‘U.S. Is Greatest Threat to World Peace’

Photo: Asked, ‘Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?’ international respondents overwhelmingly chose the United States. Credit: Staff Sgt. William Tremblay / U.S. Army / Creative Commons)

By Jamshed Baruah 10 January 2020

NEW
YORK (IDN) – American philosopher and political activist Noam Chomsky
has criticized Washington’s policies on Iran and referred to polls from
prestigious centres, which show that America is the biggest threat to
world peace. According to
Iran Press/America,
he told a New York school on January 4 that the former Republican Party
had now become a “radical rogue” that has abandoned any parliamentary
policy.

“They
may succeed in raising sanctions and even secondary sanctions on other
countries, and may take other measures to keep Iran out of agreement
with the United States,” Chomsky added.

Among the polls he was referring to was the WIN/Gallup International poll
back in 2013. “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to
peace in the world today?” This was one question asked. The BBC reported
that the United States was the champion by a substantial margin,
winning three times the votes of second-place Pakistan.

By
contrast, the debate in American scholarly and media circles is about
whether Iran can be contained, and whether the huge NSA surveillance
system is needed to protect U.S. security, wrote Chomsky.

Below are extensive excerpts from his article In These Times on February 5, 2014, with the title ‘The Greatest Threat to World Peace’
– which is relevant nearly six years later, with the difference that
President Donald Trump has contributed his sizable share to further
eroding the U.S. popularity. Chomsky wrote:

In
view of the poll, it would seem that there are more pertinent
questions: Can the United States be contained and other nations secured
in the face of the U.S. threat?

In
some parts of the world the United States ranks even higher as a
perceived menace to world peace, notably in the Middle East, where
overwhelming majorities regard the U.S. and its close ally Israel as the
major threats they face, not the U.S.-Israeli favorite: Iran.

Few
Latin Americans are likely to question the judgment of Cuban
nationalist hero José Martí, who wrote in 1894, “The further they draw
away from the United States, the freer and more prosperous the [Latin]
American people will be.”

Martí’s judgment has been confirmed in recent years, once again by an analysis of poverty by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, released last month (January 2014).

The
UN report shows that far-reaching reforms have sharply reduced poverty
in Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela and some other countries where U.S.
influence is slight, but that it remains abysmal in others—namely, those
that have long been under U.S. domination, like Guatemala and Honduras.
Even in relatively wealthy Mexico, under the umbrella of the North
American Free Trade Agreement, poverty is severe, with 1 million added
to the numbers of the poor in 2013.

Sometimes
the reasons for the world’s concerns are obliquely recognized in the
United States, as when former CIA director Michael Hayden, discussing
Obama’s drone murder campaign, conceded that “Right
now, there isn’t a government on the planet that agrees with our legal
rationale for these operations, except for Afghanistan and maybe
Israel.”

A
normal country would be concerned by how it is viewed in the world.
Certainly that would be true of a country committed to “a decent respect
to the opinions of mankind,” to quote the Founding Fathers. But the
United States is far from a normal country. It has had the most powerful
economy in the world for a century, and has had no real challenge to
its global hegemony since World War II, despite some decline, partly
self-administered.

The
U.S., conscious of “soft power,” undertakes major campaigns of “public
diplomacy” (aka propaganda) to create a favorable image, sometimes
accompanied by worthwhile policies that are welcomed. But when the world
persists in believing that the United States is by far the greatest
threat to peace, the American press scarcely reports the fact.

The
ability to ignore unwanted facts is one of the prerogatives of
unchallenged power. Closely related is the right to radically revise
history.

A
current example can be seen in the laments about the escalating
Sunni-Shiite conflict that is tearing apart the Middle East,
particularly in Iraq and Syria. The prevailing theme of U.S. commentary
is that this strife is a terrible consequence of the withdrawal of
American force from the region—a lesson in the dangers of
“isolationism.”

The
opposite is more nearly correct. The roots of the conflict within Islam
are many and varied, but it cannot be seriously denied that the split
was significantly exacerbated by the American- and British-led invasion
of Iraq. And it cannot be too often repeated that aggression was defined
at the Nuremberg Trials as “the supreme international crime,” differing from others in that it encompasses all the evil that follows, including the current catastrophe.

A
remarkable illustration of this rapid inversion of history is the
American reaction to the current atrocities in Fallujah. The dominant
theme is the pain about the sacrifices, in vain, of the American
soldiers who fought and died to liberate Fallujah. A look at the news
reports of the U.S. assaults on Fallujah in 2004 quickly reveals that
these were among the most vicious and disgraceful war crimes of the
aggression.

The
death of Nelson Mandela provides another occasion for reflection on the
remarkable impact of what has been called “historical engineering”:
reshaping the facts of history to serve the needs of power.

When Mandela at last obtained his freedom, he declared that
“During all my years in prison, Cuba was an inspiration and Fidel
Castro a tower of strength. … [Cuban victories] destroyed the myth of
the invincibility of the white oppressor [and] inspired the fighting
masses of South Africa ….a turning point for the liberation of our
continent—and of my people—from the scourge of apartheid. … What other
country can point to a record of greater selflessness than Cuba has
displayed in its relations to Africa?”

Today
the names of Cubans who died defending Angola from U.S.-backed South
African aggression, defying American demands that they leave the
country, are inscribed on the “Wall of Names” in Pretoria’s Freedom Park. And the thousands of Cuban aid workers who sustained Angola, largely at Cuban expense, are also not forgotten.

The
U.S.-approved version is quite different. From the first days after
South Africa agreed to withdraw from illegally occupied Namibia in 1988,
paving the way for the end of apartheid, the outcome was hailed by the Wall Street Journal
as a “splendid achievement” of American diplomacy, “one of the most
significant foreign policy achievements of the Reagan administration.”

The
reasons why Mandela and South Africans perceive a radically different
picture are spelled out in Piero Gleijeses’ masterful scholarly inquiry Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria, and the Struggle for Southern Africa, 1976-1991.

As
Gleijeses convincingly demonstrates, South Africa’s aggression and
terrorism in Angola and its occupation of Namibia were ended by “Cuban
military might” accompanied by “fierce black resistance” within South
Africa and the courage of Namibian guerrillas. The Namibian liberation
forces easily won fair elections as soon as these were possible.
Similarly, in elections in Angola, the Cuban-backed government
prevailed—while the United States continued to support vicious
opposition terrorists there even after South Africa was compelled to
back away.

To
the end, the Reaganites remained virtually alone in their strong
support for the apartheid regime and its murderous depredations in
neighboring countries. Though these shameful episodes may be wiped out
of internal U.S. history, others are likely to understand Mandela’s
words.

In
these and all too many other cases, supreme power does provide
protection against reality—to a point. [IDN-InDepthNews – 06 January
2020]

Photo:
Asked, ‘Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in
the world today?’ international respondents overwhelmingly chose the
United States. Credit: Staff Sgt. William Tremblay / U.S. Army /
Creative Commons)

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.

facebook.com/IDN.GoingDeeper – twitter.com/InDepthNews



Source: South Asia Journal
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