly don’t need self-complacent moral indignation and self-presentation.

Real Trump-resistance is fact-based!

***

1 e.g Uber

2 e.g. Madonna

3 Unless the masses are not deluded into a war or the like, see here

4 There is no military threat to the US anywhere in the world.

5 Contrary to public opinion, NATO is not a defensive but an offensive and often aggressive alliance. It did not defend during the last 20 years but invade and kill.

6 Climate change will not be preventable any more but it can be contained according to the Paris agreement.

7 Trump’s rise to presidency is just the most recent attack of unregulated, excessive wealth on democracy – with unprecedented impacts.

8 Education is the key to counteract racism. One has to start in kindergarden …

 

1 Comment

Filed under politics

A strange déjà-vu

We had it all sixteen years ago. When George W. Bush became president, the world stood against him. But then came 9/11 and suddenly the village idiot received unrestricted solidarity[1]. Now Trump stands against almost the whole world and if he can’t deliver to those angry whites that voted for him, he will be in splendid isolation.

Are we heading therefore for a new 9/11?

Donald Trump might need a new 9/11 when the deceit of his campaign promises becomes evident. If you can’t keep your promises, get an outer cause, an enemy to blame for as “in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public’s sense of domestic well-being”[2] the masses will agree to military spending (“the pursuit of power”) and will accept their economic situation (“economic self-denial”). After a few months of failed policies and world wide contempt, what could Trump welcome more than an “America under attack”-scenario?

For now the angry whites are kept at bay with tough anti-immigrant policies like building the wall against Mexico or banning Muslims entering the country. Decrees like these create the impression that he does what he promised and pacify the voters—but only for a limited amount of time. When no new jobs spring into life, when the salaries don’t rise, when the infrastructure remains at the bottom, the angry whites will have to be deluded in other ways. As Trump almost for sure won’t be able to create jobs and economic growth for all as his cabinet is made of generals and multi-billionaires (the latter representing the establishment he claims to fight), the question is not if but when it will happen.

A war can distract the angry whites and give them a new object of anger. A war brings excuse and emotions: they take away our progress”, “they prevent America to become great again”. The new enemy will explain the failures of the current presidency and direct the anger to a new target. And all those who do not agree and dare to voice dissident opinion will be decried as unpatriotic.

I met one single Trump voter. He was full of anger and his arguments were all one liners. From “lock her up” to “bomb them down” it is a small step.

But a new 9/11 will also silence other governments and downgrade topics like climate change, the divide between rich and poor, racial inequality and other looming environmental catastrophes to name just a few. In the absence of a “truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat”[3] the public—including non-US governments— will remind the current administration endlessly about the real problems of this world. A war therefore will not just calm the angry whites but also the heads of non-US states.

If 9/11 was an inside job, there are high times for a second 9/11 [4] as war might be the one thing that can change Trump’s standing in the world and hide his inexorable coming failures.

The bulletin of Atomic Scientists have moved the doomsday clock closer to midnight. It stands now at two and a half minutes to midnight.[5]

***

1 German then-chancellor Gerhard Schröder just after the attacks.

2 Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard, p. 37

3The Grand Chessboard, p. 211

4 To be correct, it would be the 4[th] 9/11. The first 9/11 happened 300 years ago in Catalan, the second in Chile 1973, the third is the commonly known 9/11/

5 http://thebulletin.org/clock/2017

3 Comments

Filed under politics