When United States (US) President, Donald Trump arrived at the podium at the United Nations (UN) to deliver his address to the world leaders and diplomats, it was impossible to resist pondering how it is that a man with zero political experience, you would imagine would disqualify him from political office of any kind, could possibly find himself thrust onto the world stage in command of the largest economy and military, including nuclear weapons, ever known.
Some have attempted to posit Trump’s election to the highest political office in the US as confirmation of the unyielding magic of the American Dream, the power it has to make the seemingly impossible eminently possible, carrying with it the source of America’s promise. However, those of us who refuse to succumb to such illusions understand Trump’s election as evidence not of America’s greatness, but of its weakness and decline. To put it another way, one friend of mine posted on Facebook that if Obama was viewed as Emperor Augustus, a president who managed to succeed in cloaking the snarling beast of US imperialism and hegemony with the patina of peace and stability, Trump is Emperor Nero, a leader whose departure from reality knows no bounds.
In truth, what the world is dealing with is a juggernaut of chaos and destruction which, during the Obama years, was led by a president who perfected the art of speaking the language of conciliation while following the agenda of State long imbued with the ethos of might is right. In Trump’s case, the world is dealing with a President who foregoes the language of conciliation, opting instead for the kind of violent rhetoric and bombast commonly associated with what Petras calls the “head of a New York crime family”, a gangster in all but name.
During a speech that was more akin to an incoherent rant, Trump said, “If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph. When decent people and nations become by-standers to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength.” “The righteous many” Trump refers to does not, by any objective measure, include a nation which counts the use of nuclear weapons, the mass destruction of entire countries, North Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, as part of a legacy so foul with the stench of hypocrisy it requires that we pinch our collective nose before engaging with it. Not satisfied with destroying North Korea once, in a war unleashed on its people by the US and its allies between 1950 and 1953, Trump levelled the threat that Washington may do so again, declaring that “we will have no choice, but to totally destroy North Korea.”
Listening to this in North Korea, you can bet the decision was instantly taken to ramp up the country’s on-going efforts to establish a nuclear capability for the purposes of defending itself.
The anti-Iran section of Trump’s speech could well have been written for him in Israel and Saudi Arabia, such was its intemperance and brutal indifference to the facts. And the salient where Iran is concerned is that it has not attacked any of its
In this regard, does anyone believe it is any coincidence that the two States in the Middle East which rest on foundations of ethno-religious supremacy, Israel and Saudi Arabia, are mortal enemies of a government in Iran whose only crime is that it is a pillar of resistance to the axis of regime change of which both are card -carrying members? It was so shocking listening to a billionaire poster child of capitalism providing the UN with a disquisition on the evils of socialism and communism, which he did when railing against Cuba and Venezuela, was nothing if not surreal. No one needs to remind us that Cuba” record and legacy of exporting solidarity instead of cruise missiles to countries around the world is not in dispute.
Neither are its achievements in the fields of healthcare, education, and science – all of which have been reached despite the depredations of the sustained economic embargo and sanctions enforced against the island by the US, an embargo and sanctions that have been in place since the 1960s. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro currently finds itself under siege by a Washington-funded and supported opposition comprising an entrenched oligarchy that has never once resiled from its hatred of the country’s poor and indigenous masses.
This is the true locus of the ire in which the Bolivarian revolution is held, a revolution that was authored by the now departed Hugo Chavez on the back of popular support in the late 1990s, designed to redistribute the country’s oil wealth for the benefit of those whose very existence is an affront to the nation’s economic and hitherto political elite. In point of fact, the grotesque verbal broadsides Trump unleashed concerning human rights and democracy when it comes to Venezuela merely conceal and elide a truth that dare not speak its name – namely that Washington wants regime change and full economic occupation of that country. When it comes to the list of nations and governments against which Trump vented his ire in his UN speech – North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Syria, and by implication Russia and China – the inescapable fact is that for all their differences they share a refusal to submit to the writ of Washington.