For years, US presidents have regaled the UN General Assembly with rosy and ridiculous rhetoric about America allegedly doing great things for world peace.
Notwithstanding such criminal barbarities as the US genocidal wars in Vietnam, Iraq and elsewhere, the UN has tended to be a silent forum while American leaders indulged in fantasies about their nation’s “virtuous greatness”. That silence was either from fear or bamboozlement by American phony rhetoric.
This year, however, the assembly burst out in laughter at President Trump’s vain claims of greatness. It’s about time too. American claims have always been wildly overblown. This year’s disbelieving reaction among delegates was not only appropriate. It also shows that the world openly views US claims as ridiculously disconnected from reality.
The rampant contradictions articulated by President Trump in his address to the 73rd United Nations General Assembly are too many to condense here.
He called for the world to “choose peace and freedom over domination” – that from a leader of a nation that has waged scores of wars in flagrant violation of international law during the seven decades since the UN was established following the Second World War.
Trump claimed the US has defeated terrorists in Syria and Iraq, when in reality American illegal wars, covert and overt, have unleashed these same terrorist as proxies for its regime-change machinations.
There were so many other absurd contradictions in American self-righteousness as enunciated by Trump. But perhaps the most glaring was this: Trump was calling on the nations of the world to join in America’s campaign of aggression against Iran over the latter’s alleged “sponsorship of terrorism” – when it is the US that is the biggest sponsor of terrorism.
Trump’s unilateral abrogation of the international nuclear accord with Iran earlier this year is a brazen violation of international law. Yet, this American president demands that all nations indulge his government’s transgression against an international treaty to satisfy Washington’s obsession for regime change in Tehran.
American conduct of illegal wars and regime change in the Middle East and beyond has undermined international law and gravely incited tensions.
The spectacle of President Trump bullying the world to comply with US rogue-state behavior with regard to Iran is a contradiction too far – and no wonder the world is confounded by Washington’s absurd arrogance.
How can anyone have the slightest respect for American self-proclaimed leadership when it is in fact a rogue state that has no respect for international law and rules?
That has always been the case, despite florid, vainglorious rhetoric about American probity. But under Trump the contradiction between rhetoric and reality of American munificence and misconduct has become too stark to ignore. The only appropriate response is to laugh.
Trump extols the principle of “sovereignty” of nations. Yet, in his threats delivered at the UN this week, Trump has no respect for sovereignty of nations that do not kowtow to Washington’s diktat.
This American president has open contempt for multilateral accords, the Iran deal in particular. It is the US which has shown bad faith and criminal disregard towards the 2015 nuclear accord ratified by the UN. This violation of the accord is leading to tensions and instability in the Middle East, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pointed out to the UN Security Council this week.
Still, Trump tries to make a virtue of this American vice, and what’s more, to lay down ultimatums to the rest of the world to acquiesce to American bullying, or else face retribution with punitive sanctions.
The American leader is a leader in the most nefarious sense. Leading the world into lawlessness and certain conflict that accompanies such lawlessness.
Trump’s platitudes about “sovereignty” are nothing other than a license for American rogue-state conduct unfettered by international law and global accountability. In reality, American power is degenerating into an embrace of the kind of fascistic licentiousness that prevailed in the 1930s which led to world war.
It surely is a sign of the times when an American president stands up in front of the world and gratuitously exults in his nation’s contempt for global law, order and peace. All delivered with smug self-righteousness. No wonder the world is laughing. The disconnect from reality is too much to bear.
But it is no laughing matter. America is accusing everyone of malfeasance – Russia and China in particular – when the barefaced reality is that Washington is the scourge of world peace. America’s trashing of international order is only matched by its trashing of reason and any possible dialogue to uphold international order.
America claims to have led the establishment of the United Nations out of ashes of the Second World War in 1945. That war and its fascist protagonists were the outgrowth of a failing capitalist system. The system is failing again and producing the same conditions for nation-state-led rivalry and war.
History seems to be coming back to that same point. Trump’s ridiculous and reckless ultimatums delivered to the world this week at the UN shows how the causes of war have never been solved. American rhetoric is breaking down from its preposterous pretense of being a law-abiding “leader of the free world” to reveal, ominously, the same fascistic tendency for war.
We may indeed chuckle at Trump’s clownish claims. But the deadly serious issue is how to prevent this rogue state from inciting another world war.
As the great German playwright Bertolt Brecht once wrote: “War is a bastard, but the bitch that bore him is on heat again.”
America’s complete disregard for international order and compliance, as expressed by President Trump this week at the UN, is the evidence of war on the horizon once again due to capitalist chaos in the world order. US failure as the world’s foremost capitalist power is manifest in Trump’s bullying and boorish exultation of lawlessness.
On one hand, the breakdown is hilarious, absurd, risible. On the other hand, it is gravely alarming.