on nuclear weapons, or when words are empty

there are certain journalists i want to clone: jonathan cook is one. nora barrows-friedman is another. jeremy scahill is another. i have been ketir frustrated by the reports on barack obama’s visit to turkey and the way in which people in this region are so easily duped again. what is it about hungry people who need to jump at the slightest sight of a crumb? how is it possible that empty words about islam can make people think that somehow obama gave a great speech? people who make speeches full of empty words are not great orators. they are great manipulators at best. just look at one example of this that people seem to be salivating over:

Turkey has been a true partner. Your troops were among the first in the International Security Assistance Force. You have sacrificed much in this endeavor. Now we must achieve our goals together. I appreciate that you’ve offered to help us train and support Afghan security forces and expand opportunity across the region. Together, we can rise to meet this challenge like we have so many before.

I know there have been difficulties these last few years. I know that the trust that binds the United States and Turkey has been strained, and I know that strain is shared in many places where the Muslim faith is practiced. So let me say this as clearly as I can: The United States is not, and will never be, at war with Islam.

In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical not just in rolling back the violent ideologies that people of all faiths reject, but also to strengthen opportunity for all its people.

I also want to be clear that America’s relationship with the Muslim community, the Muslim world, cannot, and will not, just be based upon opposition to terrorism. We seek broader engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect. We will listen carefully, we will bridge misunderstandings, and we will seek common ground. We will be respectful, even when we do not agree. We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world — including in my own country. The United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans. Many other Americans have Muslims in their families or have lived in a Muslim-majority country — I know, because I am one of them.

when you bomb islamic countries regularly (afghanistan, iraq, palestine, and pakistan) your words mean nothing. it may not be called a war on islam, but who is dying? the majority of the people murdered by obama’s bombs are muslims. how is it exactly that muslims are supposed to see his words as genuine when his actions tell us the opposite? moreover, what is even more disturbing is his deliberate deception when it comes to palestine and iran:

The United States and Turkey can help the Palestinians and Israelis make this journey. Like the United States, Turkey has been a friend and partner in Israel’s quest for security. And like the United States, you seek a future of opportunity and statehood for the Palestinians. So now, working together, we must not give into pessimism and mistrust. We must pursue every opportunity for progress, as you’ve done by supporting negotiations between Syria and Israel. We must extend a hand to those Palestinians who are in need, while helping them strengthen their own institutions. We must reject the use of terror, and recognize that Israel’s security concerns are legitimate.

The peace of the region will also be advanced if Iran forgoes any nuclear weapons ambitions. Now, as I made clear in Prague yesterday, no one is served by the spread of nuclear weapons, least of all Turkey. You live in a difficult region and a nuclear arm race would not serve the security of this nation well. This part of the world has known enough violence. It has known enough hatred. It does not need a race for an ever-more powerful tool of destruction.

Now, I have made it clear to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran that the United States seeks engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect. We want Iran to play its rightful role in the community of nations. Iran is a great civilization. We want them to engage in the economic and political integration that brings prosperity and security. But Iran’s leaders must choose whether they will try to build a weapon or build a better future for their people.

first of all, palestine is one state. it is from the jordan river to the mediterranean sea. period. that is palestine. i realize that the problem is not entirely obama’s fault. he uses the discourse that was created by the colonizers and hammered into the minds and mouths of the colonized until it became naturalized; hence, obama as the emperor uses that rhetoric. palestinians play into western imperial rhetoric and plans when they speak the language of the colonial master (read: two states as if it consisted of palestine). after this speech in turkey an israeli terrorist newspaper today had the headline: “Israel fears US pressure to continue Annapolis process.” what i want to know is: when can i see a headline coming out of the palestinian collaborationist authority with a headline that says: “palestinians fear us pressure to continue annapolis process” (read post below if you want to know exactly what that looks like for palestinians on the ground).

but the other issue is the elephant in the room: obama is continuing in the path of his predecessors by obsessing over whether or not iran has nuclear weapons all the while the zionist entity already has them. many of them. thank god for jeremy scahill who makes this clear in his article in the socialist worker today in the context of north korea’s missile launch:

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S administration is pressing for diplomatic retaliation, perhaps in the form of more sanctions against North Korea, after Pyonyang launched a rocket into space.

There are conflicting reports about the success of the launch. North Korea says the rocket carried a satellite, which is now orbiting the earth. That’s according to state-run media in North Korea, which reportedly broadcast patriotic songs and images of Kim Jong-il, praising him for the launch.

The U.S., meanwhile, said the launch failed to reach orbit, landing in the Pacific Ocean. According to the New York Times, “Officials and analysts in Seoul said the North’s rocket, identified by American officials as a Taepodong-2, flew at least 2,000 miles, doubling the range of an earlier rocket it tested in 1998 and boosting its potential to fire a long-range missile.”

There is disagreement at the United Nations Security Council over whether North Korea violated any UN resolutions with the U.S. on one side and Russia, backed by China, on the other.

The Obama administration has called the launch a “provocative act.” “We think that what was launched is not the issue; the fact that there was a launch using ballistic missile technology is itself a clear violation,” said UN Ambassador Susan Rice, who is pressing for more sanctions against North Korea at the Security Council.

Chinese officials said North Korea, like other nations, had a right to launch satellites. “Every state has the right to the peaceful use of outer space,” said Russia’s deputy UN envoy, Igor N. Shcherbak.

Obama used the launch in his major address in Prague, which has been characterized as an anti-nuclear speech. “Rules must be binding,” he said of North Korea’s launch. “Violations must be punished. Words must mean something.”

Many countries around the world certainly see hypocrisy in the Obama administration’s position on North Korea. Israel has repeatedly been condemned by the UN for its occupation of Palestinian lands. Moreover, it has hundreds of nuclear weapons, with estimates ranging from 200 to 400 warheads.

What’s more, Israel and the U.S. are in league with North Korea in the small club of nations that have refused to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Other nations include: China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran and Pakistan.

In his Prague speech, Obama said his administration “will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification,” saying, “After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned.”

All of this must be kept in context as the “crisis” with North Korea continues to unfold. U.S. hypocrisy on the nuclear issue takes away credibility the U.S. has in its condemnations of North Korea–or Iran, for that matter.

“Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile activity poses a real threat, not just to the United States, but to Iran’s neighbors and our allies,” Obama said in Prague. Obama used Iran to justify a controversial central European missile system, saying, “As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward…with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven.”

Obama did not mention Israel once in his speech and has never acknowledged its nuclear weapons system. Perhaps Obama should ask Arab and Muslim nations in the region what country they see as the biggest nuclear threat. As Ali Abunimah, founder of ElectronicIntifada.net, said:

Rules are only rules if they apply to everyone. Obama’s silence in the face of Israel’s violation of international law, and UN calls for war crimes investigations in its on attacks on Gaza, contrast to his strident calls for Security Council action regarding North Korea. Israel has violated dozens of UN Security Council resolutions. Obama has even refused to acknowledge the existence of Israel’s nuclear arsenal, though former President Jimmy Carter has confirmed that the country has 150 nuclear weapons.

And this historical fact, which to Obama’s credit he acknowledged, should never be forgotten: One nation in the world has used nuclear weapons–the United States.

In a statement, Peace Action cautiously welcomed some of Obama’s positions outlined in Prague, but said:

President Obama’s statement that [a nuclear weapons-free] world might not be achieved in his lifetime is very disappointing. Obama can and should announce the initiation of negotiations on the global elimination of nuclear weapons. Similarly, his promotion of nuclear power, missile defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic and his escalation of troops in Afghanistan are all moves in the wrong direction.

the bold is mine. it seems to me that people’s actions and words need to match up. it is never enough to say something. people must do. they must act. if obama cares so much for halting nuclear proliferation–and i hope he does–then the playing field must be equal. it can’t just be about renewing george bush’s axis of evil rhetoric in some softer tone that makes those who are not quite as bright fooled for a while because they want to be drunk on hope. both the u.s. and it’s criminal colonial partner need to start first. and if we really want to talk about words with meaning and weight that would allow us to see change: how about putting his money where his mouth is and at the very least admit that the zionist entity has a nuclear arsenal president obama?

and one final word about this speech: why is it that somehow obama is this big supporter of islam by giving a speech in turkey’s parliament where women are banned from wearing hijab???? am i the only person who sees yet another layer of hypocrisy here? moreover, the turkey’s continual oppression of the kurds–both in and outside its borders and its ridiculous law about insulting turkishness that can be threatened by uttering the fact that there was a genocide in armenia is, of course, too taboo for obama to push beyond a weak reference. as far as i am concerned turkey’s position on the kurds is the same as the zionists on the palestinians, which is why i think it makes sense that they are such great friends and partners even if recep tayyip erdogan stormed out of davos and made it a point to tell war criminal shimon peres off–which was fabulous–those words also mean nothing unless they are accompanied by anti-normalization the state level between the zionist entity and turkey.


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