Noam Chomsky discourse – ‘The United States and The United Nations’ 21 11 2011


And now ladies and gentlemen the
intellectual of our age the conscience of our time Dr Noam Chomsky Whoever arranged the this evenings
events should be congratulated for their good timing
the topic is United States and the United Nations it’s the meetings on the
occasion of a day and honor of UNESCO the United States says UNESCO is one of
the proudest achievements of the United Nations it’s also been an object of
considerable disdain by the US government since its founding back in
the mid 1940s back then the u.s. insisted on cutting its budget to the
bare-bones and just a couple of days ago as you
know the u.s. cut off its funding for UNESCO completely in punishment for
UNESCO adhering to the will of the overwhelming majority of the world and
admitting Palestine as a member that’s not the first time in 1984 these part of
the general Reagan attack on the United Nations in 1984
the u.s. withdrew completely from UNESCO so funding and participation in
punishment for its kind of third world orientation I’ll return to that briefly
and there’s also a lot to say about the specific issue of u.s. Israel Palestine
and the UN again I’ll make a couple of comments about that later on it’s
important to bear in mind that there’s a sharp split in the United States with
regard to attitudes towards the United Nations the general population has shown
by polls has been consistently quite supportive of the United Nations in fact
the majority believe that the United Nations not the United States
should take the lead in international crises that the United States ought to
follow the will of the majority even if it doesn’t like it
and in fact the majority of the general population even believe that the United
States and other countries should abandon the veto at the Security Council
and simply go along with the will of the majority
well that’s very remote from anything that can reach public discussion and
elite attitudes in general have been quite different and in fact have varied
over time and we’re striking ways so in the early days of the United Nations
late 1940s early 50s that was quite strong early support for the UN you have
to recall the circumstances at that point at the end of the Second World War
the United States was at the height of its power in fact had achieved a
position of power that had no historical precedent whatsoever the u.s. literally
had half the world’s wealth during the Second World War the United States had
prospered through war and at the depression with a huge stimulus state
simulus to production industrial production virtually quadrupled the u.s.
had had been the richest country in the world half a century before but this
propelled it way beyond other industrial societies were severely damaged or
destroyed as was much of the world that the competitors were gone u.s. had an
unparalleled security controlled the entire western hemisphere controlled
both oceans controlled the opposite sides of both oceans all of that was
without parallel and it’s typically the case that enormous power carries with it
enormous demands and expectations and this was no exception we have a good
of wartime planning and of course we know how the planning was implemented in
the post-war years and wartime planning and its implementation have reflected
the assumption fairly explicit that the United States was going to control the
world and ought to control the world for its own good
and so plans were developed the great American radical pacifist AJ musty not
what too well-known but I think one of the most important
twentieth-century figures in the United States at the time he observed that the
problem after a war is with the victor the victor thinks he’s shown that
violence pays who will teach him a lesson
and I think those are words that should be heeded and tell us a lot about
post-war history well in any event in those circumstances it’s pretty obvious
why the u.s. elite opinion strongly supported the United Nations the United
Nations was essentially an instrument in the hands of the United States they used
to further its Cold War objectives it was easy to muster UN support for
flogging the Russians the the the way that developed was kind of interesting
the the Russians of course as the UN was used as an instrument against the
Russians of course the Russians objected and there were a lot of Russian vetoes
there was then extensive discussion among the prestigious American and
British intellectuals to try to explain why the Russians were so negative why
did they keep saying no at the secure council I was a graduate student at the
time one of the popular theories put forth by famous anthropologists that the
Russians are negative because they raise their children in swaddling clothes and
that makes them very negative we used to call it diaper ology but that began to
change in the 1950s in the 60s but let me say a word first about American power
there’s a very common theme today discussed all over the place is what’s
called American decline you take a look at the current issue of the major
establishment Journal of international affairs the journal foreign affairs of
the Council on Foreign Relations big front-page headline asks the question is
America over has American decline proceeded so far that we’re done there’s
a usual corollary to that that somehow power is shifting to China that’s an
illusion China’s economic growth is spectacular but it’s a poor country it’s
no chance in the foreseeable future that’ll be a hegemonic power but there’s
more to say about American decline it’s true that it’s taking place a lot of it
in fact is self-inflicted in recent years but an important observation is
that it’s nothing new again the peak of American power was in around 1945 and
the decline began right away in 1949 they remember that the plans for the
u.s. global hegemony which were quite explicit were that the United States
would control the Western Hemisphere it controlled the entire Far East and
control the former British Empire which includes of course the energy producing
regions and then as much of Europe as possible the commercial industrial
centers at least but in 1949 that China became independent
as an interesting phrase that’s used to describe that in the International
Affairs literature that’s called the loss of China I should think about the
phrase I can’t lose your watch because I don’t own it you can only lose something
that you possess and the phrase which is never challenged is based on the tacit
assumption that of course we own China we own the world and if it moves towards
independence we’ve lost it very revealing terminology tells you a lot
about the culture goes on right until today well from then on 1949 there have
been there’s been further decline and further efforts to prevent loss of other
parts of the world that we’re supposed to own well going back to the United
Nations in the early years it was an instrument of u.s. power and lots of
Russian vetoes but by the early 1950s that was beginning to change
partly other countries were reconstructing from wartime damage and
the process of decolonization was beginning it’s agonizing course which
made the United Nations much more representative of global views the so
called third world the global South happens to be the vast majority of the
world new york times diplomatic correspondent barbara Chrisette writes
that by the 1960s Moscow and many newly independent nations were isolating and
vilifying the United States in fact the situation was so bad that by 1966 the
United States began to veto Security Council resolutions the prior to that it
was unnecessary because the UN was pretty much an instrument of US power
but not from the mid sixties since the mid sixties the United Nation States is
far in the lead and vetoing Security Council resolution
Britain is second France is a distant third and the other two countries aren’t
within shouting distance well that’s not exactly the way it’s described if you
look at current press coverage it tells you that quote the washington post the
image that’s engraved on world consciousness is of grim-faced Russian
ambassador’s casting vetoes which was true 60 years ago but it’s hasn’t been
true for 50 40 40 years and the opposite grim-faced u.s. ambassadors and British
ambassador’s secondly but that’s not part of the world’s consciousness given
the way the world is presented to us well these aberrant attitudes of the
world have caused considerable concern in elite circles so in 1984 New York
Times cultural correspondent Richard Bernstein had an article in The New York
Times magazine which was devoted to the isolation of the United States at the
United Nations the title was the UN versus the US and not incidentally the
US versus the UN which has a rather different connotation point is that if
the if there’s a conflict between the US and the world the you the world is out
of step you read other commentary it says these other countries of the world
ought to join the team and get in the mainstream of diplomacy the team is us
and the mainstream is what we do even if everybody else is out of it and they got
to join in at the time that Bernstein was writing mid 80s the United States
was even vetoing resolutions that called on all states to observe international
law and it began to refused to pay its legally obligated funding for the United
Nations altogether 1984 quit UNESCO the reasons for quoting and quitting
UNESCO are kind of interesting of one reason major reason was that the
organization was allegedly trying to initiate what was called a new
information and communication order which it was claimed would require a
licensing of journalists and other constraints on the Free Press the
charges in fact were total fabrication but they were Eckerd echoed constantly
in the media they still are and efforts by UN officials and others to publish
rebuttals and were simply barred from the media if you’re interested in this
remarkable story there’s a very good book about it published by University of
Minnesota press called hope and folly and Preston Hermann and Schiller I won’t
go on with it because it’s well described well that’s that’s UNESCO
mid-eighties the reasons why the United States had to veto resolutions calling
for observance of international law also tell us a lot they’re instructive
what had happened at that time the occasion for this was that the World
Court the International Court of Justice had just condemned the United States for
its terrorist war against Nicaragua it had called on the United States to
terminate what it called the unlawful use of force it’s a technical term for
terrorism international terrorism and to pay huge reparations to Nicaragua well
the the UN of this World Court which is the judicial instrument organ of the
United Nations the World Court was immediately bitterly condemned by the
press the new york times editors declared they wrote that the World Court
is a hostile forum so it doesn’t matter what it decides a couple of years
earlier the same editors praising the world court because it had
sided with the United States in a conflict with Iran but now it was
condemning the u.s. for its international terrorist operations so
it’s a hostile forum and therefore irrelevant the bipod is partisan
Congress immediately passed an increase in aid to the Contras a terrorist force
that was attacking Nicaragua the and and actually the the there there
were at the time three countries that had rejected World Court decisions Libya
Albania and the United States the United States is now in splendid isolation I
think it’s the only country that’s rejected World Court decision still does
well the background is also instructive not too well-known but should be the
International Court of Justice was established by the UN Charter 1945 and
it has rules the rules are that states must agree to its jurisdiction can’t do
if a state says it doesn’t accept its jurisdiction then world court can’t act
well the when the World Court was founded began to operate in 1946 the
u.s. did agree to world court jurisdiction but with a reservation
rather crucial reservation the US would be it would have to be exempt from any
charges that had to do with international treaties like the UN
Charter or the Charter of the organization of the American States that
means that the u.s. declared that it is free to violate international law and
the Nicaragua case was a case in point the case for Nicaragua was in fact
presented by a very distinguished international lawyer a professor at
Harvard Law School AJ’s been in the government and faith
about the world court throughout most of his case because the case was based on
the charge charges of aggression which were the actual phenomenon and that the
u.s. is exempt from that because it’s its reservation excludes violations of
the UN Charter the charter of the OAS so we had to restrict the case to very
narrow grounds and namely a bilateral a Nicaraguan the US Nicaragua us treaty
and a common international law and formulated that but nevertheless on
those narrow grounds it still condemned the US and called for massive
reparations well that’s the all of this extends beyond so a couple year in 1948
the United Nations passed the Genocide Convention convention can criminalize
the crime of genocide the u.s. took a long time to ratify it it was 40 years
in fact but after 40 years the US did ratify it but with the reservation
namely the u.s. is exempt the US cannot be brought to the court for the charge
of genocide actually that happened in nineteen in the year 2000 Yugoslavia
brought a case to the International Court of Justice charging the NATO
powers with various crimes and their bombing of Serbia and one of the charges
was genocide whatever you think of the charge not much but that was one of the
charges so the u.s. simply approached the court and said that it could not the
court jurisdiction did not apply to the United States because the United States
is free to commit genocide that’s exactly what the reservation stated and
the court accepted that correctly accepted that and the US alone was
exempt from the court proceedings the other NATO powers had to continue
that’s pretty general the same is true of the International Convention on
torture a lot of discussion these days about how
the Bush administration carried out torture Obama’s refusing to prosecute
and so on but there’s some things missing there the United States never
really signed the never ratified the Convention on torture actually it did
ratify it formally but as always with reservations the u.s. ratified it after
the Senate had rewritten the International Convention to exclude a
certain category of torture and if you look at that category it’s the category
of torture authorized by the CIA exactly that category of torture was excluded
from the u.s. acceptance of the torture convention now most of the torture
carried out by Bush under the Bush administration actually falls within
that exclusion so it’s not so clear that all these horrors that have aroused such
anger we’re actually illegal under US law and this it continues very broadly
as the u.s. almost never signs General Assembly conventions see the way it’s
supposed to work the you know there are declarations rights declarations and so
on then the General Assembly is supposed to pass conventions about implementing
them and there are lots of those conventions but if you look you find
that the US has signed very few of them and when it does ratify them which is
sometimes the case there are reservations excluding the United States
from falling under the Convention they’re called non-self-executing
they’re inapplicable to the United States without specific US legislation
which is not forthcoming most conventions that just never signs like
the Convention on the Rights of the Child has been signed by every state
with two exceptions the United States and Somalia Somalia because doesn’t have
a government and if you look through the list that’s
approximately the way it is across the board well this all reflects the
assumptions of the immediate post-war period that u.s. power is so
overwhelming by right that it should not be subject to any international
supervision of course UN or anything else well there many similar examples
and for these reasons the United States is a textbook illustration of what is
called in the international affairs literature a rogue state that is a state
that rides roughshod over international treaties and other obligations actually
the most extreme form of violating international obligations is a Security
Council veto that just eliminates the the obligation but in many other ways –
including those I mentioned and that hasn’t passed without comment in elite
circles so in the late 90s prestigious voices observed I’m quoting that the US
was becoming the rogue superpower considered by much of the world to be
the single single greatest external threat to their societies and that the
prime rogue state today in the world is the United States
these were incidentally not marginal voices that’s Samuel Huntington is a
highly respected Harvard professor and Robert Jervis in his presidential
address for the American Political Science Association so not marginal
voices but they were drowned out in a quite remarkable chorus of self
adulation that I think has no counterpart in intellectual history this
is the 1990s at that time Clinton’s foreign policy was described by
prominent intellectuals as entering a noble phase with a saintly glow for the
first I’m quoting now for the first time in history
country is guided by altruism alone and dedicated to principles and values an
idealistic new world bent on ending inhumanity which at last could carry
forward unhindered the emerging international norm of humanitarian
intervention leading to a magnificent future actually much of western
intellectual commentary in those years sounded kind of like North Korea
adulation of Kim il-sung it’s no exaggeration of course not surprisingly
not everyone was so enraptured in the global South the traditional victims
they saw it quite differently so they bitterly condemned what they called the
so-called right of humanitarian intervention which they recognized to be
just the old right of imperialist domination and they adopt the same
stance with regard to the Western version of the currently fashionable
notion of responsibility to protect our 2p as it’s called in the literature it’s
interesting that the Western version is interestingly different from the world
version there is a world version of r2p was passed by the General Assembly of
the United Nations in 2005 all very much on the international agenda today and
it’s worth looking closely at how the United States and a few of its allies
diverge from the world is very important insight into tonight’s topic
particularly important because it’s never discussed although it should be
the western version of r2p appears in a 2001 document whose primary author is
former Australian Prime Minister Gareth Evans he’s lauded in the West as the
father of r2p but his version is crucially different from the world
version in the crucial paragraph the Evans
report considers the following situation we consider a situation I’m quoting now
in which the Security Council rejects a proposal for intervention or fails to
deal with it in a reasonable time in that case the report authorizes action
within area of jurisdiction by regional or sub regional organizations is subject
to their seeking subsequent authorization from the Security Council
now if you look at what was going on then you can see that that paragraph was
explicitly tailored to apply retrospectively to the bombing of Serbia
two years before that had been forcefully condemned by the global South
almost all the world but this provision of r2p is designed to authorize it and
it in fact authorizes the powerful at the use of force at will and the reason
is very clear the powerful unilaterally determine when
they can use force and determine what is their area of jurisdiction the
Organization of American States can’t do that the African Union can’t do that in
fact no regional organization can do it except for NATO that’s the one that can
do that so this is an authorization for use of force by NATO and it does it unit
NATO unilaterally determined that its area of jurisdiction included the
Balkans and that it could use force there without a Security Council
authorization rather interestingly and this has also never discussed the area
of jurisdiction does not include NATO itself they’re shocking crimes were
being committed against Kurds in southeastern Turkey through right
through the 90s all off the agenda for a very simple reason the decisive military
and diplomatic support was being provided by the
Clinton administration in fact that support peaked in 1997 the very year in
which Clinton’s was praised for the noble phase of his foreign policy with a
saintly glow well this all passes without comment NATO later determined
that its area of jurisdiction extended to Afghanistan as you know and well
beyond in 2007 and NATO’s mission was formally extended quoting it to guarding
pipelines that transport oil and gas directed to the west and more generally
to protecting sea routes used by tankers and other crucial structure of the
energy system that makes a NATO a global intervention force of course at the
command of the United States extending worldwide and its area of jurisdiction
and its right to use force under the Western version of r2p now these
expansive rights accorded by the Evans report are in practice restricted to
NATO alone and it’s radically at violating the principles adopted by the
General Assembly and they explicitly leave the door open for resort to r2p as
a weapon of Imperial intervention at will those are important topics they
should be the topic of extensive discussion but if you look hard you’ll
find very little commentary on them the reason is again the tacit assumption
that we own the world so anything we do has got to be legitimate sometimes we
lose part of the world that we owned like China South America in the last
decade but you know that’s something wrong with that got to do something
about it well this issue has just arisen in the case of Libya actually there were
two interventions in Libya worth bearing in mind one intervention was under
Security Council resolution resolution 1973 which called for a
no-fly zone and the use of all necessary means to protect civilians that
intervention lasted about five minutes the three traditional imperial powers
France England and the United States instantly violated it and simply decided
to become the air force of the rebel forces there’s nothing in the resolution
that justifies that actually virtually the entire world opposed that most
everyone called for efforts at negotiations and diplomacy to head off
the fearful bloodshed and the destruction that in fact took place
culminating in a humanitarian catastrophe caused by mainly by NATO
bombing in Bani Walid and Nasir those are the cities of the home base of the
largest tribe in this tribal society catastrophe was bitterly condemned by
the Red Cross but barely discussed here well the condemnation of the quick
resort to violence by NATO included the African Union Libya’s of course in
African country it included the BRICS so-called BRICS countries Brazil Russia
India China South Africa the main so-called developing countries happened
to be meeting in China right then an issued a condemnation and a call for
negotiations and diplomacy I was also condemned by the
International Crisis Group highly respected organization that monitors
actions throughout the third world isn’t quite an important paper by its director
for Africa Hugh Roberts London Review of Books the triumvirate the imperial
triumvirate appealed to r2p totally without justification but it’s worth
knowing that they were virtually alone the usual situation
I will let’s return to the current cutoff of funds to UNESCO right now to
punish it for admitting Palestine here – there’s a history which involves the
United Nations and they’re worth thinking about there plenty of heart
problems in the world that works difficult even to conjure up a possible
solution like Kashmir or eastern Congo and others but the Israel Palestine is
not one of them the contrary to what said there’s a very straightforward
settlement and there’s an overwhelming international consensus on it and we
know what it is it’s a there should be a two-state settlement on the
international border the preacher in 1967 border with maybe a minor and
mutual modifications it was a ceasefire line that in fact was the official
position of the United States back in the late 60s when it was still part of
the world on these issues and that’s almost just about every relevant party
agrees to this with an exception crucial exception actually this proposal reached
the Security Council of the United Nations in 1976 it was brought by the
three arab confrontation states as they’re called syria and egypt jordan
and brought a resolution to the Security Council that calling for what I just
said for a settlement on the international
border which and then came they adopted the wording of UN 242 which everyone
agrees is the basic diplomatic document so they called for recognition of the
right of every state and the region to exist in peace and security with secure
and recognized boundaries that would include Israel and new Palestinian state
in the occupied territories that’s the international consensus Israel didn’t
refuse to attend the meeting that in fact bombed Lebanon with no credible
reason killed about 50 people the u.s. vetoed the resolution
well when the United States veto is a resolution it’s in fact a double veto
first of all the resolutions finished and secondly it’s vetoed from history
it’s another one of the prerogatives of power so you’ll have to look pretty hard
to find any the record of this but it’s there and in fact you can even find it
on the New York Times and late January 1976 when the event took place well
that’s the first veto of a the international consensus on a political
settlement came up again in 1980 similar resolution us again vetoed it it’s under
Carter then there’s a the with the Security Council essentially eliminated
by the US veto the international debate shifted to the General Assembly and
almost annually there’s a resolution with somewhat similar content if you
look at the votes it’s 144 – to us Israel 150 one two three u.s. Israel and
Micronesia something like that now that’s the regular pattern I won’t run
through it the there was an interesting change in 1988 and an 89 which is very
crucial in 1988 the Palestinian National Council formally accepted the
international consensus that is it accepted to state settlement granting
Israel all the rights of any state in the international system and Palestinian
state next to it Israel of course responded to that
responded in a very interesting way a couple of months later Israel came out
with formal declaration saying that there can
be no additional Palestinian state between Jordan and Israel is a very
interesting phrase Israel was declaring that Jordan is a Palestinian state now
it happens that the Jordanians and the Palestinians don’t happen to agree but
they’re what are sometimes called unpeople you know doesn’t really matter
what they say so there is a Palestinian state even though the all the people in
the area reject that conclusion and there can’t be another one so no
Palestinian state went on to say that any the any anything dealing with the
occupied territories is West Bank and Gaza would have to be in accordance with
the guidelines of the of the Israeli government and furthermore it’s it said
that there could be negotiations but the palace had to the PLO the main you know
the organization representing the Palestinians couldn’t be part of the
negotiations so Palestinians can participate but they can’t pick their
choice of organization to enter into it and any negotiations would have to be
within the guidelines that Israel had said well as always it
the important question is what the US is going to do and the u.s. in fact reacted
very quickly in December 1989 the US State Department came out with a with
its plans called the Baker plan James Baker the Secretary of State under Bush
number one and the Baker plan simply reiterated the Israeli declaration
almost verbatim so no additional Palestinian state
no Palestinians can’t pick their own representatives everything will have to
be settled in court with the guidelines of the State of Israel
that’s official US policy in 1989 well and that’s kind of out of history – it’s
doesn’t fit well with the proper imagery shortly after that came the Oslo
agreements the awesome I won’t go into the details but they’re interesting the
crucial part of the Oslo agreements was that they undercut the Palestinian
negotiators there were negotiations going on with under us
Aegis of course and there were Palestinian negotiators from inside the
territories of a Palestinian negotiations were led by Haider up
dystrophies highly respected maybe the most respected figure in the territories
a dedicated nationalist not incorruptible honest and he was he had
conditions for the negotiations which Israel in the United States were not
accepting the primary condition was that that the settlement operations had to
cease it’s recognized that they were illegal and he said we can’t go on if
the Israeli settlement continues in the occupied territories he also called for
a Palestinian state at the end of the negotiations
well that was undercut by the Oslo agreements if you take a look at the
Oslo agreements these leads some of you will remember to a meeting on the White
House lawn Bill Clinton standing with after our
being and Yasser Arafat press called it a day of all you know amazing event and
they came out with what they called a Declaration of Principles and if you
look at the Declaration of Principles which you can pick up on the internet
it’s about two pages and quite interesting the Declaration of
Principles first of all says nothing about ending settlements so they can
continue and it says that the end result of the negotiations will be what is
stipulated in UN 242 now UN 242 says nothing about Palestinian rights nothing
Palestinians are mentioned only as refugees
that’s the end result of the negotiations no Palestinian national
rights that’s the day of awe there were people who there was a lot of euphoria
not everyone my friend Edward say idli it were Sayed
condemned it I wrote against it but most importantly a Haider of the Shafi
rejected it right away he refused to appear at the White House ceremony
because he was principled he was not going to give up on everything and in
fact the DOP the Declaration of Principles was a complete sellout
well I won’t go on but the settlements continued right through the following
years continued to grow you’d take a look at the chart
they grew kind of linearly right through the 90s continued more later it’s
commonly claimed that yes chakra being who was assassinated 1995 was a man of
peace who was going to establish a Palestinian state that’s based on
complete refusal to pay attention to the record right before he was assassinated
or a being addressed the Israeli Knesset the Parliament and he repeated his
long-standing position I’ll just read it to you we are striving for a permanent
solution to the unending bloody conflict between us and the Palestinians and the
Arab states we view the permanent solution in the framework of State of
Israel which will include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was
under the rule of the British Mandate Jordan to the sea and alongside at a
Palestinian entity which will be a home to most of the Palestinians living in
the Gaza Strip in the West Bank we would like this to be an entity which is less
than a state and which will independently run the lives of the
Palestinians under its authority the borders of the State of Israel during
the permanent solution we will be beyond the lines
that existed before the six-day war June 67 we will not return to the June 1967
lines the international border that was Robyn’s stand right before he was
assassinated he was replaced by Shima in Paris who repeated the same thing he
said there will in office he said there will never be a Palestinian state and he
was replaced in 1996 by Benjamin Netanyahu
current Prime Minister reelected who’s considered an ultra hawk and in fact the
party program that he runs on States explicitly that there will never be any
Palestinian self-determination west of the Jordan a lot of talk about the Hamas
Charter which nobody pays attention to anywhere else but this is the party
formal position of the governing party actually Netanyahu is the first
administration to recognize that maybe there could be a Palestinian state that
when he came into office in 1996 he was at his government was asked will you
ever accept the Palestinian state and the Minister of Information said look
we’re gonna leave some fragments to the Palestinians somewhere and if they want
to call them a state we don’t care or they can call them fried chicken well
that’s essentially the US Israeli position you know they can have fried
chicken if they want the settlements are all illegal not just the expansion but
the existing ones in there that’s been determined by every relevant
international Authority Security Council the International Court of Justice in
fact Israel itself agrees with it in Jerusalem what’s called Jerusalem which
is vastly expanded beyond Jerusalem and illegally annexed their settlements are
doubly illegal those are the ones that are going on today they’re doubly
illegal because they are also in violation of explicit Security Council
resolutions not to modify the status of Jerusalem
well why does this continue for a very simple reason it was set in the 1976
veto the u.s. blocks any particular political settlement it is the leader of
the rejectionist camp virtually alone along with Israel in among relevant
actors the most recent u.s. veto was February 2011 that one aroused the
little interest usually they’re just ignored because the reason was that what
Obama vetoed was a resolution calling for official US policy official US
policy is that there should be no more settlement expansion Obama doesn’t mean
it he’s indicated to this on Yahoo you know go ahead but that’s the official
position and the Security Council had a resolution calling for that and Obama
vetoed it well that raised a few eyebrows that
ended any discussion about settlement expansion there’s another veto
threatened any day now if the Security Council accepts the Palestinian bid a
bid for for membership if it happens that the u.s. isolation will be carried
even further it’s a really historic depths I mean Obama hasn’t had many
achievements in his presidency but he’s had one which shouldn’t be overlooked he
succeeded in becoming even more unpopular in the Arab world than George
Bush was that’s a quite an achievement Bush was down to I think about 9%
support Obama’s reached 5% didn’t Egypt well the United Nations has several
pillars the main one is the United Nations Charter its core principle is a
rejection of the threat or use of force in international affairs article 2.4
there are exceptions the exceptions are if forces
authorised by the Security Council or article 51 if it’s in self-defense
against armed attack until the Security Council can act there’s almost no
example of that the u.s. routinely rejects this principle so frequently and
so brazenly that it’s superfluous to give examples in fact right now it’s
violating it the threats against Iran are in violation of article 2 4 which
says condemns the threat or use of force the way it’s framed in the case of Iran
is all options are open which means will no q if we feel like it
that alone even those words are in violation of the Charter and the much
more significantly of course is the resort to force which happens all the
time another one of the pillars of the United
Nations is the International Court of Justice as I’ve mentioned the u.s.
exempted itself right away from ICJ jurisdiction on matters of real
significance and under Reagan it extended Reagan denied any authorization
to the ICJ on any issue well the last major pillar of the United Nations is
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
December 10th 1948 it’s called human rights day it’ll come in a few weeks and
you will hear rousing statements about our fervent dedication to Hue the
Universal Declaration and condemn nations of enemies who routinely violate
it so let me end by taking a look at that the Universal Declaration of UD has
three parts which are of equal significance quite explicit but of the
three parts our Civil and Political Rights Association AMA Crites and
Cultural Rights the u.s. formally it’s the civil and political rights but
only formally it often violates some in quite interesting ways go into it if you
like the cultural rights of the u.s. dismisses without comment they’re not
even discussed so they are out the socio-economic rights are the most
interesting case there the United States explicitly rejects them mentioned just a
few illustrations in April 2005 the United States cast the sole vote against
the univers on the right to food and the right to the highest attainable standard
of physical and mental health that reiterates article 25 of the Universal
Declaration core socio-economic rights it was the sole veto at one month before
that the Under Secretary of State Paula dobri on Sookie presented the State
Department’s annual report on human rights around the world if you read it
she affirmed very eloquently I’m quoting her that promoting human rights is not
just an element of our foreign policy it’s the bedrock of our policy and our
foremost concern debris on Sookie had already explained her concept of human
rights this was in her capacity as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for
human rights and humanitarian affairs in the Reagan and Bush number-one
administration’s now there she sought to dispel what she called myths about human
rights the most salient myths is that the so called economic and social rights
constitute human rights that’s a third of the UD as she denounced the effort
quoting her to obfuscate Human Rights discourse by introducing these spurious
rights which are entrenched in the Universal Declaration but which the
Reagan and Bush administration’s explicitly rejected
Regan’s UN Ambassador Jean Kirkpatrick a dismissed socio-economic right says a
letter to Santa Claus just don’t disregard them under Bush one a UN
Ambassador Mars Abram cast the sole veto of the UN right to development which
closely paraphrased article 25 according to abram this is little more than an
empty vessel into which vague hopes and inchoate expectations can be poured it’s
preposterous and even a dangerous incitement actually that’s a fairly
consistent stance through all administration’s more explicit in
rejection under the Republican administrations about it passes
unnoticed in fact rejection of the Universal Declaration is so deeply
ingrained in consciousness that the New York Times editors can actually publish
an editorial on human rights day which condemns the Asian countries that
because they reject the Universal Declaration and they call instead on
quoting for addressing the more basic needs for people for food and shelter
medical care and schooling as called for by the universal declaration so
according to The Times editors by calling for core elements of the UD the
Asian countries are rejecting the UD it’s an interesting indication of how
far we’ve gone in denying the most elementary principles of the United
Nations or moral principles for that matter
well this is by no not even close to an exhaustive review of the United States
and the UN I think it’s a pretty fair sample though you can check and see
these are thoughts a topic that I think should be of considerable concern to us
as US citizens were responsible for what our government does in the world
actually the review I think suggests a modification of the announced title
this evening perhaps a more apt title would have been the United States versus
the United Nations where the term United States here does not refer to the
population but to the political leadership and substantial sector in
fact a large majority of the articulate intellectual world including the media
that gap also ought to concern us it’s one of many illustrations of a very
sharp and growing disconnect between public opinion and public policy as some
of them happened to be in the headlines exactly today with regard to the deficit
Commission matter would be interesting to pursue but a different one the
disconnect between public opinion and public policy always serves as a measure
of the extent to which formal democracy actually functions the greater the
disconnect the less its functioning that’s another matter which I think we
should find quite troublesome Thanks I’d be curious to know if you think the
Occupy Wall Street movement signals that were on the verge or perhaps already in
a legitimation crisis in the harbor Massey and sense of the word I think
we’ve been in a legitimate crisis for a long time
the Occupy Wall Street and the whole set of movements like it around the country
in fact around the world is a reaction to a long-standing crisis of legitimacy
of political and economic institutions it’s taking the reaction to this
illegitimate see is taking different forms in different parts of the world so
for example in the last decade the South America which had been the most rigorous
and respected adherent of the so-called neoliberal programs the programs of the
Treasury Department the IMF the World Bank and had suffered severely for they
lost decades of development they just broke free not for example Argentina
refused to pay its debt other countries broke free in other ways they’ve run out
all the US military bases in fact the u.s. has lost South America much of it
lost China in 1949 that’s a significant reaction against the whole array of
social and political programs and economic programs that are roughly
called neoliberal and they vary in the way they apply in different places take
say Egypt that’s been that’s what’s been happening the last year in Middle East
North Africa what’s called Mena Middle East North Africa region so for example
in Egypt these same programs had been instituted in the 1980s that’s when most
of them weren’t suited around the world and had the usual impact
the World Bank and the IMF were very praised Egypt very highly in fact
shortly before everything collapsed they were producing reports describing Egypt
as you know the kind of poster child for neoliberalism everything was working
beautifully and wonderful reforms what was happening was the usual that
enriched a small sector of the population and impoverished and
undermine everybody else and now there’s reaction that’s not the only reason for
the reactions also reaction against dictatorships but it’s a large part of
it and the same throughout much of the region and other things are happening in
Europe which are sort of the same the indignados and Spain in Greece the
Occupy movements here are the first manifestation organized manifestation of
a significant protest against similar policies which have been applied in the
United States now when policies apply in the richest
country of the world it’s different than when they apply in Egypt or you know
Argentina or somewhere else but it’s similar the policies have been designed
to achieve exactly what they’ve achieved to enrich a tiny sector of the
population you look at the United States over the last thirty years there’s a big
change in the economy in the United States in the past thirty
years just as there was when the neoliberal programs hit other parts of
the world so in the 1950s in the 60s were the greatest growth period in
economic history and the growth was egalitarian so lowest quintile did about
as good as the upper quintile there were also steps forward towards kind of
vaguely social democratic welfare state measures giving rights to larger parts
of the population by the early 70s I was change with Reagan changed dramatically
in the last generation very radical change for most of the population it’s
been stagnation sometimes decline for a very small percentage mostly coming from
the financial institutions it’s been extraordinary wealth
everyone knows the United States is unequal and in fact unparalleled and
inequality but what’s less known is that inequality is largely driven by about
1/10 of 1% of the population hedge fund managers and CEOs of
financial corporations and so on they’re spectacularly rich and all of this has
been combined with set in motion a kind of a vicious cycle in which economic
powers highly concentrated that leads of course the concentration of political
power which provides legislation which accelerates the process and we’ve the
whole system is so illegitimate and understood to be illegitimate
that by now the approval of Congress is in single digits this goes back quite a
few years but it’s going way down the same with the executive same with
virtually every other institution well Occupy Wall Street is a reaction to
this different taking different forms than the reaction to similar policies in
different parts of the world but yeah it’s a reaction where will it go you
never know where it’ll go depends on how much commitment and
dedication there is how far it can it’s a very atomized Society so the question
is can it help organize and mobilize people to struggle for their own rights
the way it’s been done in other countries we’ll have to see
thank you yes he spoke about the great chasm between the expressed will of the
American people and what actually happens and that relationship between
what the people have expressed and what the government does I don’t think has
ever been greater and I’m wondering what can the
in your opinion what can the American people do what steps can they take to
take back their government which seems estranged from the average person now
well we can do almost anything this isn’t Egypt you know if Americans
decide to mobilize and organize to try to reconstruct some kind of functioning
democracy they’re not going to be met by the military in Tahrir Square you know
there’s too much freedom has been won for that to happen now there are cases
of police brutality and so on but it’s nothing like the repression that’s faced
by people in much more harsh and authoritarian societies so basically
it’s open we can do what we like you know not easy you know there’ll be
punishments and so on but nothing like punishments that existed in the past or
that exist elsewhere you should remember that the United States for example one
thing that has to be done is to rebuild the labor movement now this is not the
first time in American history that the labor movement has been virtually
crushed it’s happened several times in fact there’s a one of the major books on
labor history by David Montgomery one of the primary labor historians it’s called
I think something like the rise and fall of the labor movement in the United
States and the fall that he’s talking about is in the 1920s in the 1920s the
labor movement had been virtually destroyed by Woodrow Wilson’s Red Scare
and other repressive operations there was just almost nothing left
well reconstituted itself in the 1930s very dramatically and in fact
spearheaded the what became the New Deal programs and by the time that the CIO
was getting organized and the workers were sitting in on factories that’s
terrifying to business when workers sit in on factories that’s one state
sit-down strikes that’s one step before taking them over and saying goodbye
we’re need you you know we’re gonna run
ourselves that’s as soon as that started to happen then you started getting
significant New Deal legislation and plenty of other things were happening
like it repression then was still pretty brutal
I mean American labor history is extremely violent then much more so than
other countries other industrial countries and as late as the late
thirties workers were still getting murdered for striking okay that’s not
happening anymore there’s been improvements and plenty of things can be
done I mean right now it’s very critical to the labor movement has been in the
private sector the labor movement has been very much weakened
mostly by illegal actions of the government primarily under Reagan but
then it continued Reagan basically told you know the owners and investors you
can do whatever you like you want to violate laws we’re not going to pay any
attention to you so the number of illegal firings for organizing attempts
escalated sharply under Reagan went up more under Clinton under Bush even more
a public sector unions still have maintained themselves and have
maintained rights and now they’re under attack that’s what’s going on right now
Scott Walker Christine the whole business there’s a these are attacks on
the public sector unions the last stronghold and it’s because business
understands very well that the the main organized barrier to you know almost
total destruction of the democratic system is an organized labor movement
well a lot can be done to defend and restore that and the same with you know
the political system has become kind of a joke I mean not only our elections
board but in Congress if somebody in Congress wants to have a position of
some influence they had committee that used when the political
system was kind of functioning you got those positions through
seniority service and so on that’s gone now you have to buy them you have to pay
money into the car party coffers in order to get a chairmanship or something
and this is utterly corrupted Congress white houses the White House just follow
us and dictates of the financial institutions I’m exaggerating but it’s
pretty close and all of that can be changed and in fact that I think we can
also go back to the days of that we’re beginning in the 1930s of takeover of
industrial production and there are cases of it there are cases where we’ve
been come pretty close to workers taking over workers and communities at taking
over industry and producing things that can be needed and that could if there
was enough public support that could have been done in the last few years so
for example when Obama took over the auto industry it was basically
nationalized and there were a couple of paths that could have been followed one
path was the one that was followed reconstitute it give it back to
essentially the same you know banks management and so on a couple of
different names that was one way public paid for that an alternative was to hand
it over to communities and the workforce and have them turn to producing things
that the country very badly needs like say high-speed rail skilled workers and
the rest bill have the capacity with a little help to do that and the country
badly needs it and they need the jobs and that rebuilds a popular movement
which can be again on the forefront of change that’s these are possibilities
and across the board there’s an any number of things we can do so I don’t
think there’s any shortage of opportunities there’s a shortage of
dedication to making use of those opportunities thank you hi-yah he took my question but do you
support Ron Paul and what corporations do you think lead ethical practices that
if any Ron Paul’s a nice guy if I had to have dinner with one of the Republican
candidates I’d prefer to have it with him but his policies are off the wall no
I mean sometimes I agree with him you know like I think we oughta end the war
in Afghanistan but if you look at the other policies I mean it’s kind of
shocking so free and the principles that lie behind them you know I don’t know
what to say about them so yeah you probably saw or maybe read in the
Republican debates at one point and this kind of brought out who he is he was
asked he’s against federal involvement and in anything he was asked there’s
something like well what about what if some guys in a coma and he’s going to
die and he never took out insurance what should happen well his first answer was
something like it’s a tribute to our Liberty okay so if he dies that’s a
tribute to have free we are alright he kind of backed off from that activism
huge applause when he said that but after later reactions from elsewhere
facto he said well the church will take care of them our charities will take
care of them there’s something or other so it’s not a problem all right I mean
this is just savagery and it goes across the board in fact this holds for the
whole so-called libertarian ideology I mean you know may sound nice on the
surface but if you think it through it’s just a call for corporate tyranny takes
away any barrier to corporate tyranny it’s a step towards the worst but but
it’s all academic because the business world would never permit it to happen
since it would destroy the economy now they can’t live without a
powerful nanny state they know it yeah I like how you said if you want to see who
the next president is gonna be just look at how much money is backing them yeah
okay well that’s been true for a long time
sorry again – it’s it’s basically true I mean it and more and more true over the
years that elections are essentially fought their sort of charades
what’s more you know I mean intellectuals pretend not to believe not
to understand it but there are people understand it very well for example I
think most of the population understands it another group that understands it
very well is the advertising industry the guys who run this the campaigns so
as maybe you know in 2008 after Obama’s victory the American advertising
industry had its annual meeting every year they give an award for the best
marketing campaign of the year they gave it to Obama he beat out Apple Computer
if you read the business press they understood that this is just a marketing
campaign like you know selling toothpaste and since they were running
it they understand that they in fact if you read the business press kind of
interesting there was just you know a lot of excitement about how this is
going to change the atmosphere and corporate boardrooms we’re going to
behave a little bit differently you now I have a different models Dow to dilute
people and again what we want I mean they’re not confused no reason for us to
be thank you I’m just kind of returning to foreign policy here you talked about
in your your address earlier about briefly touched on the current tensions
between Iran and Israel pardon the tensions between Iran and Israel yes and
I was just wondering like what your current assessment of them of that
situation was and if you could speculate on what you think future developments
might be hmm well you know Iran is described in general political
discourse and in the international affairs literature as the greatest
threat to world peace here it is not the rest of the world not in the global
south so for example and say each in the Arab world within a like Iran at all
they were about maybe 10 percent regard Iran as a threat overwhelmingly they
regard the United States and Israel as the major threats but in the United
States and Israel a couple of US allies Iran is regarded as the greatest threat
to world peace well you know Iran is a threat to its own population and it’s a
rotten government it’s like a lot of others and it definitely is a threat to
its own population but a question you might ask yourself is what’s the threat
to world peace okay everyone says is the major threat
to world peace so okay what’s the threat well if you
look closely you’ll notice there’s very little discussion of that it’s just it’s
a threat we have to accept that it’s a threat actually there’s an authoritative
answer to that you want to find the actual answer take a look at the
presentations to Congress by the Pentagon and US intelligence every year
they give a presentation to Congress on global security and they run through the
countries of the world and of course they include Iran so take a look no it’s
all up in the Internet what they say is Iran is not a military
threat the Iranian military budget is very low even by the standards of the
region I mean minuscule was compared to us or Israel but even by the standards
of the regions low furthermore their their strategic doctrine is defensive
it’s for deterrence their military is deployed their military is developed in
order to try to deter an invasion along enough for diplomacy to set in then they
turn to the nuclear issue and they say if Iran
is developing nuclear capability which they don’t know nuclear weapons
capability it would be part of their deterrent strategy let’s try an effort
to kind of fend off attacks from others and that’s the threat the threat is that
there they could be a deterrent to the United States and Israel they might make
it harder for the US and Israel to carry out the aggression freely elsewhere or
other crimes that’s the threat that tells us a lot about ourselves if that’s
the threat and see if you can find another threat so yeah
rotten government and threat to their own population not alone in that respect
by any means but it’s very hard to see what further threat they are I mean
suppose Iran had nuclear weapons I mean no sane analyst thinks that they would
ever use them in fact if they so much as armed a missile with a nuclear weapon
the country would be blown away no I mean they can’t do anything with a
nuclear weapon all this business about a you know missile anti-missile shields in
Turkey and Europe and so on because we have to deter Iran that’s not even a bad
joke of course not gonna use a weapon but you’ve wiped out and whatever you
think about the clerics they don’t want their country destroyed and everything
they own destroyed why is the US why are the US and Israel so upset about them
well because they are a deterrent Iran with regard to Israel Iran does arm
Hezbollah which is a deterrent to another u.s. Israeli invasion of Lebanon
and Israel doesn’t like that they want to be free to invade Lebanon without it
to turn so that’s the tension what’s gonna happen pretty hard to say in the
case of the United States is issuing constant threats you know almost
everyone says all options are open that’s a threat a threat of nuclear
attack in fact now furthermore the u.s. is building up
military forces to attack Iran it’s the island of vis an island Diego Garcia in
the Indian Ocean which is it’s actually an African island but there was a former
British possession and Britain handed it over to the United States after kicking
out the population for a big military base it’s one of the main US military
bases for bombing and Middle East and Central Asia and Obama has built
building it up very fast he expanded its capacities to hold to maintain a nuclear
submarines that submarines with nuclear missiles he’s been seen at George Bush
number two had begun the development of were called bunker busters deep
penetration bombs you know go deep into the ground they’re just aimed at Iran
but it kind of languished under Bush as soon as Obama came in he immediately
radically accelerated the production of these things they went way beyond what
had been planned and they’re now being a dispatch to diego garcia and also to
israel okay that’s a very definite threat serious threat against iran
they’re not designed for anyone else and in other ways you know they’re building
up the forces for a possible attack I don’t frankly think they’ll do it the
consequences would be unpredictable but very possibly horrendous and harmful to
the US and Israel in fact if you look at Israel it’s very serious there’s been a former top intelligence people you know
former heads of Mossad and so on have been coming out with very strong
statements a warning against any military attack on Iran as far as the
public record indicates the top brass you know
military and top intelligence former intelligence prim is strongly against it
but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen the political leadership is
unpredictable can’t tell what they’ll do in fact these guys wouldn’t be coming
out with their statements if they didn’t think that there was a danger these are
people who very rarely talk in public and when they come out with these
warnings that means they have some inkling that something’s going on so who
knows thank you with regards to the military intervention in Libya do you
think it was appropriate you said it was inappropriate for the United States to
act because it violated international law but do you actually think Gaddafi
would have gone through diplomatic means to have a peace treaty with the rebels
who before they enter before NATO and Sweden intervened that didn’t have any
bargaining chips there’s only one way to find out that was be to try that’s why
most of the world like almost every when relevant was calling for efforts to try
and in fact Qaddafi had made some offers in that direction if you would they have
worked I mean I don’t know but you don’t know until you try you
might want to read the article that I mentioned this is the most probably the
most important article on Libya by Hugh Roberts who’s the head of the
International Crisis Group for North Africa is specialist on topic he’s
reflecting the views of the International Crisis Group the serious
independent group and he goes through all of this asking what the likelihood
was it’s in the London Review of Books about an issue or two ago you can pick
it up on the internet I think it I don’t agree with everything he says I don’t
think it’s all convincing but it’s probably the most illuminating article
on the topic that has come out yet and then you can draw your own conclusions
thank you good evening um since 9/11 there have you noticed a
massive of our police forces the militarization
of our police forces in the United States and is it alright with the Occupy
movement to start pushing the boundaries further on what free speech is and isn’t since 9/11 have you noticed a massive
militarization of the police force so have there been militarization of the
police in the United States since 9/11 yes and is it alright also a massive
increase in surveillance you know airport security checking up on people
and they some of it’s kind of comical in many ways I’m gonna happened to be in
Australia a couple of weeks ago and one of the guys who was a friend there has a
former Australian intelligence officer a member of the Special Forces and he
pointed out to me that you know one of the most lethal instruments you can have
on you is a fountain pin he said if he if you know what you’re doing you can
kill somebody with a fountain pen in no time
but they don’t take your fountain pens away you know they take your toothpaste
away I mean that’s in fact the the idea it’s very questionable that all of this
has anything to do with security but it does intimidate and control people and
the surveillance is incredible I mean you can be pretty confident that you
know any time you write an email that’s going to the National Security Agency
and with Obama it’s gotten a lot worse so Obama has introduced measures which
haven’t gotten too much discussion but they’re pretty serious there’s one that
you might want to look up is a Supreme Court case holder versus humanitarian
law project humanitarian law project is a legal aid project which in the case in
question it happened to be giving legal advice to the PKK Turkish
a group from Turkish guerrilla group and the advice was basically you know the
advice wasn’t telling him how to carry out terror in fact it was against it
well that case was brought by the Obama administration to the Supreme Court it
was argued by Kagan his latest appointment to the Supreme Court with
the support of the right-wing justices they won and the court decision makes it
extends the concept of material support for terror to include words so if you
give the lead if you advise if there’s a group that’s on the US terrorist list
and you advise them to turn to non-violence you’re giving them material
support and therefore you can be tossed into jail you know literally a lot of us
could be subject to this law any time and so you might ask the question what’s
the terrorist list I mean it’s taken for granted without comment that this list
is legitimate is it I mean Nelson Mandela was on the
terrorist list until two years ago is that legitimate the African National
Congress under Reagan and Thatcher was one of the more notorious terrorist
organizations in the world if you want to see how arbitrary this is take a look
at the details in 1982 Reagan who wanted to start sending arms to his friend
Saddam Hussein well some another aide Saddam was on a terrorist list so they
took him off the terrorist list that made it possible for Donald Rumsfeld to
go for his handshake and start sending aid to Saddam this went right through
his worst atrocities all supported by the United States attack on the curves
everything else no they had a gap in the terrorist list they had to fill it so
they put Cuba on the terrorist list now maybe because Cuba has been the target
of more international terrorism than probably all other countries
vines from the United States I think it’s totally arbitrary it has no
supervision it has no legitimacy if you’re put on it you can’t do anything
about it the Attorney General doesn’t need any evidence I’m the idea that this
list should even exist is a serious blemish on civil rights wreck our civil
rights record and the idea that it should be used to extend the concept
material support to things like giving legal aid aid or advice to turn to
non-violence that’s pretty that’s pretty outrageous and it’s been used this
decision was immediately used by the FBI to attack groups that were supporting a
Palestinian rights in the Midwest well those things are dangerous it’s a
serious erosion of basic rights now if a police have been all that much
militarized I mean certainly it’s to some extent but I think the general
attack on civil rights is much more serious and unsure 911s pretext word
thank you my question actually was very similar to his since the rejection of
socio-economic rights is so fundamental to US policy how far do you think the
government the federal government state governments municipal governments will
go in the repression of the wall street occupiers I was reading that supposedly
there was a conference call with 18 heads of municipalities along with the
FBI and homeland security there seemed to be a coordinated crackdown on the
occupiers using seemingly increasing levels of brutality what’s your
assessment of the situation and how far do you think that will go I think that
depends on people like us the more support they have the less likely the
government is to turn to a repression if support dwindles and they’re kind of
isolated yeah then they can go in and wipe them out so usual thing same with
civil rights movement same with an anti-war movement
you know any popular movement if it doesn’t have substantial broad support
then it’s much easier to repress if it does have it it can resist repression
again this isn’t Egypt you know they’re not going to come down with with the
army and dr. square well they did use I did long the long range acoustic device
which I think we like you they’re gonna try but the general there’s a general
principle the more popular support there is particular support among you know
what are called respectable people you know people like us the more support
there is from people who it’s hard to repress without a cost the safer they
are great thanks I think we have time for maybe a couple more questions yes
thanks for coming sir if you take my question with the portrait you portray
of the United States as this rogue nation very much doing what it wants and
then with the examples you give of the major media outlets seeming to fall
right in line with some sort of support for the elites decisions and then
coupled with just all the information we’re bombarded with everybody’s got a
YouTube video saying they know what the truth is what information outlets do you
support or where do you think are the outlets we can actually get the true
unbiased reports of what’s really going on out there in the world I’m asked that
a lot I never really know what the answer I mean everyone whoever they are
may you everybody else and we all have a point of view I mean people who don’t
like our point of view would call it a bias okay that people who do like it’s a
you know honest so-and-so but for you say you’ve got wrecked I’m a person
who’s honest it will make his point of view clear okay
then people can judge here’s where I’m coming from
now you can judge whether you you can see whether it’s distorted or not
because you know it’s coming from the people who are either dishonest or maybe
naive pretend that they are purely objective they have no point of view now
that’s the way the media run pretty much we’re purely objective we have no point
of view at all of course it’s nonsense but if if they’re honest they’ll say
look here’s the point of view we’re coming from you can kind of discern it
from the coverage but it ought to be out front but it’s really up to the consumer
of information to determine you’ve got to read I personally am NOT impressed
with information that comes through say YouTube and I don’t use it myself with I
think it’s tends to be pretty superficial frankly I mean it’s got its
value but I think you don’t get very far with it you just have to read widely
carefully critically open mind you know you can learn from a whole range of
things um you can learn a lot from reading The Wall Street Journal the
business press you know right wing journals left-wing journals I mean you
just have to use your own discernment there isn’t any there’s no algorithm
there’s no particular tricks it’s kind of like in the sciences you just have to
figure out where you’re getting something that makes sense to you and
that you think you can build on thank you very much you talked about our us relations with
the Middle East and Asian Pacific countries but you didn’t really talk
about anything about Africa and I briefly touched about trusty atrocities
going on in the eastern Congo but how could you talk even for a moment about
what’s what’s going on with Africa or the troops that Obama sent into Uganda
and build up in Ethiopia and whatnot was very important in fact if you look over
the last just have to add a little historical depth to it in 1945 when the
US was essentially running the world it did lay out plans for every place in the
world each region of the world was assigned what was called its function in
the overall system that the United States was developing so the function of
Southeast Asia was to provide resources and material to the former colonial
powers so that they could then rebuild and purchase US manufacturing exports
and so on and for the u.s. to the u.s. one of the 10 and rubber and so on and
so on throughout the world this was done by George Kennan’s and his policy
planning staff when kenan got to africa he concluded that we’re not really that
much interested in africa so we’ll give it to the Europeans to exploit his word
we’ll give it to the Europeans to exploit for their reconstruction well
you know you look at the history of Europe and Africa you might think of a
different possible relationship but that never came up well over the years that
changed that within a couple of decades the u.s. started being interested in
Africa for its resources strategic positions and so on by now a lot of US
energy that comes from West Africa supporting horrible dictatorships like
Obiang and others all kind of atrocities like what goes on in Nigeria but and
they are trying to set up military but system so there’s two Africa you know
the African military system which is system which extends over the world
they’re trying to find bases in both East and West Africa for Africa so on
the far they haven’t really found them there’s a good chance in fact it’s worth
keeping your eyes open that Libya will end up being one of the bases in fact
that may have been part of the motivation for entering the war in Libya
hasn’t happened yet sending the troops to Uganda is it’s worth keeping your eye
on I mean the pretext was to fight the Lord Resistance Army but that’s pretty
hard to believe I mean whatever that army is it’s waned its power was years
ago they didn’t send troops then probably it’s aimed at Sudan South Sudan
South Sudan has is it’s kind of unsettled very much so but has plenty of
oil and everybody’s trying to get their fingers in it and then maybe aim that
that it may be a preliminary trying to set up an African base so I think what
you’re saying is very important to look at and keep your eye on how this is
developing and to try to prevent it from being a recolonization of Africa that’s
what a lot of Africans are concerned about and with justice thank you I think
we’re going after I mean I might just make a comment about eastern Congo
eastern Congo is you know the worst atrocities in the last couple of years I
mean millions of people have been slaughtered why isn’t anything done
about it well you know there’s a couple I mean there is an African Union a group
of why aren’t the Western powers doing anything well I think there are a couple
of reasons that for one thing the major culprit in eastern Congo is Rwanda which
is a US client well it’s one reason to let it alone
the other reason is your cell phone and everyone else’s you know
similar things a lot of the minerals for them that come from eastern Congo and
the multinational corporations are all over the place they’re ripping off
resources from there and they use the militias to carve out territory for them
and they’re making plenty of money on out of it and as long as that goes on I
don’t think there’s gonna be much in the way of sensible the involvement to try
to negotiate a settlement of these horrible conflict I’m very sorry I’m
sure I and many people here would like to stay for another two hours and
continue to ask questions thank you very much for the questions that you answered