Beyond Obama’s Rhetoric

With each passing day, president Barack Obama provides more and more evidence that the line distinguishing him from his predecessor George W. Bush is one of style rather than of substance. This is revealed by Obama’s recent statement about the explosion of a nuclear device by North Korea.

Obama said, “North Korea’s nuclear ballistic missile programs pose a great threat to the peace and security of the world and I strongly condemn their reckless action.”

If indeed what Obama says is true, then what of the US’s nuclear ballistic missiles? They must also “pose a great threat to the peace and security of the world.” Russia certainly claims that it feels threatened by US ballistic missiles in Eastern Europe.1 Does Obama also “strongly condemn” “reckless action” on the part of the US, or does Obama propose US exceptionalism? It does not take special critical thinking ability to detect the hypocrisy.

Obama: “North Korea’s actions endanger the people of Northeast Asia, they are a blatant violation of international law, and they contradict North Korea’s own prior commitments.”

North Korea’s actions were to develop a nuclear deterrent against US aggression. If such actions are a violation of international law, then what were the 1,054 nuclear tests by the US? If nuclear missiles endanger the people of Northeast Asia — and never minding the fact that the US had nuclear missiles stationed in South Korea for years — then what should one infer about the presence of US nuclear submarines that ply waters near North Korea ? And what of using Japanese territory for nuclear command?2 What do the proximal US nuclear weapons represent for Northeast Asia?

And “blatant violations of international law”? In Nicaragua v. United States, the World Court found the US guilty of what amounts to terrorism. The US was ordered to cease its illegal activities and “to make reparation to the Republic of Nicaragua for all injury caused to Nicaragua by the breaches of obligations under customary international law.” The US ignored the judgement.

Further, what does the ongoing occupation of Iraq represent? Does Obama wish to argue that the aggression-cum-occupation was legal? Do the military violations of Pakistani territory respect legality? When the US-Canada-France deposed of elected Haitian president Jean Betrand Aristide, did that represent legality? Etc.

Obama: “Now, the United States and the international community must take action in response. The record is clear: North Korea has previously committed to abandoning its nuclear program.”

One assumes that Obama is referring solely to abandoning a nuclear weapons program. But does not the NPT commit the US among other signatory nuclear powers to abandoning nuclear weapons programs? Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) states:

Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

Obama: “Instead of following through on that commitment it has chosen to ignore that commitment.”

Does that mean that the US has not ignored its commitment under the NPT for good faith negotiations to abandon nuclear weapons?

Obama: “These actions have also flown in the face of United Nations resolutions.”

How steadfast is the US in its concern about UN resolutions? After all, its most favored client state Israel is the most prolific violator of UN resolutions. Or do UN resolutions only matter when applied to US enemies and not US client states?

Obama: “As a result North Korea is not only deepening its own isolation, it’s also inviting stronger international pressure — that’s evident overnight, as Russia and China, as well as our traditional allies of South Korea and Japan, have all come to the same conclusion: North Korea will not find security and respect through threats and illegal weapons.”

Threats? Who is North Korea threatening? North Korea has sought a peace treaty with the United States. The US is rejectionist on this matter. The US sets, as a pre-condition, North Korean disarmament (of course the US does not have to disarm). In a sane world, this cannot be considered as a genuine commitment to peace (or fairness).

Obama: “We will work with our friends and our allies to stand up to this behavior and we will redouble our efforts toward a more robust international nonproliferation regime that all countries have responsibilities to meet.”

So when will the US dismantle its nuclear weapons along with other nuclear weapon states?

Obama is much more articulate than Bush. But glibness must not excuse the substance of the person. Obama’s decisions to inflame Afghanistan and Pakistan, his continued US military occupation of Iraq, and his subservience to the Zionist occupation of Palestine reveal him not to be a man of peace.

Obama guised himself as a man bringing hope to the people. False prophets are many; the people must beware of the futility of holding on to false hope. Citizens have an obligation, at least to themselves, to critically contemplate the words of their leaders. Obama’s words may distract from his actions, but they are not difficult to comprehend.

  1. Ballistic missiles in E. Europe threaten Russia – chief of staff,” RIA Novosti, 24 May 2006. []
  2. U.S. Nuclear Command And Control Operations In Japan,” the Nautilus Institute, 19 July 1999. []

Kim Petersen is co-editor of Dissident Voice. He can be reached at: kim@dissidentvoice.org. Read other articles by Kim.

13 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on May 26th, 2009 at 11:02am #

    are nations gambling on their own security and peace of mind by not developing wmd? Or are they more cautious than that and, ergo, bought or manufactured one or two Ns; just in case s’mthing happens.
    it wld be nice to know! But most lands are numb about it; they’d rather speak softly while holding a fat stick?
    is that it?
    one can bet on me that if i had been an iranian, afghani, japanese, venzuellan, i’d move even mountains let alone dug tunnels in order to acquire what works the best.
    that, dear people, is the only language the US gangsters understand.
    and if hebrews cld part the red sea [mind u, not yet dead sea or canaan]
    i cld with help from my god even split the earth in at least three pieces.
    israel wld be gone to a nebulous nebula; and US? Well, i love amers too much to boot them that far; may be i’d keep them! tnx balkas vancouver

  2. Rick Dune said on May 26th, 2009 at 1:16pm #

    “North Korea’s actions endanger the people of Northeast Asia, they are a blatant violation of international law.” Huh? I can’t believe he said that with a straight face.

  3. lichen said on May 26th, 2009 at 2:43pm #

    Yes, the US is a failed nation; a rogue state; an extreme threat to the rest of the world, and should have harsh sanctions imposed against it; should be forced to give up both its nuclear weapons and energy programs, release its political prisoners, abolish the CIA, and hand over war criminals such as the bushs, obamas, clintons, rices, powells, yoo’s and many others to international courts.

  4. beverly said on May 26th, 2009 at 5:19pm #

    Interesting. The US attacks Iraq based on lies about WMDs. It keeps trying to pick a fight with Iran based on more lies about Iran’s nuclear program. North Korea has nukes and has continued to test and launch nuclear weapons but the only thing the US dares do is to issue statements condemning NorthKorea. I guess the stars and stripes powers that be aren’t as foolhardy as I thought. North Korea doesn’t give a shit and it will go off on the US and anyone else who crosses them. Let’s hope the US “brain trust” keeps this in mind and limits US actions to simple imperialist trash talk. I don’t think North Korea is a country to f%*k with.

  5. rg the lg said on May 26th, 2009 at 6:28pm #

    Of course Obama said what Obama said.
    US would have it NO other way.
    The crime of George the Wth was NOT in being bellicose … it was in sounding bellicose. We live in a hologram … in an unreal myth … not one that has been foist upon us … but rather one that US want to believe. US want to believe US are a peaceful nation … that US either go to war because US were lied to, or because US were forced to defend ourselves.
    US believe that US pollute the planet because ‘industry’ does not provide an alternative.
    THAT is NOT true. US have been a warlike nation back to our roots in Europe. WUS murdered Indians, US invaded Mexico, US enter other (usually small) countries when they do not do our bidding. US have always used our military as a tool of diplomacy.
    US do not wish to believe that … US want to pretend US are the good guys.
    US aren’t …
    US get what US want … softer rhetoric, but the same bellicose policy.
    I call myself a redneck with leftist tendencies … but I am not truly on the left … because the left actually thinks that US is about peace.
    Bull.
    The sins of Iran, of Cuba, of Venezuela is NOT that they have arms … but that they didn’t buy them from US. The sins of other nations is not that they are warlike, but that they do not do our bidding. As individuals, US like to pretend US are the good guys. US are not … US are militaristic … US believe that the role of government is to protect wealth (called property in the constitution) and thus that there is no difference between government and business. That was called fascism … and US are, thus fascists, but US don’t want to call ourselves that … US prefer to call ourselves small d democrats … believers in world peace … so long as it is according to our rules.
    So, Obama is doing what US wants … the we of US … North Korea sinned not because it wanted nukes … but rather because it wanted nukes when US said they shouldn’t have them. As Bush said, and as Obama says, US are the deciders.

    RG the LG


    To the didactic: yes, I used US instead of we … because, whether YOU want to believe it or not it is YOU that is part of the problem. That YOU coupled with I is thus: US.

  6. Max Shields said on May 26th, 2009 at 7:13pm #

    RG the LG while you have idenitified the enemy, it begs the question: are we a species apart? Or are we simply a radical version of what happens when human drives are magnified?

    We can’t escape from what we are, but we can find the best and continue toward the light…otherwise why, to quote Beckett, go on.

  7. Mulga Mumblebrain said on May 27th, 2009 at 12:48am #

    The reason the US is such a great evil, incomparably the greatest in human history, is that its hereditary ruling class is insane and wicked, and the vast bulk of the US populace too dull, uninterested, brainwashed and stupified by layers of adipose gained through steady ingestion of junk food, to do anything about it. Any population that feels, as it is plain that the average chauvinistic and jingoistic ‘Joe Six-Pack’( not a reference, plainly, to abdominal musculature)that being ‘born in the USA’ confers some type of distinction, has lost the plot already. US malignancy possesses its peculiar character, I believe, because it is capitalist malevolence. Capitalism not only overthrows all pre-existing social structures, and undermines the very fabric of life-sustainability on the planet, but it also twists and distorts the human psyche and social relations. Capitalism favours the ruthless, greedy and unprincipled. It marginalises or destroys the co-operative, the generous, the empathic. An unnatural selection is at work, guaranteeing survival of the fittest, in capitalist terms. And those most fit for capitalism are the greedy, egotistical and those indifferent to the fate of others. In other words, the psychopaths. One need only read the descriptions of bloody-thirsty lynch-mobs, the massacres at My Lai, or the thriving market in ‘death-porn’ undertaken by US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, utilising their technological superiority in video imaging to collect souvenirs of their victims’ decapitations and eviscerations, to know that this is a society besotted with death and killing. Apparently the US military see the increasing use of drones to prosecute the mass killing of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan as intimidating and certain to demoralise the ‘enemy’. On the other hand the victims, or their surviving relatives and neighbours, not having been rendered morally insane by market capitalism, see the drones as sign of American cowardice, and who can but concur?
    North Korea has already been devastated and levelled once by the US thanatomaniacs, with millions killed. The Judeocide apparently allows Israel to arm itself with nuclear weapons, but on the other hand, the Koreans, not owning the US political and media systems, although suffering a comparable death-toll, and being little, yellow, untermenschen, enjoy no such right. The sooner the Yankee Moloch is brought low, the better for the rest of the planet, although how it can be achieved without world war, is beyond me.

  8. Don Hawkins said on May 27th, 2009 at 4:35am #

    It marginalises or destroys the co-operative, the generous, the empathic. Yes it does Mulga but not all of us. How it can be achieved without world war, is beyond me. Let’s say that a different way and that is the war the World the Earth is going to show us human’s. The ocean temperatures on this planet by Sept, Oct, Nov a tad bit warm. It is sad to watch this as still time to slow this down. Here in the States the next few months just more illusion not even a band aid just illusion. The climate change bill by the time it get’s out of the Senate if it does will be a joke a sick joke. Maybe the thinking is wait until we see major weather events then try probably the wrong approach even if that is the thinking. Let’s see what this summer and winter show us as this little problem is well underway. I was born on the planet Earth born on the planet Earth. So far with what we know hard to be born anyplace else. I have to admit sometimes I feel like I am from another World it helps a little.

  9. bozh said on May 27th, 2009 at 5:50am #

    US, methinks, cannot do it alone; it must have all or most gangs onside in order to possess the entire planet and inner/outer space.
    nations and empires have been ruled by gangsters; most and prhaps all are even today ruled by gangs.
    most of these gangs are now united like never before. How they behave towards palestine, afpak, syria, iran, korea, iraq, sudan, somalia proves that the gangsters are united.

    they don’t wage wars against one another any longer; they pick on small/weak lands and on dysfunctional empires; selves set up by other evil empires.
    all gangs behave the same or similar; thus, US gang is no worse than the gang in india or france.
    US gang’s crimes are the largest only because it is the largest and most powerful gang and not because its traits.

    it also seems to me that gangs’ subjects behave same or similarly. In US, the gang obtains the greatest % of adherents only because US had used the best methodology to miseducate and disinform.
    US pop had not yet gone thru a war to feel angst and pain as many other people have.
    this is another + for amer model of persuasion. tnx bozhidar balkas, vancouver

  10. Don Hawkins said on May 27th, 2009 at 6:38am #

    US, methinks, cannot do it alone; it must have all or most gangs onside in order to possess the entire planet and inner/outer space. I fail to see how these gangs are going to posses anything. It seems to me you need a planet to live on a planet that can support life and for the Earth the home planet that is coming to an end and twenty years from now still life but life headed South to the happy hunting grounds and the life still here headed North if they can. It’s kind of easy to see. These gangs do they have a secret we don’t know about or some hidden knowledge unknown to us. I think not. These gangs seem to have gone to school and quit at the sixth grade and of course the people who went on to higher learning just keep saying to themselves as they scratch there heads there is something wrong with these people. So what do these gangs have the most of bullshit lot’s of bullshit. A magical place the Earth. Did I look at this in to simple of a way?

  11. ron ridenour said on May 27th, 2009 at 9:22am #

    Kim,
    Great analysis-commentary. I wish revealing US hypocrisy could reach out to the working class. Now in this time of global economic-planetary crisis is just the moment Marx saw as soil for revolutionary consciousness necessary for revolutionary (anti-capitalist) struggle.
    Where the fuck is the working class?
    Ron

  12. bozh said on May 27th, 2009 at 11:09am #

    don,
    the gangs, or the biggest and strongest one, that of US, just might be reckless enough to destroy much or all biota on our orb.
    so, you are right about gangs not inheriting anything.
    i left out global warming on purpose. It is to depressing and may turn the readers off?/!!
    we want to leave some hope for future generations, who wld, if enlightened, know what needs to be done to end mental slavery. tnx

  13. Angie Tibbs said on May 27th, 2009 at 8:48pm #

    I am relieved that someone is paying attention.

    An excellent article, Mr. Petersen. It’s important that hypocrisy be noted and highlighted, and these comments by Obama give hypocrisy a new meaning. .

    Meanwhile, the US client state, Israel, in its self-absorbed fashion, whines that Iran, which has no nuclear weapons, must be bombed. If any other country were threatening to bomb a neighour state (or any state), the US and the UN would be in an uproar. Sick double standards.