A hegemonic power never says sorry.
Three recent episodes underscore this truism.
When US President Barack Obama offered a floral wreath at the cenotaph of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on 27 May 2016, some peace advocates in the United States, in Japan and in other parts of the world hoped against hope that he would say “sorry” for the Atom bomb that the then US President, Harry Truman, had ordered to be dropped over Hiroshima on the 6th of August 1945. The deadly bomb claimed 140,000 lives. Three days later a second Atom bomb destroyed the city of Nagasaki killing another 80,000.
There is a view advanced by a number of scholars and activists that based upon documentary analysis Japan had already indicated to the US Military Command in the Pacific a couple of months before 6th August that it was prepared to surrender if there were some safeguards for the position of the Japanese Emperor. But the US leadership wanted to demonstrate to the world — and particularly to the Soviet Union — its military superiority which it was determined to exploit to the hilt in the post- war world that it hoped to shape and lead.
Of course, the vast majority of the US populace fed on State propaganda over decades is convinced to this day that it was the bombing that brought the war to a close. Since it was a military decision that was justified, in their reckoning, there is no need to apologise for the mass murder. Obama’s refusal to say sorry was in that sense a reflection of the public mood and mentality.
But more than an apology, it is Obama’s failure to work sincerely towards a nuclear weapons free world that is the most damning indictment on the man and his administration. A few months after he became President, in a stirring speech in Prague in April 2009, he pledged to strive to achieve a world without nuclear weapons. Not only has he been slower than his three predecessors in “reducing nuclear weapons but he has initiated a trillion dollar effort to upgrade America’s entire nuclear arsenal and delivery systems.” It is this that renders his remarks at Hiroshima where he again spoke about the obligation of leaders to pursue a world without nuclear weapons, hollow and hypocritical.
Just before his trip to Japan, Obama also visited Vietnam a country that the US had attacked brutally in the sixties and seventies allegedly in order to stop the advance of communism. What the US fought against was essentially a nationalist movement which had defeated its French coloniser and was in no mood to yield to another imperial power. As a result of Vietnamese resistance to the US ground and air war, more than 3 million Vietnamese and a million Cambodians and Laotians were killed.
Like Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush Junior who had also visited Vietnam earlier, Obama saw no reason to apologise to the Vietnamese people. How could a hegemonic power that was vanquished by a technologically weaker foe apologise for the incredible atrocities committed in the course of the war? The hubris of a hegemon would not allow for such a humiliation.
Besides, the Vietnamese government itself did not seek an apology partly because it was engrossed in rebuilding the country after two devastating wars. It was its goal of economic reconstruction that compelled Hanoi to turn to the market system especially since China, its ally during its resistance against the US, had also in 1978 chosen to adopt certain capitalist measures in its bid to transform its economy.
There is yet another aspect to Vietnam’s relationship with China which explains to an extent why an apology from the US is not on its agenda. Vietnam and China have clashed in the past. They fought a brief war in 1979. Chinese dynasties had exercised a degree of control over Vietnam centuries ago. Fear of Chinese dominance is one of the reasons why Hanoi has assiduously cultivated good relations with Washington for more than three decades now.
Initially these ties were largely economic culminating in Vietnam’s membership of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Now a military dimension is beginning to emerge. US military vessels have begun to visit Cam Ranh Bay. And, during Obama’s recent trip he lifted the ban on US arms sales to Vietnam. It is obvious that the US regards Vietnam as an important player in its bigger agenda of containing China. Given this situation, there is no way that any Vietnamese leader is going to demand that the US apologises for the pain and suffering it caused his people in the past.
Vietnam would be a classic case of how geopolitics and economics have trumped moral principles in bilateral relations.
This brings us to our third episode. On 1st July 2015 Obama announced the restoration of formal diplomatic relations with Cuba, after a break of 54 years. However, the US will continue to maintain its commercial, economic and financial embargo of Cuba which makes it illegal for US corporations to do business with the island of 11 million people off the US coast.
The US had cut off ties with Cuba in 1961 mainly because it chose, after a popular revolution in 1959, to chart its own independent path to the future guided by Marxist Thought. In the decades that followed, US administrations went all out to crush the Cuban Revolution. Apart from a severe embargo, they sponsored a failed invasion, terrorist attacks on hotels in Havana, the downing of a Cuban airplane and countless attempts to assassinate the leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro.
It is perhaps not surprising that when diplomatic relations were re-established, the US leadership was not contrite about the terrible injustices of the past. One has come to expect this sort of behaviour from the military superpower of the day. It is the embodiment of the arrogance of power.
Cuba has not pressed for an apology. Its immediate concern is to get the embargo lifted and to persuade the US to return Guantanamo Bay where the US has a naval base, to Cuba.
From our three episodes, it appears that various factors are responsible for the unwillingness of the US leadership to say sorry to a nation or a people for past wrongdoings. Hubris arising from its hegemonic power is undoubtedly a significant factor. This is why hegemonic power at the global level has to end if that five letter word is to come out of the lips of the hegemon.
About the author:
Dr. Chandra Muzaffar is the President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST).
The original source of this article is Global Research
The term "security" is a very multifaceted one. But today's geopolitical situation forces us to think about its military aspect above all.
Our attention is completely absorbed by news about wars, conflicts, military exercises and increasing defence capabilities. An average European reader has no chances to skip this kind of news while looking through news feeds of popular media.
Even planned further militarization of the European region and Russia pose the real threat today. A whole generation of European children is growing in the firm belief that the war is approaching. We destroy ourselves by our fears. We notice everything concerning military issues and neglect economic and social sides of our life. We live in a changed world and we are to blame for it.
Let's take Lithuania as an example. This small country with reach history and with immensely kind and open people last few weeks falls into the center of world ...
The following timeline describes just a few of the hundreds of atrocities and crimes committed by the CIA. (1)
CIA operations follow the same recurring script. First, American business interests abroad are threatened by a popular or democratically elected leader. The people support their leader because he intends to conduct land reform, strengthen unions, redistribute wealth, nationalize foreign-owned industry, and regulate business to protect workers, consumers and the environment. So, on behalf of American business, and often with their help, the CIA mobilizes the opposition. First it identifies right-wing groups within the country (usually the military), and offers them a deal: “We’ll put you in power if you maintain a favorable business climate for us.” The Agency then hires, trains and works with them to overthrow the existing government (usually a democracy). It uses every trick in the book: propaganda, stuffed ballot boxes, purchased elections, extortion, blackmail, sexual intrigue, false stories ...
The objectives of the US military presence in Africa are well documented: counter Chinese influence and control strategic locations and natural resources including oil reserves. This was confirmed more than 8 years ago by the US State Department:
In 2007, US State Department advisor Dr. J. Peter Pham commented on AFRICOM’s strategic objectives of “protecting access to hydrocarbons and other strategic resources which Africa has in abundance, a task which includes ensuring against the vulnerability of those natural riches and ensuring that no other interested third parties, such as China, India, Japan, or Russia, obtain monopolies or preferential treatment.” (Nile Bowie, CIA Covert Ops in Nigeria: Fertile Ground for US Sponsored Balkanization Global Research, 11 April 2012)
At the beginning of February, AFRICOM’s “head General David Rodriguez called for a large-scale US-led ‘counterinsurgency’ campaign against groups in West Africa during remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC:
Dear Readers and Friends:
The distinguished and knowledgeable international commentator William Engdahl, in a superb statement, has expressed the view I gave you that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech on September 28 at the 70th anniversary of the United Nations changed the balance of power in the world. Until Putin’s speech the world was intimidated by the Washington Bully. Resistance to Washington brought swift retribution. In the Middle East and Africa it brought economic sanctions and military invasions that destroyed entire countries. In France and other US vassal states it brought multi-billion dollar confiscations of bank net worth as the price of not following Washington’s policies toward other countries.
Other countries felt powerless in the face of the arrogant hegemonic Unipower, which from time to time replied to noncompliance with threats, such as US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage delivered to Pakistan, to bomb noncompliant countries “back to the stone age.” ...
The term Genocide derives from the Latin (genos=race, tribe; cide=killing) and means literally the killing or murder of an entire tribe or people. The Oxford English Dictionary defines genocide as “the deliberate and systematic extermination of an ethnic or national group” and cites the first usage of the term as R. Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, (1944) p.79. “By ‘genocide’ we mean the destruction of a nation or an ethnic group.”
The U.N. General Assembly adopted this term and defended it in 1946 as “….a denial of the right of existence of entire human groups.” Most people tend to associate genocide with wholesale slaughter of a specific people. However, “the 1994 U.N. Convention on the Punishment and Prevention of the Crime of Genocide, describes genocide beyond outright murder of people as the destruction and extermination of culture.” Article II of the convention lists five categories of activity as genocidal when ...
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They shouldn’t have been. As is now clear from a policy paper [PDF] published last month, the neoconservatives are going all-in on Hillary Clinton being the best vessel for American power in the years ahead.
The paper, titled “Expanding American Power,” was published by the Center for a New American Security, a Democratic Party-friendly think tank co-founded and led by former Undersecretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy. Flournoy served in the Obama Administration under Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and is widely considered to be the frontrunner for the next secretary of defense, should Hillary Clinton become president.
The introduction to Expanding American Power is written by the aforementioned Robert Kagan and former Clinton Administration State Department official James Rubin. The ...
Miloš Zeman said in an interview for the Serbian newspaper Večernje novosti, that recognition of Kosovo’s independence has opened a Pandora’s Box and called the Kosovo deputy Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi a war criminal.
Zeman, among other things, confirmed that he will travel to Moscow for the celebrations of the end of the Second World War because the Soviet army liberated most of the former Czechoslovakia.
The Czech president has openly expressed himself on Kosovo in the past, for example he labeled the country a very strange state with a strong narco-mafia influence.
This article originally appeared at Hospodářské Noviny. Translated for RI by Anthony Grulich
The recognition of the independence of Kosovo has opened up a Pandora’s Box and unleashed a dangerous process of redrawing borders around the world said Czech president Miloš Zeman in an interview published by the Serbian newspaper Večernje novosti. He reiterated that he himself did not recognize the independence of Kosovo and called ...
The US Senate Report documenting CIA torture of alleged terrorist suspects raises a number of fundamental questions about the nature and operations of the State, the relationship and the responsibility of the Executive Branch and Congress to the vast secret police networks which span the globe – including the United States.
CIA: The Politics of a Global Secret Police Force
The Senate Report’s revelations of CIA torture of suspects following the 9/11 bombing is only the tip of the iceberg. The Report omits the history and wider scope of violent activity in which the CIA has been and continues to be involved. CIA organized large scale death squad activities and extreme torture in Vietnam (Phoenix Project); multiple assassinations of political leaders in the Congo, Chile, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, the Middle East, Central America and elsewhere; the kidnapping and disappearance of suspected activists in Iraq and Afghanistan; massive drug-running and narco-trafficking in the “Golden Triangle” in Southeast Asia and Central America (the Iran-Contra war).
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Most of those surveys identify Warren G. Harding of Ohio as the worst ever. This is ridiculous. Harding presided over very robust economic times. Not only that, but he inherited a devastating economic recession when he was elected in 1920 and quickly turned bad times into good times, including a 14 percent GDP growth rate in 1922. Labor and racial unrest declined markedly during his watch. He led the country into no troublesome wars.
There was, of course, the Teapot Dome scandal that implicated major figures in his administration, but there was never any evidence that ...
THE GLOBALIZATION OF NATO
Author: Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Clarity Press (2012)
Pages: 411 with complete index
Available to order from Global Research
The world is enveloped in a blanket of perpetual conflict. Invasions, occupation, illicit sanctions, and regime change have become currencies and orders of the day. One organization – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – is repeatedly, and very controversially, involved in some form or another in many of these conflicts led by the US and its allies. NATO spawned from the Cold War. Its existence was justified by Washington and Western Bloc politicians as a guarantor against any Soviet and Eastern Bloc invasion of Western Europe, but all along the Alliance served to cement Washington’s influence in Europe and continue what was actually America’s post-World War II occupation of the European continent. In 1991 the raison d’être of the Soviet threat ended with the collapse of the USSR and the ...
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The Lithuanian Riflemen’ Union is a telling example. Established in 1919, the Union has become very popular in the past few years; its number has grown significantly. Now it has around 8,000 members up from 6,000 two years ago.
Trained by military personnel and falling under the responsibility of the defence ministry, the Union serves the clear purpose of supporting the regular army’s capabilities and act as an additional deterrent against external aggression.
As a result of volatile security environment, the enthusiasm for this voluntary defence organisation has been welcomed by the government as a “valuable contribution” to national defence.
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Liberal Democratic Party calls on to all Russian citizens to boycott Ukrainian confectionery company “Roshen”, owned by the country’s President Peter Poroshenko.
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Killed Russian-speaking civilians in Donbass region by Kiev Nazi junta
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Only when we refute the monolithic interpretation of Zionist theory and practice can we approach an understanding of the contested relationship between anti-zionism and antisemitism.
Israel - BDS. Flickr/ Takver. Some rights reserved.The relationship between anti-Zionism and antisemitism is a vexed and controversial question. My starting point is to elucidate an understanding of the meaning of Zionism; a term and a political concept which is rarely defined and frequently misunderstood. This is hardly surprising given that today in the 21st century, Zionism/ist is construed as an insult by some and is often equated with apartheid and even worse, Nazism. My understanding of Zionism seeks neither to exonerate, praise nor condemn. Rather we must seek to comprehend the Zionist movement and concomitant ideology in its historical, material and constantly evolving context.
A form of nationalism
Put simply Zionism is a form of nationalism which developed under two sets of linked influences in the ...
The words “possible criminal actions” by CIA employees are used in the report.
The terms unethical and immoral are mentioned. The criminality of those who ordered these actions at the highest levels of government, however, is not acknowledged.
The actions directed against alleged jihadists are categorized as ineffective in the process of revealing intelligence. This in itself is a red herring. The objective of torture was not to reveal intelligence.
What of course is not acknowledged is that the alleged terrorists who were tortured were framed by the CIA.
Known and documented the Al Qaeda network is a creation of US intelligence.
The jihadists are “intelligence assets”.
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And the Senate committee report ultimately upholds the ...
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Exclusive: U.S. mainstream media sees itself as the definer of what’s true and what’s “propaganda,” but has gotten lost in a fog of self-delusion and is now the principal purveyor of “post-truth” news, writes Nicolas J S Davies.
For several months, Western officials and media outlets repeated thousands of times that there were between 250,000 and 300,000 civilians trapped under Syrian and Russian bombardment in East Aleppo. Western reports rarely mentioned the Syrian government’s estimate that there were only one-third that number of civilians in the rebel-controlled enclave – nor that its estimates were solidly based on what it had found in Homs and other rebel-held areas after it restored state control.
Once East Aleppo fell to government forces, it turned out that there were less than 90,000 people there, about what the Syrian government estimated but only a fraction of the much higher numbers confidently repeated ad nauseam by Western officials and media.
Part of the reason for ...
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The Baltic States have become such a border.
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Fifty years ago this next month (December 1965), with the urging of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the rubber stamp approval of President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, the United States Air Force started secretly spraying the forests of Laos with a deadly herbicide that was known as Agent Orange.
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Who will secure Lithuania?
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