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Obama Tramples Laws He Demands Others Uphold

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Posted on Sep 12, 2013
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The conference room of the U.N. Security Council in New York City.

For seven decades, successive U.S. governments have used an exclusive and dated U.N. veto power to “pursue their own corrupt interests at the expense of peace and justice,” author George Monbiot writes Monday in The Guardian. Obama’s response to the mess in Syria is no exception.

The U.S. has exercised this power of the U.N. Security Council, which is a holdover from “a time when other nations were either broken or voiceless,” 83 times. On 42 of these occasions it did so to shield Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians from scrutiny. “On the last occasion, 130 nations supported the resolution but Barack Obama spiked it.” Increasingly, the other four members of the council—the U.K., Russia, China and France—“have used the threat of veto to prevent a resolution being discussed. They have bullied the rest of the world into silence.”

“Through this tyrannical dispensation,” Monbiot writes, “the great warmongers of the past 60 years remain responsible for global peace. The biggest weapons traders are tasked with global disarmament. Those who trample international law control the administration of justice.”

In one of his latest acts of hypocrisy, Obama warned last week that Syria’s alleged use of poisoned gas “threatens to unravel the international norm against chemical weapons embraced by 189 nations.” Monbiot responds: “Unraveling the international norm is the US president’s job.”

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

George Monbiot at The Guardian:

But now, as the veto powers of two permanent members (Russia and China) obstruct its attempt to pour petrol on another Middle Eastern fire, the US suddenly decides that the system is illegitimate. Obama says: “If we end up using the UN security council not as a means of enforcing international norms and international law, but rather as a barrier … then I think people rightly are going to be pretty skeptical about the system.” Well, yes.

Never have Obama or his predecessors attempted a serious reform of this system. Never have they sought to replace a corrupt global oligarchy with a democratic body. Never do they lament this injustice – until they object to the outcome. The same goes for every aspect of global governance.

… Obama’s failure to be honest about his nation’s record of destroying international norms and undermining international law, his myth-making about the role of the US in world affairs, and his one-sided interventions in the Middle East, all render the crisis in Syria even harder to resolve. Until there is some candour about past crimes and current injustices, until there is an effort to address the inequalities over which the US presides, everything it attempts – even if it doesn’t involve guns and bombs – will stoke the cynicism and anger the president says he wants to quench.

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