Emperor Trump–widely derided at home and abroad. Photo: Gage Skidmore
This is how Frantz Fanon put it in The Wretched of the Earth: “Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe. It succeeded so well that the United States of America became a monster, in which the taints, the sickness and the inhumanity of Europe have grown to appalling dimensions…”
In 1955 the US and the Soviet Union were in the midst of the Cold War. Both countries were pressuring Asian and African countries to align with them. In April of 1955, twenty-nine of these countries met in Bandung, Indonesia for the first Bandung (Asian-African) Conference. Most of the countries that attended were in the process of emerging from the shackles of colonial rule.
They met to address their common problems; sovereignty, political self-determination, non-aggression and equality. A 10-point “declaration on the promotion of world peace and cooperation,” was drafted and signed by all of the attendees. It called for “abstention from the use of arrangements of collective defense to serve the particular interests of any of the big powers.” This conference was a key element in the development of the Non-Aligned Movement, the global struggle against colonialism and imperialism that exists to this day.
As the US has emerged from the post-Cold War era as the unitary global hegemon, it has become increasingly more difficult for countries to maintain their sovereignty and battle the inequities of the “new world” economic order. The US’s “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions and regime change has been applied as a weapon of economic warfare against US “enemies” such as China, Cuba, Iran and Venezuela. With the exception of China, these tactics have crippled economies and wreaked havoc on societies.
On July 14, 2015 The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was reached by Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the US; also known as the P5+1 countries. The JCPOA is a 15-year deal that limits Iran’s ability to develop and use various types of nuclear material and technology. By all accounts Iran is living up to the terms and the spirit of the JCPOA.
On May 8, 2018, as a part of President Trump’s effort to eliminate everything “Obama”, Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the JCPOA. In order to impose its “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran, the Trump administration announced the imposition of “snap-back” sanctions. Simply put, the US is trying to enforce the conditions of an agreement that it has violated and withdrawn from, against a country that has been adhering to the agreement since its inception.
During the current 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the leaders of countries such as Iran, China, Venezuela and Cuba used their addresses to the UNGA to articulate their concerns with and opposition to illegal and immoral US/Western imperialist policies and actions. This is not the first time that countries have used this international forum to express their displeasure with US foreign policy, but these leaders were able to align and seize the moral high ground, taking the US to task for its illegal and immoral policies. The non-aligned countries are aligning and over the long-term this will not be good for the US.
During his address at the UNGA’s annual debate, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was clear and defiant. He called the 2015 JCPOA, one of the “biggest accomplishments” in the history of diplomacy. He thanked countries, especially Russia and China – who twice said a decisive and resounding ‘NO’ to the unlawful US attempt to exploit the UN Council and its Resolution 2231. Rouhani added, “This is a victory not just for Iran, but for the global community – during the transitional international order in the post-Western world – that an aspirant of hegemony is humiliated in such self-created isolation.” Did he just say, the transitional international order in the post-Western world? If you don’t know; you better ask somebody!
The president of Iran sounded like former American patriot Patrick Henry’s, “give me liberty or give me death” when he said, “Life is hard under sanctions. However, harder, is life without independence…” He continued, “We are not a bargaining chip in US elections and domestic policy. Any US administration after the upcoming elections will have no choice but to surrender to the resilience of the Iranian nation…” That doesn’t sound like a guy crying “uncle”.
President Xi of China was clear as well. He cautioned that the world must “not fall into the trap of a clash of civilizations…Major countries should act like major countries…COVID-19 reminds us that the economic globalization is an indisputable reality and a historical trend,” Xi said. “Burying one’s head in the sand like an ostrich in the face of economic globalization or trying to fight it with Don Quixote’s lance goes against the trend of history. Let this be clear: The world will never return to isolation.” Again, the post-Western world reference.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro denounced US “criminal, inhuman aggression…The world must know that we are prepared to fight with the force of our history, our spirit, reason and international law…”
Rouhani compared his country’s plight with that of George Floyd, saying it is… “reminiscent of our own experience…We instantly recognize the feet kneeling on the neck as the feet of arrogance on the neck of independent nations.” As the US chides China over the issue of Hong Kong, China’s foreign ministry spokesman, Lijian Zhao also made the reference to Mr. Floyd and urged the US to eliminate racial discrimination and protect the lawful rights of minorities…“The death of George Floyd reflects the severity of racial discrimination and police brutality in the US…” Iran and China are highlighting American hypocrisy on the word stage.
It is important to realize that in spite of US sanctions, earlier this summer the first Iranian supermarket opened its doors in Venezuela and Iran is exporting oil to Venezuela. China and Iran are entering a 25-year strategic partnership in trade, politics, culture, and security. In spite of US pressure, a British Court of Appeal set aside a decision by the High Court giving President Maduro of Venezuela access to $2 billion of gold stored at the Bank of England.
American’s see America in the romantic context of Reagan’s “Shining City on a Hill” while the developing countries sees the US as a monster, in which the taints, the sickness and the inhumanity of Europe have grown to appalling dimensions. The “non-aligned” nations are in realignment. The US should be as Killens says, about “free people” not “free enterprise”.
Dr. Wilmer Leon is the Producer/ Host of the nationally broadcast call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Leon,” on SiriusXM Satellite radio channel 126. Go to www.wilmerleon.com or email: [email protected]. www.twitter.com/drwleon and Dr. Leon’s Prescription at Facebook.com © 2020 InfoWave Communications, LLC