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Issue #1658      October 1, 2014

Editorial

War without end

Listening to US President Barack Obama’s UN address to the General Assembly on September 24, it felt as though he was living in another world where the only threats to peace were Russia and Muslim terrorists. The rhetoric, hypocrisy, deception and language are a reminder of George W Bush and his war on terrorism. “The shadow of World War that existed at the founding of this institution [UN] has been lifted, and the prospect of war between major powers reduced,” said Obama.

This is rich coming from a President preparing for war against Russia and China. Obama went on to praise the post-World War II formation of the United Nations, “The very existence of this institution is a unique achievement – the people of the world committing to resolve their differences peacefully, and to solve their problems together.” Who could disagree? He then has the gall to describe the UN as having failed, not mentioning that it is the US that has continually breached its Charter, ignored its decisions (Cuba, Israel, etc) and waged illegal wars and blockades while bypassing the UN system.

The UN Charter declares that, “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.” (Article 2.3) “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state ...” (Article 2.4) Both the US with Australia in tow, have repeatedly breached the Charter. The self-appointed role of global policeman usurps the role of the UN; no wonder there are shortcomings.

“Russian aggression in Europe recalls the days when large nations trampled small ones in pursuit of territorial ambition,” Obama says, as if those days have ended. The portrayal of Russia is pure fiction and the remainder hypocrisy coming from a mighty military power trampling anyone or any nation standing in the way of its pursuit of global domination.

“The brutality of terrorists in Syria and Iraq forces us to look into the heart of darkness,” Obama says, failing to acknowledge that it is the US and some of its allies who have funded and still do fund and train these forces. “When nations find common ground, not simply based on power, but on principle, then we can make enormous progress.”

How true, but lacking credibility from the President of a country with its history of wars, regime changes and assassinations. Ukraine was the latest in a series of regime changes, overseeing a coup against a democratically elected government and its replacement by pro-US, reactionary (including fascists) anti-Semitic, anti-communist regime. “And I stand before you today committed to investing American strength to working with all nations to address the problems we face in the 21st century.” Really!

“America is and will continue to be a Pacific power, promoting peace, stability, and the free flow of commerce among nations. But we will insist that all nations abide by the rules of the road, and resolve their territorial disputes peacefully, consistent with international law.” America is a Pacific power, but as for promoting peace, etc, this is nonsense coming from the mouthpiece of the largest military industrial complex in the world which relies on war to boost profits. Obama omitted to mention that it was referring to its own rules, not those of the UN.

“But as we look to the future, one issue risks a cycle of conflict that could derail so much progress, and that is the cancer of violent extremism that has ravaged so many parts of the Muslim world. Of course, terrorism is not new …” It certainly is not new, nor is the war on terror. George W Bush in a speech to Congress on 21-09-2001 (10 days after the bombing of the World Trade Centre) said, “Our war on terror begins with Al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.” This later became Bush’s “war without end” and is now Obama’s.

There is one big difference – in the lead-up to the war on Iraq there were mass demonstrations around the world, including hundreds of thousands of protesters around Australia. Since then the peace movement has become all but invisible to the majority of people in Australia, despite the efforts of a relatively small number of committed activists. As a crucial task, we must work together – peace groups, trade unions, community organisations – to re-energise the peace and anti-war movement.

Next article – Toll of war on terror

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