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US Uses ‘Humanitarian Intervention’ To Advance Economic And Strategic Interests

US Uses ‘Humanitarian Intervention’ To Advance Economic And Strategic Interests

US Uses ‘Humanitarian Intervention’ To Advance Economic And Strategic Interests2020-05-19PopularResistance.Orghttps://popularresistance-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2020/05/81pykksnqhl-e1589913490445.jpg200px200px

Above photo: Cropped image of Dan Koalik’s new book, “No More War.”

A review of Dan Kovalik’s book No More War.

No More War focuses on the one nation in recent times that has been continuously engaged in wars of aggression. In fact, that nation has been engaged in wars or military occupations in all but five years since its founding in 1776. Author and professor of human rights law at the University of Pittsburgh, Dan Kovalik, contrasts international law designed to keep the peace to the contravening ideology of “humanitarian intervention” used to excuse the US imperial project.

Besides being a compelling exposition on US imperial adventures and its epigones, No More War is also a primer for law students and the general public on international law. The two most seminal documents of international law, the Charter of the United Nations and the Statute of the International Court of Justice, are included as appendices.

Vietnam War veteran S. Brian Willson’s forward explains, “peace is impossible in a predatory capitalist society [with] bipartisan support for [the] military.” Willson, an esteemed peace activist, suffered having his legs severed while protesting US munition shipments.

Kovalik explains that the UN Charter and associated human rights covenants are intended to provide the legal basis to end wars of aggression. In the words of the Nuremberg Justices:

To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

The UN Charter only allows states to use of force for self-defense, and then it must be pursuant to a UN Security Council resolution and with the consent of the host state. Citing numerous examples – Nicaragua, Vietnam, Libya, Syria, Iraq, etc. – Kovalik shows that “nearly every war the US fights is a war of choice, meaning that the US fights because it wants to, not because it must do so in order to defend the homeland.”

Kovalik credits the Soviet Union as having been a check on US interventionism. Since the Soviet Union’s demise in 1991, US interventions have increased. In 2001 on the border of the former Soviet Union, the pursuit of Saudi national Osama bin Laden was the US justification for the invasion of Afghanistan. However, bin Laden never was on the FBI’s most wanted list because of lack of evidence. And since his murder by US Navy SEALS in 2011, the US has continued its war in Afghanistan with no end yet in sight.

Kovalik documents in instructive detail how US intervention is “not about protecting human rights…[but] about profit, power, and imperial domination.” He comments how the US military devastates a country so that US corporations can profit in rebuilding it:

‘Vulture capitalism’ is indeed too kind a term for this type of creative destruction, for vultures feed on carrion that is already dead; in this case…the US creates the carrion for its corporations to feed on, and at someone else’s expense.

Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg is quoted, “It’s not really that the US is on the wrong side; it is the wrong side.”

The obscene oxymoron “humanitarian intervention” is used to contravene international law. No More War makes the case that this concept is neither humanitarian nor has a place in international law. The Uruguan poet and political analyst Eduardo Galeano observed, “Every time the US ‘saves’ a country, it converts it into either an insane asylum or a cemetery.”

Democratic party luminary and former US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, is credited with being a major purveyor of the “humanitarian interventionist” justification for US wars of aggression for economic gain and imperial domination. Power, author of  the Pulitzer-awarded A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, condemns genocide except when it is committed by its principal perpetrator or by allies of the US.

The billionaire-funded so-called human rights groups are also exposed for their ideological service to the US imperial project. Amnesty International has the distinction of being the only major human rights organization failing to condemn apartheid in South Africa or to protest the US designation of Nelson Mandela as a terrorist.

Likewise, Human Rights Watch and especially its director Kenneth Roth are criticized for promotion of the “responsibility to protect” pretext for US aggression.  According to Kovalik, Roth believes “the US, by definition, simply does not commit mass war crimes or genocide. It is only people of the undeveloped world who do such things.” Ajamu Baraka with the Black Alliance for Peace observes, “The ‘responsibility to protect’ is a white supremacist construction – the 21st-century ‘white man’s burden.’”

With leading “human rights” organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch running cover, it is little wonder that the US is in “almost total denial of international law obligations,” including rejecting the jurisdiction of the International Court of Criminal Justice.

Kovalik’s international perspective describes decolonization as the truly defining international law issue of the 20th century. Peace, Kovalik argues, is a paramount human right upheld in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international covenants.

A consequence of the US “spending more on its military than nearly all the other countries of the world combined” is domestic neglect. Of the developed (i.e., members of the OECD) countries, the US has the highest youth poverty, infant mortality, and incarceration rates. The UN High Commission for Refugees found that conditions in Syrian refugee camps were better than those for the homeless in Los Angeles (now numbering nearly 60,000 in LA County).

Kovalik entreats, “from a moral and legal point of view, going to war to defend imperial domination of other nations is not defensible and must be resisted.” Revealing is this brazen confession by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman:

For globalism to work, America can’t be afraid to act like the almighty superpower that it is…The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist – McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.

To which, former New York Times columnist Chris Hedges observes, “We have, as always happens in war, become the monster we sought to defeat.”

No More War is not a rant. Given his meticulous presentation of the particulars of US imperialism, Kovalik’s insightful critique is restrained, allowing the facts to speak for themselves. Kovalik concludes, “the American people are much more in tune with the spirit of international law than their rulers, and it is because this law, borne of human experience, simply makes sense.

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China shreds US for decrying Beijing’s ‘predatory interests’ in Arctic… while seeking to buy Greenland — RT World News

China’s envoy to Denmark has penned a harsh rebuttal to his American counterpart, who accused Beijing of seeking to impose “authoritarian values” on Greenland – in stark contrast to an honest US offer to outright buy the island.

The envoy, Feng Tie, hit out at Washington’s Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands in an op-ed this week after she alleged that both China and Russia have malicious designs on Greenland and the Arctic region as a whole. Sands stated that only increased US influence could ensure a “secure and stable Arctic.”

“It is important to remember that any cooperation is voluntary. China can in no way impose cooperation on Greenland or Denmark,” Feng said, blasting Sands’ claims as “absurd and misleading.”

China respects the sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdictions of the Arctic states.

Accusing Beijing of “gradually trying to penetrate the [Arctic]” to promote “predatory economic interests” in an opinion piece in April, Sands said the country is gaining a “foothold” there through a network of scientific observation posts, among other things. Feng rejected that argument as well, noting that China has a right to access parts of the Arctic under the 1920 Svalbard Treaty, which granted permissions to various signatories to conduct scientific research and commercial activities in specific areas of the region.

As for China’s “predatory” financial interests, Feng said there are currently no Chinese companies operating in Greenland, but added that Beijing is open to stepped-up economic cooperation there.




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Last year, US President Donald Trump floated the idea of outright buying Greenland – an autonomous territory of the Kingdom of Denmark. But the offer was rejected out of hand as “absurd” by Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, insisting Washington could not merely “buy and sell other countries and populations.”

The US stoked the ire of Copenhagen again in April, offering a $12 million aid package to “jump-start” US investment in Greenland’s tourism and energy sectors, citing the same concerns over Chinese and Russian influence. A number of Danish MPs saw the move as an attempt to “undermine” Denmark’s ties with the island, however, calling the US “agenda” in the country “unacceptable.” Washington has not had open diplomatic ties with Greenland since 1953, when the US consulate was shut down in the wake of World War II.

As Washington continues to raise red flags about ‘foreign meddling’ in the Arctic, the US Navy has embarked on provocative ‘freedom of navigation’ missions in the region, sailing warships through the Barents Sea, divided between Russian and Norwegian territorial waters. While denouncing any engagement in the Arctic by so-called “adversaries” as predatory, the US hails its own military posturing in the region as the only way to preserve “stability.”




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‘Absurd and Misleading’: China Hits Back at US Allegations of ‘Predatory Interests’ in Arctic

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According to Chinese Ambassador to Denmark Feng Tie, the US is using allegations against Russia and China as a ploy to cover its own interests in Greenland, the world’s largest island.

Chinese Ambassador to Denmark Feng Tie has lashed out against an opinion piece penned by his US colleague Carla Sands, who accused China and Russia of having malign designs on Greenland and the Arctic as a whole.

“In her op-ed, the US ambassador indirectly stated that the US’s attempts to boost its influence in Greenland are the best possible solution for Denmark and Greenland, as the alternative is that Russia and China come and take over Greenland. This is absurd and misleading”, Feng Tie wrote in his rebuttal in the newspaper Altinget, stressing that China respects the sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdictions of Arctic states.

According to Feng, there is no reason to see China as a threat, but rather “as a partner with many opportunities”. “It is important to remember that any cooperation is voluntary. China can in no way impose cooperation on Greenland or Denmark”, he emphasised.

Feng also waved aside Sands’s assumptions that Beijing was “gradually trying to penetrate the Arctic” by gaining a “foothold” through a network of scientific observation posts. Feng rejected that argument as well, noting that China has a right to access parts of the Arctic under the 1920 Svalbard Treaty, which granted permission to various signatories to conduct scientific research and commercial activities in specific areas of the region.

He stressed that no Chinese companies are currently operating in Greenland, but added that Beijing is open to step up economic cooperation.

Feng also hit back at Sands’s accusations of Chinese pollution, pointing out the US is a major polluter.

“In Greenland, US pollution is extremely extensive, and we may only know the tip of the iceberg”, Feng wrote, citing “many unresolved questions” about “the mysterious city under ice”, Camp Century, located about 200 kilometres from the US base Thule. Camp Century was part of America’s secret Cold War nuclear missile programme, which went by the name of Project Iceworm.

Furthermore, Feng recalled an incident from 1968, when a US B-52 bomber crashed in Greenland with four nuclear bombs. “The crash caused radioactive pollution in the area. Local people still report animals born with malformations”, he added.

Danish expert Lars Bangert Struwe, Secretary General of the Atlantic Association, suggested that the two ambassadors’ clash outlined the two major powers’ rivalry for the next 10-15 years.

In April, the US angered Copenhagen with its offer of a $12 million aid package to kickstart US investments in Greenland’s tourism and energy sectors, while citing its concerns of Russian and Chinese influence. A number of Danish MPs from numerous parties saw the move as an attempt to undermine Denmark’s ties with the world’s largest island, which is part of the Danish realm.

Last year, US President Donald Trump floated the idea of buying Greenland from Denmark. The offer was flatly rejected by Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen as “absurd”.

 

 

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‘Interests of elites vs human rights’? UN warns against hasty lockdown lifting as global death toll tops 300,000 — RT World News

The global death toll in the Covid-19 pandemic has crossed 300,000, hitting another dark milestone as the United Nations voiced concerns that lockdown measures are being lifted too quickly, warning of a “second wave” of the virus.

Surpassing a total of 300,000 fatalities and nearing 4.5 million cases globally on Thursday, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University, the worldwide viral outbreak continues to expand across some 188 nations, infecting tens of thousands every day. The latest figures came on the heels of a new warning from the UN’s Human Rights High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, who said countries that repeal containment policies too fast risk a resurgence of the virus.

“If an affected country comes out of lock-down too hastily, there is a danger that a second wave, costing many more lives, will be triggered sooner and more destructively than would otherwise be the case,” Bachelet said.

If the re-opening of societies is mishandled, all the huge sacrifices made during the initial lock-down will have been for nothing.

Calling for the protection of “less privileged or marginalized communities,” the commissioner also said the virus will “rebound on everyone” if national responses are driven by “the interests of a particular elite,” adding that “politics or economics” should not be put ahead of human rights.




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Leading the world in both deaths and infections, the US offers an emblematic case of the tension Bachelet described, as lockdown measures imposed across dozens of states exact a major economic toll, prompting thousands of angry residents and business owners to take to the streets in protest.

The lockdowns have put over 36 million Americans out of work – compared to 15 million during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The stock market, too, has suffered amid the pandemic, seeing a precipitous fall from which it might take years to recover. But even as dozens of states move ahead with plans to reopen, some health experts have warned they are doing so prematurely, while politicians capitalize on blaming President Donald Trump for pushing states too hard.

A number of other major Covid-19 hotspots are also cautiously lifting their own quarantine measures – including France, Italy and Spain, some of Europe’s hardest-hit countries. India’s lockdown, covering the majority of its population of 1.3 billion, is also set to expire on May 17, barring another extension. While each nation faces the same virus, conditions vary dramatically from country to country, suggesting there is no one-size-fits-all answer to reopening.




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