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Est. April 5, 2002
May 02, 2019 - Issue 787

Trump Strikes Another Blow
Against Peace in the World


"Instead of an impulse to world peace, Trump
has exhibited an inclination to stir up hatred
and animosity toward anyone who he
sees as an opponent of his."

The U.S. never has been at peace much, since the nation has been at war except for only six years in the more than two centuries of its existence, but President Trump set back the chance for peace in the world by a generation when he announced to the National Rifle Association (NRA) that he is demanding that the country be withdrawn from the UN Arms Trade Treaty.

Sticking to his modus operandi of creating chaos wherever he goes, he announced during a speech to the NRA last week that he would take the country out of the ATT. At the podium where he was speaking, he signed a letter asking the U.S. Senate to withdraw from the treaty, to the applause of the audience. “I hope you're happy,” he said to them.

The treaty was negotiated at the United Nations and signed by former President Barack Obama in 2013. It was never ratified by Congress, but the intent of the ATT was to reduce the massive trade in arms, especially small arms, that contribute to the misery and deaths of so many peoples in so many nations. Though small, it was a step in the right direction: curbing the power of authoritarians and dictators over their people, such as what is happening now in Central America, which in large part, is what causes the thousands of migrants that show up on the Mexico-U.S. frontier seeking asylum.

Instead of an impulse to world peace, Trump has exhibited an inclination to stir up hatred and animosity toward anyone who he sees as an opponent of his. For example, he wants the vast stores of oil in Venezuela, one of the largest in the world. Since the arrival of Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela and now Nicolas Maduro, an attempt has been made by both leaders to return the bulk of the oil profits to the people, through social programs that benefit all Venezuelans. Because they haven't turned over their oil reserves to American transnational oil companies and have defied the U.S. power that has been poised to take the oil, sanctions have been imposed that have caused the deaths in just two years of some 40,000 in that country. Sanctions that stop oil sales have caused the near collapse of the economy, and caused the premature and unnecessary deaths.

Trump, however, is willing to accept the deaths at his hands, as a way to force the Venezuelans to overthrow Maduro and replace him with a puppet, who is willing to do whatever the U.S. demands. In this way, according to Trump's way of thinking, the people will be subjugated and he will get his way and there will be no bloody streets, just quiet and invisible deaths by the thousands. That's not war, he would claim, but it certainly is the equivalent of war and others have noted it.

The Center for Policy and Economic Research's (CEPR) economists, in a paper released last week, Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs, found that economic sanctions implemented by Trump since August 2017 have caused tens of thousands of deaths and are rapidly worsening the humanitarian crisis.

“The sanctions are depriving Venezuelans of lifesaving medicines, medical equipment, food, and other essential imports,” said Weisbrot, co-director of CEPR and coauthor of the report. “This is illegal under US and international law, and treaties that the US has signed. Congress should move to stop it.”

Violations of U.S. and international law has not stopped Trump for a minute in anything he decides to do, so deadly economic warfare that violates his country's own laws is a given. Nor have bending the principles of the U.S. Constitution ever stopped him from his predations, so why would it be a surprise that he would cause the deaths of so many innocent Venezuelans, without giving it a thought. This is the kind of war that “Cadet Bone Spurs” likes: He can kill without exposing himself to injury or death and, perhaps at the same time, he can seize possession of the oil he loves so much.

The president's goal from the beginning seems to have been to divide the US into as many pieces as possible. That way, in addition to his base of cult followers, he might pick up a few million more votes on the periphery of his base, by promising to take care of them, as all authoritarians have done throughout history. His organizing strategy is fear. If he can convince enough of the electorate that the “other” will cause them harm and only he can protect them, he'll get their votes, too.

To be specific, Eric Margolis, internationally syndicated columnist pointed out this week: “The Trump administration has demanded that the principal importers of 1.2 billion barrels of Iranian oil halt purchases almost immediately. This imperial diktat includes China, South Korea, Turkey, India and Japan. The comprehensive embargo is very close to an all-out act of war. In 1941, America’s cut-off of oil to Japan provoked the attack on Pearl Harbor. The oil embargo not only violates international law, it sets the U.S. on a collision course with some of its most important allies and vassal states. Brazen threats against Iran by Trump’s two main enforcers, National Security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have reinforced America’s unfortunate image as an imperial power that threatens war against disobedient satraps and independent-minded nations.”

Trump's slogan says it all: Make America Great Again. It is yet another proof of his retro thinking and his actions. He has made the U.S. safe for racists and white supremacists to come out of the woodwork and they have come out in great number, especially since he has taken the White House. His rhetoric in acceptance of “white nationalism” is credited by many to have led to many incidents of violence and threats of violence against black Americans, Muslims, and others. If he is capable of such a thing, he has never explained what “Make America Great Again” means. If he wants the US to return to the days before the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, when Jim Crow was the rule, it means that he does not see that time as a war against black folk, whose parents or grandparents might have been slaves. Worse than war, chattel slavery is a blot on this nation that has not been repaired or recompensed.

The president and his administration minions seem to love war and have never minded causing great suffering among those whom they consider lesser, which is a large piece of humanity. Although there have been and are institutions and groups organized to promote peace in the nation and the world, the idea of peace has little entered the minds of the masses, mainly because their leaders have always found reason for them to fear other nations and have not incorporated the concept of peace in human or international affairs in any official capacity. Warmongers always have been on the lookout for the next enemy or adversary to use as a foil in the search for further conquests, usually for resources or to stamp out an ideology or policy they didn't like. Or, they want war, just because they enjoy it, knowing that they or their kin won't have to fight it. Besides, the monumental profits of war are too hard to resist. And as has been made clear, Trump loves profit and wealth, second only to the immense power he has found he wields as president of the greatest empire the world has ever seen.

The ATT is a UN treaty that regulates the international trade in conventional weapons, including rifles and shotguns, “for the purpose of contributing to international and regional peace; reducing human suffering; and promoting co-operation, transparency, and responsible action by and among states.” So far, 101 nations have ratified the treaty and 34 states have signed but not ratified (including the US). It is quite clear that Trump was pandering to the NRA and its relationships with domestic gun manufacturers, which want no interference in their lucrative gun sales around the world. The president intends to crush even this small step toward peacemaking in the world, no matter what the cost in human suffering and lives.

Besides, he has another reason: The ATT was signed by President Barack Obama and it appears to be one of the driving forces in his life to wipe out any accomplishments that the nation's first black president has achieved. This he will do, until he vacates the White House, however that happens. Columnist, John Funiciello, is a former newspaper reporter and labor organizer, who lives in the Mohawk Valley of New York State. In addition to labor work, he is organizing family farmers as they struggle to stay on the land under enormous pressure from factory food producers and land developers. Contact Mr. Funiciello and BC.




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