RSS

The one indispensable nation.

20 Sep

“[…]The president, speaking to silent mourners in a cavernous hangar at Andrews Air Force Base just outside Washington, D.C., said, ‘Even as voices of suspicion and mistrust seek to divide countries and cultures from one another, the United States of America will never retreat from the world. Even in our grief, we will be resolute.’ […] ” – http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/obama-vows-never-retreat-world-libya-deaths-205807450–election.html

Never retreat, eh?  Too bad.  I think the rest of the world could use a break from us right about now.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA WITH JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART
September 12, 2012

Jose Diaz Balart – MR. President, Gracias.

Pres. Obama: Gracias.

Jose Diaz Balart – For the first time since 1979, a sitting ambassador, Christopher Stevens, plus three other Americans were killed in the line of duty. We send more than a billion dollars a year to Egypt, tens of millions to Libya after its liberation. Is it time to reconsider foreign aid to countries where many of the people don’t want us around?

Pres. Obama: Well, look, the Unites States doesn’t have an option of withdrawing from the world. And we’re the one indispensable nation. Countries all around the world look to us for leadership, even countries where sometimes you experience protests. And so it’s important for us to stay engaged. […] But, you know what we have to do now is to do a full investigation. Find out the facts. Find out who perpetrated these terrible acts and bring them to justice.

Jose Diaz Balart – What does that mean, bring them to justice? What are your options?

Pres. Obama: Well you know, I hope it’s to be able to capture them, and, But we’re going to have to obviously cooperate with the Libyan government and I have confidence that we will stay on this relentlessly[…]  And we have to understand that, but the message we’ve communicated to the Egyptians, to the Libyans and everybody else is that there are certain values we insist on, that we believe in.  And certainly the security of our people and protecting diplomats in these countries is something that we expect and so we’re going to continue to look at all aspects of how our embassies are operating in those regions. […]

Jose Diaz Balart – Would you consider the current Egyptian regime an ally of the United States?

Pres. Obama: I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy. They’re a new government that is trying to find its way. They were democratically elected. I think that we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident. How they respond to, for example, maintaining the peace treaty in isr..with Israel. So far, at least, what we’ve seen is that in some cases they’ve said the right things and taken the right steps. In others, how they’ve responded to various events may not be aligned with our interests. […]

Jose Diaz Balart – Let’s talk about some other issue that’s been brought up politically. The issue of Israel. Have you drawn a red line on Iran and its nuclear power future? And do you feel that there is any kind of disagreement with the government of Israel?

Pres. Obama: The government of Israel and the United States government are entirely united in believing that it would be a grave threat for Iran to possess a nuclear weapon. That’s why I’ve helped to organize an international coalition that’s unprecedented, to put incredible pressure and sanctions on the Iranian regime. They are seeing a huge amount of economic turmoil as a consequence of those sanctions. What we’ve said is that we are willing to offer them a path to resolve this diplomatically, but we reserve all options on the table.

Jose Diaz Balart – So there is a red line?

Pres. Obama: Well, I’ve stated repeatedly, publicly that red line, and that is we’re not going to accept Iran having a nuclear weapon, not only because it threatens Israel, not only because it could potentially threaten the United State, it could also fall into the hands of terrorists and it would trigger a nuclear arms race in the region that could be incredibly dangerous so, I’ve been very clear about my position. The Israelis, I think, understandably, are nervous, given the terrible things that the Iranian regime has said about Israel and the actions they’ve taken through proxies like Hezbollah in attacking Israel. So we are going to continue to consult with them very closely in moving this issue to the kind of resolution that ensures greater peace and stability in the region and in the world.[…]

http://tinyurl.com/8b5nlxy

We think we are indispensable.  Yet what exactly are we providing the world that is indispensable?  We have a diplomatic corps that is armed with mercenaries and which flies its own drones.  We have a Secretary of State who laughed – actually cackled with bloodthirsty and insane glee – when we were able to capture, torture and kill the leader of a sovereign nation. (See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DXDU48RHLU)  We were pleased to create a new government for Libya, one might call it government-in-a-box, and simply announced that this was now the recognized government that they would answer to.  There has been no inquiry from anyone in the media or in Congress, aside from Dennis Kucinich, as to the legality of this invasion and forced regime change under international laws.  We call this “spreading democracy”; yet it is the very antithesis of democracy.  We said not a word when the nations of Greece and Italy were forced to accept new “leaders” by the global banking cabal. (See: http://teri.nicedriving.org/2011/11/replacements/)  We must think, judging by our silence and the fact that the austerity measures are soon going to be inflicted on us without our protest, that it’s quite acceptable to turn the banking mafia loose to collect the vig on the debts they imposed on every country through fraud and their own gambling.

We insist that the new “democracies” value certain things and behave in a manner which suits our interests even though one might think that the core idea of democracy is that a country and its people determine their own values and interests.  (“And we have to understand that, but the message we’ve communicated to the Egyptians, to the Libyans and everybody else is that there are certain values we insist on. That we believe in.”)  (“…how they’ve responded to various events may not be aligned with our interests.”)  We are so worried about the possibility of Iran making a nuclear weapon, which it is not doing, that we have imposed sanctions strong enough to cause distress, joblessness and hunger on Iran’s people and told repeated lies about Iran’s words and actions.  Sanctions are a form of warfare; that should go without saying.  We have killed their scientists, invaded their airspace with drones, clandestinely interfered with their politics and waged cyber-war on their computer systems.  We are concerned about nukes getting into the wrong hands, yet we have armed Israel with nuclear weapons and ignore their threats to use them against a nation that has not started a war in over 200 years.  Our idea of diplomatic, democratic foreign policy is summed up in documents like Obama’s Strategic Guidance (see: http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/02/the-2012-defense-strategic-guidance/), which contains wording such as this: “In order to credibly deter potential adversaries and to prevent them from achieving their objectives, the United States must maintain its ability to project power in areas in which our access and freedom to operate are challenged” and this: “We will field nuclear forces that can under any circumstances confront an adversary with the prospect of unacceptable damage“.  This is not diplomacy, nor is it democratic.

We could choose to use our resources to work toward peace.  In a world facing the issues of peak oil, rapidly declining sources of fish and fresh water, toxins in the air and food supply, climate changes and corporate greed, we could be truly indispensable in leading the way in bringing countries together to face and handle these problems head-on.  We have deliberately chosen a different path.  Instead of taking down the big banks which are ruining one country after another in order to grab all the assets, we bailed them out, enriched them, and sent them out to wreak havoc around the globe.  Instead of leading by example on the issues of torture and illegal invasions, we have refused to bring torturers to justice (when they work for us) and make lame excuses for our claim that we have the right to invade any country we want in order to make them obey our dictates.  We talk about women’s and minority rights abroad while our own politicians try to reverse the rights of women and minorities here.  While we insist our way is “the best”, our own president claims the right, and has used it, to summarily kill some of us without trial or hearings.  The government so wants the power to arrest and detain us indefinitely that it took only a matter of hours for the administration to find a judge willing to overturn another judge’s ruling that such power was unconstitutional.  (http://rt.com/usa/news/obama-lohier-ndaa-stay-414/)  Fastest legal action since Saddam’s “trial”. They really, really want to be able to lock people up forever. And notice, the government lawyers’ arguments were not that the NDAA doesn’t say what the judge or the plaintiffs thought it said; the argument was that the judge’s ruling (that the NDAA was unconstitutional) interfered with the President’s unfettered “war authority”.  I.e., it does say what they thought it said, you can be held forever, and it is unconstitutional, but that should just be the president’s prerogative now.

Our largest corporations are brought into other countries at the point of a gun so they might make obscene profits from everyone on the planet.  We are so intent on giving everything in the world to these bloated corporations that the administration is working on a secret trade agreement that will rid the world of any pernicious notion of national sovereignty altogether, leaving the world to be ruled by corporate lawyers for the express benefit of a few companies that will be allowed to rape and pillage as they wish.  Our members of Congress are not even permitted to see, much less have any input into, this trade agreement.  (See: http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/06/the-trans-pacific-partnership-tpp/)  Not that too many of them give a rat’s ass about which lobbyists are writing which agreements and legislation in any case.  It’s less for them to have to think about, in between vacations.

It’s easy to see what our priorities really are.

The Congressional Research Service’s latest annual compendium of global arms sales shows the U.S. to be the behemoth when it comes to such commerce. Some highlights:

– Per the pie chart, the U.S. accounted for 79% of the world’s weapons sales to developing nations in 2011, up from 44% in 2010.
The U.S. accounted for 56% of the world’s weapons sales to all nations from 2008 to 2011, up from 31% from 2004 to 2007.

Many of the weapons are being purchased by Saudi Arabia and other nations in its neighborhood, bulking up for a possible war with Iran.

Notes the report, by CRS’s Richard F. Grimmett and Paul K. Kerr:
In 2011, the United States led in arms transfer agreements worldwide, making agreements valued at $66.3 billion (77.7% of all such agreements), an extraordinary increase from $21.4 billion in 2010. The United States worldwide agreements total in 2011 is the largest for a single year in the history of the U.S. arms export program.

http://nation.time.com/2012/08/28/theres-no-business-like-the-arms-business-2/

 

Pentagon plans drone sales to 66 countries

The use of drones might be raising questions within the United States, but overseas the demand is mounting. The US Defense Departments says they are preparing to make unmanned aerial vehicles commercially available to 66 outside nations.

If approved by Congress and the US State Department, the Pentagon could soon be peddling the remote-controlled war machines that have become a hallmark of America’s overseas wars to dozens of its allies. It’s a not deal that’s likely to be cut without a sound, however, as the use of UAVs has become one of the most debated issues regarding the US military at home.

Last year, however, the DoD put together a list of 66 countries they hope they will be cleared to sell drones too, and today the Defense Department says they are just as eager as ever to get the ball rolling.

Countless watchdog groups have condemned the use of drones, calling the aircraft responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians.[…] Even so, adding UAVs to the wish-lists of other countries could be a consideration favored by much of Washington, especially those who have feared than planned budget cuts will nix billions from the Pentagon’s budget over the next decade.[…]

To Reuters on Wednesday, Northrop Grumman Corp CEO Wes Bush says that the Obama White House is working to make it easier for his company and others to deal drones as part of their international arms exchange, but roadblocks remain in place, regardless.[…]

http://on.rt.com/oxlz06

We are arming both sides of any conflict and busy stirring up new conflicts so that the sale of weapons continually increases. This is happening at the same time that the United Nations is talking about making the use of drone warfare illegal.  But then, we were one of the few countries which did not sign the bans on cluster bombs and depleted uranium, either.  We did sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, however; despite that pledge, we have no intention of drawing down our nuclear arsenal.

To the best of my knowledge from information gleaned from internet data sources, there are three countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). They are India, Pakistan and Israel. One additional country — North Korea — withdrew in 2003 after being a signatory for 18 years.

Iran signed in 1968 and ratified the treaty in 1970. […]

And it’s not just the nuclear weapons program that the U.S. is improving; it’s the bombs. The Washington Post confirms, “At the heart of the overhaul are the weapons themselves.” […]

But wasting money on weapons when the U.S. is reeling from overwhelming debt and consequently slashing assistance to the needy isn’t the only reason to question this enormous expenditure. […]

Here’s what we pledged in 1968 and our Senate ratified in 1970, according the U.S. State Department, “countries with nuclear weapons will move towards disarmament; countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them; and all countries can access peaceful nuclear energy.”

How can the upgrade of the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal — to make it more effective and assure its deadliness — possibly be a move “towards disarmament?”[…]

But because I spend most of my time writing about poverty this plan by the U.S. to invest an estimated $352 billion dollars making nuclear war more likely — in direct violation of a treaty we have signed to the contrary — I insist we recall the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”[…]

Doing a little quick math, each hungry person in the world could have more than $380 for food — all 925 million of them — for what the U.S. alone will spend on upgrading its nuclear arsenal.

But those are only hungry people. What sort of investment could be made on behalf of those children dying of starvation? The United Nations puts that number at 18,000 per day. 18,000 kids dying of hunger each day! That means about six and a half million children die of starvation each year. If the U.S. spent the $352 billion on them, we could spend about $53,576 per kid and obey the terms of a treaty we signed more than 40 years ago.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/09/17-9

 

[…]On May 9, 2011, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon released details about H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012. The chairman’s “mark” of the annual defense authorization bill would fully fund NNSA at the President’s requested levels.  The document also reveals the long planning horizon for nuclear weapons, specifying, “The planned Ohio-class ballistic submarine replacement is expected to be in operations through 2080.”

A 1998 study by the Brookings Institution found, as a conservative estimate, that the U.S. spent $5.5 Trillion dollars on nuclear weapons from 1940–1996 (in constant 1996 dollars).  Nuclear weapons spending during this period exceeded the combined total federal spending for education; training, employment, and social services; agriculture; natural resources and the environment; general science, space, and technology; community and regional development, including disaster relief; law enforcement; and energy production and regulation.[…]

http://newprioritiesnetwork.org/nuclear-weapons-at-what-cost/


“[…]Historian William Blum last year wrote that, since 1945, the US has attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, most of them democratically elected. It has attempted to suppress a populist or national movement in 20 countries. It has grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries. It has dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries. And it has attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.[…]” – http://www.globalresearch.ca/americas-war-next-stop-iran-who-will-save-us/

We could have chosen a different set of priorities, a different path.  If we do not change direction soon, it may be too late for humanity as a whole to survive our idea of “democracy”.  We have wealth in the US.  We choose to give it to a few people who do not intend, ever, to use it for anything but increasing strife and war, which they consider profitable.  The human cost, the cost to other forms of life, the cost to the planet itself, does not matter.  While we Americans do not, by and large, understand societies abroad very well, we are quite willing to kill them for their perceived differences from us.  Our media and our politicians encourage our mistaken perceptions.  But then, they profit from war, too.

“Happy Christmas (War is Over)” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

“John and Yoko spent a lot of time in the late ’60s and early ’70s working to promote peace. In 1969, they put up billboard advertisements in major cities around the world that said, ‘War is over! (If you want it).’ Two years later this slogan became the basis for this song when Lennon decided to make a Christmas record with an anti-war message.” -http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=2420

Warning: graphic images.  The images in this video reflect the path we have acquiesced to with our silence and stand in stark contrast to the hopes for an end to wars as expressed by the words Lennon wrote.  It is time to insist our leaders let the world walk a different path.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN4Uu0OlmTg&feature=player_embedded

lyrics:

(Happy Christmas Kyoko
Happy Christmas Julian)

So this is Christmas

And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very Merry Christmas

And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas (war is over)
For weak and for strong (if you want it)
For rich and the poor ones (war is over)
The world is so wrong (if you want it)
And so happy Christmas (war is over)
For black and for white (if you want it)
For yellow and red ones (war is over)
Let’s stop all the fight (now)
A very Merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas (war is over)
And what have we done (if you want it)
Another year over (war is over)
A new one just begun (if you want it)
And so happy Christmas (war is over)
We hope you have fun (if you want it)
The near and the dear one (war is over)
The old and the young (now)
A very Merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
War is over, if you want it
War is over now
Happy Christmas

Advertisements
 

One response to “The one indispensable nation.

  1. paxhonu

    September 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Brilliant, moving article and video. America has chosen, and continues to choose at every opportunity, to be the world’s near-monopolist arms merchant, the world’s most active and brutal terrorist, and its most domineering and uncaring financial power. And really nothing more. Nothing indispensable to the world except the constant delivery of death.

    That we have accepted this, this role America plays as a worse and less human global villain than was ever portrayed in any movie, is demonstrated by our willingness to be endlessly entertained by the circus freakshow of Republican/Democratic orchestrated politics while being endlessly uninformed of our own history of hate, terror, black ops, and the unprovoked infliction of the earth shattering shock and awe of our unrivaled prowess at war. From Hiroshima and Nagasaki and continuing in an unbroken chain of broken and terrorized lives right up to whomever bystanders were murdered by last night’s American drone bombings in a dozen different countries. We have accepted it. It is who America is.

    We even let our President, first W and now this great betrayer of the people Obama, erroneously claim (each, on many occasions) that their first (and only?) job priority is “to keep Americans safe”. I think Americans are pretty well convinced that such guaranteed safety and security must be in the Constitution somewhere, or if not, that it should be.  Because? Well terrorists, that’s why.

    This falsehood (that the first and primary duty of the President is “to keep Americans safe”) is a dangerous idea. And nowhere is it (that falsehood) contained in the Constitution, not even as one of the lesser enumerated or implied duties of the Executive. The Presidential oath of office as specified in Article Two of the Constitution (which establishes the Executive Branch), Section One (President and Vice President), Clause Eight of the U.S. Constitution reads: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” [wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_Two_of_the_United_States_Constitution] Stated less formally, “The president’s chief duty is to make sure that the laws are faithfully executed…” [http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/717803/presidency-of-the-United-States-of-America]

    By repetition of the incorrect idea that the President’s primary and sacred responsibility is to keep Americans safe, he (and the American citizenry which buy it) build a completely false set of performance expectations on the office of the President. False measures which pave the way to do whatever illegal, immoral, unsacred shit they wish to do, anywhere in the world, in pursuit of said “safety” and American security interests.  Americans have swallowed this idea of American Exceptionalism and mantra of American Indispensability whole. Americans turn a blind eye to the actions of our government, our agencies, our corporations, and our allies every time that idea or mantra is invoked and every time those actions are laid at the door of our safety or our security interests.

    “Safety” is, of course, a completely subjective, unprovable, and amorphous notion, one which, as a goal, is clearly more consistent with declarations of martial law, strictly enforced curfews and travel curfews, and prohibitions of all various sorts, e.g., tobacco, alcohol, junk food, consorting with the wrong sort of girls, etc., (as in, “all this is for your own safety”) than with the Bill of Rights. And in the name of safety, one can nuke Hiroshima, and for good measure, Nagasaki. In the name of safety come agent orange and napalm. In the name of safety come CIA and DHS. In the name of safety come drones and militarized police and indefinite detention.

    And asked whether they are willing to perpetrate murder, violence, mayhem, impoverishment, occupation, and destruction on the rest of the globe, and whether they are willing to steal and appropriate by the use of such means the resources and destroy the environment of not only America but the rest of the globe, to ensure their safety and security? Their comfort and delusions?

    They’ll act like their safety and security, their interests, including their need for world resources and world domination, are all bound up in America being exceptional and indispensable, leading to their feeling that any such criticism is wrong and must be unfounded. That “we were attacked”, for god’s sake! Meaning whatever we do to prepare, defend, and protect from such attacks is justified. Excepting our withdrawal from global occupation, god forbid. Because the world needs us there, see? Because we’re exceptional and indispensable.

    And this November, Americans, instead of taking to the streets and burning the polling stations because of the false non-choice we’re given between one neolib, neocon, corporate, imperialist terrorist or the other, will go into those polling stations and vote to maintain the status quo, whichever lever they pull, as if that action made any difference. They’ll be voting, whether Repub or Dem, to keep America in business as the world’s grossest terrorist, arms merchant, and debt enslaver. Another Christmas will pass. Americans will still choose death and war.

    Like

     

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: