Imran Jan |
George Orwell’s Animal Farm is an absolute classic. In the story, the animals had 7 commandments distilled into the maxim “four legs good, two legs bad”, which were basically to prevent animals from the humans’ evil habits. The maxim was later overturned into “four legs good, two legs better” when pigs become more human. The Nuremberg principles established that aggression is the supreme international crime in that it includes “within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
Now, states have the right to defend themselves against an imminent and overwhelming threat if there is no moment for deliberation, use of force necessary, and proportionate to the threat. This is called the Caroline Test, which was reaffirmed by the Nuremberg Tribunal. That has been the norm and the principle that states tend to or at least are expected to adhere to. Sadly, only on paper.
Israel is the aggressor state in the region. It has invaded countries, made surgical strikes on Syria, launched cyber attacks on Iran, and assassinated Iranian nuclear scientists.
In the realpolitik world of realism, game theory, and selfish pursuit of interests by players (states); the norm is inverted just like the animals’ maxim from Orwell’s book. Powerful states that dictate the norm and set the global agenda have rebranded aggression as self-defense, one example of which is pre-emption. Aggression has been made to look like a benign action. Other than self-defense, powerful states also cherry pick others’ defense. This fiction has a benign and benevolent name; Responsibility To Protect (R2P).
That powerful states invade countries because of R2P, bringing peace and tranquillity by bombing and helping the people attain the highest standards of success in a fatherly way. Never mind that the people, whose countries are invaded for their protection, aren’t allowed to enter the powerful states for asylum or refuge. Ironically, civilized states believe in providing protection by bombing rather than by feeding and sheltering.
The cases of Israel, India, and KSA present some thought-provoking facts. Israel has illegally occupied Palestinian land since the Six Day War of 1967. At the end of the war, Israel had captured the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, Golan Heights from Syria, West Bank, and East Jerusalem from Jordan.
The move was never recognized by the world community but it was just the beginning of the endless annexation of Palestinian land by Israeli forces. Israel is always reluctant to truly define its borders because it intends to keep encroaching upon Palestinian land. Every time there is a UN resolution condemning the Israeli actions, the two states always opposing such resolutions are, the usual suspects; US and Israel.
Israel continues to attack other countries in the Middle East, including Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. Israel is the only nuclear weapons state in the Middle East. Yet, the US, as well as the UN, refused to apply the UNSC resolution 687 to Israel. The said resolution obligates the United States and the United Kingdom to keep the Middle East, including Israel, free of nuclear weapons. After all, that very resolution was invoked in attacking Iraq.
India’s aggression in Kashmir raises no eyebrows in the world community. President Trump in a vivid departure from the tradition of the Republican Party has treated Pakistan with disrespect and as a villain state.
Israel possesses nuclear weapons and has never officially acknowledged the existence of their nuclear weapons program. The United States and other world powers do not want to punish Israel for developing nuclear capability. Israel is the aggressor state in the region. It has invaded countries, made surgical strikes on Syria, launched cyber attacks on Iran, and assassinated Iranian nuclear scientists. Mohsin Fakhrizadeh is believed to be or is in charge of Iran’s nuclear program called Project 111. Mosaad is aggressively looking to hunt him down as well.
Sadly, the Trump administration has chosen to side with the aggressors more than any previous president. He moved the US embassy to Jerusalem. Jared Kushner who is Trump’s son in law, as well as Middle East advisor, is Jewish and it comes as no surprise that Trump would go to unprecedented lengths to please the Israelis. Trump canceled the Iran nuclear deal, formally and formerly known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Saudi Arabia’s largesse supported the rise of Wahhabi Islam to counter the Shia Islam that had been gaining significant momentum in the wake of the Iranian revolution of 1979. We have yet to recover from the disastrous ramifications of that Saudi urge.
Jihad was fashionable back then and President Reagan didn’t have to face much criticism for his deep love of the House of Saud as well the fierce-looking bearded and turban-wearing Mujahideen leaders that he welcomed in the White House and equated with the American founding fathers. I always wondered who among them was Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton?
Today, KSA in involved in the brutal slaughter of innocent civilians in Yemen. Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS) is widely believed, even by the CIA, to have been the man who ordered the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist who was a Saudi citizen and an American legal resident. Yet, despite all that, the Trump administration chooses to side with the Saudis and deny even totally undeniable facts of Saudi wrongdoing.
Aggression is somehow better than legitimate defense. Washington generally and President Trump specifically courts dictators and aggressors around the world.
The critique is always hurled at KSA’s rival Iran for its actions in Yemen in support of the Houthi rebels. Iran is always criticized and threatened despite its official stance that it is not making any nuclear weapon. KSA is not criticized or threatened despite saying in no equivocal words that it would race for a nuclear bomb if Iran made one.
Kashmir is one of the only three regions of the world that are under heavy military occupations. The other two are Western Sahara and Palestine, where Gaza is rightly called an open-air prison. Kashmir is the most heavily militarised region in the world where about 700 thousand to over million Indian soldiers are deployed.
Pakistan’s defense activities in Kashmir are labeled as terrorism. India’s aggression in Kashmir raises no eyebrows in the world community. President Trump in a vivid departure from the tradition of the Republican Party has treated Pakistan with disrespect and as a villain state. American mindset and rhetoric says that Pakistan destabilizes Afghanistan by supporting the Haqqani Network.
The United States invaded the entire country, killed countless innocent people, and displaced even more. Somehow, the propaganda model has no guts for this to be labeled as destabilizing. Aggression is somehow better than legitimate defense. Washington generally and President Trump specifically courts dictators and aggressors around the world.
Imran Jan is a political analyst. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The article originally appeared at The Nation and has been republished with author’s permission. The Views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.