China on Thursday denounced a so-called UN human rights report on China’s Xinjiang region as completely invalid and a political tool serving the US and some Western forces to contain China, and said that it proved the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has descended into the accomplice of the US and some Western forces against developing countries. In response to the so-called “assessment of human rights concerns” in China’s Xinjiang released by the OHCHR on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a press conference on Thursday that the so-called assessment is a patchwork of disinformation and a political tool serving the US and some Western forces to contain China by using the Xinjiang topic.
The war in Ukraine has placed U.S. and NATO policy toward Russia under a spotlight, highlighting how the United States and its allies have expanded NATO right up to Russia’s borders, backed a coup and now a proxy war in Ukraine, imposed waves of economic sanctions, and launched a debilitating trillion-dollar arms race. The explicit goal is to pressure, weaken and ultimately eliminate Russia, or a Russia-China partnership, as a strategic competitor to U.S. imperial power. The United States and NATO have used similar forms of force and coercion against many countries. In every case they have been catastrophic for the people directly impacted, whether they achieved their political aims or not. Wars and violent regime changes in Kosovo, Iraq, Haiti and Libya have left them mired in endless corruption, poverty and chaos.
The Cold War, from 1945 to 1989, was a wild Bacchanalia for arms manufacturers, the Pentagon, the CIA, the diplomats who played one country off another on the world’s chess board, and the global corporations able to loot and pillage by equating predatory capitalism with freedom. In the name of national security, the Cold Warriors, many of them self-identified liberals, demonized labor, independent media, human rights organizations, and those who opposed the permanent war economy and the militarization of American society as soft on communism. That is why they have resurrected it. The decision to spurn the possibility of peaceful coexistence with Russia at the end of the Cold War is one of the most egregious crimes of the late 20th century.
I was in Eastern Europe in 1989, reporting on the revolutions that overthrew the ossified communist dictatorships that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was a time of hope. NATO, with the breakup of the Soviet empire, became obsolete. President Mikhail Gorbachev reached out to Washington and Europe to build a new security pact that would include Russia. Secretary of State James Baker in the Reagan administration, along with the West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, assured the Soviet leader that if Germany was unified NATO would not be extended beyond the new borders. The commitment not to expand NATO, also made by Great Britain and France, appeared to herald a new global order.
In the early months of 1947, President Harry Truman and Dean Acheson, his secretary of state, made up their minds to prop up Greece’s openly fascist monarchy against a popular revolt they had cast as a Soviet threat. After much hand-wringing, Truman went to Congress on March 12 to ask for $400 million in aid, not quite $5 billion today when adjusted for inflation. Truman and Acheson knew the Greek intervention would be a hard sell: Congress was in no mood to spend that kind of money, and the war-weary public harbored hope for FDR’s vision of a postwar order built on the principle of peaceful coexistence. As the speech went through its multiple drafts, Arthur Vandenberg, Republican senator from Michigan and a presence in the planning of America’s postwar posture, offered advice that must be counted elegantly forthright, if diabolic in its cynicism.
Dag Hammarskjöld set the standard for integrity and independence that all United Nations secretaries-general are judged against. He pioneered direct diplomacy by a secretary-general to defuse crises, and created U.N. peacekeeping. Hammarskjöld forged an independence between the Cold War powers that upset both and may have led to his death 60 years ago on Saturday. The son of a Swedish prime minister, Hammarskjöld came from a privileged background, unlike the Socialist Trygve Lie, the first secretary-general. Hammarskjöld became a lawyer, an economist, Sweden’s finance minister and was a delegate to the Paris Marshall Plan conference. Hammarskjöld was surprised to be chosen as Lie’s replacement. He was acceptable to both blocs, as he was seen as an apolitical technocrat.
Since the horrific events of Sept. 11, much has been said about the desperate situation of the Afghani people now crushed under the heel of the theocratic, dictatorial Taliban, and about the role of the Northern Alliance and other Taliban opponents who now figure in Washington’s plans for the region. There has been talk, most of it distorted, about the role of the Soviet Union in the years from 1978 to 1989. There has been talk, most of it understated, about the role of the U.S. in building up the Mujahideen forces, including the Taliban.
Since 1947, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has adjusted its Doomsday Clock to provide humanity with an expert estimate of just how close all of us are to an apocalyptic “midnight” -- that is, nuclear annihilation. A century ago, there was, of course, no need for such a measure. Back then, the largest explosion ever caused by humans had likely occurred in Halifax, Canada, in 1917, when a munitions ship collided with another vessel, in that city’s harbor. That tragic blast killed nearly 2,000, wounded another 9,000, and left 6,000 homeless, but it didn’t imperil the planet.
The 'western' countries, i.e. the United States and its 'allies', love to speak of a 'rules based international order' which they say everyone should follow. That 'rules based order' is a way more vague concept than the actual rule of law: The G7 is united by its shared values and commitment to a rules based international order. That order is being challenged by authoritarianism, serious violations of human rights, exclusion and discrimination, humanitarian and security crises, and the defiance of international law and standards. As members of the G7, we are convinced that our societies and the world have reaped remarkable benefits from a global order based on rules and underscore that this system must have at its heart the notions of inclusion, democracy and respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, diversity, and the rule of law.
In America’s Emerald City these days, if there’s even a hint of a war-wind-down, imperial-deescalation, or military budget-cuts, Washington’s (non-dribbling) Wizards have a ready response: Russia! Indeed, these military’s magicians have a far-simpler and more effective playbook than the city’s aptly-named NBA franchise. Since President Donald Trump’s election year, basketball’s Wizards are a meager 148-162; the Wizards of Warfare are essentially undefeated – not a single war hath ended. The first-place War Wizards rely on two go-to moves to maintain militarism
Instead of celebrating the meeting on the Elbe to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the epochal Allied victory over Nazi Germany, the Pentagon opted to overtly deploy a surface action group, in company with the British Royal Navy, into the Barents Sea in an unprecedented gesture of hostility. Against the background of these historical events, not to mention the pandemic, this highly symbolic move that aimed to threaten the very heart of Russian military power, could not have been calculated to be more humiliating or insulting. Indeed, the deployment of the warships was accompanied by a similarly grand aerial sortie of U.S. strategic bombers to the Baltic, including the first ever American bomber transit of Swedish airspace with apparent escort by the Swedish Air Force.
The Cold War–how it was fought and brutally won by the U.S. on global scale—has defined international politics for more than half a century. That is the central argument of journalist Vincent Bevins’ new book, “The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World.” Through meticulous research and extensive interviews with over a hundred people in more than a dozen countries and several languages, Bevins connects the dots between a U.S.-sponsored terror scheme that killed more than a million civilians in Indonesia in the 1960s, and the slaughter of leftists in Brazil, Chile, and elsewhere in the following years. The connection the former Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent finds between these seemingly disparate national tragedies is not just a despotic goal shared by the likes of Augusto Pinochet and Suharto to seize power through the execution of any opposition.
On February 5, 2021, just one year from today, the last remaining nuclear pact between the United States and Russia will expire – ending more than a half century of arms control between the two most nuclear-armed nations on the planet. A simple signature by Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin would extend the treaty through 2026. The 2010 New START agreement is the last remaining restraint on both nations’ strategic nuclear arsenals. The treaty limits each country to no more than 1,550 strategic, offensively deployed nuclear weapons, and verifies compliance through robust on-site inspections and data exchanges. Russia has twice offered to extend the agreement.
The United States has been in a 40-year cold war with Iran. Just like the cold war with the Soviet Union, the conflict between Washington and Tehran has been fought largely through proxies: in Yemen, in Syria, in Iraq. Iranian-aligned organizations like Hezbollah have attacked U.S. targets, such as the 1984 embassy bombing in Beirut. U.S. allies, like Israel, have assassinated Iranian scientists. There have been also been non-kinetic attacks, like when the United States and Israel teamed up to destroy Iran’s nuclear centrifuges with the Stuxnet malware. Occasional détentes have interrupted the hostilities, most recently the nuclear deal negotiated under the Obama administration, but they have been brief.