Hardly a week goes by and the United States falls deeper into global disrepute. This week was a bonanza of own goals for the self-declared “leader of the free world”.
The debacle over the ridiculous “Russiagate" scandal finally imploding was spectacular.
Then there were more horrific reports of US air strikes killing civilians simultaneously in four countries – Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
That was followed by Washington’s ludicrous lecturing to Russia about the US-imposed humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.
And then, to top all those own goals, we saw President Donald Trump declaring that Israel’s illegal annexation of the Golan Heights is not, in the warped US view, illegal after all. Can you possibly keep score of the mind-boggling inanities and insanities?
Switching metaphors for a moment – because you can hardly just use one when it comes to grappling with American asinine policy – Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova got it right when she likened the US to a “cowboy shooting up the Louvre museum” in its free-wheeling, double-dealing foreign conduct.
Where to begin in dissecting the US and its descent into madness and mafia-style foreign policy? It truly is a brain-wrecking, train-wrecking challenge. Is there a wicked genius to its Mephistophelean madness? Perhaps it is simply down to Washington becoming an absurd circus of incompetence, accelerated under the administration of a former real-estate magnate and reality TV star, President Donald J (for Joker) Trump.
On the Golan issue, Trump’s proclamation this week of recognizing the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights as under Israeli sovereignty is a flagrant subversion of international law and the United Nations Charter. Israel has been forcibly occupying Syrian southern territory since the 1967 Six Day War. It formally annexed the strategic plateau in 1981, which was ruled as illegal by the UN Security Council – including a vote from the US at that time.
Trump’s declaration is thus a brazen repudiation of international law and a glaring green light to aggression. Can anything this president says or does be taken seriously? What’s that about Venezuela, or Ukraine?
His declaration this week undermines gravely the foundation of international law in a shocking, reckless affront. It completely demolishes any pretense the US claims to have as a world leader and upholder of international law.
Washington has been slamming Russia for the past five years over alleged “annexation” of Crimea – and then Trump this week turns around and endorses Israeli theft of Syrian territory.
At a UN Security Council meeting called this week by Syria in protest to Trump’s proclamation, the US was seen as a pariah state. All 14 other members of the council (including non-permanent members) slammed the US policy on Golan. They included US allies Britain and France.
Outside the UNSC, other US allies also condemned Washington’s declaration of complicity in Israeli annexation of Golan.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, among others, all slammed the US for daring to legalize the theft of Syrian territory by Israel.
Russia’s deputy envoy to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov, put it aptly. He said that the US move was not only an audacious violation of international and the UN Charter. “This only exacerbates the situation in Syria and complicates the establishment of a political process, but it also creates serious obstacles to normalizing the relations between Israel and the Arab states.”
We will come back to that profound point in a moment. But first, let’s throw out a few other motives for Trump’s outrageous violation of international law regarding Golan and Israel’s annexation.
Trump is no doubt giving his family friend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a timely electoral boost ahead of Israeli state elections scheduled for April 9.
There is also the issue of American oil interests being pursued by designating the Golan as Israeli territory. The mountainous region overlooking the Jordan Valley is reputed to hold untapped reserves on par with those of Saudi Arabia, which US-based Genie oil company has been exploring for years.
But still a more strategic motive is the objective of keeping the Middle East and Syria in particular in perpetual turmoil. By annexing Syrian territory, the US-Israeli move furthers the objective of controlling the wider Arab region.
Syria’s envoy to the UN, Bashar al Jaafari, made that very point at the UN Security Council meeting this week. He said the US-backed annexation of Golan was a part of the US-sponsored covert war against his country. The move is a way to keep Syria and the region in turmoil, said al Jaafari.
This gets back to what the Russian envoy, Vladimir Safronkov, said. The whole point is for Washington to prevent any political settlement to the eight-year war in Syria and to impede any normalization of relations in the region. The US and its client Israeli regime only stand to benefit from perpetual chaos and conflict in the region.
So far so good, as Washington may calculate – albeit fiendishly. But in the final analysis, the US is ending up looking like a complete rogue state without any respect, even among its supposed allies.
The presumed global leader, Washington, is losing foes and allies alike through its disgraceful duplicity and disregard for any pretense of probity. The Golan Heights is another nail in the coffin for Washington’s over-rated self-regard.
In a week of other American absurdities and own-goals, the Golan debacle may turn out to be the moment when Washington is finally seen in the eyes of the world as the utter laughing stock that it surely has become. It’s a laughing stock, but in the creepiest, macabre sense.