In a speech Saturday at The New School in New York, Noam Chomsky explained why he believes the U.S. poses the greatest threat to world peace. "[The United States] is a rogue state, indifferent to international law and conventions, entitled to resort to violence at will. … Take, for example, the Clinton Doctrine—namely, the United States is free to resort to unilateral use of military power, even for such purposes as to ensure uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies and strategic resources—let alone security or alleged humanitarian concerns. And adherence to this doctrine is very well confirmed and practiced, as need hardly be discussed among people willing to look at the facts of current history." Chomsky also explained why he believes the U.S. and its closest allies, namely Saudi Arabia and Israel, are undermining prospects for peace in the Middle East. "When we say the international community opposes Iran’s policies or the international community does some other thing, that means the United States and anybody else who happens to be going along with it."Chomsky3

The former Republican Party has now become a "radical insurgency" that’s abandoned parliamentary politics. I’m quoting two highly respected, very conservative political commentators, Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute. And in fact, they may succeed in increasing sanctions, and even secondary sanctions on other countries, and carry out other actions that could lead Iran to opt out of the deal with the United States—with the United States, that is. That, however, need not mean that the agreement is nullified. Contrary to the way it’s sometimes presented here, it’s not a U.S.-Iran agreement. It’s an agreement between Iran and what’s called P5+1, the five veto-holding members of the Security Council plus Germany. And the other participants might agree to proceed—Iran, as well. They would then join China and India, which have already been finding ways to evade the U.S. constraints on interactions with Iran. And in fact, if they do, they’ll join the large majority of the world’s population, the Non-Aligned Movement, which all along has vigorously supported Iran’s right to pursue its nuclear programs as a member of the NPT. But remember that they are not part of the international community. So when we say the international community opposes Iran’s policies or the international community does some other thing, that means the United States and anybody else who happens to be going along with it, so we can dismiss them. If others continue to honor the deal, which could happen, the United States will be isolated from the world, which is not an unfamiliar position.

That’s also the background for the other element of Obama’s—what’s called Obama’s legacy, his other main foreign policy achievement, the beginning of normalization of relations with Cuba. On Cuba, the United States has been almost totally isolated for decades. If you look, say, at the annual votes in the U.N. General Assembly on the U.S. embargo, they’re rarely reported, but the U.S. essentially votes alone. The last one Israel joined. But, of course, Israel violates the embargo; they just have to join, because have to join with the master. Occasionally, the Marshall Islands or Palau or someone else joins. And in the hemisphere, the United States has been totally isolated for years. The main hemispheric conferences have foundered because the United States will simply not join the rest of the hemisphere in the major issues that are discussed. Last one in Colombia, the two major issues were admitting Cuba into the hemisphere—U.S. and Canada refused, everyone else agreed—and the U.S. drug war, which is devastating Latin America, and they want to get out of it, but the U.S. and Canada don’t agree. Now that’s actually the background for Obama’s acceptance of steps towards normalization of relations with Cuba. Another hemispheric conference was coming up in Panama, and if the United States had not made that move, it probably would have been thrown out of the hemisphere, so therefore Obama made what’s called here a noble gesture, a courageous move to end Cuba’s isolation, although in reality it was U.S. isolation that was the motivating factor.

By Noam Chomaky


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