In the 68th session of the UN General Assembly this year, US President Obama had blatantly enunciated the doctrine of American ‘exceptionalism’ which allegedly gives the US the right to use military force against sovereign nations in its own interest.
In the 68th session of the UN General Assembly this year, US President Obama had blatantly enunciated the doctrine of American ‘exceptionalism’ which allegedly gives the US the right to use military force against sovereign nations in its own interest. He had said: “Some may disagree, but I believe that America is exceptional,” adding that his belief is justified “in part because we have shown a willingness, through the sacrifice of blood and treasure, to stand up not only for our own narrow self-interest but for the interests of all.”
In his speech, Obama made clear that this ‘exceptionalism’ of the US was the justification for the unilateral use of force by the US in international relations. He said that the US is prepared to “use all elements of our power, including military force”, to serve its “core interests” around the world. This included ensuring ‘the free flow of oil’ from the region of West Asia, meaning that the US would use force to ensure its control of energy resources of this region. It must be noted that Iran has been prevented from selling its oil and gas through a number of sanctions imposed by the US. This has damaged the interests of not only Iran, but also other countries which were dependent on Iranian energy such as India, China, Japan and South Korea.
By choosing to enunciate this doctrine of aggression so blatantly in front of the UN General Assembly, the Obama regime was in fact throwing a challenge to all the countries of the world whose representatives were assembled there.
US imperialism did not go unchallenged in the forum of the UN General Assembly. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parilla spoke on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). The CELAC includes all the countries of the Americas with the exception of the US and Canada, who have not been invited to join because of their refusal to uphold the principle of sovereignty of all nations. Directly opposing those who advocate the use of force, Rodriguez said that CELAC is committed to consolidating a zone of peace in the entire region to ensure that differences between nations will be resolved peacefully, through dialogue and negotiation, in conformity with international law.
Similarly, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff condemned the actions of the US espionage agencies that were recently revealed to be at the head of a global network of electronic espionage against other countries including Brazil. “Tampering in such a manner in the affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and an affront to the principles that must guide relations among them” she declared. She pointed out that an important principle to guide international relations is that the right to safety of citizens of one country can never be guaranteed by violating fundamental human rights of citizens of another. In the absence of respect for sovereignty, there was no basis for the relationship among nations. She demanded that the US government explain itself, apologise and guarantee that such procedures would never be repeated.
President of Iran Hassan Rouhani stated that coercive economic and military policies, practices used to maintain old forms of domination, and the practice of globalising Western values negated peace, security and human dignity, as did the persistent “cold war mentality”. He stressed that it was his country’s inalienable right to conduct nuclear research and develop nuclear energy. He said nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction had no place in Iran’s security and defence doctrine.
The Foreign Minister of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Pak Gil Yon pointed out that the DPRK had been living with the threat of nuclear weapons for decades. In 2002, the US government proclaimed the DPRK to be a member of the “axis of evil”. In order to prevent nuclear weapons from being used against it the DPRK had to equip itself with nuclear deterrence. He pointed out that while all countries are “equal” under the UN Charter, the Security Council resolution against the DPRK for the satellite launch last year was adopted in flagrant violation of his country’s sovereignty. When South Korea launched a satellite immediately after the DPRK’s launch, the issue was not taken before the Security Council only because South Korea is an ally of the US.
The intervention in Syria by the US and its allies, which has served to greatly inflame the situation there, came in for strong criticism. Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa said that any political transition must be Syrian-led and not the result of force of arms. The Foreign Minister of Russua Sergey Lavrov also condemned the external intervention in Syria’s affairs. He affirmed that it was an extremely dangerous path. China’s representative spoke against outdated cold war-era mentalities. The Deputy Prime Minister of Syria condemned the interference of the imperialist powers in his country, their double standards, their blatant funding and use of groups that they had themselves named as terrorist organisations, as mercenaries to attack the government and people of Syria and much more. He condemned the unilateral sanctions imposed by the US and the European Union as being immoral and inhuman.
For the 21st consecutive time, representatives of various countries and regional groupings spoke out against the U.S. economic embargo on Cuba which not only violates Cuba’s sovereignty but that of other countries seeking to trade with Cuba. Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, strongly condemned the economic sanctions imposed on his country by the US and European Union, saying they violated UN’s fundamental principles on state sovereignty and non-interference in domestic affairs. He also called for reform of the Security Council, and pointed out that the continent of Africa has not been allowed to play its legitimate role in world affairs.
The fact that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro could not be present for the UN General Assembly was also discussed. Elias Jaua Milano, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, explained how President Maduro could not be present because of a range of delays, conditions and a lack of guarantees imposed by the US in flagrant violation of the UN Headquarters Agreement. Stating that the UN Council had been taken hostage by the hawks of war, he questioned why sanctions were not imposed on the US itself – a country which regularly commits torture at its military base in Cuba and that had admitted to illegal espionage against the Heads of State and Government of other countries. He demanded to know why the international community had not condemned the US unmanned drone warfare that has killed civilians in North Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia as a crime against humanity.
These and other interventions at the UN General Assembly clearly show that the increasing opposition of countries of the world to US imperialist domination, its blatant use of force in international affairs to carry out regime changes in its own interests. They reflect the widespread opposition of the peoples of the world to the despicable activities of the imperialists and their collaborators.