At UN Session, US Empire In Decline And Global Solidarity On The Rise

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As the United Nations General Assembly conducts its fall session, Popular Resistance is in New York City for the People’s Mobilization to Stop the US War Machine and Save the Planet. Themes of the mobilization are connecting militarism and climate change and raising awareness that the United States regularly violates international laws, including the United Nations Charter. These laws are designed to facilitate peaceful relationships between countries and prevent abuses of human rights. It is time that the US be held accountable.

The People’s Mobilization arose out of the Embassy Protection Collective after the US government raided the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC last May in blatant violation of the Vienna Convention to install a failed coup and arrested Embassy Protectors even though they were in the embassy with the permission of the elected government of Venezuela. This was an escalation of US regime change efforts – the coup failed in Venezuela but the US recognized the coup leader and started turning Venezuela’s assets over to him anyway. Members of the Collective sought to bring the message that it is dangerous for the world and a threat to the future of all of us if the US continues on its lawless path.

Join the Embassy Protection Defense Committee to organize around the federal prosecution of the final four Embassy Protectors and donate to their legal defense. Take action here.

We participated in the Climate Strike on Friday where our messages about the impact of US militarism on climate were well-received. On Sunday, we held a rally in Herald Square and on Monday, we held a public event: “A Path to International Peace: Realizing the Vision of the United Nations Charter.” We need to build an international people’s movement that complements work the Non-Aligned Movement and others are doing to bring countries together that are dedicated to upholding international law and take action together to address global crises.

In front of the United Nations after the rally and march with our message. By Yuka Azuma.

The US Military is a Great Threat to our Future

We wrote about the connections between militarism and the climate crisis in our newsletter a few weeks ago so we won’t go too deeply into those details here. The US military is the largest single user of fossil fuels and creator of greenhouse gases on the planet.

It also leaves behind toxic pollution from burn pits and weapons such as depleted uranium (DU). The use of DU violates international law, including the Biological Weapons Convention. As described in David Swanson’s article about a new study, which documents the horrific impact of DU on newborns in Iraq, “…every round of DU ammunition leaves a residue of DU dust on everything it hits, contaminating the surrounding area with toxic waste that has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, the age of our solar system, and turns every battlefield and firing range into a toxic waste site that poisons everyone in such areas.” 

The US military poisons the air, land, and water at home too. Pat Elder, also with World Beyond War, has been writing, speaking and organizing to raise awareness of the use of Per and Poly Fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) by the military across the US and the deadly effects it has. Elder states that the military claims to have “sovereign immunity” from environmental laws. In other words, the US military can poison whomever and wherever it chooses without risk of legal consequences.

As scary as the climate crisis and a toxic environment are, another existential threat is a nuclear war. The US military is upgrading its nuclear weapons so it can use them. The US National Security Strategy is “Great Power Conflict” and the new National Security Adviser to Trump, taking John Bolton’s place, Robert C. O’Brien, advocates for more military spending, a larger military and holding on to US global domination. These are dangerous signs. How far is the US military willing to go as US empire clings to its declining influence in the world?

In “Iran, Hong Kong and the Desperation of a Declining US Empire,” Rainer Shea writes, “There’s a term that historians use for this reactive phase that empires go through during their final years: micro-militarism.” Alfred McCoy defines micro-militarism as “ill-advised military misadventures… [that] involve psychologically compensatory efforts to salve the sting of retreat or defeat by occupying new territories, however briefly and catastrophically.”

Micro-militarism is on display in Venezuela, where the US has been trying for two decades to overthrow the Bolivarian Process without success. It is on display in US antagonism of Iran, a country that has never attacked the US and that upheld its end of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. When the US called for countries to join its escalation of military presence in the Straits of Hormuz, there was little enthusiasm from European allies. And when the US tried to blame the attack on Saudi oil refineries on Iran, even Japan refused to go along. Now, Iran is participating in INSTEX, a mechanism for trade that bypasses institutions controlled by the US.

Micro-militarism is manifested in the US’ failed attempts to antagonize China. With KJ Noh, we wrote an Open Letter to Congress, explaining why the Hong Kong Human Rights Act must be stopped as it will further entangle the US with Hong Kong and Mainland China, providing a foundation for US regime change campaign there. As China celebrates 70 years as the Peoples Republic of China, which ended over a century of exploitation by imperialists, it is in a very strong position and indicates it has no interest in caving in to US pressure. Instead, China is building its military and global relationships to rival US hegemony.

Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese at the People’s Mobe Rally. By Ellen Davidson.

Holding the US Accountable

Micro-militarism is a symptom of the ailing US empire. We are in a period where the US military and government behave in irrational ways, consuming US resources for wars and conflicts that cannot be won instead of using them to meet basic needs of people and protection of the planet. The US is blatantly violating international laws that make regime change, unilateral coercive measures (aka sanctions) and military aggression illegal.

The US is conducting economic terrorism against scores of nations through illegal unilateral coercive measures (sanctions).  In the case of Cuba, the economic blockade goes back nearly six decades since the nation overthrew a US-backed regime there. The US blockade cost Cuba $4.3 billion in 2019, and close to $1 trillion over the past six decades, taking into account depreciation of the dollar. In Iran, sanctions have existed since their independence from the Shah of Iran’s US dictatorship in 1979 and in Zimbabwe, sanctions go back to land reform that occurred at the beginning of this century. The United States is conducting ongoing regime change campaigns in multiple nations among them Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran and now Bolivia

The US is also abusing its power as the host country of the United Nations by ordering diplomats out of the country for spurious reasons and curtailing the travel of diplomats of countries the US is targeting. This week, the US ordered two Cuban diplomats to leave the United States. The reason was vague, i.e., their “attempts to conduct influence operations against the US.” This undefined phrase could mean almost anything and puts all diplomats at risk if they speak in the US outside of the UN. We expect this is one reason diplomatic representatives from some of the countries that planned to participate in the Monday night event stayed away.

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza was the first Foreign Minister to be sanctioned while he was in the United States on official business. Arreaza was sanctioned on April 25, just after he spoke to the United Nations General Assembly as a representative of the Non-Aligned Movement denouncing the US’ attempts to remove representatives of the sovereign nation of Venezuela from the UN.

On July 30, the US imposed sanctions on Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif saying he was targeted because he is a ‘key enabler of Ayatollah Khamenei’s policies.’  Does that mean the Foreign Minister was punished for representing Iran? When Zarif came to the UN for official business this July 14, the US took the unusual step of severely restricting his travel,  limiting him to travel between the United Nations, the Iranian UN mission, the Iranian UN ambassador’s residence, and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. Traditionally, diplomatic officials were allowed a 25-mile radius around Columbus Circle. The US said Zarif “is a mouthpiece of an autocracy that suppresses free speech” and suppressed his freedom of speech in response.

As the United States becomes more brazen and ridiculous in its attempts to stay in control, it is driving other countries to turn away from the US and organize around it. There are growing calls for the United Nations to consider leaving the US and reestablish itself in a location where the US cannot sanction people for its own political purposes. Perhaps there is a need for a new international institution that does not enable US domination.

Civil society panel at the Path to International Peace event. By Ellen Davidson.

People are Uniting For Peace, Security and Sustainable Development 

The US’ actions point to the need for peace and justice activists to build an international network to demand the upholding the rule of law. Popular Resistance and its allies are contributing to the formation of that transnational solidarity structure through the new Global Appeal for Peace

This July, delegations from 120 countries of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) united to oppose US policy against Venezuela and demand an end to sanctions as part of The Caracas Declaration.  NAM was founded in 1961 and the UN General Secretary described the importance of the movement highlighting that “two-thirds of the United Nations members and 55% of the world’s population” are represented by it, making it the second-largest multinational body in the world after the UN.

From August 29 through September 6, 38 countries and hundreds of foreign and local companies participated in Syria’s 61st Damascus International Fair despite the threat of US economic sanctions against corporations and countries that participated. The Damascus International Fair is considered the Syrian economy’s window to the world, re-started in 2017 after a 5-year hiatus due to the war against Syria. Despite a NATO bombing of the Fair in 2017, people kept coming and the Fair has continued.

Countries are also working to find ways around US economic warfare by not using the US dollar or the US financial industry to conduct trade. China is challenging the US by investing $400 billion in Iran’s oil and gas industry over 25 years and has added $3 billion investment in Venezuelan oil in 2019. Russia has also allied with Venezuela providing military equipment, and porting Navy ships in Venezuela as well as providing personnel. France has called on the EU to reset its relationship with Russia, and Germany and Russia are beginning to work together to preserve the Iran nuclear agreement.

The Global Appeal for Peace is uniting people to demand of our governments in their interactions with all nations – for the sake of world peace, international security and peaceful co-existence  – to respect the principles of the United Nations Charter and to follow and defend international law. The Global Appeal urges people to immediately join this initiative and help redirect the world toward an era of global stability and cooperation.

Sign on to the Global  Appeal for Peace: Take action to tell your government to respect and uphold the United Nations Charter as a tool for maintaining peace, guaranteeing human rights and protecting the sovereignty of nations.

We seek to build a transnational movement that is multi-layered. People and organizations from civil society representing different sectors, e.g. laborers, academics, doctors, lawyers, engineers, as well as representatives of governments impacted by violations of international law by the United States, need to join together. The seeds of such a network have been planted and are sprouting. If this transnational network develops and the rule of law is strengthened internationally, we will be able to achieve the goals of peace, economic sustainability, and human rights and mitigate the impacts of a dying empire gone rogue.

Watch part of the People’s Mobe Rally here:

 Watch the People’s Mobe March here:

Watch the “Path to International Peace” here:

  • Good article. Lots of food for thought.

  • voza0db

    About the military… It seems that FUTURE and existence of such terrorist and destructive herd is well assured!

    I’m, of course, talking about the most recent news about generation M!

    The Army smashed its 2019 recruiting goal, after falling short by 6,500 last year, said the head of Army Recruiting Command Maj. Gen.Frank Muth. He told reporters last week that much of the success was a new marketing strategy geared towards millennials with student debt. “One of the national crises right now is student loans, so $31,000 is the average,” Muth told reporters. “You can get out [of the Army] after four years, 100 percent paid for state college anywhere in the United States.”

    So… generation M drowned in DEBT (the Wealth of the SRF), next generation Z drowned in DEBT… The military just need to flash some cash to these herds of modern monetary slaves and FUTURE WARS AND TORTURE AND DEATH is a done deal!

    Solution?

    Simple! The fault is on the shoulders of those young americans that join the military. If they stop enlisting…

  • voza0db

    Hello Censors…

    Another one for the Pencil!

    About my comment about the military… coincidence I stumble on this video of an american talking about this same matter!

    JUST PURE FUN!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMU5qVATP0A

  • voza0db

    Like in weight land… The distribution of FOOD is not BALANCED!

    I’m a Thought Obese uman animal, I’ve access to a lot of Thought Healthy Food (not Thought Fast Food, aka Main S H I T Media!) but even with this Thought Healthy Food it seems that the Systems are today so Complex and Intertwined that no matter the amount of Thought Obese animals that exist we can’t do a thing to CHANGE the SYSTEM.

    Reason is simple… And I always like to use this comparison, It’s like I use a glass of water to try to stop an incoming TSUNAMI!

    If even basic and easy things to CHANGE are met and rejected, many times with extreme violence by the rest of the Herd of fellow Uman Animals, I don’t see how such sub-systems can be erased from our Societies.

  • you nutty yet astute person.

    It’s not so easy for them not to enlist. If you look at where most of the enlisted come from it’s the poorest areas of the usa such as S. Carolina. They don’t see much in the way of other options; this is their only way out of abject poverty. Is the military behaving in a predatory manner? Oh gosh yes. I believe this is why some organizations are proponents of a universal draft – get the wealthy to rub elbows with the non-wealthy in a ‘do or die’ situation and we’d likely see a reduction in warmongering. Of course in a draft scenario such as I’ve described, the wealthy would find a way out – perhaps a doctor that could find bone spurs in their feet?

  • Hmmm… well it sounds like you’ve given up.

    Here’s the thing – the number of folks that are seeking understanding are increasing. For those of us that think we understand, it would be helpful for us to be more friendly; rather than say – “gosh, you don’t know that yet?!”. Very unhelpful. How about we try and lift people up. If we want half a chance at something better than what we’ve got, we need friends – lots of them.

  • emernel

    The real problem is the US has only one political party, the Republican-Democrat’s. There is no real difference between these parties. So really there is no hope for the world. Whoever wins in 2020 will continue to destroy the environment and start WW III.

    The level of moral corruption in the US is staggering. Most of the politicians at all levels have been bought and paid for by the greedy corporate elite.

  • Red Robbo

    ‘The United States is conducting ongoing regime change campaigns in multiple nations among them Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran and now Bolivia.’

    The imprisoned trade unionists in Iran, for example, would probably welcome regime change. Similarly, from beyond the grave, the many thousands who have already been executed, including minors, under a theocratic dictatorship where those convicted of adultery, alcohol consumption, blasphemy, burglary, homosexuality, pornography and prostitution, along with, of course, political dissidence, as well as many other ‘crimes’, can pay the ultimate price. We must not forget the state sanctioned use of juveniles as troops during the mass slaughter that was the Iran-Iraq war or oppression of women. Add chronic corruption plus obvious class division and we can say the 99% certainly did not vote for this!

  • voza0db

    Given up on what?

    Don’t tell me you’ve “hope” on something?!?!

  • voza0db

    It seems clear that the best solution is to end the military!

    But again – this connects to the Thought Food stuff – it’s obvious that with the present MAIN SYSTEM those in the base will do anything, including torture and murdering other fellow uman animals, in order to ascend in the monetary scale.

  • Steven Berge

    It would be nice if we were going in there to give them “freedom and democracy”. But it has been proven that we really do regime change to make our rich people richer. Usually, the people are worse off after our overthrow of their governments. From what I’ve heard, the people of Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua are better off since they overthrew their u.s. imposed governments years ago. Until recently at least, when we started imposing harsh sanctions on them, or tried to foment coups.

  • Ending the non-defensive military would be an excellent solution. Maybe we could just keep the National Guard and Coast Guard – bye bye Pentagon and friends. By the way, I’m gaining weight from all of your ‘thought’ dishes. Could you make some of them a little less tasty? 😉

  • chetdude

    I’m sure the 2 1/2 million prisoners (many thousands of them political prisoners) in the USAmerican Gulag would welcome regime change in the USAmerican Empire.

    Not to mention the oppressed, overworked, underpaid Working Class.

    They probably love to see Sweden or Norway take over and install their successful, humane forms of Democratic Socialism in place of USAmerica’s vulture capitalism…

  • chetdude

    Another major sign of the decline of the USAmerican Empire:

    Tomgram: Hartung and Smithberger, A Trillion-Dollar Future Pentagon Budget?

    Bestselling Pentagon Fiction
    Beware of Defense Secretaries Pledging Reform
    By William D. Hartung and Mandy Smithberger

    For the Pentagon, happy days are here again (if they ever left). With a budget totaling more than $1.4 trillion for the next two years, the department is riding high, even as it attempts to set the stage for yet more spending increases in the years to come.

    tomdispatch dot com/post/176609/tomgram%3A_hartung_and_smithberger%2C_a_trillion-dollar_future_pentagon_budget/

  • Jay Hansen

    If you’re trying to spell ‘Vodka’, it’s v-o-d-k-a.

  • voza0db

    What kind of spices don’t you like?

  • voza0db

    So… another american terrorist shows his face.

  • Throw a little endive or fennel on there and you’ll have me back on the path of the svelte.

  • voza0db

    Dear Kelly, you like the spices I’m just not using too many green stuff?!

    But you have a very simple solution, if you don’t like what I write, don’t read it. I don’t even understand why you are following me?!

    I’m not trying to CHANGE anyone’s mind. That’s just too moronic. I’m just saying in my own way and words what I observe.

    We, funny uman animals, have a serious problem understanding our own Thought process!

    If you go to a smoker and you tell him “You must stop smoking, it’s going to kill you.“, what is the typical reaction?

  • Alan MacDonald

    Precisely,, Kevin and Margaret!

    When you rightly write:

    “We seek to build a transnational movement that is multi-layered. People
    and organizations from civil society representing different sectors,
    e.g. laborers, academics, doctors, lawyers, engineers, as well as
    representatives of governments impacted by violations of international
    law by the United States, need to join together. The seeds of such a
    network have been planted and are sprouting. If this transnational
    network develops and the rule of law is strengthened internationally, we
    will be able to achieve the goals of peace, economic sustainability,
    and human rights and mitigate the impacts of a dying empire gone rogue.”

    The only choice now, in this 21st century “globalized world”, is for either inclusive global democracy or deadly Global Empire.

  • Dear dB, I read what you write because for the most part, I find it interesting and thought-provoking. It is rare that I can state this. So, If it’s okay with you, I will be silent when I don’t wish to partake of a dish you are offering and will engage when I think it is worthwhile.

    And, the typical reaction from a smoker you tell to quit will be “get out of my face”. As an aside, people do a variety of things to cope with life as we know it – smoke, drink, jog, etc. so, my take is, let them be.

  • Jay Hansen

    You’re welcome.

  • voza0db

    Hello Kelly…

    I’m was waiting for the opposite, when you read something I write that you don’t wish to partake, that is when you must do it. But again it’s your choice…

    My point about the smoker was not intend to focus on the “let them be”! Of course I let them be…
    I live my existence following ABSOLUTE FREEDOM that requires COMPLETE RESPONSIBILITY.

    I was trying to show you that the recent events about “people” talking about HUMANITY CAUSED CLIMATE CHANGE and saying that “we must act” will not work – again – because the behavior of the Herd is the behavior of an addict. If you want I can go more into this lunacy!

    All these children and young adults walking around on Fridays with an hysterical state of mind are always asking for someone, or something, to ACT on their behalf, they never observe their own behavior and try to change what they are doing daily and that is also causing the problem they want so desperately that someone else to solve…

  • Red Robbo

    Imagine that – a US without the prison industry! This would not be the result of normal regime change, rather revolution of the type Debs wanted to see: ‘I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; and while there is a criminal element, I am of it; and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free’.

    Living in Norway or Sweden is certainly preferable to Iran, Bolivia or Venezuela, probably the US too. But the 1% in those countries and elsewhere can live the life of Riley wherever they reside. I think it is worth noting that Norway’s government is a coalition of the right-wing between the Conservatives, Progress and Liberal parties. With regard to Sweden, what Mr Anderson says is relevant: “I understand that progressive people see Sweden as a “socialist” country, but the fact is that Sweden is a capitalistic country where three families in Sweden own more than 4 million Swedes and over 90% of industrial production is owned by private interests. Sweden is a member of and supports the European Union” (Erik Anderson, a member of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Sweden and an elected city council member in his hometown of Gislaved, interview, Orinoco Tribune, 26 February).

    Were Debs alive, he’d probably agree. I think he would also see today’s “democratic socialism” as a tautological misnomer, adding that supporters of the status quo can relax: the spectre haunting them is not that of communism/socialism but, at worst, social democracy, as espoused by BS & DOC.

  • Alan MacDonald

    When it comes to fearlessly and clearly calling-out precisely for a people’s peaceful “Political Revolution Against Empire” the vast majority of Americans would immediately and universally recognize one voice above all other candidates:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/26/us/politics/who-is-whistleblower.html#commentsContainer&permid=102762111:102762111

  • D Turgeon

    I guess you’ve forgotten what occurred the last time the U.S. government carried out regime change in Iran. The people of Iran were subjected to the dictatorship of the “Shaw” and his brutal secret police, a dictatorship that lasted for decades. I don’t think you’d find much, if any, support for U.S. regime change in Iran. Like every country, Iran needs to solve its own problems itself, just like the U.S. needs to solve its own dire social problems, without interference from other countries.