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Obama Press Conference: Lofty Rhetoric Must be Translated into Action. PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Monday, 09 February 2009 23:35
Obama Press Conference: Lofty Rhetoric Must be Translated into Action

2009 february 19


PEJ News - Joan Russow- Global Compliance Research Project – While calling for various actions related to diplomacy, disarmament, and security, Obama has failed to advance serious measures that would translate his lofty rhetoric into action

www.PEJ.org

 

THE CHANGE WE NEED IS NOT TO DO THINGS THE WAY THEY WERE DONE BEFORE (PRESIDENT OBAMA)

Through Obama’s campaign he called for change, and made statements such as the change we need is not to do things the way they were done before.
, It is laudable, that President Obama has renounced former President Bush’s redefinition of what constitutes “torture”, and that Obama has indicated that he will be closing US detention center at Guantanamo Bay. By ignoring, however, bold moves that could seriously bring about disarmament and reduce other serious global issues related to militarism. Obama is evading the ³change we need. While lofty rhetoric is inspiring, what really counts in operationalizing rhetoric into action.

DIPLOMACY IS NOT AUTHORIZING STRIKES AGAINST PAKISTAN
It is reported that soon after being inaugurated as President, Obama authorized strikes. “ Within days of taking office Barack Obama sanctioned two missile attacks in Pakistan, which killed dozens of civilians) (Stop the War Organization England).

REAL CHANGE INVOLVES BEING FORTHRIGHT

Yesterday at Obama’s press conference, Obama was asked, about whether he knew of any state, with nuclear weapons, in the Middle East ; he refused to acknowledge that he knew that Israel had nuclear weapons. He only indicated that nuclear weapons would destabilize the Middle East; this indication suggested that at the moment there were no states with nuclear weapons in the Middle East. He indicated that one of the key security issues, is the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Obama has declared that dismantling of existing nuclear arsenals was vital. He then proceeded to single out Iran, without mentioning, for example, the destabilizing impact, in the Middle East, of the possession by Israel of nuclear weapons.

PERPETUATING BUSH’S ACT OF REVENGE AGAINST AFGHANISTAN IS NOT THE CHANGE WE NEED

Obama has decided to send thousands of new troops into Afghanistan. Often the so-called “mission” in Afghanistan is couched in a 3 D approach: Diplomacy, Development and Defence. Undoubtedly, sending an additional offencive, invading and occupying force is neither an act of diplomacy nor development. He failed to recognize that no real development can be brought by a state which has participated in acts of belligerence. The so-called pursuit of “hearts and minds” is vacuous when the state that has bombed citizens and essential infrastructure, including schools, comes in to build new infrastructure and schools. The absurdity is not lost on the Afghan population. Obama, instead, should call for the withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan, and for the setting up of an international fund for reconstruction. This fund should be a compensation fund furnished by states that have been responsible for the destruction of Afghanistan.

DISARMAMENT REQUIRES THE REALLOCATION OF THE GLOBAL MILITARY BUDGET AND A STRENGTHENED ROLE FOR THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Obama has often called for the need for disarmament. Yet, he appears to have not, at a time when there is an economic crisis, called for a reallocation of the Global Military budget, which is estimated to be over 1.5 trillion dollars, or called for the dismantling of the over 730 US military bases on sovereign territory.

He also failed to seriously call for the International Atomic Energy Agency to carry out inspections of all nuclear armed states, including the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Nor did he address the issue of the fact that the UN Security Council is controlled through the veto of the five permanent nuclear states, and that the Council, itself, violates the principle of sovereign equality, which is enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. He also failed to advocate that for numerous reasons, if an unbiased decision about nuclear disarmament is to be made, the decision could be done only if the UN Security Council powers were transferred to UN General Assembly, which does reflect the sovereignty equality of states. It could be estimated that a legally binding vote on full disarmament and the dismantling of the global nuclear arsenal would probably succeed in achieving over 80% support in a vote in the UN General Assembly. For years, the UN General Assembly has passed resolutions calling for the reallocation of the military budget, and the application of the peace dividend, and for years, the UNGA has called for nuclear disarmament. Now the UNGA, along with the International Court of Justice must be recognized as the means by which the the primary UN objective, the prevention of the scourge of war, can be realized.

INEXTRICABLE LINK BETWEEN CIVIL NUCLEAR ENERGY AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF NUCLEAR ARMS

Obama has also erred in continuing to support the right of all states to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT) does include that provision. The provision, however, was a concession that failed to acknowledge the inextricable link between civil nuclear energy and the development of nuclear arms. He also failed to condemn the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in promoting nuclear energy internationally, and to recognize that the IAEA¹s role as a monitor of the possession of nuclear arms, is compromised by its role in promoting nuclear energy.

PERPETUATION OF INSECURITY THROUGH CIRCULATING AND BERTHING OF NUCLEAR POWERED AND NUCLEAR ARMS-CAPABLE VESSELS, AND OF NUCLEAR ARMS-CAPABLE AIRCRAFT IN WAR GAMES

Obama has failed to call for the prohibition of the production and circulation of these vessels, and of the participation of these vessels and of nuclear arms-capable aircraft in war games such as Exercise Trident Fury.

VIOLATION OF VARIOUS GENEVA PROTOCOLS RELATED TO WEAPONS SYSTEMS

He also failed to also condemn the use of nuclear material, such as depleted uranium (DU), in weapons systems that have been used by the United States in Iraq in 1991, 1998, and from 2003 to present, in Kosovo in 1999, and in Afghanistan since 2001. Undoubtedly DU would fit into the category of prohibited weapons at least in one of the five Geneva Protocols related to weapons systems.

RESPONSIBILITY OF ACKNOWLEDGING AND ADDRESSING THE CONTRIBUTION OF MILITARISM TO OTHER ASPECTS OF SECURITY SUCH AS THE PRODUCTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS.

Obama has failed to recognize that the continued global militarism is contributing to perhaps as much as 20% of the greenhouse gas emissions. He ignored the fact that the International Governmental Panel of Climate Change has failed to address the issue of the contribution of militarism to the global insecurity of climate change. He appeared to be unaware of the following recommendation coming from the UN DPI/NGO Climate Change Conference.

On September 7, 2007, at the United Nations, this statement was submitted to the Chair of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change DPI/NGO Climate Change Conference New York, September 7, 2007: Declaration by NGO military/nuclear matters breakfast networking meeting, and the NGO Peace Caucus at the DPI/NGO Climate Change Conference:

In 1992, at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), most member states of the United Nations negotiated, subsequently signed and ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, whose objective was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We:
(i) demand that the DPI not be silent and refer to military and nuclear matters in all its activities;
(ii) call upon the member states of the United Nations to act on the commitment in Chapter 33 of Agenda 21, to reallocate military expenses;
(iii) call upon the UNGA to acknowledge the inextricable link between climate change and conflict over resources, such as oil, water etc.;
(iv) call upon member states of the United Nations to act on the commitments made in Beijing, in 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women, to ensure that all corporations, including transnationals, comply with international law, including international environmental law;
(v) call upon the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to investigate and estimate the full impact on greenhouse gas emissions by the military and demand that each state release information related to the greenhouse gas emissions from the production of all weapons systems, from military exercises, from war games, weapons testing, military aviation, environmental warfare, troop transfer, military operations, waste generation, reconstruction after acts of violent interventions etc.;
(vi) support the call for the disbanding of NATO, whose collective activities have contributed to not only the perpetuation of the scourge of war and the violation of international peremptory norms, but also the substantial release of greenhouse gas emissions.

If citizens are willing to do their part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, member states of the United Nations must stop subsidizing the fossil fuel and military industries and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must discontinue its promotion of nuclear energy - the most hazardous and expensive form of energy known - as the solution to climate change.

The climate and the web of life are in a state of crisis now. "We the peoples" must be bold and act now. We cannot remain silent.
Last Updated on Monday, 27 July 2015 15:30
 

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