Top post this month: the cruel farce of ‘humanitarian intervention’

April 25, 2017

The cruel farce of ‘humanitarian intervention’

Posted on April 8, 2017 with five times more interest from USA readers than from those in the UK, no doubt due to its republication on an American website with a lurid anti-zionist title unrelated to the text – the pingback posted on this website was deleted.

 

Simon Jenkins: “It is a war crime to disable, maim or poison a victim by chemical or biological means, yet it is permissible to blow them to bits. Dropping chlorine evokes howls of horror. Dropping bunker busters does not. Cluster munitions, the most horrible of delayed action weapons, remain in the arsenals of NATO armies”.

 

 

 

 


Blix: Middle East, NATO expansion, Russia, China & arms proliferation

December 5, 2014

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hans blix

Hans Blix headed the International Atomic Energy Agency for 16 years, aiming to cut the world’s nuclear arms build-up and contribute to the international legal infrastructure governing nuclear energy, conventions about safety and plant waste disposal.

His inspections found no trace of weapons of mass destruction before the US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq and his verdict is: “The US went in to create democracy but they found no weapons of mass destruction and created anarchy . . . The invasion was illegal. It was in violation of the UN charter . . . I do weep still over the result of the mad rush by Bush and Blair to go to war. Tragically, the US and UK trusted their own faulty intelligence more than the inspection reports we gave.”

He suspects that the Bush administration, which he says didn’t give a “damn” about the UN, counted on war from the outset, and that a March deadline had been picked because of the extreme heat.

wmd blix coverSince he left the IAEA in 2003, Blix has been chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC), an independent body funded by the Swedish government and based in Stockholm, opposing the world’s stockpiling of arms. He deplores the tremendous increase in military spending in China, Africa, Brazil, Indonesia and the Arab world:

“In 2012, the world spent some $1,700bn on the military – it all looks pretty black . . . Why do oil-rich Middle East states spend the money coming out of the ground from oil on the latest weaponry that will be obsolete in 10 years? There are 20,000 nuclear weapons ready to blow up. Nato has 200 of them, yet everyone knows they are useless. We must double our ambitions to stop war and stop the weapons build-up which is a bloody waste of the world’s resources.”

He roots the current crisis in Nato expansion:

“It was not subtly done. It’s the expansion that has triggered the [Ukraine] crisis. What Russia has done in Crimea and the east is unacceptable; at the same time the Russians fear being encircled. They won’t accept Ukraine in Nato.” Blix is urging the Swedes to stay out of Nato: “Embedding in Nato will increase tensions in the Baltics. Russia will take measures in response.”

A fine setting for the warlords

un sec co

Using an expression which indicts the UN Security Council’s permanent members, he insists that the integration of Russia and China is crucial in international affairs:

“You need what I call the five warlords plus Germany in the UN – the junta of the big warlords”.

To read more about his work go to the informative Wikipedia entry, and for additional news of his taste in food, furnishing and art, find ‘Hans Blix – the diplomat with a disarming nature’ in the FT magazine.



Japanese and German ‘peace articles’ under threat

November 13, 2014

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ARTICLE 9.

(1) Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

(2) To accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

David Pilling writes in the Financial Times today:

Most voters remain cautious about (Prime Minister Abe’s) ambition to revise the constitution, particularly when it comes to jettisoning the pacifist article nine.

Any such step would need to be ratified by referendum, a hurdle it would almost certainly fail.

However determined Abe 2.0 is, on that front he may have to yield.

In 2010 a C3000 post quoted the Wall Street Journal’s report that opinion polls in Germany reported the opposition of a ‘solid majority’ of Germans to their country’s military role in Afghanistan. Many were aware that this war was contrary to their law as it stands, set out in Article 24 [International organizations] and Article 26 [Ban on preparations for war of aggression].

As Dr Ian Davis wrote in 2010, (though with reference to NATO members) rather than deregulating the rules of  military engagement, similar non-aggression clauses should be included in the national legislation of other states.


Are US leaders choosing to cry wolf at the wrong time and for the wrong goals?

August 26, 2014

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Max Rayner, Palo Alto, CA, US, (this experienced Max?) thinks that this is a ‘galling tragedy’. A lightly abridged version of his FT message:

When there are so many areas where we actually might want to stand up and fight for freedom and human dignity, it is a galling tragedy that US leaders are choosing to cry wolf at the wrong time and for the wrong goals.

While others think of the Caucasus and Crimea as locations of appalling Russian genocides, Russians think of Crimea as the place that western powers stole from them.

To compound that, the Russian people think they made great sacrifices to help win the second world war and in their view those sacrifices were all the more enormous because western powers delayed engaging the Nazis in Europe . . .

A positive strategic outcome was secured when the Soviet Union began to show cracks because George Bush senior had the restraint to avoid triumphalism. But after that the US and western leaders then took every excuse to rub salt in the wound and over-reach rather than seek a stable post-Soviet order.

This has been in evidence everywhere where Russia had interests that could align with the west’s, and instead of reaching an accommodation the west has tried to run the board. Look at Libya, Syria, Iraq and so on.

In Europe as well, Nato acted as if we were setting things up to expand its sphere of influence with eastward installation of missile defence systems, and to eventually challenge Russia’s military presence in Crimea. What would we think of Russia installing missiles (even defensive) near the continental US?

The west has given substance to the charge that we never think about the long game and come to the party only long enough to break everything, enrage everybody and then leave.

Against this backdrop, the better move now might be to assure Russian leaders that their Crimean bases will be safe indefinitely and not subject to caprices of a new Ukrainian government or of Nato adventurism and eastward expansion.

There was a moment (and there may still be) a moment when the west could have recognised Russian interests and historical claims in Crimea and more broadly in its sphere of influence, and counselled the new Ukrainian leaders to promptly do the same. Freedom and dignity for Ukrainians could have been won in the bargain (and still may be) while giving up no more than what Russia already owned de facto or is prepared to take by brute force.

But that would require realism and a scintilla of strategic wisdom.


We celebrate the ‘pacification of Europe’ . . .

March 30, 2010

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates referred to the underfunding of NATO at the NATO Strategic Concept Seminar in Washington [23.2.10]. Since the end of the Cold War, national defense budgets had consistently fallen due, he asserted, to a larger cultural and political trend – the pacification of Europe – which he appeared to deplore: 

“I believe we have reached an inflection point, where much of the continent has gone too far in the other direction. The demilitarization of Europe – where large swaths [sic] of the general public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it – has gone from a blessing in the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st. Not only can real or perceived weakness be a temptation to miscalculation and aggression, but, on a more basic level, the resulting funding and capability shortfalls make it difficult to operate and fight together to confront shared threats . . .” 

Andrew Bacevich shares his analysis. Sardonically, he writes

“By the dawn of this century, Europeans had long since lost their stomach for battle. The change was not simply political. It was profoundly cultural. The cradle of Western civilization — and incubator of ambitions that drenched the contemporary age in blood — had become thoroughly debellicized. As a consequence, however willing they are to spend money updating military museums or maintaining war memorials, present-day Europeans have become altogether stingy when it comes to raising and equipping fighting armies.“ 

Deplorably, he then allocates Europe a role and an enemy: 

“Although the Soviet threat has vanished, Russia remains. And Russia, even if no longer a military superpower, does not exactly qualify as a status quo country. The Kremlin nurses grudges and complaints, not least of them stemming from NATO’s own steady expansion eastward. So let NATO attend to this new (or residual) Russian problem. Present-day Europeans — even Europeans with a pronounced aversion to war — are fully capable of mounting the defenses necessary to deflect a much reduced Eastern threat. So why not have the citizens of France and Germany guarantee the territorial integrity of Poland and Lithuania?” 

Other relevant articles can be seen here.