It is in human nature to search for answers regarding the shaping of the future. It is a natural impulse that today science is offering a response by such disciplines as futurology and political science. 2011 it is in many respects just a continuation of 2010 evolution in economy and foreign affairs and is creating the path for 2012 when new and decisive election will be held in United States, Russia and across the world.
The economic crisis will worsen.
A regular companion of world economy in the last 3 years was the economic crisis. The crisis that unlashed over United States in 2007 and soon consumed the all world. 2011 will be still a year of the crisis. United States fails to be the engine for recovery in economy is fighting a record public deficit of over 14 trillion dollars, more than 47 million americans living below poverty line and consumer confidence hitting record low. In politics a time and resource consuming battle between democrats and republicans in Congress and a paralyzed presidency of a crippled Barrack Obama , all this show that United States are far away not only from any recovery chance, but also for a stagnation that will be more favorable that the present day gloomy economic outlook.
European Union is also confronting severely battled economy .Public record deficits in Ireland, Greece, Spain and Portugal (famous PIGS of European economy) are hindering EU image as an economic powerhouse. France and Great Britain are far from being out of recession and Germany fantastic growth figures are regularly downgraded, making a shame of the famous German punctuality and honesty. Germany has long receded from being the leader and acumen of Europe to be the problem child of Europe economy. With record deficits, rampant inflation, record dropping life standards, Germany is looking set in becoming the next bailout candidate of Europe not the pillar of Europe recovery.
India and China also experienced a halt in their record growth figures and 2011 will see this figures rapidly diminished. China economy , is growing now only on internal market demand at the expense of here competitivity . Growing salaries and improving life conditions in China are surely positive news for Chinese people, but this is reflecting in a 35% increase in Chinese products prices in 2010. These tendencies will continue in 2011 and will reduce Chinese goods appeal in the world market. China and India are not in the position to drag alone the world economy out of the precipice. The economic crisis is here to stay in the next five years.
Pressure on China .
The most interesting political game of 2011 will be the cat and mouse game that Washington is playing with Beijing. In 2010 Washington wanted China`s alignment on anti-Iran resolution in the Security Council. It was enough for United States to play the economic card, agitating measures such as nominating China as a currency manipulator and imposing unilateral economic sanctions for China to back down and to support the US sponsored resolution in United Nations Security Council. In late 2010 when United States decided on a show of force on China Sea, at the door step of China, it was enough to describe China as a menace for the Far East region and to support Japan military resurgence for China to back down. It was reportedly that the December military exercises held by South Korea and US in East China Sea have being proven so efficient that China was put on a defensive posture.
In 2011 China will face new decisions: a new anti-Iran resolution that is drafted by US and will be put before Security Council in the spring of 2011, clearing the way for a military action against Iran. If China joins this resolution, his stance in the third world as an alternative power to United States and an agent of multilateralism will fade away definitively. Also United States are decided to support South Korea pressure against North Korea, pressure that will be efficiently only if China goes on board. In a word China is confronted in 2011 with the same decision as in 2010: should it be content with the stature of a middle power, as Great Britain or France ,and take care of his regional agenda or maintaining a great power profile embarks himself in a confrontation policy with United States ? Regional politics or big player, this is the alternative that Beijing is had to make.
Iran: new sanctions.
In December 2010 after failed talks, Iran and P+5 decided on a last ditch attempt in January 2011 to lift up the dialogue in Istanbul on Iranian nuclear issue. The rift between the parties is clearer than ever: Iran hold us up to his right on peaceful nuclear development while United States is determined to see Iranian nuclear program dismantled. Under this conditions is not difficult to predict the failure of the talks. United States have already drafted a resolution, clearly laying out the path for military action against Teheran. Last year Russia and China with Brazil and Turkey intercession, succeeded to amend the draft, excluding the key phrase of -by every dint necessary. This year Russia will not oppose this green light for military action , while China stance is yet unclear. The battle around this new United Nations resolution will be undoubtedly the main diplomatic event of 2011.
Russia: fight for power.
In Russia the power struggle between the make shift President, Dimitry Medvedev and his benefactor, omnipotent prime-minister Vladimir Putin, is taking epic and opera type proportions. Until now the battle between President and Prime Minister was held on the streets of Moscow ,where Kremlin backed supporters tacking to the streets against the Prime Minister administration. This battle in the street was won by Medvedev, that obtain on grounds of police brutality against manifestant`s, the removal of Putin rock-stone allied, Yuri Rajkov, mayor of Moscow. With the battle for Moscow won, Medvedev started two more fronts: a public offensive against the corruption and inefficiency of Putin government and on the world stage a battle for a new Russia image. Inflaming the rage of Putin, Dimitry Medvedev launches his new vision on Lisbon Treaty backstage. A Russia led by Medvedev ,without the omnipresent Putin , will support US efforts in controlling Iran and China , will assure a steady supply of raw materials to US and Europe economy and will request only a regional influence. Medvedev went as far as asserting that Russia relations with Georgia could be massively improved. As naturally US and Europe force pledge support for the democratic vision of President Medvedev in contrast with authoritarian past of Russia, a diplomatic phrase describing Vladimir Putin policies. Vladimir Putin opera style response: in Sankt Petersburg a giant show on Christmas with him as a super star, congratulated as the greatest man that ever lived by Alain Delon, Sharon Stone, Kurt Russell and Gerard Depardieu. The star of the show-Putin even made a public performance and sings on the piano. 40 millions Russian have watch the show live on television. Score 1-1 for Putin. The battle for Russia will be another interesting event of 2011.
Israel: a new aggression?
For Tel Aviv 2011 is starting under negative auspices: a frozen relation with White House after the illegal settlements build on Palestinian soil continued controversy and Barrack Obama support for an independent Palestinian state. The Israel international isolation after Mavi Marmara attack in international waters and Turkeys movement to isolate the hebrew state and illegal Gaza blockade made even European Union to start swaying away from Israel position. After all this failures Benyamin Netanyahu extreme right government has only one solution to galvanize public opinion on his side: a new conflict either by unleashing a new attack on Gaza or on Lebanon. In 2010 Israel violated daily Lebanon air space, sponsored spy infiltration rings in the Cedar country and created a strong pressure to further weaken the country. But anew attack on Lebanon risk to alienate even further the western supporters of Israel and the lessons of 2006 defeat of Israeli military at the hands of Hezbollah is not easy forgotten. In Gaza ,also Hamas has survived blockade and daily attack by Israel in 2010 and even grow in popularity and capitalized on the international humanitarian effort for the people of Gaza in 2010. Gaza is a more labile target; with light weaponry could not stand efficiently against Israel war machine. But a small military victory will compensate the political storm that such an attack will unleash? Benyamin Netanyahu seems to think that this wage worth tacking it.
Europe: fight for democratic system.
Europe is having a lot of problems to sort off in 2011. The economic crisis that is engulfing the continent is already described. Another ugly head that is appearing on the continent is sectarian divisions. Nobody forgets the Switzerland vote in banning minarets, the France ban on Muslim scarf, the closing of hundreds of mosques in Europe in the last year and the vicious attack on Tony Blair sister in law that converted to Islam and was nearly to be killed by British extremists. These anti-minority events will repeat and inflammatory statements like Angela Merkel opinion that multiculturalism have failed will support this kind of attacks. Europe is having in this moment more than 40% of population living below poverty line of 500 euro’s per month , increase unemployment’s , social and cultural amenities incapable in supporting European population needs, a medical system in grip and a deficit of democracy. As states are finding difficult to cope with this problems an easy escape is the time old remedy of anti-immigration rhetoric.
After being championship of democracy in the last 50 years, European democratic system is starting to show his wrinkles. Great Britain police resulted to argentine style suppression of mass student demonstration in December 2010 against tuition fees rise. In France against anti-pension reform demonstrators were halted by armed forces and in Germany government resorted to pointing out in a 30`s style the immigration and failed multiculturalism as the culprits behind economy collapsed. The fight for maintaining a viable and democratic system in Europe is a difficult one that 2011 will just be a step.
NATO – A MILITARY MAFIA – SAY`S FIDEL CASTRO
Many people feel nauseous when they hear the name of that organization.
On Friday, November 19 in Lisbon, Portugal, the 28 members of that aggressive institution, engendered by the United States, decided to create something that they cynically call “the new NATO”.
NATO was born after WW II as an instrument of the Cold War unleashed by imperialism against the USSR, the country that paid for the victory over Nazism with tens of millions of lives and colossal destruction.
Against the USSR, the United States mobilized, along with a goodly portion of the European population, the far right and all the neo-fascist dregs of Europe, brimming with hatred and ready to gain the upper hand for the errors committed by the very leaders of the USSR after the death of Lenin.
With enormous sacrifice, the Soviet people were able to keep nuclear parity and to support the struggle for the national liberation of numerous peoples against the efforts of the European states to maintain the colonial system which had been imposed by force throughout the centuries; states that, in the post-war period, became allies of the Yankees who assumed command of the counter-revolution in the world.
In just 10 days –less than two weeks –world opinion has received three great and unforgettable lessons: G-20, APEC and NATO, in Seoul, Yokohama and Lisbon, in such a way that all honest persons who can read and write and whose minds haven’t been warped by the conditioned reflexes of the imperialist mass media machine, can have a true idea about the problems affecting humankind today.
In Lisbon, not one world was said that was capable of transmitting hope to billions of persons suffering from poverty, under-development, shortages of food, housing, health, education and jobs.
Quite the opposite: the vainglorious character who is the head of the NATO military mafia, Anders Fogh Rasmussen declared, in tones reminiscent of a little Nazi Fuhrer, that the “new strategic concept” was to “act anywhere in the world”. Not in vain was the Turkish government about to veto his appointment when the Danish neo-liberal Fogh Rasmussen, as premier of Denmark, using the excuse of freedom of the press, defended, in April of 2009, the authors of serious offences against the prophet Mohammed, a figure much respected by all Muslim faithful.
There are quite a few in the world who remember the close relations of cooperation between the Danish government and the Nazi “invaders” during WW II.
NATO, a bird of prey sitting in the lap of the Yankee empire, even endowed with tactical nuclear weapons that could be up to many times more destructive that the one that obliterated the city of Hiroshima , has been committed by the United States in the genocidal Afghanistan war, something even more complex than the Kosovo exploit and the war against Serbia where they massacred the city of Belgrade and were about to suffer a disaster if the government of that country had held its ground, instead of trusting in the European justice institutions in The Hague.
The ignominious declaration from Lisbon, vaguely and abstractly states in one of its points:
“I support regional stability, democratic values, the security and integration of the Euro-Atlantic space in the Balkans.”
“The Kosovo mission is oriented towards a lesser and more flexible presence.”
Even Russia cannot forget it so easily: the actual fact is that when Yeltsin broke up the USSR, the United States moved NATO boundaries and its nuclear attack bases forward from Europe and Asia to the heart of Russia.
Those new military installations were also threatening the Peoples’ Republic of China and other Asian countries.
When that happened in 1991, hundreds of SS-19, SS-20 and other powerful Soviet weapons were able to reach, in a matter of minutes, the US and NATO military bases in Europe. No NATO Secretary General would have dared to speak with the arrogance of Rasmussen.
The first agreement on nuclear weapons limitations was signed as early as May 26, 1972 between President Richard Nixon of the United States and Communist Party Secretary General Leonid Brezhnev of the USSR with the aim of limiting the number of antiballistic missiles (ABM Treaty) and to defend certain points against missiles having nuclear payloads.
Brezhnev and Carter signed new agreements in Vienna, known as SALT II in 1979, but the US Senate refused to ratify those agreements.
The new rearmament promoted by Reagan, with the Strategic Defence Initiative, ended the SALT agreements.
The Siberian gas pipeline had been blown up already by the CIA.
A new agreement, on the other hand, was signed in 1991 between Bush Sr. and Gorbachev, five months before the collapse of the USSR. When that happened, the socialist bloc no longer existed. The countries that the Red Army had liberated from Nazi occupation were not even able to maintain independence. Right-wing governments that came to power moved over to NATO with weapons and baggage and fell into the hands of the US. The GDR which, under the leadership of Erich Honecker had made a great effort, was unable to overcome the ideological and consumerist offensive launched from the same capital that had been occupied by the Western troops.
As the virtual master of the world, the United States increased its mercenary and warmongering policy.
Due to a well-manipulated process, the USSR fell apart. The coup de grâce was dealt by Boris Yeltsin on December 8, 1991 when, in his capacity of president of the Russian federation, he declared that the Soviet Union had ceased to exist. On the 25th of that same month and year, the red flag bearing the hammer and sickle was lowered from the Kremlin.
A third agreement about strategic weapons was then signed by George H. W. Bush and Boris Yeltsin, on January 3, 1993, that prohibited the use of multiple-warhead Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (the IBMs). It was passed by the US Senate on January 26, 1993 with a margin of votes of 87 to 4.
Russia was the heir to USSR science and technology – which, in spite of the war and the enormous sacrifices, it was able to bring its power up to the level of the immense and wealthy Yankee empire – the victory over fascism, the traditions, the culture and the glories of the Russian people.
The war in Serbia, a Slavic country and people, had severely sunk its fangs into the security of the Russian people, something no government could allow itself to ignore.
The Russian Duma – outraged by the first Iraq war and the war in Kosovo where NATO had massacred the Serbian people – refused to ratify START II and didn’t sign that agreement until 2000 and in that case it was to try to save the ABM Treaty that the Yankees were not interested in keeping by that date.
The US tries to use its enormous media resources to maintain, dupe and confuse world public opinion.
The government of that country is going through a difficult phase as the result of its war exploits. In the Afghanistan war, all the NATO countries, with no exception, are committed along with several others in the world, whose people find hateful and repugnant the carnage that rich industrialized countries such as Japan and Australia and others in the Third World are involved in to greater or lesser degrees.
What is the essence of the agreement approved in April of this year by the US and Russia? Both parties commit to reduce the number of strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550. About the nuclear warheads in France, the United Kingdom and Israel, all capable of striking Russia, not one word is spoken. About the tactical nuclear weapons, some of them much more powerful than the one that obliterated the city of Hiroshima, nothing. They do not mention the destructive and lethal capacity of numerous conventional weapons, the radio-electric and other systems of weapons to which the US dedicates its growing military budget, greater than those of all the other nations together. Both governments are aware, and perhaps many of them that met there also, that a third world war would be the last war. What kind of delusions can the NATO members be having? What is the tranquility that humankind can derive from that meeting? What benefit for the countries of the Third World, or even for the international economy, can we possibly hope for?
They cannot even offer the hope that the world economic crisis will be overcome, nor for how long that improvement would last. The US total public debt, not only of the central government but of all the rest of the public and private institutions in that country, now totals a figure equal to the world GDP of 2009, totalling 58 trillion dollars. Have the persons meeting in Lisbon even wondered about where those fantastic resources would be coming from? Simply, about the economies of all the rest of the peoples of the world, to whom the US handed over pieces of paper transformed into currency that over the last 40 years, unilaterally, ceased to be backed by gold and now the value of that metal is 40 times as much. That country still has veto power in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Why didn’t they discuss that in Portugal?
The hope of pulling out US, NATO and their allies’ troops from Afghanistan is idyllic. They will have to leave that country before they hand over the power to the Afghan resistance, in defeat. The self-same US allies are beginning to acknowledge now what could happen decades before the end of that war; would NATO be prepared to stay there all that time? Would the very citizens of each of the governments meeting there allow that?
Not to be forgotten that a vastly populated country, Pakistan, shares a border of colonial origin with Afghanistan, as well as quite a large percentage of its inhabitants.
I do not criticize Medvedev; he is very correctly trying to limit the number of nuclear warheads that are pointing at his country. Barack Obama can make up absolutely no justification. It would be a joke to imagine that the colossal and costly deployment of the anti-nuclear missile shield is to protect Europe and Russia from Iranian rockets, coming from a country that doesn’t even own any tactical nuclear devices. Not even a children’s comic book can make such a statement.
Obama already admitted that his promise to withdraw US soldiers from Afghanistan may be postponed, and the taxes for the richest contributors suspended right away. After the Nobel Prize, we would have to award him with the prize for “the best snake charmer” that has ever existed.
Taking into consideration the G.W. Bush autobiography now on the best seller list and that some smart editor pulled together for him, why didn’t they give him the honour of being a guest in Lisbon? Surely the far right, the “Tea Party” of Europe would be happy.
A Colossal Madhouse. This is what the G-20 meeting that started yesterday in Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea, has been turned into. Many readers, saturated with acronyms, may wonder: What is the G-20? This is one of the many miscreations concocted by the most powerful empire and its allies, who also created the G-7: the United States, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Canada. Later on they decided to admit Russia in a club that was then called the G-8. Afterwards they condescended to admit 5 important emerging countries: China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. Then the group membership increased after the inclusion of the member countries of the OECD –another acronym-, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development: Australia, the Republic of Korea and Turkey. The group was also joined by Saudi Arabia, Argentina and Indonesia, and they all summed up 19. The twentieth member of the G-20 was no other than the European Union. As from this year, 2010, one country, Spain, holds the peculiar category of “permanent guest.” Another important international high level meeting is taking place almost simultaneously in Japan: the APEC meeting. If patient readers bother to add to the former group the following countries: Malaysia, Brunei, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Papua-New Guinea, Chile, Peru and Vietnam -all of them with a significant trade volume, with coasts washed by the Pacific Ocean waters- the result would be what is called the APEC: the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, and with that the entire jigsaw puzzle is completed. They would only need a map, but a laptop could perfectly provide that. At such international events crucial international economic and financial issues are discussed. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, with decision-making powers when it comes to financial matters, have their own master: the United States. It is important to remember that after the Second World War, the US industry and agriculture remained intact; those in Western Europe were totally destroyed, with the exceptions of Switzerland and Sweden. The USSR had been materially devastated and scored huge material losses that surpassed the figure of 25 million persons. Japan was defeated, in ruins and occupied. Around 80 per cent of the world’s gold reserves were sent to the United States. In a remote, though spacious and comfortable hotel at Bretton Woods, a small community of the US north eastern state of New Hampshire, the Monetary and Financial Conference of the recently created United Nations Organization was held from July 1st to 22 of 1944. The United States was granted the exceptional privilege of turning its paper money into an international hard currency pegged to a gold standard mechanism fixed at 35 US dollars per one Troy ounce of gold. Since the overwhelming majority of countries keep their foreign exchange reserves in the US banks -which is the same as granting a significant loan to the richest country in the world-, the gold pattern mechanism established at least a ceiling for the unrestricted issuance of paper money. This was at least some sort of guarantee on the value of the reserves that countries kept in US banks. Based on that enormous privilege -and for as long as the issuance of paper money was limited by the gold standard mechanism- that powerful country continued to increase its control over the planet’s wealth. The military adventures of the United States in alliance with the former colonial powers, particularly the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and the recently created West Germany, led that country into other military adventures and wars that plunged the monetary system established at Bretton Woods into a crisis. At the time of the genocidal war in Vietnam, a country against which the US was at the verge of using nuclear weapons, the US President took the shameless and unilateral decision of suspending the dollar’s gold pattern. Ever since then, there have been no limits to the issuance of paper money. That privilege was so much overused that the value of the Troy ounce of gold went from 35 dollars to figures way above 1 400 dollars, that is, no less than 40 times the value it kept for 27 years until 1971, when Richard Nixon took such nefarious decision. The worst thing about the present economic crisis that affects the American society today is that former anti-crisis measures applied at different moments in the history of the US imperialist capitalist system have not helped it now to resume its usual pace. The US is wracked by a national debt close to 14 billion dollars -that is, as much as the US GDP- and the fiscal deficit remains unchanged. The sky-rocketing banks bailout loans and interest rates almost equal to zero have hardly decreased unemployment to figures below 10 per cent. The number of households whose houses are being closed out have barely decreased either. Its gigantic defense budgets which are much higher than those of the rest of the world – and what is worse, those devoted to the war- have continued to grow. The US President, who was elected hardly two years ago by one of the traditional parties, has been dealt the biggest defeat ever remembered in the last three fourths of a century. Such a reaction is a combination of frustration and racism. The US economist and writer William K. Black wrote a memorable phrase: “The best way to rob a bank is to own one”. The most reactionary sectors in the United States are sharpening their teeth and have appropriated an idea that would be the antithesis of the one expressed by the Bolsheviks in October of 1917: “All power to the US extreme right.” Seemingly, the US government, with its traditional anti-crisis measures, resorted to another desperate decision: the Federal Reserve announced it would buy 600 billion US dollars before the G-20 meeting. On Wednesday November 10, one of the most important US news agencies reported that “President Obama had arrived in South Korea to attend meetings of the world’s top 20 economic powers.” “Tensions over currencies and trade gaps have simmered ahead of the summit following a decision by the U.S. to flood its sluggish economy with $600 billion in cash that has alarmed leaders around the globe. “Obama has defended the move by the U.S. Federal Reserve.” On November 11, the same agency reported to the world’s public opinion the following: “A strong sense of pessimism shrouded the start of an economic summit of rich and emerging economies Thursday […] with world leaders arriving in Seoul sharply divided over currency and trade policies. “Established in 1999 and raised to summit level two years ago, the G-20 has— encompassing rich nations such as Germany and the U.S. as well as emerging giants such as China and Brazil — has become the centerpiece of international efforts to revive the global economy and prevent future financial meltdowns…” “Failure in Seoul could have severe consequences. The risk is that countries would try to keep their currencies artificially low to give their exporters a competitive edge in global markets. That could lead to a destructive trade war. “Countries might throw up barriers to imports — a repeat of policies that worsened the Great Depression. There are countries, such as the United States, whose top priority would be “to get China to allow its currency rise” against other currencies that would allow for a reduction of the huge trading surplus of the Asian giant with Washington, since it will make Chinese exports to be more expensive and US imports cheaper. “There are those which irate over U.S. Federal Reserve plans to pump $600 billion of new money into the sluggish American economy”. They see this measure as a selfish move to fill markets with dollars, thus devaluing that currency and giving US exporters and unfair price edge. “The G-20 countries […] are finding little common ground on the most vexing problem: What to do about a global economy that depends on huge U.S. trade deficits with China, Germany and Japan?” “Brazil’s president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, warned that the world would go “bankrupt” if rich countries cut back on consumption and tried to export their way to prosperity.” “‘If the rich countries are not consuming and want to grow its economy on exports, the world goes bankrupt because there would be no one to buy. Everybody would like to sell…’” The summit started amid a rather pessimistic ambiance for Obama and the South Korean President Li Myung-bak, “whose negotiators failed to agree on a long-stalled free trade agreement that it was hoped could be reached this week.” “G-20 leaders gathered Thursday evening at Seoul’s grand National Museum of Korea for the dinner that marked the official start of the two-day event.” “Outside, a few thousand protesters rallied against the G-20 and the South Korean government.” Today, Friday 12, the summit concluded with a declaration that contained 20 items and 32 paragraphs. Presumably, the world is not made up only by the 32 countries that belong to the G-20 or only by those which belong to the APEC. The 187 nations that voted in favor of lifting the blockade against Cuba, as opposed to the two that voted against and the two that abstained, make a total of 192. For 160 of them there is no forum whatsoever where they could express a single word about the imperial plundering of their resources or about their urgent economic needs. In Seoul, the United Nations does not even exist. Won’t that honorable institution say a single word about it? In these days European news agencies have been publishing really tragic news about Haiti –where, in only minutes, an earthquake killed around 250 000 persons in January this year. According to reports, the Haitian authorities have warned about the speed with which the cholera epidemic is spreading throughout the city of Gonaives, in the northern part of the island. The Major of that coastal village, Pierreleus Saint-Justin, asserts he has personally buried 31 corpses on Tuesday, and expected to bury another 15. “Others could be dying as we speak”, he added. The report states that as from November 5, 70 corpses have been buried only in the urban area of Gonaives, but there are more people who have died in rural areas nearby the city. According to the report, the situation is becoming catastrophic in Gonaives. The floods caused by hurricane ‘Tomas’ could make the situation to be even worse.” Last Wednesday, the health authorities in Haiti fixed at 643 the number of victims who had died until November 8 in the entire country as a result of the epidemic. The number of persons infected with the cholera virus during the same period amounts to 9 971. Radio stations report that the figures to be released on Friday could include more than 700 deadly casualties. The government asserts now that the disease is taking a serious toll on the population of Port-au-Prince and is threatening the capital outskirts, where more than one million people have been living in tents since the earthquake on January 12. News are reporting today a figure of 796 deaths and a total of 12 303 persons infected. More than 3 million inhabitants are now threatened; many of them live in tents and among the rubble left by the earthquake, without potable water. The main US agency reported yesterday that the first part of the US Fund for the Reconstruction of Haiti was already on the way now, more than seven months after being committed to help rebuilding the country devastated by the earthquake in January. Reportedly, in the next few days, the agency will transfer approximately 120 million dollars –around one tenth of the amount promised- to the Fund for the Reconstruction of Haiti, managed by the World Bank, as was stated by P.J.Crowley, the State Department’s speaker. An assistant of the State Department stated that the money allocated to the Fund would be used to remove the rubble, build houses, grant credits, support and educational reform program to be implemented by the Inter-American Development Bank and support the Haitian government budget. Not a single word has been said about the cholera epidemics, a disease that for years affected many countries in South America and could spread throughout the Caribbean and other parts of our hemisphere.
Fidel Castro Ruz
Palestine-Romania: 50 years of friendship
Romania will always stay shoulder to shoulder to Palestine.
The high level friendship between Romania and Palestine
2010 was a special year marking Romania-Palestine friendship and alliance based on a common history that already pass the 50 year mark and promises to continue as a special relation in the future. Romania was always a staunch allied of Palestine not out of material concerns but being convinced that as long as Palestine does not achieved his independence in a free and viable state with historic borders there will be no solution to Middle East conflicts.
Palestine: the wound of humanity. Victory is close for Palestine
This rock solid friendship was the base for the Romanian civil society to organize an important conference dedicated to underline Romanian- Palestinian solidarity. Under the banner of Palestine: the bleeding wound of humanity ,the conference succeeded in bringing under scrutiny the Palestinian issue.
The Conference enjoyed a large international presence among those who replied to the civil society appeal for Palestine where the fallowing: Ahmed Faruk Unsal ,Khalid Al- Awaisi , Cihad Ozdemir ,Nur Choudhary , Hasan Ghani etc.
Professor Anton Caragea is giving his message of support for Palestine
Professor dr.Anton Caragea was invited also to give a Romanian view for the conference participants.In his inaugural speech Professor dr.Anton Caragea, has underlined the importance of this conference as this is the first conference organized by civil society in more than 20 years, second this conference is re-establishing a tradition of Romanian pro-Palestine position, our involvement has reached more than 120 millions dollars in support for Palestine and 100.000 passport issued for Palestine refugee between 1960 and 1989. Finally this is the first Romanian public debate on Palestinian future after the unprovoked Israeli attack on humanitarian convoy of Mavi Marmara. Romania will always be a firm allied of Palestine that will support the Palestine rapid march toward independence, statehood and a viable state based on historical borders and demography and with an undivided capital in Al Quds Al Sharif (Jerusalem). This rapid evolution towards Palestinian independence will have not being possible without the geopolitical change of Turkey that created a liberation and democratic front in the region that put in the spot-light the Palestinian cause. The others speakers have underlined the tragic events of Mavi Marmara humanitarian convoy attacked in international waters by Israel army while attempting to broke the illegal Gaza siege imposed by Israel. It was also discussed the issue of illegal Israeli settlements, the attempts to judaise the Palestinian city of Al Quds and the necessity to lift the blockade of Gaza and to help the heroically defenders of the city. The Conference: Palestine the bleeding wound of humanity was not the only event dedicated to Palestinian cause in November.His Excellency Ambassador of Palestine, Ahmad Aqel has hosted a grandiose event to mark the International Day for Solidarity with Palestinian People. In his emotional speech the Palestinian ambassador had marked the historic moment that we are living it, a moment when even the President of United States has declared that is a necessity to build a viable and independent Palestinian state and with a meaningful contribution to United Nations. The important international solidarity with Palestine is more great than ever and the building of an independent state of Palestine with the capital in the Al Quds Al Sharif.
All this events and the activity full of energy of the hearted Palestinian ambassador Ahmad Aqel had succeeded in bringing the Palestinian rights and the obligation of international community towards Palestine in the sport-light of Romanian actuality.
THE INFINITE HYPOCRISY OF THE WEST by Fidel Castro
In defence of humanity
Although several articles on this subject were published before and after September 1st, 2010, on that day the Mexican daily La Jornada published one of great impact entitled El holocausto gitano: ayer y hoy (The gypsies’ holocaust: yesterday and today) which reminds us of a truly tragic history. Without adding or deleting a single word from the information contained in the article, I will quote some lines referring to some events that are really touching. Neither the West nor -most of all- its colossal media apparatus have said a single word about them.
“1496: boom of humanist thinking. The Rom peoples (gypsies) from Germany are declared traitors to the Christian nations, spies paid by the Turkish, carriers of the plague, witches and warlocks, bandits and children kidnappers.
“1710: century of Enlightenment and rationale. An edict ordered that adult gypsies from Prague be hanged without any previous trial. Young persons and women were mutilated. In Bohemia their left ear were cut off; in Moravia, their right ear.
“1899: climax of modernity and progress. The police of Bavaria founded the Special Section for Gypsies’ Affairs. In 1929, the section was promoted to the category of National Central section and was moved to Munich. In 1937 it was based in Berlin. Four years later, half a million gypsies died in the concentration camps of Central and Eastern Europe.”
“In her PhD’s thesis, Eva Justin (assistant of Dr. Robert Ritter of the Racial Research Section of the Ministry of Health of Germany), asserted that gypsies’ blood was extremely harmful to the purity of the German race. Someone called Dr. Portschy sent a memorandum to Hitler suggesting that gypsies should be submitted to forced labor and mass sterilization because they jeopardized the pure blood of the German peasantry.“The gypsies, who were labeled as inveterate criminals, started to be arrested en masse, and as from 1938 they were put into special blocks at the Buchenwald, Mauthausen, Gusen, Dautmergen, Natzweiler and Flossenburg camps.“In a concentration camp he owned in Ravensbruck, Heinrich Himmler, chief of the Gestapo (SS), created a space to sacrifice gypsy women who were submitted to medical experiments. One hundred and twenty zingari girls were sterilized. Gypsy women married to non-gypsy men were sterilized at the Dusseldorf-Lierenfeld hospital.“Thousands of gypsies were deported from Belgium, the Netherlands and France to the Polish concentration camp of Auschwitz. In his memoirs, Rudolf Hoess (commander of Auschwitz) wrote that among the gypsies deported there were old people almost one hundred years of age, pregnant women and a large number of children.“At the ghetto of Lodz (Poland) […] none of the 5 000 gypsies survived.”“In Yugoslavia, gypsies and Jews were equally killed in the forest of Jajnice. Farmers still remember the cries of the gypsy children who were taken to the places of execution.” “At the extermination camps, only the love of gypsies for music was at times a source of comfort. In Auschwitz, starving and infested with lice, they gathered together to play music and encouraged children to dance. But the courage of gypsy guerrillas who fought alongside the Polish resistance in the region of Nieswiez was also legendary.”Music was the factor that kept them together and helped them to survive, just as much as religion was for Christians, Jews and Muslims.
The successive articles published by La Jornada as from the end of August have reminded us of events that were almost forgotten about what happened to the gypsies in Europe. After having been affected by Nazism, they were consigned to oblivion after the Nuremberg trials in the years 1945 and 1946.The German government headed by Konrad Adenauer declared that the extermination of the gypsies before 1943 was a result of the State’s legal policies. Those who had been affected on that same year did not receive any compensation. Robert Ritter, a Nazi expert in the extermination of gypsies, was set free. Thirty nine years later in 1982, when most of the affected persons had already passed away, the government recognized their right to compensation.More than 75 per cent of the gypsies, whose total number is estimated to be between 12 and 14 million, live in Central and Eastern Europe. Only in Tito’s socialist Yugoslavia, gypsies were recognized the same rights as the Croatian, Albanian and Macedonian minorities.The Mexican newspaper described as “particularly perverse” the mass deportation of gypsies to Romania and Bulgaria ordered by the government of Sarkozy –a Jew of Hungarian descent-; these are the exact words used by the newspaper. Please do not take this as an act of irreverence on my part.
In Romania, the number of gypsies is estimated to be two million.The president of that country, Traian Basescu, a US ally and an illustrious member of NATO, called a woman journalist a “filthy gypsy”. As can be observed, this is an extremely delicate person who speaks in a polite language.
The website univision.com posted some comments about the demonstrations against the deportation of gypsies and the “xenophobia” in France. According to AFP, around “130 demonstrations should take place in France as well as in front of the French embassies in several European Union countries, with the support of tens of human rights organizations, trade unions and left wing and ecologist parties”. The extensive report refers to the participation of well known cultural personalities such as Jane Birkin and the film-maker Agnes Jaoui and reminded readers that Jane “together with Stephane Hessel, a former member of the resistance against the Nazi occupation of France (1940-1944), was part of the group that later on met with the advisors to the minister of Immigration Eric Besson.
“‘It was a dialogue of the deaf, but it is good that this took place, for it showed that most of the population was enraged at that nauseating policy’, said a spokesperson of the network ‘Education Without Borders…” Other news about this thorny issue come from Europe: “Yesterday the European Parliament put France and Nicholas Sarkozy on the spot for having deported thousands of Romanian and Bulgarian gypsies during a tense debate in which the attitudes of José Manuel Durão Barroso and the Commission were described as scandalous and ridiculous for their apparent pusillanimity and for failing to condemn Paris decisions as illegal and contrary to community rights”, according to an article by Ricardo Martínez de Rituerto published by El País.com.
La Jornada published in another article impressive social data. Neo-natal mortality among the gypsy population is nine times as much the European average and the life expectancy rate is hardly above 50 years of age. Before that, on August 29, it had reported that “although there have been plenty of criticisms –from the European Union institutions as well as from the Catholic church, the United Nations and the broad spectrum of pro-immigrants organizations- Sarkozy insists in expelling and deporting hundreds of citizens from Bulgaria and Romania –and therefore, European citizens- using as an excuse the alleged ‘criminal’ character of these citizens.”
“It is difficult to believe that in the year 2010 –concludes La Jornada- after the terrible past Europe had with racism and intolerance, it is still possible to criminalize an entire ethnic group by labeling it as a social problem.” “Indifference, or even consent towards the actions carried out by the French police today and the Italian police yesterday –more European, in general terms- leave the most optimist analyst speechless.”
Suddenly, while I wrote this Reflection, I remembered that France is the third nuclear power in the planet, and that Sarkozy also had a briefcase with the keys required to launch one of the more than 300 bombs he had. Is there any moral or ethical rational in launching an attack against Iran, a country condemned for its alleged intention of manufacturing this kind of weapon? Where are the good sense and the logic of that policy?
Let us assume that Sarkozy all of a sudden goes crazy, as it seems to be the case. What would the UN Security Council do with Sarkozy and his briefcase?
What will happen if the French extreme right decides to force Sarkozy to maintain a racist policy, opposite to the norms that prevail within the European Community?
Could the UN Security Council respond to those two questions?
The absence of truth and the prevalence of deception is the biggest tragedy in our dangerous nuclear age.
Fidel Castro Ruz
The opinion of an expert by Fidel Castro.
If I were to be asked who best knows about Israeli thinking, I would answer that without question it is Jeffrey Goldberg. He is an indefatigable journalist, capable of having dozens of meetings to ascertain how some Israeli leader or intellectual may think. He is not neutral, of course; he is pro-Israeli, no ands ifs or buts. When one of them does not agree with the policy of that country, that too is not done halfway. For my aim, it is important to know the thinking that guides the main political and military leaders of that State.
I feel that I have the authority to have an opinion because I have never been anti-Semitic and I share with him a profound hatred of Nazi-Fascism and the genocide perpetrated against children, women and men, young or aged Jews against whom Hitler, the Gestapo and the Nazis took out their hatred against that people. For the same reason, I abhor the crimes committed by the fascist government of Netanyahu which kills children, women and men, young and old in the Gaza Strip and on the West Bank. In his illustrated article “The Point of No Return” that will be printed in The Atlantic journal in September 2010, now available on the Internet, Jeffrey Goldberg starts his more than 40-page paper; I am taking the essential ideas from it in order to enlighten the readers. “It is possible that at some point in the next 12 months, the imposition of devastating economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran will persuade its leaders to cease their pursuit of nuclear weapons. […]It is possible, as well, that “foiling operations” conducted by the intelligence agencies of Israel, the United States, Great Britain, and other Western powers— […]—will have hindered Iran’s progress in some significant way. It is also possible that President Obama, who has said on more than a few occasions that he finds the prospect of a nuclear Iran “unacceptable,” will order a military strike against the country’s main weapons and uranium-enrichment facilities.” “I am not engaging in a thought exercise, or a one-man war game, when I discuss the plausibility and potential consequences of an Israeli strike on Iran. Israel has twice before successfully attacked and destroyed an enemy’s nuclear program. In 1981, Israeli warplanes bombed the Iraqi reactor at Osirak, halting—forever, as it turned out—Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions; and in 2007, Israeli planes destroyed a North Korean–built reactor in Syria. An attack on Iran, then, would be unprecedented only in scope and complexity.” “I have been exploring the possibility that such a strike will eventually occur for more than seven years, […] In the months since then, I have interviewed roughly 40 current and past Israeli decision makers about a military strike, as well as many American and Arab officials. In most of these interviews, I have asked a simple question: what is the percentage chance that Israel will attack the Iranian nuclear program in the near future? Not everyone would answer this question, but a consensus emerged that there is a better than 50 percent chance that Israel will launch a strike by next July. […] But I tested the consensus by speaking to multiple sources both in and out of government, and of different political parties. Citing the extraordinary sensitivity of the subject, most spoke only reluctantly, and on condition of anonymity. […]The reasoning offered by Israeli decision makers was uncomplicated: Iran is, at most, one to three years away from having a breakout nuclear capability […]and the most crucial component of Israeli national-security doctrine, a tenet that dates back to the 1960s […]is that no regional adversary should be allowed to achieve nuclear parity with the reborn and still-besieged Jewish state.” “In our conversation before his swearing-in, Netanyahu would not frame the issue in terms of nuclear parity— […]Instead, he framed the Iranian program as a threat not only to Israel but to all of Western civilization.”
“‘…When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the world should start worrying, and that’s what is happening in Iran.”’ “In our conversation, Netanyahu refused to discuss his timetable for action, or even whether he was considering military preemption of the Iranian nuclear program. […]Netanyahu’s belief is that Iran is not Israel’s problem alone; it is the world’s problem, and the world, led by the United States, is duty-bound to grapple with it. But Netanyahu does not place great faith in sanctions—not the relatively weak sanctions against Iran recently passed by the United Nations Security Council, nor the more rigorous ones being put in place by the U.S. and its European allies.” “But, based on my conversations with Israeli decision-makers, this period of forbearance, in which Netanyahu waits to see if the West’s nonmilitary methods can stop Iran, will come to an end this December.” “The Netanyahu government is already intensifying its analytic efforts not just on Iran, but on a subject many Israelis have difficulty understanding: President Obama. The Israelis are struggling to answer what is for them the most pressing question: are there any circumstances under which President Obama would deploy force to stop Iran from going nuclear? Everything depends on the answer. ”
“Iran demands the urgent attention of the entire international community, and in particular the United States, with its unparalleled ability to project military force. This is the position of many moderate Arab leaders as well. A few weeks ago, in uncommonly direct remarks, the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States, Yousef al-Otaiba, told me— […]that his country would support a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. […] he said. “Small, rich, vulnerable countries in the region do not want to be the ones who stick their finger in the big bully’s eye, if nobody’s going to come to their support.” “Several Arab leaders have suggested that America’s standing in the Middle East depends on its willingness to confront Iran. They argue self-interestedly that an aerial attack on a handful of Iranian facilities would not be as complicated or as messy as, say, invading Iraq. “This is not a discussion about the invasion of Iran,” one Arab foreign minister told me. “We are hoping for the pinpoint striking of several dangerous facilities. America could do this very easily.” “Barack Obama has said any number of times that he would find a nuclear Iran “unacceptable.” […]A nuclear Iran would be a game-changing situation, not just in the Middle East, but around the world. Whatever remains of our nuclear nonproliferation framework, I think, would begin to disintegrate. You would have countries in the Middle East who would see the potential need to also obtain nuclear weapons.” “But the Israelis are doubtful that a man who positioned himself as the antithesis of George W. Bush, author of invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq, would launch a preemptive attack on a Muslim nation.”
“We all watched his speech in Cairo,” a senior Israeli official told me, referring to the June 2009 speech in which Obama attempted to reset relations with Muslims by stressing American cooperativeness and respect for Islam. “We don’t believe that he is the sort of person who would launch a daring strike on Iran. We are afraid he would see a policy of containing a nuclear Iran rather than attacking it.” ““Bush was two years ago, but the Iranian program was the same and the intent was the same,” the Israeli official told me. “So I don’t personally expect Obama to be more Bush than Bush.” “If the Israelis reach the firm conclusion that Obama will not, under any circumstances, launch a strike on Iran, then the countdown will begin for a unilateral Israeli attack. “a strike on Iran, Israeli intelligence officials believe, could provoke all-out retaliation by Iran’s Lebanese subsidiary, Hezbollah, which now possesses, by most intelligence estimates, as many as 45,000 rockets—at least three times as many as it had in the summer of 2006, during the last round of fighting between the group and Israel.) “…Netanyahu is not unique in his understanding of this challenge; several of the prime ministers who preceded him cast Iran’s threat in similarly existential terms. […]“He has a deep sense of his role in Jewish history,” Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, told me.”
Jeffrey Goldberg goes on for several pages to tell the story of Netanyahu’s father, Ben-Zion, whom he considers to be the most outstanding historian in the world on the subject of the Spanish Inquisition and other important merits, and who recently celebrated his 100th birthday. “Benjamin Netanyahu is not known in most quarters for his pliability on matters concerning Palestinians, though he has been trying lately to meet at least some of Barack Obama’s demands that he move the peace process forward.”At the end of this part of his article, Goldberg carries on with the analysis of the complex situation. At times he is rather tough analyzing a 2001commentary by the former president of Iran, Hashemi-Rafsanjani, in which he is certainly speaking about a bomb that would destroy Israel; a threat that was criticized even by the left-wing forces that are Netanyahu’s enemies. “The challenges posed by a nuclear Iran are more subtle than a direct attack, Netanyahu told me. […] ‘Iran’s militant proxies would be able to fire rockets and engage in other terror activities while enjoying a nuclear umbrella. […]Instead of being a local event, however painful, it becomes a global one. Second, this development would embolden Islamic militants far and wide, on many continents, who would believe that this is a providential sign, that this fanaticism is on the ultimate road to triumph..”
““You’d create a great sea change in the balance of power in our area,” he went on. “Other Israeli leaders believe that the mere threat of a nuclear attack by Iran—combined with the chronic menacing of Israel’s cities by the rocket forces of Hamas and Hezbollah—will progressively undermine the country’s ability to retain its most creative and productive citizens.. […] ‘The real test for us is to make Israel such an attractive place, such a cutting-edge place in human society, education, culture, science, quality of life, that even American Jewish young people want to come here.” “Patriotism in Israel runs very high, according to numerous polls, and it seemed unlikely to me that mere fear of Iran could drive Israel’s Jews to seek shelter elsewhere. But one leading proponent of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Ephraim Sneh, a former general and former deputy defense minister, is convinced that if Iran crossed the nuclear threshold, the very idea of Israel would be endangered. “These people are good citizens, and brave citizens, but the dynamics of life are such that if someone has a scholarship for two years at an American university and the university offers him a third year, the parents will say, ‘Go ahead, remain there,’” Sneh told me when I met with him in his office outside of Tel Aviv not long ago. “If someone finishes a Ph.D. and they are offered a job in America, they might stay there. It will not be that people are running to the airport, […]The bottom line is that we would have an accelerated brain drain. And an Israel that is not based on entrepreneurship, that is not based on excellence, will not be the Israel of today.”
“One Monday evening in early summer, I sat in the office of the decidedly non-goyishe Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, and listened to several National Security Council officials he had gathered at his conference table explain—in so many words—why the Jewish state should trust the non-Jewish president of the United States to stop Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold. ” “One of those at the table, Ben Rhodes, a deputy national-security adviser who served as the lead author of the recent “National Security Strategy for the United States” as well as of the president’s conciliatory Cairo speech, suggested that Iran’s nuclear program was a clear threat to American security, and that the Obama administration responds to national-security threats in the manner of other administrations. “We are coordinating a multifaceted strategy to increase pressure on Iran, but that doesn’t mean we’ve removed any option from the table,” Rhodes said. “This president has shown again and again that when he believes it is necessary to use force to protect American national-security interests, he has done so. We’re not going to address hypotheticals about when and if we would use military force, but I think we’ve made it clear that we aren’t removing the option of force from any situation in which our national security is affected.”
“…Emanuel, whose default state is exasperation […](A former Bush administration official told me that his president faced the opposite problem: Bush, bogged down by two wars and believing that Iran wasn’t that close to crossing the nuclear threshold, opposed the use of force against Iran’s program, and made his view clear, “but no one believed him).” “At one point, I put forward the idea that for abundantly obvious reasons, few people would believe Barack Obama would open up a third front in the greater Middle East. One of the officials responded heatedly, “What have we done that would allow you to reach the conclusion that we think that a nuclear Iran would represent a tolerable situation?” “Obama administration officials, particularly in the Pentagon, have several times signaled unhappiness at the possibility of military preemption. In April, the undersecretary of defense for policy, Michele Flournoy, told reporters that military force against Iran was “off the table in the near term.” She later backtracked, but Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has also criticized the idea of attacking Iran. […]“In an area that’s so unstable right now, we just don’t need more of that.”
“…President Obama has by no means ruled out counterproliferation by force.. […]Gary Samore, the National Security Council official who oversees the administration’s counterproliferation agenda, told me that the Israelis agree with American assessments that Iran’s uranium-enrichment program is plagued with problems.” “‘…we can measure, based on the IAEA reports, that the Iranians are not doing well,” Samore said. “The particular centrifuge machines they’re running are based on an inferior technology. They are running into some technical difficulties, partly because of the work we’ve done to deny them access to foreign components. When they make the parts themselves, they are making parts that don’t have quality control.” “Dennis Ross, the former Middle East peace negotiator who is currently a senior National Security Council official, said during the meeting that he believes the Israelis now understand that American-instigated measures have slowed Iran’s progress, and that the administration is working to convince the Israelis—and other parties in the region—that the sanctions strategy “has a chance of working.”
“The president has said he hasn’t taken any options off the table, but let’s take a look at why we think this strategy could work,” […]Last June, when they hadn’t responded to our bilateral outreach, the president said that we would take stock by September.” “Ross […]the sanctions Iran now faces may affect the regime’s thinking. “The sanctions are going to cut across the board. They are taking place in the context of Iranian mismanagement—the Iranians are going to have to cut [food and fuel] subsidies; they already have public alienation; they have division in the elites, and between the elites and the rest of the country.”
“One question no administration official seems eager to answer is this: what will the United States do if sanctions fail? Several Arab officials complained to me that the Obama administration has not communicated its intentions to them, even generally.” “Obama’s voters like it when the administration shows that it doesn’t want to fight Iran, but this is not a domestic political issue,” the foreign minister said. “Iran will continue on this reckless path, unless the administration starts to speak unreasonably. The best way to avoid striking Iran is to make Iran think that the U.S. is about to strike Iran. We have to know the president’s intentions on this matter. We are his allies.” (According to two administration sources, this issue caused tension between President Obama and his recently dismissed director of national intelligence, Admiral Dennis Blair. According to these sources, Blair, who was said to put great emphasis on the Iranian threat, told the president that America’s Arab allies needed more reassurance. Obama reportedly did not appreciate the advice.)”
“In Israel, of course, officials expend enormous amounts of energy to understand President Obama, despite the assurances they have received from Emanuel, Ross, and others.” “Not long ago, the chief of Israeli military intelligence, Major General Amos Yadlin, paid a secret visit to Chicago to meet with Lester Crown, the billionaire whose family owns a significant portion of General Dynamics, the military contractor. Crown […] ‘“I share with the Israelis the feeling that we certainly have the military capability and that we have to have the will to use it. The rise of Iran is not in the best interest of the U.S.’”
““I support the president,” Crown said. “But I wish [administration officials] were a little more outgoing in the way they have talked. I would feel more comfortable if I knew that they had the will to use military force, as a last resort. You cannot threaten someone as a bluff. There has to be a will to do it.”“Several officials even asked if I considered Obama to be an anti-Semite. I answered this question by quoting Abner Mikva, the former congressman, federal judge, and mentor to Obama, who famously said in 2008, “I think when this is all over, people are going to say that Barack Obama is the first Jewish president.” I explained that Obama has been saturated with the work of Jewish writers, legal scholars, and thinkers, and that a large number of his friends, supporters, and aides are Jewish. But philo-Semitism does not necessarily equal sympathy for Netanyahu’s Likud Party—certainly not among American Jews, who are, like the president they voted for in overwhelming numbers, generally supportive of a two-state solution, and dubious about Jewish settlement of the West Bank.” “Rahm Emanuel suggested that the administration is trying to thread a needle: providing “unshakeable” support for Israel; protecting it from the consequences of an Iranian nuclear bomb; but pushing it toward compromise with the Palestinians. […] he past six Israeli prime ministers—including Netanyahu, who during his first term in the late 1990s, to his father’s chagrin, compromised with the Palestinians—to buttress his case. “Rabin, Peres, Netanyahu, Barak, Sharon, Olmert—every one of them pursued some form of a negotiated settlement, which would have been in Israel’s own strategic interest,” he said. “There have been plenty of other threats while successive Israeli governments have pursued a peace process.”
“…Israel should consider carefully whether a military strike would be worth the trouble it would unleash. “I’m not sure that given the time line, whatever the time line is, that whatever they did, they wouldn’t stop” the nuclear program, he said. “They would be postponing.” “It was then that I realized that, on some subjects, the Israelis and Americans are still talking past each other.” “IN MY CONVERSATIONS with former Israeli air-force generals and strategists, the prevalent tone was cautious. Many people I interviewed were ready, on condition of anonymity, to say why an attack on Iran’s nuclear sites would be difficult for Israel. And some Israeli generals, like their American colleagues, questioned the very idea of an attack. “Our time would be better spent lobbying Barack Obama to do this, rather than trying this ourselves,” one general told me. “We are very good at this kind of operation, but it is a big stretch for us. The Americans can do this with a minimum of difficulty, by comparison. This is too big for us.”
“These planes would have to return home quickly, in part because Israeli intelligence believes that Iran would immediately order Hezbollah to fire rockets at Israeli cities, and Israeli air-force resources would be needed to hunt Hezbollah rocket teams.” “…in the event of a unilateral Israeli strike on Iran, his mission would be to combat Hezbollah rocket forces. […]to keep Hezbollah in reserve until Iran can cross the nuclear threshold.“…Hezbollah ‘“lost a lot of his men. […] That is one reason we have had four years of quiet. What has changed in four years is that Hezbollah has increased its missile capability, but we have increased our capabilities as well.” He concluded by saying, in reference to a potential Israeli strike on Iran, “Our readiness means that Israel has freedom of action.”“America, too, would look complicit in an Israeli attack, even if it had not been forewarned. The assumption—often, but not always, correct—that Israel acts only with the approval of the United States is a feature of life in the Middle East, and it is one the Israelis say they are taking into account. I spoke with several Israeli officials who are grappling with this question, among others: what if American intelligence learns about Israeli intentions hours before the scheduled launch of an attack? “It is a nightmare for us,” one of these officials told me. “What if President Obama calls up Bibi and says, ‘We know what you’re doing. Stop immediately.’ Do we stop? We might have to. A decision has been made that we can’t lie to the Americans about our plans. We don’t want to inform them beforehand. This is for their sake and for ours. So what do we do? These are the hard questions.”
“Many Israelis think the Iranians are building Auschwitz. We have to let them know that we have destroyed Auschwitz, or we have to let them know that we tried and failed.”“There are, of course, Israeli leaders who believe that attacking Iran is too risky. […]“We don’t want politicians to put us in a bad position because of the word Shoah,” one general said.” “After staring at the photograph of the Israeli air-force flyover of Auschwitz more than a dozen different times in more than a dozen different offices, I came to see the contradiction at its core. If the Jewish physicists who created Israel’s nuclear arsenal could somehow have ripped a hole in the space-time continuum and sent a squadron of fighters back to 1942,…”
“Benjamin Netanyahu feels, for reasons of national security, that if sanctions fail, he will be forced to take action. But an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, successful or not, may cause Iran to redouble its efforts—this time with a measure of international sympathy—to create a nuclear arsenal. And it could cause chaos for America in the Middle East. […]Peres sees the Iranian nuclear program as potentially catastrophic, […]When I asked if he believed in a military option, he said, “Why should I declare something like that?”
“Based on months of interviews, I have come to believe that the administration knows it is a near-certainty that Israel will act against Iran soon if nothing or no one else stops the nuclear program; […]Earlier this year, I agreed with those, including many Israelis, Arabs—and Iranians—who believe there is no chance that Obama would ever resort to force to stop Iran; I still don’t believe there is a great chance he will take military action in the near future—for one thing, the Pentagon is notably unenthusiastic about the idea. But Obama is clearly seized by the issue. […]Denis McDonough, the chief of staff of the National Security Council, told me, “What you see in Iran is the intersection of a number of leading priorities of the president, who sees a serious threat to the global nonproliferation regime, a threat of cascading nuclear activities in a volatile region, and a threat to a close friend of the United States, Israel. I think you see the several streams coming together, which accounts for why it is so important to us.”
“When I asked Peres what he thought of Netanyahu’s effort to make Israel’s case to the Obama administration, he responded […]his country should know its place, and that it was up to the American president, and only the American president, to decide in the end how best to safeguard the future of the West. The story was about his mentor, David Ben-Gurion. ““Shortly after John F. Kennedy was elected president, Ben-Gurion met him at the Waldorf-Astoria” in New York, Peres told me. “After the meeting, Kennedy accompanied Ben-Gurion to the elevator and said, ‘Mr. Prime Minister, I want to tell you, I was elected because of your people, so what can I do for you in return?’ Ben-Gurion was insulted by the question. He said, ‘What you can do is be a great president of the United States. You must understand that to have a great president of the United States is a great event.’”
“Peres went on to explain what he saw as Israel’s true interest. “We don’t want to win over the president,” he said. “We want the president to win.”
“Jeffrey Goldberg” “Jeffrey Mark Goldberg is an American-Israeli journalist. He is one of the writers and staff journalists on The Atlantic journal. Previously he worked for The New Yorker. Goldberg mainly writes on international subjects, preferring the Middle East and Africa. Some have called him the most influential journalist-blogger on matters dealing with Israel.”
We are calling for the creation of a RUSSELL TRIBUNAL ON PALESTINE. This Tribunal will work rigorously and in the same spirit as the Tribunal on Vietnam that sat in 1967, under the presidency of Jean-Paul Sartre.
The Tribunal will have to judge the breaches of international law, of which the Palestinians are victims, and which deprive the Palestinian people of a sovereign State. The Advisory Opinion given by the International Court of Justice of The Hague on the 9th of July 2004 sums up those violations, and concludes, in particular, that Israel must dismantle the Wall and compensate the Palestinians for all the damage resulting from its construction.
This Opinion reiterates, in §163,D, that “All States are under an obligation not to recognise the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction; all State parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilians Persons in Time of War of the 12th of August 1949 have in addition the obligation, while respecting the United Nations Charter and international law, to ensure compliance by Israel with international law as embodied in that Convention”.
This Opinion was conﬁ rmed on the 24th of July 2004, by resolution ES-10/15 of the General Assembly of the United Nations, adopted by 150 Members States. The General Assembly “demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply with its legal obligations as mentioned in the advisory opinion” and “calls upon all States Members of the United Nations to comply with their legal obligations as mentioned in the advisory opinion”. Drawing in particular on the Advisory Opinion and the UN resolution, the RUSSELL TRIBUNAL ON PALESTINE will reafﬁ rm the primacy of international law as the basis for the settlement of the Israeli -Palestinian conﬂ ict. It will identify breaches in the application of the law and will bring all the perpetrators to the attention of international public opinion.
Your support for this Tribunal will give it the moral weight necessary to advance the cause of justice and law in this part of the world. Thanking you for your attention and your response to this appeal, and with cordial greetings.
Ken Coates Nurit Peled Leila Shahid
Chairman of the Bertrand Sakharov Prize 2001 General Delegate of Palestine to the
Russell Peace Foundation European Union, Belgium, Luxembourg
More information at: http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.net/