CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
The rhetoric surrounding U.S. President Donald Trump’s first trip abroad echoed with the common catchphrases, “peace in the Middle East,” and “defeating ISIS.” While these talking points sound believable and are in the foresight of many around the world; the trip and the accompanying speeches were all just parlor tricks that masked America’s imperialist and Israel’s colonialist programs in the region, while it attempted to gather other nations for the common cause to stamp out extremism.
Trump’s show started as he spoke before the Arab Islamic-American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where he made the unsubstantiated claim that Syria used chemical weapons against its own people and said Iran is the major sponsor of extremism in the region. The bigger issue not mentioned is that Syria and Iran are in fact two countries that are not silent regarding the atrocities routinely committed against the Palestinians.
In Trump’s speech he incorrectly stated, “America will not seek to impose our way our life on others but to outstretch our hands in the spirit of cooperation and trust. Our vision is one of peace, security and prosperity in the region and throughout the world.” Like other statements the President made at the Arab Summit, there are many things wrong with this one, which was repeated on many major news organizations in the United States without question. This statement is incorrect because while America does not directly impose its culture on others, it is imposed indirectly. This imposition is disguised around catchphrases such as, “protecting friends and allies” and actions such as democratizing places like Libya and Iraq. In addition, the United States distributes $8 million daily to help protect Israel as it maintains an apartheid government. When Palestinians speak out and defend themselves from the inhumane treatment and the land theft they are called terrorists, and countries, like Iran, Syria, Libya or Iraq, that have openly oppose the Israeli government are classified as sponsors of terror. So America is in fact imposing a way of life on others.
During his speech in Riyadh he did speak sincerely about ending extremism, but in doing so he absolved all responsibility the United States has in creating the problem and how the United States continues to make the situation harder to confront in Syria by continuing to bomb government positions, which are fighting ISIS, while it arms, trains and harbors other extremist groups in the war torn nation.
Speaking in Israel
During the second day of his first trip abroad Trump went to Israel and gave prepared speeches with Israeli President Reuvin Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Both events were professional and controlled but not many miles from within the walls where they stood much was happening that were not mentioned. That day, among other things that took place, Jewish settlers set fire to agricultural land owned by Palestinians, the Maan News Agency reported 20 Palestinians were shot during protests and a 16 year old was shot dead, and the prisoner hunger strike was on its 36th day. Incidents such as these occur daily and often go unspoken in American mainstream media just like they did by these leaders.
While making remarks about Trump’s visit to the region, President Rivlin talked about the use of chemical weapons in Syria and stated that using them was a, “Red line, as it happened in Syria, (that) must never be crossed. There is a price that must be paid by those who violate the most basic values that makes us human.” This to is among the many jaw-dropping and hypocritical statements espoused by these imperialist leaders during this show. Israel commits human rights violations against the Palestinians daily through land left, the 50-plus ethnic specific laws and the siege on Gaza. Israel has used chemical weapons on the Palestinians and it killed more than 2,000 people in 51 days in the besieged Gaza strip in 2014. Israel crossed all of these red lines and this was all subsidised by the United States.
When Trump was campaigning he spoke as if other administrations got it wrong and created the mess in the Middle East. He spoke as if he would do it right, but he made a turnaround at some point since then and accepted all the past practices and ran with them to the Vatican.
Leslie Scott is a freelance writer based in Northern New Jersey she can be found on Twitter @LeslieAScott.