Deceit and delusion at the United Nations

25 September 2014

Having launched yet another illegal war, President Barack Obama came before the United Nations Wednesday to justify American actions around the world and demand that all nations fall into line behind the US drive for world hegemony.

The speech was a collection of declamations, threats and ultimatums linked together by hollow slogans and clichés. It was delivered in a halting, ritualistic manner, one pronouncement following another, separated by long pauses and a pursing of the lips, without any attempt to make a coherent argument.

But what above all distinguished the speech was the complete disconnect between its assertions and political reality. Obama’s lies were so extreme and brazen, they took on a delusional character. When the world political situation has reached a point where those in power cannot acknowledge a single truth, this in itself is an expression of an extraordinary level of crisis of the entire political and economic order.

All the lies and hypocrisy were summed up in Obama’s denunciation of “a vision of the world in which might makes right—a world in which one nation’s borders can be redrawn by another…" He declared, "America stands for something different. We believe that right makes might—that bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones; that people should be able to choose their own future.” [Emphasis added].

This statement was made by the representative of the world’s most violent and menacing country, one that has, in direct violation of the UN charter, made preventive war the foundation of its foreign policy, proclaiming an unlimited right to intervene militarily wherever its economic, political or geostrategic interests are at stake.

Since it emerged as an imperialist power at the end of the 19th century, the United States has arrogated to itself the right to bully and impose its will on small and large countries alike. The past quarter century, in particular, has seen an unending and escalating series of wars, invasions, covert operations and bombings carried out by American imperialism against countries in every corner of the globe. In its military actions over this period, American imperialism has been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

One could cite, among others, the invasion of Panama in 1989, the First Gulf War against Iraq in 1991, the intervention in Somalia in 1992-93, the invasion of Haiti in 1994, the bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan in 1998, the war against Serbia in 1999, and the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. Under Obama, the United States has led a war against Libya, stoked up a civil war in Syria aimed at overthrowing the government of Bashar al-Assad, and carried out drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

In its drive to control the world, American imperialism is leading mankind toward a new catastrophic world war. Obama’s peroration began with the assertion: “The shadow of World War that existed at the founding of this institution has been lifted, and the prospect of war between major powers reduced.” This was said even as Washington and NATO continue to turn Eastern Europe into an armed camp and use the civil war in Ukraine—a crisis of their own making—to bring the world to the brink of a military conflict between the West and nuclear-armed Russia.

Only minutes later, Obama issued a clear threat of military action against Moscow, declaring, “We will reinforce our NATO Allies and uphold our commitment to collective self-defense.”

In Asia, Washington is pursuing an aggressive diplomatic, economic and military offensive against China. And the new war in Syria threatens to engulf the entire Middle East and trigger a confrontation between the US and its allies and the Syrian regime’s backers, Iran and Russia. In direct contradiction to Obama’s claim, the prospect of war between the major powers has never been greater.

Coming to the main topic of his speech, the launching of an endless “generational” war, ostensibly against Islamist terrorism, Obama declared that “on issue after issue, we cannot rely on a rule book written for a different century.” In other words, the UN Charter, which bans war as an instrument of foreign policy and bars countries from intervening in the civil wars of other countries, no longer applies.

Obama went on to describe the disaster that exists in Iraq and Syria, attributing it entirely to what he called “the cancer of violent extremism” in the Muslim world. But everyone in the audience was well aware that the responsibility for the catastrophe in that region rests overwhelmingly with American imperialism.

In one breath, Obama declared, “It is time to acknowledge the destruction wrought by proxy wars and terror campaigns between Sunni and Shia across the Middle East,” while in the next he boasted, “Together with our partners, America is training and equipping the Syrian opposition [overwhelmingly Sunni] to be a counterweight to the terrorists of ISIL and the brutality of the [Shia-related] Assad regime.”

It is not possible here to catalogue all of the colossal lies crammed into Obama’s 45-minute speech. But his presentation of the crisis in Ukraine exemplifies the collision between his statements and reality.

“Here are the facts,” he said. “After the people of Ukraine mobilized popular protests and calls for reform, their corrupt president fled. Against the will of the government in Kyiv, Crimea was annexed. Russia poured arms into eastern Ukraine, fueling violent separatists and a conflict that has killed thousands.”

Of course, the “popular protests” were financed and orchestrated by the United States and Germany and led by armed fascists who glorify the Ukrainian collaborators with the Nazi occupation and mass murder of Ukrainian Jews.

The elected president, who was pro-Russian, was overthrown in a coup, and the illegal government that replaced him, staffed with neo-Nazis and ultra-nationalists, was rejected by the majority of residents in the eastern part of the country.

The vast bulk of the thousands who were subsequently killed in eastern Ukraine died at the hands of the US-backed Ukrainian military and fascist-dominated militias that laid siege to cities controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

Only last month, Washington’s ally in the Middle East, Israel, was carrying out the savage bombing of defenseless Palestinians in Gaza, killing more than 2,200 people, the vast majority of them civilians.

It is hard to say what is more frightening, that Obama is fully aware of the chasm between his assertions and reality, or that he has become so detached from reality, he actually believes his proclamations. Future historians may very well look back on this speech as a milestone in the American ruling class’s loss of its bearings as it hurled mankind toward another world war.

Barry Grey

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