Last week US President Barack Obama addressed the UN General Assembly and the unintended irony in his speech would be humorous if it were not so cruel—and dangerous. Obama touched on a variety of global issues from the Ebola epidemic to the Ukraine to the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS). So what was this unintended irony so prevalent in Obama’s speech? Continue reading
Tag Archives: syria
Without question, the beheading of US journalist James Foley was an inexcusable and savage act of violence by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The killing of non-combatants should always be condemned. But there is a clear discrepancy in the response of both the Western media and the general public with regard to the killing of Western civilians compared to Islamic civilians. The number of Western civilians killed by Islamic militants pales in comparison to the number of non-combatants that have died at the hands of the US and its military allies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. And yet, the outrage at the killing of these innocent Muslims, many of who are women and children, is virtually non-existent in the West. Continue reading
The international community’s response to the recent massacre of more than 100 people allegedly perpetrated by pro-government militias in Syria has successfully kept the human rights spotlight on the actions of a “rogue” nation rather than on those of the world’s leading human rights violator: the United States. Even more disconcerting is the fact that the United States is using the volatile situation in Syria to once again position itself as a staunch promoter of democracy and defender of human rights. Lost in the dominant international discourse is the human rights reality in the world’s most powerful nation where more than 40,000 people die annually from structural violence related to unequal access to healthcare and where almost one in four children live in poverty. What is also ignored is the plight of more than 10 million people who die annually from the structural violence inherent in global capitalism, of which the United States is the leading proponent.
According to the Bush administration, it is Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s desire to purchase weapons from Russia that threatens to destabilize the Andean region, not the $3 billion in military aid that Washington has provided to Colombia over the past five years. Likewise, in the Middle East, it is Syria’s efforts to obtain purely defensive anti-aircraft missiles that pose a threat to that region, not the $1 billion a year in U.S. military aid to Israel. And on the nuclear front, while there is no evidence that Iran is intending to build nuclear weapons, it is the regime in Tehran that is threatening to further destabilize the region, not President Bush’s apparent pledge to support any future Israeli attack against Iran. Meanwhile, North Korea’s withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in order to develop nuclear weapons makes the Asian nation a “rogue state,” but Washington’s abandonment of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) to build its missile defense system, which could lead to the weaponization of space, apparently does not justify the same anti-multilateralist label being applied to the United States.