After Trump announced his decision on Jerusalem being the capital of Israel to be signaled by moving the U.S. embassy there, the condemnation came swift and strong, as well as the praise coming swift and strong from those supporting the decision – in the latter case mainly the Christian evangelicals and the Israelis.
The comments were generally clear, without equivocation. Those supporting the motion relied on their religious beliefs and mythological narratives in order to support it. Those opposed – most of the rest of the world – argued from the perspective of the various UN resolutions, the Geneva Accords and other international agreements, and from the simple common sense indignation against a colonial-settler enterprise engineered in part and now wholly supported by the U.S.government.
I – Richard Falk
However, the comment that most concerned me was one written by Richard Falk,
What is already evident on the basis of the decision itself is the severe damage done to the global and regional leadership reputation of the United States….Prospects for a diplomacy based on the equality of rights of Palestinians and Israelis have been reduced to zero, and thus no just end of the Palestinian ordeal can be foreseen. Overall, it is not a pleasant balance sheet of gains and losses if evaluated from the perspective of American grand strategy in the Middle East, and if the wider regional setting of Iran’s spreading influence is taken into account, the situation looks even worse.[ “Jerusalem Is (Is Not) the Capital of Israel”, Richard Falk. Foreign Policy Journal, December 11, 2017. www.foreignpolicyjournal.com]
Falk is much more experienced than I am, much more in the centre of power, much better informed, and perhaps much smarter. But this concluding paragraph to an article he wrote that has been reproduced in several outlets providing an insight that perhaps he has absorbed a bit of theU.S. soft power propaganda concerning the U.S.’ reputation and of how its grand strategy relates to Iran. It is a touch of equivocation that allows some wiggle room in support of empire.
His first line argues that “severe damage” has been “done to the global and regional leadership reputation of the United States.” Perhaps not, as far as I know the global and regional reputation of the U.S. has for a long time been highly tarnished if not corrupted and decomposed. Personally, for many decades, I have seen the U.S. reputation as a false veneer of platitudes, rhetoric, and hubris covering up a military empire that wished to dominate the world for its own corporate greed and power. If simply removing that veneer is causing severe damage, that only speaks to the ability of U.S. soft power and propaganda to cover up the reality of what it is trying to do to the people of the world. It is surprising that Falk did not see through that veneer as the implication is that before Trump’s announcement perhaps things were okay with the U.S.
Those sentiments are strengthened by his subsequent statements that the “situation looks even worse” vis a vis “Iran’s spreading influence” versus the U.S.’ “grand strategy”. That grand strategy as far as I can tell is to deconstruct all governments surrounding Israel in order that they become puppets to the U.S./Israeli overlords, using Saudi backed terrorists as an integral part of that strategy. Is Falk also under the propagandized illusion that Iran in the Middle East is worse than the U.S. in the Middle East? Surely he knows the history of Iran and the reasons it is hostile to the U.S.? Which country is located in the Middle East again? Is Falk unaware of the dynamics between Saudi Arabia, the U.S., oil, and the petrodollar? I hope I am misinterpreting what Falk is trying to say but it appears that perhaps some of the U.S. propaganda has filtered into his subconscious.
II – Videos
I have also spent much of the past few weeks watching videos, all concerned to some degree or other with the power of the Israeli state in its relationship with the U.S. empire.
The longest and scariest is “Shadow World”, a film highlighting what is commonly called the deep state. In particular in this case it emphasizes the Saudi relationship and the nastiness of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld as they led the neocons through several U.S. presidents with John Bolton still carrying the banner forward. [trailers are readily available, but the movie itself appears to have been delisted by Google] The ICC has plenty of work waiting for it.
Another video I watched with interest is “The Occupation of the American Mind” detailing how the hasbara department of Israel has succeeded in occupying the headspace of most citizens of the U.S. in particular the politician’s.[“Defending the Indefensible 2016 The Occupation of the American Mind PART 1” 9/11 Truth. July 17, 2016.] The ordinary citizens, generally ignorant of world affairs, only understand what the politicians and their media outlets allow them to see, if they are paying attention at all.
The third video of note this past week concerns the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in 1967. This recent documentary concerns the well concealed military attack against a relatively defenseless spy ship monitoring the Six Day War in international waters off the coast of Egypt. [“The Day Israel Attacked America”, Director Richard Belfield, Produced by James Scott and Elaine Morris. January 10, 2016] Lyndon Johnson, then president, was highly supportive of Israel and this film documents the manipulations that occurred in part by the Israelis to placate the U.S. government, and by the U.S.government to hide the action from its own public.
III – The Saker
In a wonderfully sarcastic commentary, the blogger ‘the Saker’ admitted that Trump is obviously a Russian agent for his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. [ “Okay, I admit it: Trump is a Russian agent.” The Saker. Russia Insider. Thursday December 14, 2017. http://russia-insider.com/en/okay-i-admit-it-trump-russian-agent/ri21939] The crux of the argument is the brilliance (remember this is sarcasm) of how the decision united the Islamic world against the decision and thus against Israel and the U.S. – with the aside that Saudi Arabia and Jordan will have to watch their backs as they are quite simply U.S./Israeli allies.
The “FINAL COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE EXTRAORDINARY ISLAMIC SUMMIT CONFERENCE” [available at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WwVwbjE85VeJYxeNVI5bjXWdkVnQYDjw/view] demonstrates the unity of the Islamic world in rejecting the U.S. position, using arguments based on the Geneva Conventions and various UN resolutions concerning Jerusalem.
The Saker’s summary says a lot,
Let’s sum it up: this document, signed by representatives of 57 member states, with a total population of over 1.6 billion, categorically condemns the USA, declares that Jerusalem is central to the Islamic world, accuses the USA of violating international law, holds the USA fully responsible for all the consequences of this action and declares that the US is no longer considered a sponsor of the peace process.
Bravo Donald! The military defeat of the USA in Iraq and Afghanistan and the political defeat of the USA in Syria just needed a little something to truly make the USA irrelevant in the Middle-East and thanks to you, Donald, that has now happened! [The Saker, ibid]
IV A decision highlighting U.S. intentions vis a vis Palestine.
The election of Trump to the Presidency reveals much about the true nature of U.S. intentions and past actions.
The main ‘reveal’ is that Trump has no veneer, he is the epitome of the vile, corrupt, greedy corporate ‘ugly American’ that has always existed and mostly dominated under all the soft power propaganda that accompanies the hard power military occupation of much of the world. Domestically, he highlights the racist, misogynist, narcissistic, ego-centered undercurrents of life in the U.S. In other words, he shows the world what the U.S. is really about if actions speak louder than words.
As for Israel – U.S. relationships, the decision simply footnotes that the U.S. never was an “honest broker”, never interested anymore than the Israelis are in a negotiated settlement of the occupation with a two state solution, that the U.S. is not and never has been a “peacekeeper” in that or any other global region. Trump has united the Islamic world in support of Jerusalem as an international city, in support of the rights of the Palestinian people for a fair and just resolution to the occupation of Palestine (being, honestly, the entirety of the region from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River.)
Trump’s incompetence, combined with the videos mentioned above, and combined with the surreal Russiagate investigations going against Trump (and conflicting the Democrats as well), especially as presented by the Saker, leads to the not surprising conclusion that the U.S. is politically owned by Israel. Both are powerful, highly technological, seemingly incompetent military nations (as is their Saudi ally). One relies on mercenaries and collateral damage airpower; the other uses its military to suppress the indigenous population it is trying to ethnically cleanse. The U.S. has ceded political power to Israel in the belief that Israel will be of long term hegemonic benefit for Middle East power.
V – But little change
All that being said, the reality is that not much will change, a prediction I hope is wrong. Israel will continue building settlements, will become increasingly hardline towards the Palestinians now that Trump has exposed the baseline U.S. interests to all. The Arab states will cry and shout, but do not have the power to do anything about the situation, and as with the past are probably more concerned about their own survival from their own citizens than of the plight of the Palestinians. Saudi Arabia will continue to play a double game, while Jordan simply sits and sweats out its survival – as does the rest of the world while Trump tweets away.
Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews for The Palestine Chronicle. Miles’ work is also presented globally through other alternative websites and news publications.