American and Israeli hubris have made enemies across the globe. In his speech to the UN General Assembly in September, President Trump thumbed his nose at international organizations and bashed Iran as if that nation, rather than Israel and the U.S., has fueled the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
By Philip Giraldi
President Donald Trump’s speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 25 made it very clear that the United States would no longer recognize the authority of international organizations when they conflict with American interests. If there had been a clear understanding that he meant that Washington would respond unilaterally if necessary to threats to vital interests, there would have been considerable support from a number of nations that have begun to believe that globalism has made many countries less secure while also having a centrifugal tendency to weaken and eventually destroy national cultures and values. But Trump did not necessarily go down that road, clearly suggesting that he would leave it up to the White House to become the “decider” regarding what the United States would or would not regard as an interest.
Trump’s 35-minute speech featured a long section on Iran. He said: “Every solution to the humanitarian crisis in Syria must also include a strategy to address the brutal regime that has fueled and financed it: the corrupt dictatorship in Iran. . . . Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death, and destruction.
They do not respect their neighbors or borders, or the sovereign rights of nations. Instead, Iran’s leaders plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond. . . . We cannot allow the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the planet’s most dangerous weapons. We cannot allow a regime that chants ‘Death to America,’ and that threatens Israel with annihilation, to possess the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to any city on Earth. Just can’t do it.”
There are a number of things wrong with Trump’s description of Iran and the conclusions he draws. The Middle East is in the state it is in because the United States destroyed Iraq in 2003, allowing the rise of ISIS and giving local al Qaeda affiliates a new lease on life, before turning on Syria with the Syria Accountability Act later in the same year. These were, not coincidentally, policies promoted by Israel and that received, as a result, bipartisan support in Congress.
The description of disrespecting “neighbors, borders, and sovereign rights” fits the U.S. and Israel perfectly rather than Iran. The U.S. has soldiers stationed illegally in Syria while Israel bombs the country on an almost daily basis, so who is doing the disrespecting?
As for the “most dangerous weapons,” Iran doesn’t have any, and is a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which Israel has not signed. Nor would Iran have any such weapons in the future but for the fact that Trump has backed out of the agreement to monitor and inspect Iranian nuclear research and development, which will, if anything, motivate Tehran to develop weapons to protect itself.
Trump also elaborated the following day in the context of Iran’s alleged but demonstrably nonexistent nuclear program when he indicated to the UN Security Council that Washington would go after countries that violate the rules on nuclear proliferation. The comment was ironic in the extreme, as Israel is the world’s leading nuclear rogue nation, having stolen the uranium and key elements of the technology from the United States in the 1960s. It now has a secret arsenal of at least 200 nuclear weapons.
The reality is, of course, that Trump’s protecting Israel is a bit like nurturing a viper in one’s bosom, as the old saying goes. Leading leftist Noam Chomsky has finally seen the light on Israel’s “brazenly” interfering in U.S. elections far outweighing any efforts that may have been carried out by Russia.
Chomsky explained: “First of all, if you’re interested in foreign interference in our elections, whatever the Russians may have done barely counts or weighs in the balance as compared with what another state does, openly, brazenly and with enormous support. Israeli intervention in U.S. elections vastly overwhelms anything the Russians may have done, I mean, even to the point where the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, goes directly to Congress, without even informing the president, and speaks to Congress, with overwhelming applause, to try to undermine the president’s policies—what happened with Obama and Netanyahu in 2015.”
Like the United States under Trump, the Israeli government acting through a private attorney named Harel Arnon has recently declared it is not subject to international law, claiming that “the Knesset has no limitation which prevents it from legislating extra-territorially anywhere in the world.” It is also “entitled to violate the sovereignty of foreign countries” and “is allowed to ignore the directives of international law in any field it desires.” This language appeared in an official Netanyahu government response letter to Israel’s Supreme Court last month.
The claims made by Netanyahu’s attorney are intended to validate a new Israeli law from last year, which legalized the outright theft of Palestinian land. The Settlement Regularization Law retroactively legalized the thousands of settler homes and buildings constructed on what once was Palestinian private land on the West Bank. Before the law was passed, Israeli law still technically regarded the new settlement construction to be illegal.
Under international law including the Geneva Conventions, however, all the settlements continue to be illegal and still are considered to be such, even by the United States. Israel consequently fears the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which its leadership and Donald Trump are doing their best to delegitimize.
One might well argue that Israel and the United States share a point of conceit about their place in the world, which might actually be unique. Other regimes that flout international law and claim extra-territoriality for their own laws do not openly advertise that is what they are doing. Only Washington and Tel Aviv have the hubris to act shamefully while thumbing their noses and defying the rest of the international community to do something about it.
The most shameful aspect of the truly incestuous bilateral relationship is not that both countries arrived at the same destination at more or less the same time based on their own interests. What we have witnessed is something quite different.
It is the United States that has become more like Israel, not the other way around, as Israel’s norms of behavior have been both accepted and frequently adopted by the American political class, the media, and by many institutions of government, to include the police and armed forces, which now undergo training provided by Israel. The United States of America has in many ways become Israel.
Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. His other articles appear on the website of “The Unz Review.”