FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Human Rights Hypocrisy of the West

by AJAMU BARAKA

“…while the undermining of the rule of law, the normalization of war to advance national interests and the hollowing out of the human rights idea in order to justify “humanitarian interventions” might seem to be beneficial in the short term, the people of the world who have been slowly liberating themselves from the conceptual myopia of colonization see very clearly the hypocrisy of the West’s supposed commitment to universal human rights, democracy and the rule of law… “ (War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity: The Story of U.S. Exceptionalism in Iraq)

In a surreal replay of the Iraq debacle, the U.S. along with Britain and the “socialist” government of France are preparing another violation of international law with their plans to attack the sovereign state of Syria. The justification for this breech of the United Nations Charter is based on the dubious claims made by an insurgency, armed and trained by those same western powers and their regional allies, that a chemical attack was launched by the al-Assad government. An attack that illogically and irrationally took place at the precise moment the Syrian government was clearly winning the war against the so-called rebel forces and when United Nations inspectors were already in the country.

In a move that can only be seen as bizarre and came just as the UN inspectors who were invited to investigate the alleged attack by the Syrian government were starting their work, the U.S. asserted that it was too late for the inspectors and called for them to be withdrawn.

This forceful reaction stands in stark contrast to the feeble response to the slaughter of more than 1,000 demonstrators by the Egyptian generals over the last few weeks. With Egypt, the U.S. administration did not have to violate international law to express its opposition to the wanton violation of the rights of demonstrators to peacefully assemble. It could have condemned the coup and withdrawn its economic support, but chose to do neither.

Clearly there are two standards operative in the world today: one for the vast majority of nations and another for those comprising the dying but dangerous collection of European colonial capitalist nations that have decided to use military means to maintain their global hegemony.

U.S. criminality seems to be completely out of control. The U.S.-based peace and anti-imperialist movements continue to be in disarray, despite the fact that the majority of the population in the U.S. continues to oppose military intervention in Syria. During the Obama era, other progressives and radicals who traditionally have seen through the crude propaganda of the U.S. government have found themselves on the same side as the U.S., the dictatorships of the Gulf Cooperation States, Israel and the collection of second-rate European powers regarding Israeli attacks on Gaza, Libya, Egypt and Syria.

And Western-based human rights organizations continue to either provide intellectual cover for this rampant militarism with racist notions of “humanitarian intervention” or respond to these blatant violations of international human rights law with the most tepid and technocratic positions imaginable.

The merging of neoliberalism and militarism over the last decade coupled with the weak and often accommodationist positions of many Western-based human rights organizations demonstrate in graphic terms why a new “people-centered” human rights movement must be built, a radical human rights approach that is anti-imperialist and committed to systemic change in order to bring about social justice. A movement that is grounded in one ethical standard related to the conduct of States.

Until we build an independent human rights movement, we will continue to have Western hypocrisy posing as a “universal” norm, and the blood will continue to flow.

Ajamu Baraka is a long-time human rights activist, writer and veteran of the Black Liberation, anti-war, anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity Movements in the United States. He is currently a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C.

More articles by:

Ajamu Baraka is a human rights activist, organizer and geo-political analyst. Baraka is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. and editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. He is a contributor to “Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence” (CounterPunch Books, 2014). He can be reached at www.AjamuBaraka.com

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 27, 2017
Edward Hunt
Excessive and Avoidable Harm in Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Death of Democracy Both Here and Abroad and All Those Colorful Sneakers
Gary Leupp
Immanuel Kant on Electoral Interference
Kenneth Surin
Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall
Slavoj Zizek
Get the Left
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia Wants to Reduce Qatar to a Vassal State
Ralph Nader
Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions
Rima Najjar
Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate
Norman Solomon
Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?
Binoy Kampmark
In the Twitter Building: Tech Incubators and Altering Perceptions
Dean Baker
Uber’s Repudiation is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy
Rob Seimetz
What I Saw From The Law
George Wuerthner
The Causes of Forest Fires: Climate vs. Logging
June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
Stansfield Smith
North Koreans in South Korea Face Imprisonment for Wanting to Return Home
Hamid Yazdan Panah
Remembering Native American Civil Rights Pioneer, Lehman Brightman
James Porteous
Seventeen-Year-Old Nabra Hassanen Was Murdered
Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castile’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
Gregory Barrett
“Realpolitik” in Berlin: Merkel Fawns Over Kissinger
Louis Yako
The Road to Understanding Syria Goes Through Iraq
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail