International Forecaster Weekly

Dance of the Whirling Diplomats

Of course, it's all hypocritical nonsense. America's closest allies in the Gulf, including the dictatorial House of Saud and the Qataris have been among the biggest suppliers of arms and funds for the Syrian jihadis.

James Corbett | September 27, 2014

Remember the good old days when the alt media would at least bother to report when the erstwhile President of the United States broke the constitution?



            In this case, the “good old days” was 2009. That was the year that the man commonly known as President Obama became the first U.S. President in history to chair the UN Security Council. Back at that time it was fairly widely reported that this was in direct violation of Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. constitution:

            “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

            Oh, of course there was the arguments about whether the chairmanship of the Security Council counted as an “Office” of a “foreign State” and precisely what that implies, anyway. But that's the point: there was an argument. It meant something.

            Fast forward to 2014 and Obama chairs the Security Council once again. This time, you might have blinked and missed it. Indeed, this time he wasn't just presiding over some meaningless photo op session. This year he presided over the passage of a resolution to support his war on Syria:

            "I called this meeting because we must come together as nations and as an international community to confront a real and growing threat of foreign terrorist fighters," Obama said.

            "The historic resolution we just adopted enshrines our commitment to meet this challenge," he added.

            The resolution was the so-called “foreign fighters resolution,” calling on nations to tighten laws restricting their citizens from going overseas to join terror groups like the Islamic State. According to Obama and the fearmongers, some 15,000 foreign fighters from over 80 countries have traveled to Syria to join the fighting over the course of the recent terrorist insurgency, and these fighters pose an immediate threat to other nations.

            Perhaps the only piece of truth spoken during the entire Council meeting were Obama's final words, meant to drum up support for the ongoing military incursion in Syria currently being spearheaded by the U.S.: "Promises on paper cannot keep us safe.”

            Of course, it's all hypocritical nonsense. America's closest allies in the Gulf, including the dictatorial House of Saud and the Qataris have been among the biggest suppliers of arms and funds for the Syrian jihadis, many of whom have traveled from the Chechen campaign, long supported and organized by NATO under Operation Gladio B. America itself has supplied IS through their shipments of equipments and arms to Syrian “moderates” and trained IS in their secret program to train the “opposition” at a military base in Jordan. As we now know, the weapons, arms, and training all 'somehow or other' ended up benefiting the Islamic State instead of the 'moderates' (whoever they are). This perfectly predictable (and predicted) phenomenon, now repeated for the thousand and first time, is laughably referred to as “blowback” by the inside-the-Beltway crowd, or “business as usual” for steely-eyed observers of American foreign policy.

            Such is the way of things in New York City around this time of year. Every year in late September the world's politicians, leaders and powers-that-shouldn't-be converge on New York to attend the annual session of the U.N.'s General Assembly. And every year the cow excrement mounts high.

            Who can forget the year that Bush warned we must not “tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th?” Or the year that he tried to convince us that Iraq was the biggest threat to peace on the planet and needed to be dealt with? Or the year that Hugo Chavez said he could still smell the sulfur from Bush's presence and recommended everyone read Chomsky? Or the year Netan-yahoo (or is that Netanyahu?) held up a comic book bomb and drew a big red line on it to illustrate Iran's nuclear program? These are the theatrics that these speeches rely on.

            This year may have seen a more toned-down crop of speeches, but there was still plenty of pomposity and ceremony on display. Obama used his pulpit to throw some quick jabs at Putin, the “New Cold War” boogeyman, and then fearmongered about the “heart of darkness” in Syria and Iraq. No doubt Mr. Prince-of-Peace-Prize believes he can lead us all to the Promised Land of Pax Americana, but it's doubtful that anyone but the true believers bothered to even listen to his speech, let alone nod their heads to it.

            Cameron, predictably, aped Obama in calling on the world to rally around the idea of once again bombing the crap out of Iraq/Syria, but he was speaking more to those he has yet to convince in his own Parliament than anyone in the room.

            Iranian President Rouhani broke up the monotony by injecting the simple truth that it was “certain intelligence agencies” that built up the Islamic threat in Syria in the first place and blasted the sanctions on Iran's nuclear program that have crippled his country, but Obama had already left by the time Rouhani arrived and Israel enacted its annual temper-tantrum walkout/boycott of the speech, so again it's uncertain to whom Rouhani was actually speaking.

            Japanese PM Abe used his speech to try to re-cast himself from crusading nationalist warmonger (which plays well with certain elements of his domestic political base) into a benevolent dovish peacemaker (which plays well with the international press), but even he admits that achieving his goal of meeting with his Chinese and Korean counterparts on the sidelines of the next APEC conference will take a lot of subtle negotiation.

            In other words, a lot of hot air has escaped New York this week, but don't expect to find any light coming from this heat. This is not surprising, though, and not really the point of this annual UN soiree. As the old diplomatic hands know, it's the deals that can be worked out on the sidelines, in the council meetings, and behind closed doors that really matter.

            This year France is attempting to push a Security Council resolution that would call on permanent members of the Council to refrain from using their veto power when confronting issues involving mass atrocities. This is yet another manifestation of the never-ending push for some sort of “Responsibility To Protect” principle by which the oh-so-benevolent western powers can cry “genocide” whenever and wherever they wish to justify letting slip the dogs of war. This is the same principle that they tried to (falsely) evoke against Gaddafi and the same principle that they are still trying to (falsely) evoke against Assad. It is extremely doubtful that Russia or China (the real targets of this diplomacy) are going to fall for the ruse, knowing full well that it is only their veto power that has prevented the UN from going in guns blazing against Assad so far (the new “coalition of the willing” airstrikes notwithstanding), but you can't blame the French for trying.

            Another move to watch on the sidelines of this General Assembly is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' attempt to get a Security Council resolution passed setting a three-year deadline for Israel to withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories and establish a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 borders. This would require getting the U.S. to agree not to veto such a resolution, a very remote possibility. Barring this, Abbas is hoping to get Israel to agree to restart border negotiations in the stalled Israel-Palestine peace process. His leverage? If he fails in New York, he'll sign the Rome Statutes and Palestine will become a member of the International Criminal Court, allowing Palestinian citizens to try Israelis for war crimes. In the end, his ambitious agenda is likely to fail. The most that he is likely to get is to get one of (or perhaps a couple of) major European states (Britain, France, Germany) to recognize Palestinian statehood in line with the 2012 UN General Assembly resolution that granted it.

            Another person to watch as this U.N. week draws to a close is newly-elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He's making the most of his U.S. visit with a packed itinerary consisting of 35 engagements, from meetings with Fortune 500 CEOs to dinner with Obama to high-level negotiations at the UN. The trip is a good chance for the new leader to raise his profile and demonstrate that he has what it takes on the world stage to begin living up to his hype and delivering on India's seemingly eternal promise of becoming the “next rising giant” after the slowdown of BRICS partner China.

            In the end, this General Assembly convention will be fairly pointless, like most years. This is a testament to the aging, decrepit, toothless, meaningless, purposeless organization that the UN is in the current geopolitical climate. Ever since Bush did his end run around the organization to move forward with the Iraq invasion, the world has seen the UN for what it is: a body as relevant to world geopolitics as Milli Vanilli is to modern pop music.

            Yet there are usually some subtle political backroom deals that go on around this event that are worth keeping an eye on. We here at the Forecaster will keep our ear to the ground and let you know if anything actually worthwhile develops in New York this year after all.


Weekly Market Wrap Up VNN (Sept 26, 2014)