Morally damaged America still wagging its righteous finger

Apr 7, 2024
Flags of Israel and Palestine painted on the brick wall. Gaza and Israel conflict

Very recently, the leading British daily, The Guardian, ran remarkably informing side-by-side stories covering official United States perspectives on the Gaza genocide.

Story one highlighted how the US State Department argued that: “Famine is already probably present in some areas of northern Gaza” and was a risk in the center and south of Gaza. Story two explained how the US had just approved a multibillion-dollar new weapons package for Israel, including almost 2,500 huge bombs, plus new, exceptionally lethal fighter jets.

Let’s consider what is happening here.

America officially agrees that Israel’s US-backed Gaza genocide is generating horrific famine conditions — on top of tens of thousands of bombing casualties (mainly women and children) — while Israel, according to NBC News, stifles the mass entry into Gaza of hundreds of food and medical aid trucks, waiting right outside with relief supplies.

And the default American solution to American-recognized, increasing mass starvation is to send still more bombs and lethal weaponry to amplify Israel’s capacity to inflict further mass civilian homicide from the air. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu displays brazen contempt for US President Joe Biden because the US is failing to do enough to facilitate Israel’s Gaza-cleansing genocide.

Never mind: In the middle of all this willful, American-amplified carnage, Washington still finds time, after the recent passage of the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance (the Ordinance) in Hong Kong, to lecture Hong Kong on its duty to act in accordance with American-specified rules of behavior while incubating a fresh set of US sanctions to apply to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The crux of the problem is that before 2020, Hong Kong used to be a hotbed for Western spies, but now the HKSAR thinks it is entitled to retain modern national security laws just like other international financial centers — such impudence!

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken launched this fresh, twisted broadside by arguing, among other things, that the Ordinance “could be used to eliminate dissent inside Hong Kong and applied outside its borders as part of (China’s) ongoing campaign of transnational repression”. As others have explained very well, the Ordinance and the National Security Law for Hong Kong, the latter promulgated in June 2020, are relatively restrained in their drafting and application compared to the US’ exceptionally draconian and comprehensive national security regime, which was drastically and swiftly amplified after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. To understand how unforgiving and far-reaching that organism is, look at the multiyear offshore, US hounding of Julian Assange (including an alleged CIA assassination plot).

It is literally incredible: Washington, covered in Palestinian blood up to its armpits, picks up its global morality megaphone again and switches to lecture mode without a moment’s hesitation.

And what does the world beyond the Global West perceive?

Michael Brenner, professor emeritus of international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh and senior fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University, provided a series of acute answers in a recent, extended interview titled This is the Way the West Ends. Here, he explains how disgust with the Global West has displaced skepticism:

“The stunning feature of the Palestine affair is the readiness of immoral government elites — indeed the near entirety of the political class — to give their implicit blessing to the atrocities and war crimes Israel has committed over the past five months, which is having profound repercussions on the West’s standing and influence globally.

“At one moment, they speak proudly about the superiority of Western values while condemning the practices of other countries; at another, they lean over backward to justify far greater humanitarian abuses, to provide the perpetrator with the arms to destroy, to kill, and to maim innocent civilians, and in the case of the United States, to extend diplomatic cover in the United Nations Security Council.

“In the process, they are dissipating their standing in the eyes of the world outside the West, representing two-thirds of humanity. The latter’s historical dealings with the countries of the West, including the relatively recent past, left a residue of skepticism about American-led claims to being the world’s ethical-standard setters. That sentiment has given way to outright disgust in the face of this blatant display of hypocrisy. Moreover, it exposes the harsh truth that racist attitudes never had been fully extinguished — after a period of dormancy, its recrudescence is manifest.”

Professor Brenner argues, further, that the primary reference points for his analysis are not the idealistic, universal enlightenment values America claims to embody. Rather, he says, the US: “has debased itself when measured against the prosaic standards of human decency, of responsible statecraft, of a decent respect for the opinions of humankind”.

It is increasingly hard to tell if the US may be more avidly irrational than recklessly wicked. At the very least, the US has lastingly branded itself as a uniquely dangerous superpower. It follows that wretchedly compromised foundations underpin its latest intimidating morality lecture directed at Hong Kong.

Republished from China Daily on April 1, 2024.

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