• La construction des prix à la SNCF, une socio-histoire de la tarification. De la #péréquation au yield management (1938-2012)

      Cet article analyse les conditions de production et de légitimation des systèmes de prix des billets de train en France, depuis la création de la SNCF en 1938. Initialement fondé sur le principe d’un tarif kilométrique uniforme, le système historique de péréquation est lentement abandonné au cours des décennies d’après-guerre, au profit d’une tarification indexée sur les coûts marginaux. Au tournant des années 1980-1990, ce paradigme est lui-même remplacé par un dispositif de tarification en temps réel – le yield management – visant à capter le maximum du surplus des consommateurs. Les transformations des modèles tarifaires à la SNCF, qui s’accompagnent d’une redéfinition de la notion éminemment polymorphe de service public ferroviaire, résultent du travail de quelques acteurs de premier plan. Ces « faiseurs de prix », qui mobilisent les instruments de la discipline économique et usent de leur capacité d’influence, agissent dans des contextes (politiques, sociaux, techniques et concurrentiels) particuliers, qui rendent possibles, nécessaires et légitimes les innovations qu’ils proposent.

      https://www.cairn.info/revue-francaise-de-sociologie-2014-1-page-5.htm

      #Jean_Finez

    • Noël : est-ce vraiment moins cher de réserver son train SNCF 3 mois à l’avance ?

      C’est un fait : les tarifs des trajets en train pour la période de Noël ont explosé entre octobre et fin décembre 2023. Nous avons suivi, semaine après semaine, leur évolution. Voici les résultats, parfois surprenants, de notre enquête.

      « Plus on réserve un train à l’avance, plus les prix sont bas. » La phrase de la SNCF semble logique. Mais est-elle vérifiée ? À l’approche des fêtes de Noël, nous avons décidé de nous lancer dans une petite enquête. Numerama a relevé les tarifs d’une vingtaine de trajets en train à travers la France, sur les douze dernières semaines, pour en mesurer l’évolution.

      Nous avions une question principale : est-ce vrai qu’il vaut mieux réserver son billet de train trois mois à l’avance, pour le payer moins cher ? Suivie d’une autre : comment les tarifs évoluent-ils à travers le temps, et à quel rythme les trains deviennent-ils complets ?

      Nous avons choisi arbitrairement dix allers-retours à travers la France. La date est toujours la même, pour simuler un voyage pour les fêtes de fin d’année : un aller le 22 décembre, un retour le 27 décembre. Nous avons choisi un train par jour et suivi l’évolution du tarif des billets chaque semaine, à compter du mercredi 4 octobre, soit la date de l’ouverture des ventes (qui avaient d’ailleurs mis en panne SNCF Connect).
      Prendre ses billets tôt pour Noël permet d’éviter le pire

      Après douze semaines de relevés et une agrégation des données, le premier constat est clair : les tarifs ont énormément augmenté sur cette période. Il est évident que, même s’il y a des exceptions, il reste très intéressant de prendre son billet le plus tôt possible. C’est d’ailleurs ce que la SNCF nous a confirmé, par mail : « Plus on réserve à l’avance, plus les prix sont bas. Le mieux est donc de réserver dès l’ouverture des ventes, ou alors dans les semaines qui suivent. »

      Sur ce graphique, nous avons matérialisé la hausse de tous les trajets confondus. À part une ou deux exceptions (en TER), tous les billets ont augmenté, parfois beaucoup. Certains trajets se sont retrouvés complets très vite — nous les avons matérialisés avec un petit rond barré sur le graphique ci-dessous.

      Les prix peuvent parfois varier du simple au double. Le trajet Nantes-Bordeaux, par exemple, est passé de 58 euros à 136 euros (dernières places en première classe), soit une augmentation de 164 %. Un Strasbourg-Paris a terminé à 153 euros, au lieu de 93 euros il y a trois mois.

      Des hausses de prix jusqu’à 150 %

      Au global, les TGV sont les trains qui subissent les plus grosses hausses à travers le temps, sauf quelques exceptions (Marseille-Nice n’a pas changé d’un iota au fil des 12 semaines, par exemple).

      Sur cette carte réalisée par l’équipe design de Numerama, Adèle Foehrenbacher et Claire Braikeh, on observe quels sont les trajets qui ont subi la plus forte hausse (en rouge foncé), par rapport à ceux qui n’ont pas beaucoup bougé sur 3 mois (en rose).

      Pour les retours de Noël sur la journée du 27 décembre, les trajets les plus onéreux sont les mêmes (Paris-Toulouse, Paris-Strasbourg, Nantes-Bordeaux).

      Certains billets sont moins chers quelques jours avant le départ

      Lorsque nous avons commencé cette enquête, nous nous sommes demandé s’il serait possible qu’un billet devienne moins cher à l’approche de la date du voyage, ce qui est plutôt contre-intuitif. Une occurrence est venue, sur la dernière semaine, être l’exception qui confirme la règle : le trajet Paris-La Rochelle (en jaune ci-dessous) est devenu, au dernier moment, moins cher à l’approche du voyage, par rapport au tarif d’il y a trois mois.

      Autre cas curieux : nous avons constaté au fil des semaines une variation à la baisse sur le trajet Nancy-Grenoble, avec une correspondance. « Ce phénomène est extrêmement rare », nous assure la SNCF. « Nancy-Grenoble n’est pas un train direct. Il se peut que l’un des deux trains se remplissent moins vite et que des petits prix aient été rajoutés à un moment donné », explique-t-on. Le voyage a fini par augmenter de nouveau, pour devenir complet deux semaines avant le départ.

      Le trajet n’est pourtant pas le seul exemple. Prenons le trajet en TER et Train NOMAD Caen-Le Havre. Le 4 octobre, le voyage revenait à 38,4 euros. Surprise ! Dès la semaine suivante, il est tombé à 18 euros, pour rester fixe pendant plusieurs mois. Jusqu’au 13 décembre, où le prix a re-grimpé jusqu’à 48 euros — l’horaire du train de départ ayant été modifié de quelques minutes. Ici, ce n’est pas la SNCF, mais les conseils régionaux qui valident les prix. Par mail, l’établissement régional des lignes normandes nous assure que « la baisse des prix 15 jours après l’ouverture des ventes est impossible ». C’est pourtant le constat que nous avons fait, dès une semaine après l’ouverture.

      Pourquoi de telles hausses ?

      Cela fait plusieurs années que la SNCF a commencé à modifier la manière dont elle décide des tarifs, selon le journaliste spécialisé Gilles Dansart. La compagnie aurait décidé de « faire payer beaucoup plus cher à mesure que l’on s’approche de la date de départ du train », alors qu’auparavant, elle se calquait sur la longueur des kilomètres parcourus pour étalonner ses prix, a-t-il analysé sur France Culture le 21 décembre.

      Contactée, la SNCF nous explique : « Les prix sont les mêmes que pour n’importe quelles dates. Il n’y a pas de prix spécifiques pour Noël. Ce qui fait évoluer les prix, c’est le taux de remplissage et la demande. À Noël les trains se remplissent plus vite et les paliers maximum peuvent être atteints plus rapidement. »

      Ces paliers sont un véritable enjeu, lorsque l’on voit que certains trajets se retrouvent complets très rapidement — le Paris-Toulouse du 22 décembre s’est en effet retrouvé complet, selon nos constats, en à peine une semaine, début octobre.

      En 10 ans, la SNCF a perdu 105 TGV, soit 30 000 sièges, a calculé récemment France 2 dans un reportage. « On n’arrivait plus à remplir les TGV, il y avait des taux d’occupation à moins de 60 % », a expliqué à leur micro Christophe Fanichet, directeur général de SNCF Voyageurs.

      Cette politique de financement de la SNCF ne va pas aller en s’arrangeant pour les voyageurs et voyageuses : l’entreprise a déjà entériné une augmentation du prix des TGV pour 2024, rappelle le Parisien.

      https://www.numerama.com/vroom/1593454-noel-est-ce-vraiment-moins-cher-de-reserver-son-train-3-mois-a-lav

    • Mais on sait que l’investissement sur l’infra était sous dimensionnée autour de 2005, donc voir monter les coûts de péages de l’infra n’a rien d’anormal.
      Nos voisins sont-ils sous le prix réel ? Alors il vont subir un effet boomerang plus tard (effet dette).

  • L’interdiction de l’avortement au Texas nuit aux soins de santé, même pour les femmes qui souhaitent être enceintes

    Les lois strictes contre l’interruption de grossesse dans cet État américain limitent les soins pour les patientes atteintes de cancer et les bénéficiaires de la FIV.

    En 2023, une femme est entrée dans un centre de santé de Houston en traînant une perche à perfusion. Elle souffrait d’hyperémèse gravidique, c’est-à-dire d’une forme extrême de nausées matinales. Elle vomissait constamment, ne pouvait retenir ni nourriture ni liquides et était maintenue en vie grâce à une perfusion.

    « Elle était allée aux urgences tellement de fois », a expliqué le médecin Bhavik Kumar à openDemocracy, « et elle était si fragile et si maigre que les urgences l’ont renvoyée chez elle avec une perche à perfusion. Je n’avais jamais vu cela auparavant ».

    La patiente a demandé un avortement, qui permet de soulager rapidement l’hyperémèse gravidique. Avant la chute de l’arrêt Roe v Wade, qui protégeait constitutionnellement le droit à l’avortement, en 2022, M. Kumar aurait pu fournir ces soins dans sa clinique ambulatoire. Mais en raison de la nouvelle interdiction quasi-totale du Texas, il n’a pas pu apporter son aide.

    https://entreleslignesentrelesmots.wordpress.com/2024/02/15/linterdiction-de-lavortement-au-texas-nuit-aux

    #santé #ivg #usa

  • These Philadelphians got rid of their cars in the last year. They haven’t looked back.

    “Now that I’m forced to walk, I’m seeing the city more than I did before," said one newly carless resident. She used to pay about $400 a month on her car payment and insurance.

    Dajé Walker’s Hyundai Elantra was stolen from a Brewerytown parking lot in July, only to be found a week later on the side of a local highway.

    The car that Walker had driven for three years was “in shambles,” Walker said, and the insurance company deemed it a total loss.

    “I had that existential crisis moment where I was like, ‘Do I need a car or do I want a car?’” she said.

    Around the same time, Walker, 28, got a new, completely remote job as a project manager. The news sealed her decision: She took the insurance payout of about $15,000, putting some of the money in savings and using the rest to move from Brewerytown to Old City, and never looked back.

    She no longer has to set aside $300 a month for her car payment and another $100 for insurance. When she recently moved to Old City, she didn’t have to worry about securing a convenient and safe parking spot, which can cost at least $250 a month at private lots.

    The benefits of Walker’s new lifestyle aren’t just financial, though — they’re mental and physical, too.

    “My car, it was a complete crutch,” Walker said. “Now that I’m forced to walk, I’m seeing the city more than I did before.”

    She feels like she’s “seeing the sun more often” on regular walks to judo class, City Fitness, and social gatherings, she added. For outings farther away that require taking the bus, “it’s more time for me to be zen or read a book on the way there.”

    After a surge in car-buying statewide at the height of the pandemic, there are signs that some Philadelphians like Walker have made the decision to do away with their cars in recent years, bucking larger trends.

    In 2022, more than 638,000 passenger vehicles were registered in the city, about 24,000 fewer cars than were registered here a year prior, according to the most recent state data. That represents a 3.6% decline in registered vehicles over a period when the city’s population decreased 1.4%, the largest one-year drop in 45 years.

    The latest registration data was captured before the price of car ownership skyrocketed.

    In 2023, drivers who owned a new car paid more than $12,000 a year on average, a more than 13% increase from the prior year, according to AAA, which accounted for the costs of car payments, gas, maintenance, and insurance.

    In the last year, car insurance premiums nationwide have far outpaced inflation, increasing 20% on average. Philadelphia-area residents told The Inquirer last month that they’ve recently been quoted rates as much as 100% higher than what they were previously paying. A recent Bankrate report found Philadelphia-area residents paid $4,753 a year on average, and the region saw the largest increase of 26 major metro areas last year in terms of average comprehensive coverage costs.

    What you gain by going carless

    So far across the country, the increased cost of car ownership “does not appear to affect whether people are buying or what people are buying,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate. “A much longer-term trend is that American consumers have increasingly been moving away from smaller compact vehicles to larger SUVs and trucks.”

    Philadelphia, meanwhile, is consistently ranked among the metro areas with the lowest car ownership and is known for being one of the best cities to live in without a car (though historically not all neighborhoods have the same access to public transit).

    Some residents like Walker also cited a psychological cost to car ownership in the city. Even before she became one of the tens of thousands of residents who had their cars stolen last year, she was constantly worried about her car. And residents who choose to park on the street — which is free in some areas and $35 a year in others — may have a difficult time finding an open spot depending on the neighborhood and what time of day they’re coming home.

    Of course, the ease of driving and parking in the city is all relative.

    “Philly is really hard to have a car,” said Pascale Questel, 30, a copywriter who moved to Brewerytown from Florida three years ago. Every time she walks her dog, she checks on her Honda, which she parks on the street, and her Hyundai Elantra was stolen last year.

    Last year, Leo Walsh, 31, of West Philadelphia, sold his Subaru Forester, a car he said he felt like had become “an extension of me.” He had even lived out of it three months on a solo cross-country road trip.

    He suddenly realized he was resorting to driving at the smallest inconvenience, including for trips to Trader Joe’s a couple miles away or on rainy days when he didn’t feel like biking or walking to the trolley.

    He didn’t end up getting any money for his car — it was a 2004 and needed work — but he is saving on insurance, gas, and maintenance. And there’s an “unquantifiable” benefit, too: how it feels every day to see the faces of passersby as you bike past them, or to end your commute by thanking a conductor instead of slamming your car door shut, alone.

    “I have fallen more in love with the city now, just biking and getting to know all the streets,” said Walsh, who works for Jawnt, a technology company that provides transit benefits for some city employers. “You just don’t get that in a car. You’re in your little bubble.”

    https://www.inquirer.com/business/get-rid-of-car-sales-ownership-philadelphia-20240209.html
    #voitures #villes #urban_matter #piétons #Philadelphie #USA #Etats-Unis #marche #coût #santé #TRUST #Master_TRUST

  • Philosophin des Individualismus : Ayn Rand - Sie sah den Übermenschen als Unternehmer
    https://m.faz.net/aktuell/wirtschaft/wirtschaftswissen/philosophin-des-individualismus-ayn-rand-sie-sah-den-uebermenschen-als-untern


    Malgré quelques erreurs (la Fed n’est pas une banque de l’état) et un parti pris en sa faveur c’est un article intéressant sur l’auteure russo-américaine Ayn Rand. (rien avoir avec la Rand Corporation). L’auteure est malhonnête parce qu’elle omet le fait que la réalité de sa propre vie a contredit toutes idées d’Ayn Rand. Elle est morte pauvre et dépendante de l’aide sociale malgré ses admirateurs d’élite. Sa soi-disant philosohie de l’égoïsme l’objectivisme s’est retournée contre elle.
    So it goes.

    5.8.2010 von Ingeborg Harms - Ayn Rand kam in den Zwanzigern aus Russland in die Vereinigten Staaten und wurde zur schärfsten Kritikerin des Wohlfahrtsstaates. Ihre radikalen Gedanken zur selbstbestimmten Lebensführung beeinflussten Ronald Reagan wie Alan Greenspan und machten sie zur Autorin der Finanzkrise.

    Man wüsste gern, was Ayn Rand durch den Kopf ging, als sie Ernst Lubitschs „Ninotschka“ sah: das Filmmärchen von der sowjetischen Funktionärin, die mit dem Auftrag nach Paris kommt, die russischen Kronjuwelen zu verkaufen. Greta Garbo hüllte ihr dogmatisches Gebaren in eine Wolke aus Eros und Geheimnis und machte das Schreckbild der politisch denkenden Frau im Handstreich glanzvoll. Nichts könnte den Typus der Berufsrevolutionärin besser beschreiben, die ihre weiblichen Reize bedenkenlos einsetzt, um in die besten Kreise vorzudringen und sie von innen zu erschüttern. Der himmelweite Unterschied zwischen Ayn Rand und Ninotschka liegt darin, dass jene kein fertiges Programm abspulte. Als sie 1926 in die Vereinigten Staaten kam, brachte sie aus Leningrad den Keim einer Philosophie mit, die in denkbar größtem Gegensatz zum Kommunismus ihrer Heimat stand. Der Boden, auf dem ihr Denken wachsen und gedeihen sollte, war das Amerika des New Deal, ein gelobtes Land, das ihrer Ansicht nach auf dem besten Weg war, sich in ein zweites Sowjetrussland zu verwandeln.

    Die Greta Garbo der Philosophie kam als Tochter eines jüdischen Apothekers 1905 in Sankt Petersburg zur Welt, ursprünglich hieß sie Alisa Rosenbaum. Die Atmosphäre im Petersburg ihrer Kindheit bezeichnete Ayn Rand als „glanzvollste in der Geschichte der Menschheit“, getragen von „tiefem wechselseitigem Respekt, einem heute unvorstellbaren Wohlwollen und einer selbstbewussten Großmut, die man füreinander und für das Leben empfand“. Mit diesem Ideal schrieb sie drei Romane, mehrere Drehbücher und Theaterstücke und brachte ihr Weltbild auch in zahlreichen Essays zu Papier. Ihr erster Roman, „We the Living“, ist im Leningrad der frühen Zwanziger angesiedelt und hinterlässt einen lebhaften Eindruck nicht nur von Kälte, Enge und Mangel, sondern auch vom geistigen Schreckensregiment der Revolutionäre. Das Studium an der Leningrader Hochschule machte Ayn Rand mit dem Marxismus vertraut und weckte ihre Leidenschaft für endlose Debatten.

    In den Vereinigten Staaten wurden ihre Schriften nicht nur unter Collegestudenten heiß diskutiert, sie führten 1958 auch zur Gründung eines New Yorker Instituts des „Objektivismus“, das Ayn Rands Ideen mit dem Rigorismus einer Kaderschmiede propagierte. In ihrem Umkreis entstand eine Subkultur mit objektivistischen Bällen, Modenschauen, Konzerten, Kinoabenden und Sportveranstaltungen. Aus der exklusiven Gruppe, die sich ironisch „Das Kollektiv“ nannte, ging kein Geringerer als Alan Greenspan, der spätere Chef der Federal Reserve Bank, hervor.
    Rands Porträt als Briefmarke
    Rands Porträt als Briefmarke Bild: ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Karrierestart in Hollywood

    Als Frau wie als Philosophin verführte Ayn Rand zur Radikalität. Ob Liebhaber, der Broadway, Fernsehshows oder Verleger, jede Festung nahm sie im Sturm und machte so unterschiedliche Persönlichkeiten wie Ronald Reagan, Clarence Thomas (ein Mitglied des Obersten Gerichtshofs), den Playboy-Chef Hugh Hefner, den Wikipedia-Gründer Jimmy Wales und den „Craigslist“-Erfinder Craig Newmark zu ihren Adepten.

    Ihr Siegeszug begann in Hollywood. Schon beim ersten Studiobesuch lief sie dem Regisseur Cecil B. DeMille über den Weg. Der nahm die aparte Russin im Sportwagen mit und brachte sie im Skriptbüro unter, denn Ayn Rand hatte die ersten Monate auf dem neuen Kontinent mit dem Verfassen von Drehbüchern verbracht - auf Englisch, versteht sich. Auch der DeMille-Schauspieler Frank O’Connor, in dem sie den idealen Ehemann gewahrte, hatte ihren Wünschen nicht viel entgegenzusetzen. Als beide anlässlich der Verfilmung ihres Romans „The Fountainhead“ nach Kalifornien zurückkehrten, ermöglichten es ihnen die Tantiemen, die modernistische Ranch Josephs von Sternberg und Marlene Dietrichs zu übernehmen.

    Egoismus als Königsweg

    Ayn Rand war der lebende Beweis für ihre Überzeugung, dass der Mensch sich nur ein Ziel setzen musste, um es zu erreichen. Sie zeigte nicht die geringste Toleranz für Unentschiedenheit, Anspruchsdenken oder Bittstellertum. Entsprechend allergisch reagierte sie auf staatliche Regulierung und Interventionen. Sie verfasste Streitschriften gegen Roosevelts New Deal, legte sich mit der amerikanischen Linken an, trat vor dem McCarthy-Ausschuss auf und machte ihre Romane zu epischen Feldzügen gegen einen christlich geprägten Humanismus, der die Menschheit als schwach, unterdrückt und bedürftig darstellte. Altruismus galt ihr als Zwang, für andere zu leben, während Egoismus für sie den Königsweg zum Gemeinwohl darstellte.

    Ihre literarischen Helden sind durchweg Einzelkämpfer, Erfinder, Staats- und Unternehmensgründer. Jedes Individuum hatte ihrer Überzeugung nach sein eigenes Handlungsgesetz, das sich aus seinen Begabungen, Träumen und den Strategien ergab, die es zu ihrer Verwirklichung verfolgte. Ausgerechnet ihrer diabolischsten Romanfigur, dem Journalisten Ellsworth Toohey, legte sie in „The Fountainhead“ den schönen Ausdruck vom „Stil der Seele“ in den Mund. „Wir leben im Geiste“, erläutert Tooheys Gegenspieler, der Architekt Howard Roark, „die Existenz ist der Versuch, dieses Leben in physische Realität zu überführen. Jede Form des Glücks ist privat. Unsere größten Augenblicke sind persönlicher Natur, selbstmotiviert, unberührbar. Vor der promiskuitiven Menge verbergen wir die Dinge, die uns heilig oder kostbar sind.“ Doch Toohey weiß, dass sich die Seele brechen lässt: „Sorge dafür, dass der Mensch sich klein fühlt. Flöße ihm Schuldgefühle ein. Töte seine Hoffnungen und seine Integrität. Wenn seine Seele den Respekt vor sich selbst verliert, hast du ihn in der Hand. Die Natur lässt kein Vakuum zu. Nimm der Seele ihren Inhalt - und du kannst sie nach Belieben füllen.“

    Eine heile Seele kann Tooheys Verlagschef Gail Wynand an ihren Reflexen ablesen. Das Kollektivregime, das in „Fountainhead“ Amerika im Griff hat, charakterisiert er durch die Vorliebe seiner Protagonisten, sich - in direktem Widerspruch zu Kants Lehre vom Erhabenen - ihrer Winzigkeit zu brüsten: „Es ist, als würden sie schmatzen vor Stolz, weil ihr Bestes angesichts der brutalen Gewalt eines Erdbebens zu Staub zerfällt.“

    Die Autorin der Finanzkrise

    „The Fountainhead“ ist mit seinem vielschichtigen Plot, den ziselierten Dialogen, dramatischen Milieus und einer an den großen Romanen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts geschulten Spannungskurve ihr bestes Buch. Doch es ist ihr letzter Roman „Atlas Shrugged“, der seit Beginn der Finanzkrise derart reißenden Absatz findet, dass die amerikanische Kolumnistin Amity Shlaes von einem politischen Harry-Potter-Phänomen sprechen konnte. Das Buch schaffte es auch in die mit Kultstatus belegte aktuelle Fernsehserie „Mad Men“, die in den frühen sechziger Jahren in einer New Yorker Werbeagentur spielt. Der Kopf der Agentur übergibt seinem kreativsten Mitarbeiter einen Bonusscheck und zieht dazu „Atlas Shrugged“ aus dem Regal: „Sie sind ein fleißiger und vernünftiger Mensch“, lässt er ihn wissen, „und alles in allem völlig egoistisch. Das ist Ihre Stärke. Wir sind anders. Unsentimental hinsichtlich der Menschen, die von unserer harten Arbeit abhängen. Nehmen Sie Einsneunundneunzig von den 25.000 und kaufen Sie sich ein Exemplar.“

    Es mag die Minderheit sein, so legt es Ayn Rands Roman nahe, die ihre naturgegebene geistige Unabhängigkeit und Handlungsautonomie in Anspruch nimmt, doch es ist die Mehrheit, die dabei gewinnt: Eine Gesellschaft von Genies könnte ohne den Rest der Menschheit überleben, doch umgekehrt gilt das nicht. Daher das instinktive Bedürfnis, sich den Besten anzuschließen: „Ein Überlebensgesetz, oder?“ Doch was, wenn dieser Instinkt korrumpiert und der Zusammenhang zwischen Gemeinwohl und den Leistungen bedeutender Einzelner durch einen populistischen Staat verwischt wurde?

    Schon in „We the Living“ zeichneten sich die Helden durch die in Kants Sinn erhabene Freiheit aus, sich unter Absehung von Selbsterhaltungsinteressen gegen das egalitäre Kollektiv zu behaupten. Dass diese Haltung sie dann in eine gerade Ayn Rand verhasste Märtyrerrolle zwingt, ist eine Aporie, für die sie in „Atlas“ eine verblüffende, geradezu kindlich radikale Lösung fand: Sie lässt Amerikas Elite geschlossen in den Streik treten und tatenlos zusehen, wie das Land langsam zerfällt. Diesen Zusammenbruch malt ihr Roman in allen Einzelheiten aus. Seine Überzeugungskraft gewinnt er dadurch, dass er der Simulation eines großen Rechnergehirns gleicht.

    Was diesem Werk an epischem Zauber abgeht, gewinnt es an Katastrophenthrill hinzu. Europa ist längst zur Volksrepublik geworden, die Raubbau an den Resten der Privatwirtschaft treibt. In den Vereinigten Staaten sorgt derweil ein von Lobbyisten, Interessengruppen und linken Intellektuellen ersonnenes Dekret für lückenlose Verstaatlichung, Einführung der Planwirtschaft, Ausschaltung des Wettbewerbs und strenge Zensur. Das Mittelalter ist zurückgekehrt, plündernde Horden ziehen durchs Land, die Provinz verödet, und in den großen Städten tobt der Bürgerkrieg. Bevor die Rohstoffe versiegen und die Verkehrswege darnieder liegen, sind es die Ingenieure, Tüftler und alltäglichen Problemlöser, die ihren Dienst aufkündigen. So entschärft Ayn Rand, eine Schülerin Nietzsches, den wachsenden Verdacht, es sei ihr nur um eine Handvoll von Übermenschen zu tun.

    Verstand und Moral

    Doch im trotzigen Versuch, eine konsistente philosophische Fabel zu entwerfen, verschloss sich ihr Denken immer mehr der Empathie. Ihren gutmütigen, aber hilflosen und ideologisch verwirrten Verlierergestalten wirft der Roman am Ende einzig und allein vor, dass sie der Demagogie des Anspruchsdenkens auf den Leim gegangen sind und sich nicht durch eigene Kraft aus ihrer Unmündigkeit befreiten, dass sie, kurz gesagt, nicht Ayn Rands Schlüsse aus ihrer Situation zu ziehen wussten.

    Im Rückgriff auf Aristoteles definierte sie den Menschen nicht durch seine Triebe, sondern durch seinen Verstand. Daraus ergab sich ein Anspruch für sein ethisches Verhalten: „Das moralische Vermögen ist nicht unabhängig vom Denkvermögen, sondern direkt damit verbunden und aus ihm folgend.“ Doch im Interesse lupenreiner Logik kam ihr literarisches Plädoyer für den Laissez-faire-Liberalismus nicht ohne atavistische Zweiteilung der Menschheit in schaffende und konsumierende Individuen aus. Sofern jene durch diese nicht ersetzt werden können, ist deren Rechtsposition für Rand nicht verhandelbar und unangreifbar. Was „Atlas“ entwirft, ist ein passiver Belagerungszustand, bei dem die Feinde der Festung Amerika nur verschwinden müssen, um sie auszuhungern. Bis dahin machen sie es sich in einem utopischen Hightech-Nest in den Rocky Mountains bequem, das ein ausgeklügelter Reflektorenschirm gegen Entdeckung feit.

    In diesem an Huxleys „Schöne neue Welt“ erinnernden Bergidyll geht es so paternalistisch und konfliktarm zu wie in Ayn Rands New Yorker Institut. Man sehnt sich nach den messerscharfen Kontroversen, die „The Fountainhead“ zum wichtigen Ideenroman der vierziger Jahre machten. Zu schwer zu zügelnder Bestform läuft sie auf, wenn sie die Akteure der öffentlichen Meinungsbildung im Stile von Dostojewskis Großinquisitor porträtiert. Charaktere wie Toohey sind bei ihr die wahren Autokraten. Überzeugt, dass man der Menge die Freiheit nicht zumuten kann, nutzen sie ihren Einfluss, um sie zu einem Instrument im Kampf gegen die Kräfte des Fortschritts zu machen. Wie bei Dostojewski handelt es sich auch bei Ayn Rand um herausragende Intelligenzen, die ihre Begabung aus Mangel an Originalität planmäßig ins Destruktive wenden. Auch an der neueren Kunst des Interessanten wetzte sich Rands parodistischer Furor; nichts war ihr so zuwider wie Experimente im Geiste Dadas oder Gertrude Steins, Unverständliches, Banales, Burleskes, Obszönes, Sinnvernebelung in allen Formen.

    Philosophische K.o.-Kämpferin

    Obwohl sie die Architektur der Moderne mit wehenden Fahnen unterstützte, blieb ihr eigener Kunstbegriff klassizistisch geprägt. Ihre Werke treten mit dem philosophischen Anspruch auf, Welt und geschichtliche Kräfte umfassend zu deuten. Nicht umsonst hatte sie zunächst auf dem Theater Erfolg. Ihr Talent ist dramatisch, auch in den Romanen treten archetypische Prinzipien gegeneinander an. Weil sie trotz ihres scharfen Verstandes aber am Ende eine nicht philosophisch, sondern mathematisch verfahrende Rechthaberin blieb, die in dialektischen Konstellationen der Synthese das K.o. durch Punktsieg vorzog, bevorzugte sie in späteren Jahren die epische Form, die nur einen Helden zulässt. Das Opus magnum, in dem sich Kommunismus und Kapitalismus aneinander abarbeiten, wurde von ihr nicht geschrieben, obwohl sie durch ihre Erfahrung auf beiden Seiten dazu prädestiniert schien.

    Seit eine von der Bankenkrise aufgeheizte Stimmung erneut gegen den Kapitalismus aufbraust, haben auch Ayn Rands Argumente wieder Oberwasser. Ihre Popularität in rechten Kreisen hängt damit zusammen, dass sie nicht nur in die Zukunft schaute, sondern in ihren Streitschriften auch die Vergangenheit deutete. Die Wurzeln dessen, was Amity Shlaes den „Staatskapitalismus des Jahres 2009“ nennt, entdeckte Ayn Rand im „Sherman Act“ von 1890, „einem lächerlichen Flickwerk von undurchsichtigen, unfairen Gesetzen, das amerikanische Unternehmen drangsaliert, zur Ader lässt und sogar erpresst“. Ein besonderer Dorn im Auge war ihr die Aufhebung des Goldstandards: Papier, doziert einer ihrer Helden, „ist eine Hypothek auf Werte, die nicht existieren, assistiert von einem Gewehr im Rücken derer, auf deren Produktivität man sich verlässt. Papier ist ein Scheck, den legalisierte Vandalen sich auf ein Konto ausstellen, das ihnen nicht gehört. Machen Sie sich auf den Tag gefasst, an dem der Scheck mit dem Verweis platzt: Konto überzogen.“

    Greenspans Folgerungen

    In einem Essay von 1966 kam Alan Greenspan angesichts der Finanzkrise von 1929 zu dem Ergebnis, dass die Spekulationsblase vom unmäßigen Papiergeldfluss kreiert wurde, den die Federal Reserve 1927 in die Banken pumpte. Als daraufhin die britische Regierung mit der gänzlichen Aufgabe des Goldstandards voranging, löste sie den weltweiten Bankencrash aus. Er wäre, wie Greenspan glaubt, zu vermeiden gewesen, hätten die Wohlfahrtsstaat-Advokaten aller Länder nicht ihre historische Chance gewittert. Denn solange der Goldstandard herrschte, waren sie gezwungen, den Machterhalt durch unpopuläre Steuern aufs Spiel zu setzen. Also lösten sie sich vom Gold und erzeugten einen Rausch der Machbarkeit auf Kosten privater Sparer: „Seines akademischen Jargons entkleidet, ist der Wohlfahrtsstaat nichts weiter als ein Mechanismus, durch den Regierungen den Besitz der produktiven Mitglieder einer Gesellschaft beschlagnahmen und einer breiten Palette von Wohlfahrtszwecken zuführen.“

    Indem Greenspan das „schäbige Geheimnis“ der damaligen Regierung benennt, legt er auch den Finger auf eine der Ursachen der heutigen Krise: „Die Aufgabe des Goldstandards erlaubte es den Wohlfahrtsstaatlern, das Bankensystem als Instrument zur unbegrenzten Kreditvergabe zu gebrauchen. Ohne Goldstandard gibt es keine Möglichkeit, Ersparnisse vor der Konfiszierung durch Inflation zu bewahren.“

    Sätze wie diese machen Greenspan zur enigmatischsten Figur der Bankenkrise. Er war es, der nach dem 11. September den Leitzins auf ein Prozent herabsetzte und mit der dann zwingend folgenden Kreditschwemme den Immobilienboom auslöste: ein Konsum-Mekka auf Pump. Nicht nur hatten die Sparer nichts von ihrem Vermögen, sie waren auch die künftigen Leidtragenden der auf Taubenfüßen nahenden Inflation. Gelockerte Richtlinien sorgten dafür, dass der Eigenkapitalquotient der Banken im Verhältnis zu ihren Schulden auf 1:30 gesenkt wurde. Die finanziellen Garantien, die es den Banken möglich machten, über ihre Verhältnisse zu leihen, übernahm der Staat. Diese Großzügigkeit schlug vor zwei Jahren in Form von 700 Milliarden Dollar zu Buche, mit denen die Zentralbank die faulen Immobilienkredite aufkaufte. Diese nur von einer hypothetischen Zukunft gedeckte Summe bedeutet de facto eine immense Verringerung des aktuellen Dollarwerts. Der steigende Goldpreis gibt eine Vorstellung von der historischen Entwertung der amerikanischen Währung: Heute zahlt man 1220 Dollar für eine Unze Gold, bis ins zwanzigste Jahrhundert waren es rund 20 Dollar, weniger als zwei Prozent des heutigen Kurses.

    Modell für einen Systemwechsel

    All dies hat nicht nur mit dem Rätsel Greenspan, sondern auch eine Menge mit den von Ayn Rand vorausgesagten Entwicklungen zu tun. Finanzielle Rücklagen stärken die von ihr propagierte Unabhängigkeit des Individuums, machen es frei von politischen Eingriffen und nach eigenen Vorstellungen handlungsfähig. In diesem Sinne müsste Ayn Rand ganz oben auf der Leseliste der autonomen Szene stehen. Denn durch die finanzpolitische Zentralisierung verschiebt sich die persönliche Verantwortung von unten nach oben. Der Zwang, der dann zur Stabilisierung der Verhältnisse nötig wird, verstärkt die Gewaltbereitschaft im Ganzen. Ayn Rand war sich darüber im Klaren, dass ihr Modell, wenn nicht auf einen Systemwechsel, dann auf die Abschaffung des Systems als solchem hinauslief. Entspricht es doch der tief implementierten Struktur der Moderne, Verantwortung an Systeme zu delegieren, deren Entscheidungsträger die Folgen ihres Handelns nicht mitzutragen haben.

    Wie also konnte Alan Greenspan, der sich noch kürzlich in einem Fernsehinterview zu seiner Lehrerin Ayn Rand bekannte, die zynische Spirale der Dollarentwertung mitbedienen und heraufbeschwören, was er selbst einen Finanz-Tsunami nannte? Fehlte ihm das Rückgrat, angesichts der eklatanten Verletzung seiner Prinzipien zurückzutreten, oder hielt er die Papiergeldflut für das geringere Übel? Bei der Anhörung im Kongress Anfang April gab er gewunden zu, dass die Leitzinssenkung 2003 ohne seine Zustimmung und auf politischen Druck hin erfolgt war.

    Bei dem unentwirrbaren Gespinst der Vorwürfe, die seit September 2008 kursieren, geht es auch um eine Schuld, die zu schmerzhaft ist, um offen benannt zu werden. Das 1977 vom amerikanischen Kongress verabschiedete Antidiskriminierungsgesetz („Community Reinvestment Act“) verpflichtete Banken, Kredite auch in Stadtbezirken zu vergeben, die ihren bisherigen Vergabestandards nicht entsprachen. Der Dokumentarfilmer Peter Krieg wies darauf hin, dass ein weiteres Gesetz von 1991 den „Vergleich von Kreditverträgen nach Rassenzugehörigkeit ermöglichte - mit dem erwartbaren Ergebnis, dass die Banken offenbar proportional mehr Kredite an Weiße als an Schwarze vergaben.

    Dies interpretierte die Politik als Ungerechtigkeit seitens der Banken, die umgehend durch öffentlichen Druck, noch mehr ,antidiskriminierende’ Vorschriften und Lockerung des Standards für Kreditvergaben korrigiert werden musste. Wer sich dennoch an seriöse und bewährte Kreditstandards hielt, dem drohten Gesetzgeber und Zentralbanken hohe Geldstrafen an.“ Die regierungseigenen Banken Fannie Mae und Freddy Mac gaben das Tempo vor, mit dem sich durch Verpackung von faulen Krediten Profite erwirtschaften ließen. Wie bekannt, wurde die sich abzeichnende Pleite über Immobilienjunkbonds global verteilt, deren fahrlässig positive Bewertung die Regierung duldete.

    Ein-Frau-Religion

    Am Ursprung dieser Spirale steht mit dem Antidiskriminierungsgesetz die Verantwortungsübernahme für eine Schuld, die Amerika gegenüber dem schwarzen Teil seiner Bevölkerung auf sich geladen hat. Schon der „Equal Credit Opportunity Act“ von 1974 gründete auf dem Optimismus, dass die Subventionierung eines chancenarmen Bevölkerungsteils ein Mehr an Produktivität bewirken würde, das die Überziehung der Reserven auf lange Sicht ausgleichen musste. Doch diese Hoffnung hat sich nicht erfüllt.

    Ayn Rand wollte von Erbschuld nichts wissen, weder in historischer noch in theologischer Hinsicht. Ausdrücklich auf Schwarze zielende Fördermaßnahmen tat sie als legalen Rassismus ab, so wie sie der Frauenbewegung vorwarf, sich als neue unterdrückte Klasse zu erfinden. Ayn Rand lebte eine Ein-Frau-Religion; ihr Aufstieg aus den Hungerhöhlen Leningrads zum Star der amerikanischen Popularphilosophie stählte sie gegen das Argument, nur finanzielle Sicherheit mache ein glückliches und selbstbestimmtes Leben möglich. Umgekehrt wurde sie nicht müde, durch literarische Fabeln zu „beweisen“, dass nur individuelle Autonomie finanzielle Sicherheit bewirken kann. Dass sich ein intellektuell nicht haltbarer Optimismus nicht nur in der Unlogik, sondern, mit Nietzsches Worten, auch im Wesen der Logik verbirgt, hat Ayn Rand sich nie eingestanden. Wie das Zarenreich von seiner Feudalschuld wurde Amerika von seiner kollektiven Verschuldung eingeholt. Es steht nicht in der Macht des Individuums, sie abzulehnen. Diese Wahrheit war es, die Ayn Rand ein Leben lang bekämpfte.

    Le système qu’elle dôlatait la ruina. A la fin de sa vie elle fut obligée de demander de l’ade sociale

    https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand

    Rand war eine langjährige Raucherin und musste sich 1974 wegen Lungenkrebs operieren lassen.[6] Sie ließ sich 1976 trotz eigener starker Bedenken von der Sozialarbeiterin ihres Anwalts für Leistungen aus der staatlichen Sozialversicherung und der bundesstaatlichen Krankenversicherung (Medicare-Programm) anmelden. Die Leistungen erhielt sie auf den Namen Ann O’Connor

    Ce n’est pas le gouvernement états-unien qui contrôle les banques à travers la Fed. MaisCe sont les banques qui dominent le gouvernement.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Reserve

    The Federal Reserve System has a “unique structure that is both public and private” and is described as “independent within the government” rather than “independent of government”. The System does not require public funding, and derives its authority and purpose from the Federal Reserve Act, which was passed by Congress in 1913 and is subject to Congressional modification or repeal. The four main components of the Federal Reserve System are (1) the board of governors, (2) the Federal Open Market Committee, (3) the twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, and (4) the member banks throughout the country.

    #Übermensch #surhomme #capitalisme #objectivsme #USA #élitisme

  • Glenn Diesen : Biden vs Trump has profound implications for the world order
    https://www.rt.com/news/592085-biden-vs-trump-world-order

    Quelques idées sur la différence entre les candidats à la présidence états-unienne et leurs différentes stratégies pour gérer l’empire américain.

    8.2.2024 by Glenn Diesen, Professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway and an editor at the Russia in Global Affairs journal.

    The result of the clash of the American political giants will reverberate around the globe for decades

    The world is watching the US presidential election closely as it will have significant implications for global governance. President Joe Biden and former leader Donald Trump have very different views on how the world order should be governed and how the US should respond to its relative decline.

    Biden wants to restore unipolarity with ideological economic and military blocs, strengthening the loyalty of allies and marginalizing adversaries. Trump has a more pragmatic approach. He believes the alliance system is too costly and limits diplomatic room for maneuver.

    Since World War II, the US has enjoyed a privileged position in the key institutions of global governance. The Bretton Woods format and NATO ensured its economic and military dominance within the West. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Americans sought to extend their liberal hegemony around the globe.

    They developed a security strategy based on global superiority and an expanded NATO. Washington assumed that its dominance would mitigate international anarchy and great power rivalry, and that liberal trade agreements would strengthen the US’ position at the top of global value chains. The replacement of international law with a ‘rules-based international order’ – in effect, sovereign inequality – was supposed to promote American hegemony and enhance the role of liberal democratic values.

    However, unipolarity has proven to be a temporary phenomenon because it depends on the absence of rivals and values are devalued as instruments of power politics. The US has predictably exhausted its resources and the legitimacy of its hegemony, and competing powers have collectively counterbalanced Washington’s hegemonic ambitions by diversifying economic relations, staging retaliatory military operations, and developing new regional institutions of global governance.

    The Cold War was a unique period in history because the West’s communist adversaries were largely disconnected from international markets, and military confrontation strengthened alliance solidarity to the extent that it mitigated economic rivalry between the capitalist allies. After the Cold War, however, the former communist powers, China and Russia, gained experience in managing economic processes, and submission to the US-led economic path lost its value for them.
    Kirill Babaev: Here’s why the result of Taiwan’s election is bad news for the US

    The system of alliances has also begun to decline. The US previously was willing to subsidize European security in exchange for political influence. But Washington shifted its strategic focus to Asia, demanding that its European allies show geo-economic loyalty and not develop independent economic relations with rivals China and Russia. Meanwhile, the Europeans sought to use collective bargaining mechanisms through the European Union to establish autonomy and an equal partnership with the United States.

    It is now clear that the unipolar moment has come to an end. The US military, exhausted by failed wars against weak opponents, is preparing for a conflict against Russia and China and a regional war in the Middle East.

    The ‘rules-based international order’ is openly rejected by other major powers. US economic coercion to prevent the emergence of new centers of power only encourages separation from US technology, industry, transport corridors, banks, payment systems, and the dollar.

    The US economy is struggling with unsustainable debt and inflation, while socio-economic decline is fueling political polarization and instability. Against this backdrop, Americans could elect a new president who will seek fresh solutions for global governance.
    Biden’s global governance: Ideology and bloc politics

    Biden wants to restore US global dominance by reviving the Cold War system of alliances that divided the world into dependent allies and weakened adversaries. It pits Europe against Russia, Arab states against Iran, India against China, and so on. Inclusive international institutions of global governance are being weakened and replaced by confrontational economic and military blocs.

    Biden’s bloc politics is legitimized by simplistic heuristics. The complexity of the world is reduced to an ideological struggle between liberal democracies and authoritarian states. Ideological rhetoric means demanding geo-economic loyalty from the ‘free world’ while promoting overly aggressive and undiplomatic language. Thus, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are smeared as ‘dictators’.
    Strategic gush: Why India’s investment in Russian hydrocarbons is win-win

    Multilateralism is welcome to the extent that it reinforces US leadership. Biden is less hostile to the UN and the EU than his predecessor, and under his administration, the US has rejoined the World Health Organization and the Paris climate agreement. But Biden has not revisited the Iran nuclear deal or reduced economic pressure on China to change its supply chains. The institutions that could constrain the US – the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) – are not favored by either Biden or Trump.

    The deteriorating socio-economic and political situation in the US will also affect Biden’s approach to global governance. Biden will remain reluctant to enter into new ambitious trade agreements as the losers of globalization and neo-liberal economics within the US move into the camp of the populist opposition. Nor will he favor free trade agreements in areas where China has a technological and industrial advantage, and his attempts to cut European states off from Russian energy and Chinese technology will further fragment the world into competing economic blocs.

    Western Europe will continue to weaken and become more dependent on the US, to the point where it will have to give up any claim to ‘strategic autonomy’ and ‘European sovereignty’.

    Biden has also shown a willingness to disrupt allied country’s industries through initiatives such as the US Inflation Reduction Act.
    Trump’s global governance: ‘America First’ and great power pragmatism

    Trump seeks to restore American greatness by reducing the costs of alliance systems and hegemony. He sees alliances against strategic rivals as undesirable if they involve a transfer of relative economic power to allies. Trump believes that NATO is an “obsolete” relic of the Cold War because Western Europeans should contribute more to their own security. In his view, the US should perhaps reduce its presence in the Middle East and allies should pay America for their security in some way. Economic agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership would have promoted US leadership, but under Trump, they have been abandoned because of the transfer of economic benefits to allies. Trump does not reject US imperialism, but wants to make it sustainable by ensuring a higher return on investment.

    Less tied to the alliance system and unencumbered by ideological dogma, Trump can take a more pragmatic approach to other great powers. Trump is able to make political deals with adversaries, use friendly and diplomatic language when talking to Putin and Xi, and even perhaps make a diplomatic visit to North Korea. While Biden’s division of the world into liberal democracies and authoritarian states makes Russia an adversary, Trump’s view of the world as nationalists/patriots versus cosmopolitans/globalists makes Russia a potential ally. This ideological view complements the pragmatic consideration of not pushing Russia into the arms of China, the main rival of the US.
    Fyodor Lukyanov: EU citizens worry about living standards while their elites are obsessed with Ukraine

    Global governance will be utilitarian in this case, and the main goal of the US will be to regain a competitive advantage over China. Trump is fundamentally inclined to blame China excessively for America’s economic problems. Economic pressure on China is intended to restore US technological/industrial dominance and protect domestic jobs. Economic nationalist ideas reflect the ideas of the 19th-century American system, where economic policy is based on fair trade rather than free trade. Trump appears to view the entire post-Cold War security system in Europe as a costly attempt to subsidize Western Europe’s declining importance. These same Europeans have antagonized Russia and pushed it into the arms of China. Trump’s unclear stance on NATO has even prompted Congress to pass a bill prohibiting presidents from unilaterally deciding whether to withdraw the US from NATO.

    While Trump is in favor of improving relations with Russia, his presidency would be unlikely to achieve this goal.

    The US can be seen as an irrational actor to the extent that it allows domestic political battles to influence its foreign policy. In 2016, Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff fabricated the Steele dossier and Russiagate to portray Trump as a Kremlin agent. In the 2020 election, Biden’s campaign staff attempted to portray the Hunter Biden laptop scandal as a Russian disinformation campaign and accused Russia of paying bribes to kill US troops in Afghanistan. These false accusations were designed to distract the public and make Trump look weak on Russia. All of this ultimately soured relations with Russia and even contributed to the current conflict in Ukraine.

    Both Biden and Trump seek to reverse the relative decline of the US in the world, but the difference in their approaches will have a profound impact on global governance. While Biden seeks to restore US greatness through systems of ideological alliances that will fragment global governance into regional blocs, Trump will seek to withdraw from the institutions of global governance because they drain US resources and impede pragmatic policies.

    #USA #politique #impérialisme

  • La version française intégrale de l’interview de Vladimir Poutine par Tucker Carlson

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=Mis5nZ_ESj8

    Source : Librairie tropique https://www.librairie-tropiques.fr/2024/02/poutine-parle-au-monde-libre.html

    La version originale (en Anglais) sur le site de Tucker Carlson

    https://tuckercarlson.com/the-vladimir-putin-interview

    Timestamp Headline
    00:00:00 Introduction

    00:02:00 Putin gives a history of Russia & Ukraine

    00:25:04 NATO Expansion

    00:30:40 NATO & Bill Clinton

    00:41:10 Ukraine

    00:48:30 What triggered this conflict?

    01:02:37 A peaceful solution?

    01:11:33 Who blew up the Nord Stream pipelines?

    01:24:13 Re-establishing communication with the US

    01:36:33 How powerful is Zelensky?

    01:48:36 Elon Musk & AI

    01:51:07 Imprisoned American journalist Evan Gershkovich

    #Russie #otan #nato #Ukraine #Histoire #usa #ue #interview #journalisme #géopolitque

  • Sur Tik-Tok, point de passage du Mexique aux USA, sert aux Chinois.
    http://www.argotheme.com/organecyberpresse/spip.php?article4574

    Des chiffres des médias attestent que 25% des migrants arrivants aux USA sont de Chine, à raison de 200 000 personnes arrivées avant la COVID-19. Puis la chute de 150 000 en 2020 et 100 000 en 2021, la trêve continua en 2022. Une reprise remarquée en 2023 dont le bilan reste à dresser. Mais les aventuriers qui pénètrent s’adonnent des tuyaux du lieu par où passer, comme fut avec cette transition partagée sur Tik-Tok... diplomatie, présence, officiels, relations, échanges, politique internationale, rapports,

    / #diplomatie,_sécurité,_commerce,_économie_mondiale, Chine, réforme, développement, environnement, Asie, , #crise,_capitalisme,_économie,_justice,_Bourse, #USA,_Maison_Blanche,_CIA, #Immigration_-_émigrants_-_réfugiés_-_déplacés, économie , #Data_-_Données, Internet, Web, cyber-démocratie, (...)

    #diplomatie,présence,_officiels,_relations,_échanges,_politique_internationale,_rapports, #Chine,_réforme,_développement,_environnement,_Asie, #économie_ #Internet,_Web,_cyber-démocratie,_communication,_société,_médias

  • Report: Arlington’s first guaranteed income pilot boosted quality of life for poorest residents

    –—

    En résumé:
    Employment INCREASED by 16%, and their incomes from paid work INCREASED by 37%. The control group saw no such gains.
    https://hachyderm.io/@scottsantens/111890582659889973

    –—

    Results from Arlington’s first guaranteed income pilot reveal that an additional $500 per month significantly enhanced the quality of life for impoverished families.

    Parents with children under 18, earning less than $46,600 annually, reported that the additional $500 monthly helped them obtain better-paying jobs, address basic needs and improve their overall well-being, according to a new report by the Arlington Community Foundation (ACF), the local nonprofit that oversaw the pilot.

    Moreover, the monthly payments enabled individuals to invest in certifications and educational advancement and tackle their medical bills, credit card debt and student loans.

    Between September 2021 and last December, ACF provided the monthly stipend to families earning 30% of the area median income so they could continue living in Arlington, which is known for having some of the highest living costs in the nation.

    The pilot sought to challenge the stigma associated with guaranteed income, which grants a minimum income to those who do not earn enough to support themselves. It drew inspiration from similar programs in Stockton, California, and Jackson, Mississippi.

    In the long term, Arlington’s Guarantee is meant to persuade state and federal lawmakers to implement some form of guaranteed income. This is not to be confused with universal basic income, another touted policy reform that guarantees income to people regardless of their eligibility for government assistance or their ability to work.

    Findings from the pilot come on the heels of a separate report, which found that more than half of families living in South Arlington cannot afford basic food, housing, medical and childcare expenses, compared to just 15% of families in North Arlington. ACF noted that most guaranteed income pilot participants reside in South Arlington.

    While private donations and philanthropy fully funded the $2 million program, Arlington County’s Department of Human Services (DHS) helped select, track and evaluate participants.

    DHS randomly chose 200 households to receive $500 a month and created a control group with similar demographics and income levels, which did not receive stipends, to compare the results. Most (53%) of participants identified as Black or African-American, followed by people who identify as white (23%). Thirty percent identified as Hispanic or Latino and 70% as non-Hispanic.

    With the extra $500 a month, most participants reported putting the money toward groceries, paying bills, buying household essentials, rent and miscellaneous expenses including car repairs.

    Individuals who received the stipend reported increasing their monthly income by 36%, from $1,200 to $1,640, compared to the control group, whose income only rose 9%. ACF says the extra cash gave participants breathing room to make investments that could improve their job prospects.

    “Rather than working overtime or multiple jobs to meet basic needs, some participants reported using the time to pursue credentials… that could lead to a higher-paying job or starting their own business,” ACF said. “Other participants indicated that Arlington’s Guarantee helped them pursue better-paying jobs by allowing them to purchase interview clothes or cover the gap between their old and new jobs.”

    By the end of the study, nearly three-quarters of participants who received a guaranteed income reported improved mental and physical well-being and an increased sense of control, compared to the control group.

    “It’s a mental thing for me. Just the fact that I knew that I had an income coming, it helped me not have panic attacks,” said one participant. “I knew I could have food for the kids and pay the bills. It allowed me to use my time to be wise about money and not stressed about money.”

    Still, most participants reported they still could not cover an unexpected $400 expense from their savings and said they would need to borrow money, get a loan or sell their belongings in case of an emergency. Income, food and housing insecurity were most acute among undocumented immigrants and those who were once incarcerated.

    Arlington County is not the only locality in Northern Virginia experimenting with a guaranteed income program. Last year, Fairfax County also supported a guaranteed income pilot, offering a monthly stipend of $750 to 180 eligible families over 15 months.

    Although the Arlington County Board signed a resolution imploring state and federal lawmakers to implement a guaranteed income program, neither it nor Fairfax County has indicated that a permanent version of these programs would be implemented locally.

    Meanwhile, ACF said it has been engaging state lawmakers about the prospect of restoring the child tax credit, which expired in 2021, to help raise families out of poverty.

    “This expanded federal CTC in 2021 was a game changer: it reduced child poverty by 46% by lifting 3.7 million children out of poverty before it was allowed to lapse in 2022,” the report said. “This was effectively a trial of guaranteed income policy by the federal government.”

    The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation to expand this credit, which has headed to the Senate for a vote. The tax credit offers a break of up to $2,000 per child, with potentially $1,600 of that being refundable. If signed into law, it would incrementally raise the tax credit amount of $100 annually through 2025.

    Democrats in the Virginia General Assembly, meanwhile, have proposed establishing a child tax credit that would extend until 2029. A House of Delegates subcommittee voted yesterday to delay consideration of the bill until next year.

    https://www.arlnow.com/2024/02/06/report-arlingtons-first-guaranteed-income-pilot-boosted-quality-of-life-for-

    #rdb #revenu_de_base #revenu_garanti #qualité_de_vie #réduction_de_la_pauvreté #travail #Arlington #USA #Etats-Unis #statistiques #chiffres

  • @davduf m’apprend la mort de Wayne Kramer, guitariste du MC5.
    https://mamot.fr/@davduf/111867538601483082
    Wayne Kramer, Influential MC5 Guitarist, Is Dead at 75
    https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/02/arts/music/wayne-kramer-dead.html
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74jS3dW0DtE


    Remembering Wayne Kramer of the MC5
    https://www.discogs.com/digs/music/wayne-kramer-mc5

    https://jail-guitar-doors.myshopify.com

    In 1978, The Clash released the song, “Jail Guitar Doors.” The song tells the story of the imprisonment of their fellow musician #Wayne_Kramer. In 2007, to honor the life of Clash founder, Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg launches an initiative in England to provide musical equipment used to rehabilitate inmates serving time in Her Majesty’s Prisons in the United Kingdom. His initiative is named for that very same song, “Jail Guitar Doors.” In 2009, Wayne Kramer partners with Billy Bragg to found Jail Guitar Doors USA. Together, their combined effort continues the mission for prisoners in America. The circle is unbroken

  • Absage Chinas an US-Staatsanleihen : Die siamesischen Zwillinge werden getrennt
    https://www.telepolis.de/features/Absage-Chinas-an-US-Staatsanleihen-Die-siamesischen-Zwillinge-werden-getre

    Le désengagement du capital états-unien des marchés chinois pose plusieurs problëmes. D’abord une guerre entre la super-puissance militaire et le géant économique est de moins en moins risqué pour le capital américain. En même temps les économies des anciens partenaires ne soutiennent plus leur croissance mutuelle. Où investiront-ils alors ?

    Le défi est lancé, la lutte pour la domination des régions avec la plus grande probabilité de croissance a commencé il y a un bon moment. Et l’Europe alors, quel rôle pourrat-elle encore jouer ?

    29.1.2014 von Wolfgang Pomrehn - Beijings Zentralbank trennt sich Schritt für Schritt von ihren Treasuries. US-Firmen ziehen wiederum ihre Investitionen aus China ab. Eine Entkopplungsgeschichte.

    Es gab Zeiten – gerade zehn Jahre ist es her –, da waren die Volkswirtschaften der USA und Chinas sowie ihre Finanzsphären so eng miteinander verknüpft, dass sie siamesischen Zwillingen glichen, wenn auch sehr ungleichen. Manchem Beobachter erschienen die großen wechselseitigen Abhängigkeiten gar als Garant für ein friedliches Miteinander.

    Rund ein Drittel aller chinesischen Exporte gingen in die USA, die diese vor allem mit einer wachsenden Auslandsverschuldung finanzierten, mit Kredit, den nicht zuletzt China selbst gab. Zeitweise hielt die chinesische Zentralbank 2011 US-Staatsanleihen (Treasuries) im Wert von bis zu 1,3 Billionen US-Dollar. 2013 wurde dieser Höchstwert noch einmal erreicht.
    Entkopplung nimmt Fahrt auf

    Doch während sich die USA in der Zwischenzeit immer weiter im Ausland verschuldete – die Funktion des US-Dollars macht es möglich –, hat China in den vergangenen Jahren seinen Treasury-Bestand abgebaut.

    Zuletzt hatte er noch einen Wert von 782 Milliarden US-Dollar. Und während der chinesische Staat 2011 noch 14 Prozent aller ausgegebenen US-Staatsanleihen hielt, sind es derzeit nur noch drei Prozent, wie die Nachrichtenagentur Reuters meldet.

    Chinas Währungsreserven belaufen sich insgesamt auf 3,24 Billionen US-Dollar, wovon noch immer über diverse Kanäle schätzungsweise 60 Prozent in US-Dollar gehalten werden und der Rest in anderen Währungen wie dem Euro, dem Schweizer Franken oder dem japanischen Yen. Aber die finanzielle Entkoppelung hat parallel zur entsprechenden Entwicklung im Warenaustausch Fahrt aufgenommen, und sie verläuft nicht einseitig.

    US-Firmen und -Fonds haben in den letzten Jahren massiv Investitionen aus China abgezogen und einige Beobachter meinen, das könnte einer der Gründe für die derzeitigen Berg- und Talfahrten der chinesischen Aktienmärkte sein. Im dritten Quartal 2023 verlor die Volksrepublik zum ersten Mal seit Beginn der Öffnungspolitik Anfang der 1980er-Jahre mehr ausländische Direktinvestitionen als zugleich ins Land flossen, und zwar 12 Milliarden US-Dollar. Das Kapital flösse aus China ab und der USA zu, meint Reuters.

    Ansonsten ist China aber nicht der einzige Staat, der sich aus den einst bei Zentralbanken sehr beliebten Treasuries zurückzieht. Einerseits strebt die US-Staatsverschuldung immer neuen Rekorden entgegen. Die Schuldverschreibungen haben inzwischen den sagenhaften Umfang von 26 Billionen US-Dollar (93 Prozent des US-Bruttoinlandsprodukts). Das ist immerhin das Fünffache des Standes vor dem Beginn der großen Immobilien- und Börsenkrise 2007.

    Andererseits wird das Gros jedoch von Privatpersonen und privaten Gesellschaften gehalten. Ausländische Zentralbanken haben in ihren Portfolios Treasuries mit einem Wert von nur noch 3,8 Billionen US-Dollar. Weitere gut drei Billionen US-Dollar werden von Privaten im Ausland gehalten, und mit fast 20 Billionen US-Dollar ist der US-Staat im Inland verschuldet.

    #Chine #USA #Europe #économie #impérialisme

  • Thread by MouinRabbani on Thread Reader App – Thread Reader App
    https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1751803165216010536.html

    THREAD: There have been a number of important developments over the weekend.

    Three US soldiers were killed, and several dozen wounded, in a drone attack on a US military/intelligence base known as Tower 22 in northeastern Jordan, the region where the borders of Jordan, Syria, and Iraq meet.

    The Jordanian authorities continue to insist that the attack was in fact directed at the US base in Tanf in southeastern Syria rather than Tower 22, because it does not want to draw unnecessary attention to the highly unpopular US military presence on Jordanian territory.

    The US deployment is regulated by the 2022 US-Jordan Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Partnership, which gives Washington virtually unlimited rights to use Jordanian territory for US military purposes, and the Jordanian treasury USD 1.45 billion per year for seven years.

    The attack is significant for a number of reasons. Although there have been numerous attacks on US bases and forces in the Middle East since 7 October 2023, including in Iraq, Syria, in the Red Sea off Yemen, and according to unconfirmed reports Israel as well, these are the first confirmed killings of US soldiers in the region since that date. (Two Navy SEALS died off Yemen’s coast recently, but it was reported as an accident). It is also the first confirmed attack on or from Jordanian territory since 7 October.

    Responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a coalition of groups aligned with the Axis of Resistance, itself a coalition of states and movements in the region opposed to US-Israeli hegemony in the Middle East.

    According to the statement of responsibility the attack, apparently launched from Syrian rather than Iraqi territory, is intended to raise the cost of Israel’s genocidal onslaught on the Gaza Strip and US support for Israel’s mass killings.

    “If the US keeps supporting Israel, there will be escalations. All US interests in the region are legitimate targets and we don’t care about US threats to respond.” The expulsion of US forces from Iraq and Syria is an additional, unspoken objective.

    In his own statement about the incident, US President Joe Biden blamed “radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq”.
    White House spokesperson John Kirby will probably be trotted out to deny any connection whatsoever between developments in Jordan and Gaza, much as he has done in relation to attacks by Ansar Allah off Yemen’s coast, which even more explicitly reference the Gaza Strip.

    Given US casualties, Washington is virtually certain to respond to this escalation with a significant escalation of its own. This in turn brings direct conflict between the US and Iran one big step closer, from plausible but unlikely to plausible and possible.

    Powerful forces in both the US and Israel have been agitating for such a scenario since 7 October, and will now see a new opportunity to make this a reality.

    The broader significance is that US forces are now dying in defense of Israel. Throughout this war Washington has had a clear choice: put an end to Israel’s genocidal onslaught on the Gaza Strip, or engage in conflict with regional forces determined to do so themselves.

    Given Israel’s extraordinary level of military and political dependence on the US, so visibly demonstrated these past several months, it would take only a brief phone call to achieve the former. But the Biden administration has consistently chosen for the latter.

    In the words of @asadabukhalil : “The US does not want a cease-fire in Gaza and objects to the regional repercussions of its rejection of the ceasefire.”

    That’s not how the US-Israeli relationship is supposed to work. Israel is the designated proxy, assigned to defend Western interests in the Middle East. A “stationary aircraft carrier”, in the words of former US Secretary of State Alexander Haig.

    Instead, the US is functioning as Israel’s proxy, now fighting on multiple fronts, its soldiers dying to defend Israel and protect its ability to continue fighting in the Gaza Strip. This is because for more than 100 days, Israel’s longest war since 1948-1949, it has proven incapable of defeating Hamas, a second-order guerilla movement that doesn’t possess a single aircraft, tank, warship, or anti-aircraft defense system. Its long-range missiles basically need to make a direct impact on an individual’s forehead to achieve a kill.

    As previously argued, Israel’s military incompetence and mediocre performance will have long-lasting consequences for its strategic relationship with its Western sponsors.

    To put it simply, t-shirts emblazoned with an Israeli fighter jet and the slogan “Don’t Worry America, Israeli is Behind You!” used to popular among visiting tourists. I suspect they can now be obtained at a steep discount.

    Related to this, a rally was held in Jerusalem today to promote the expulsion of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and renewal of Israeli settlements in that occupied territory. It was attended by no less than 12 of Israel’s 37 government ministers (almost a third), including several leaders of parties represented in that state’s genocidal coalition. Two of Israel’s most senior leaders, Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir and Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich, addressed the raucous and adoring crowd of several thousand.

    Ben-Gvir leads Otzma Yehudit (“Jewish Power”), a Kahanist party that is Israel’s equivalent of Germany’s Nazis. Bezalel Smotrich is the leader of Tkuma (Religious Zionist Party), also Israel’s equivalent of Germany’s Nazis.

    One thing that distinguishes these parties (and a few others) from others in Israel is their insistence that Israel is sufficiently powerful to act unilaterally and do as it pleases, and sufficiently independent to give the world, including Israel’s sponsors in the US and Europe, the middle finger. That’s why they convened this meeting within 48 hours of the International Court of Justice session indicating that Israel has plausibly been accused of genocide.

    The above notwithstanding Ben-Gvir and Smotrich have the mannerisms of spoiled children more than seasoned gangsters. Insufferable kids who feel free to grab or break anything they want at the store because they know Mummy and Daddy are there to take care of things, and clean up any resulting mess. In other words, they talk big but know they can only do so because Biden and Brussels have their back. And on this score they’re right.

    Which brings me to UNRWA. Several of Israel’s sponsors, including the US and UK, have suspended their funding of the UN refugee agency for Palestine refugees in response to unproven allegations that several of its employees participated in the attacks on Israel on 7 October. It’s a bit like cutting off aid to a foreign country because a dozen of its civil servants have been charged (but not yet tried) for participation in criminal activity.

    There’s much going on here, including a long-term campaign to liquidate the Palestinian refugee question, in which UNRWA serves as a primary surrogate for US-Israeli hysteria. And a history of previous Israeli allegations against UNRWA subsequently exposed as fraudulent. (For example, a 2014 drone video released by Israel of two UNRWA medics purportedly using an ambulance to transport Hamas missiles was later revealed to be two UNRWA medics transporting a stretcher into an ambulance.)

    But when it comes to UNRWA, a rush to judgement is obligatory, the agency is guilty until proven innocent, and then still guilty.

    The Israeli allegations were transparently released to divert from the ICJ ruling. The response of multiple Western governments should also be seen as a response to the ICJ.

    In their rules-based international order, it is a violation of international law to apply international law to Israel or Western states.

    South Africa dares to hold Israel accountable for genocide? Let’s see what it thinks when we deliberately intensify hunger and famine in the Gaza Strip.

    I’ll conclude by citing the comment of @sarahleah1, former head of MENA at Human Rights Watch and currently Executive Director of Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN): “It took Blinken about 3 seconds to suspend UNRWA aid based on mere allegations that 12 employees linked to Hamas attack, but despite evidence that IDF has indiscriminately & deliberately massacred tens of thousands of Palestinians – plausibly a genocide ICJ said – zero suspension of military aid”. END

  • Ikone des Widerstands - Rosen für Angela
    https://www.jungewelt.de/artikel/468226.ikone-des-widerstands-rosen-f%C3%BCr-angela.html


    Nous avon raté le quatre vingtième anniversaire d’Angela Davis

    27.1.2024 von Nick Brauns - Am 26. Januar 1971 starten die Freie Deutsche Jugend und die Junge Welt die Kampagne »Eine Million Rosen für Angela Davis« zum 27. Geburtstag der Kommunistin. Die Philosophiedozentin war mit dem konstruierten Vorwurf der Terrorunterstützung inhaftiert worden. Ihr drohte unter Kaliforniens Gouverneur Ronald Reagan die Todesstrafe. Nicht nur aus der DDR trafen körbeweise Postkarten im Gefängnis ein, weltweit kämpften Millionen für die junge Afroamerikanerin. Mit Erfolg. Davis wurde 1972 in allen Anklagepunkten freigesprochen.

    Die erfahrene Solidarität war für ihr politisches Leben ebenso prägend wie die Erfahrung rassistischen Terrors durch den Ku-Klux-Klan und Apartheid in ihrer Kindheit in Alabama. Nach kurzer Mitgliedschaft bei den Black Panthers trat sie 1968 der kommunistischen Partei bei. Anstatt Identitäts- gegen Klassenpolitik zu stellen, zeigte sie in ihrem Buch »Women, Race & Class« (1981) den Zusammenhang zwischen verschiedenen Unterdrückungs- und Ausbeutungsformen auf und plädierte für entsprechende politische Koalitionen.

    Bis heute ist Angela Davis politisch aktiv – etwa gegen das Gefängnissystem, in der »Black Lives Matter«-Bewegung und für die Freiheit von Palästina. Am Freitag ist sie 80 Jahre alt geworden. Junge Welt gratuliert und wünscht noch viele gesunde und kämpferische Jahre.

    #USA #communistes #féminisme

  • Tesla needs graphite. #Alaska has plenty. But mining it raises fears in nearby villages.

    Ducks and swans flew overhead as Sylvester Ayek, 82, and his daughter Kimberly, 35, hauled rocks to anchor their small salmon net on the bank of a deep, tidal channel — 25 miles inland from the open Bering Sea coast.

    Nearby on that July day, MaryJane Litchard, Ayek’s partner, picked wild celery and set out a lunch of past subsistence harvests: a blue-shelled seabird egg, dried beluga whale meat and red salmon dipped in seal oil.

    Then, as they waited for fish to fill the net, the family motored Ayek’s skiff up the channel, known as the Tuksuk, spotting birds and seals and passing family fish camps where drying salmon hung on racks. Soon, the steep channel walls gave way to a huge estuary: the Imuruk Basin, flanked by the snow-dotted peaks of the Kigluaik Mountains.

    Ayek describes the basin as a “traditional hunting and gathering place” for the local Iñupiat, who have long sustained themselves on the area’s bounty of fish, berries and wildlife.

    But despite a long Indigenous history, and a brief settler boom during the Gold Rush more than a century ago, a couple of weather-beaten cabins were the only obvious signs of human impact as Ayek’s boat idled — save for a set of tiny, beige specks at the foot of the mountains.

    Those specks were a camp run by a Canadian exploration company, Graphite One. And they marked the prospective site of a mile-wide open pit mine that could reach deep below the tundra — into the largest known deposit of graphite in the U.S.

    The mine could help power America’s electric vehicle revolution, and it’s drawing enthusiastic support from powerful government officials in both Alaska and Washington, D.C. That includes the Biden administration, which recently announced up to $37.5 million in subsidies for Graphite One through the U.S. Department of Defense.

    So far, the announcements from the project’s politically connected boosters have received far more attention than the several hundred Alaskans whose lives would be affected directly by Graphite One’s mine.

    While opinions in the nearby Alaska Native villages of Brevig Mission and Teller are mixed, there are significant pockets of opposition, particularly among the area’s tribal leaders. Many residents worry the project will harm the subsistence harvests that make life possible in a place where the nearest well-stocked grocery store is a two-hour drive away, in Nome.

    “The further they go with the mine, our subsistence will just move further and further away from us,” Gilbert Tocktoo, president of Brevig Mission’s tribal government, said over a dinner of boiled salmon at his home. “And sooner or later, it’s going to become a question of: Do I want to live here anymore?”

    Despite those concerns, Graphite One is gathering local support: Earlier this month, the board of the region’s Indigenous-owned, for-profit corporation unanimously endorsed the project.

    The Nome-based corporation, Bering Straits Native Corp., also agreed to invest $2 million in Graphite One, in return for commitments related to jobs and scholarships for shareholders.

    The tensions surrounding Graphite One’s project underscore how the rush to bolster domestic manufacturing of electric vehicles threatens a new round of disruption to tribal communities and landscapes that have already borne huge costs from past mining booms.

    Across the American West, companies are vying to extract the minerals needed to power electric vehicles and other green technologies. Proposed mines for lithium, antimony and copper are chasing some of the same generous federal tax credits as Graphite One — and some are advancing in spite of objections from Indigenous people who have already seen their lands taken and resources diminished over more than a century of mining.

    The Seward Peninsula’s history is a case in point: Thousands of non-Native prospectors came here during the Gold Rush, which began in 1898. The era brought devastating bouts of pandemic disease and displacement for the Iñupiat, and today, that history weighs on some as they consider how Graphite One could affect their lives.

    “A lot of people like to say that our culture is lost. But we didn’t just go out there and lose it: It was taken from us,” said Taluvaaq Qiñuġana, a 24-year-old Iñupiaq resident of Brevig Mission. A new mining project in her people’s traditional harvesting grounds, she said, “feels like continuous colonization.”

    But other Indigenous residents of Brevig Mission and Teller say the villages would benefit from well-paying jobs that could come with the mine. Cash income could help people sustain their households in the two communities, where full-time work is otherwise scarce.

    Graphite One executives say one of their highest priorities, as they advance their project toward permitting and construction, is protecting village residents’ harvests of fish, wildlife and berries. They say they fully appreciate the essential nature of that food supply.

    “This is very real to them,” said Mike Schaffner, Graphite One’s senior vice president of mining. “We completely understand that we can’t come in there and hurt the subsistence, and we can’t hurt how their lifestyle is.”

    U.S. produces no domestic graphite

    Graphite is simply carbon — like a diamond but far softer, because of its different crystal structure. Graphite is used as a lubricant, in industrial steelmaking, for brake linings in automobiles and as pencil lead.

    It’s also a key component of the high-powered lithium batteries that propel electric cars.

    Once mined and concentrated, graphite is processed into a powder that’s mixed with a binder, then rolled flat and curled into the hundreds of AA-battery-sized cylinders that make up the battery pack.

    America hasn’t mined any graphite in decades, having been undercut by countries where it’s extracted at a lower cost.

    China currently produces more than half of the world’s mined graphite and nearly all of the highly processed type needed for batteries. The country so dominates the supply chain that global prices typically rise each winter when cold temperatures force a single region, Heilongjiang, to shut down production, said Tony Alderson, an analyst at a price tracking firm called Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

    Some forecasts say graphite demand, driven by growth in electric vehicles, could rise 25-fold by 2040. Amid growing U.S.-China political tensions, supply chain experts have warned about the need to diversify America’s sources of graphite.

    Last year’s climate-focused Inflation Reduction Act, written in part to wrest control of electric vehicle manufacturing from China, is accelerating that search.

    For new electric cars to qualify for a $3,750 tax credit under the act, at least 40% of the value of the “critical minerals” that go into their batteries must be extracted or processed domestically, or in countries such as Canada or Mexico that have free-trade agreements with the United States.

    That fraction rises to 80% in four years.

    Graphite One is one of just three companies currently advancing graphite mining projects in the United States, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. And company officials are already marketing their graphite to global electric vehicle makers.

    But when they presented their preliminary plans to Tesla, “they said, ‘That’s great, we are interested in buying them, but we would need to write 40 contracts of this size to meet our need,’” Schaffner, the Graphite One vice president, said at a community meeting this year, according to the Nome Nugget.

    In response, Graphite One is now studying a mine that could be substantially larger than its original proposal.

    It’s too early to know how, exactly, the mine’s construction could affect the surrounding watershed. One reason is that the level of risk it poses is linked to its size, and Graphite One has not yet determined how big its project will be.

    While graphite itself is nontoxic and inert, the company also hasn’t finished studying the acid-generating potential of the rock that its mine could expose — another key indicator of the project’s level of risk. Stronger acid is more likely to release toxic metals into water that Graphite One would have to contain and treat before releasing back into the environment.

    One fish biologist in the region has also said he fears the mine’s construction could negatively affect streams flowing out of the Kigluaik Mountains, though Graphite One officials disagree. The streams’ cool water, according to Charlie Lean, keeps temperatures in the shallow Imuruk Basin low enough to sustain spawning salmon — a critical source of abundant, healthy food for Brevig Mission and Teller residents.

    Graphite One plans to store its waste rock and depleted ore in what’s known as a “dry stack,” on top of the ground — rather than in a pond behind a dam, a common industry practice that can risk a major breach if the dam fails.

    But experts say smaller-scale spills or leaks from the mine could still drain into the basin and harm fish and wildlife.

    “There is always a possibility for some sort of catastrophic failure. But that doesn’t happen very often,” said Dave Chambers, president of the nonprofit Center for Science in Public Participation, which advises advocacy and tribal groups across the country on mining and water quality. “There’s also a possibility there will be no impact. That doesn’t happen very often, either.”

    Anthony Huston, Graphite One’s chief executive, said his project will incorporate local knowledge and protect residents’ subsistence harvests.

    “We are completely focused on making sure that we create a stronger economy, and the entire Bering Straits region, and all of Alaska, for that matter. And that’s something that this project will bring,” he said in an interview. “But it will never bring it at the expense of the traditional lifestyle of Alaska Native people.

    A way of life at stake

    There are no Teslas in Brevig Mission or Teller, the two Alaska Native villages closest to the proposed mine.

    To get to the communities from the nearest American Tesla dealership, you’d first board a jet in Seattle. Then, you’d fly 1,400 miles to Anchorage, where you’d climb on to another jet and fly 500 more miles northwest to Nome, the former Gold Rush town known as the finish line of the Iditarod sled dog race.

    A 70-mile gravel road winds northwest through tundra and mountains before dipping back down to a narrow spit on the Bering Sea coast. The road ends in Teller, population 235, where most residents lack in-home plumbing — let alone own electric cars.

    If you need a bathroom here, you’ll use what’s known as a honey bucket.

    Brevig Mission, population 435, is even more remote than Teller. It sits across a narrow strait and is accessible only by boat or plane.

    The region’s Indigenous history is memorialized in the 1973 book “People of Kauwerak,” written by local elder William Oquilluk. It documents the founding of Kauwerak, an Iñupiaq village by a sandbar near the Imuruk Basin’s innermost reaches.

    The area was chosen, according to the book, for the same reasons it’s treasured now: abundant fish and birds, berries and moose, even beluga whales. Kauwerak became one of the Seward Peninsula’s largest villages before it was abandoned in the 19th century, as residents left for jobs and schools.

    Whalers, then gold miners, brought profound changes to the Indigenous way of life on the Seward Peninsula, especially through the introduction of pandemic diseases. One outbreak of measles and flu, in 1900, is thought to have killed up to one-third of residents in one of the region’s villages. In Brevig Mission, 72 of 80 Native residents died from the 1918 Spanish flu.

    Today, the miners and whalers are gone. In Teller, the population of 250 is 99% Alaska Native.

    Four in 10 residents there live below the poverty level, and a typical household, with an average of three people, survives on just $32,000 a year, according to census data.

    At the community’s main store, the shelves are completely barren of fresh fruits and vegetables. A box of Corn Chex costs $9.55, and a bottle of Coffee-Mate runs $11.85 — more than twice the Anchorage price.

    Residents can buy cheaper groceries in Nome. But gas for the 70-mile drive costs $6.30 a gallon, down from $7 in July.

    The high cost of goods combined with the few available jobs helps explain why some Teller and Brevig Mission residents are open to Graphite One’s planned mine, and the cash income it could generate.

    As Ayek, the 82-year-old subsistence fisherman, pulled his skiff back into Teller with a cooler of fish, another man was slicing fresh sides of salmon a little ways down the beach.

    Nick Topkok, 56, has worked as a contractor for Graphite One, taking workers out in his boat. As he hung his fish to dry on a wood rack, he said few people in the area can find steady jobs.

    “The rest are living off welfare,” Topkok said. The mine, he said, would generate money for decades, and it also might help get the village water and sewer systems.

    “I’ll be dead by then, but it’ll impact my kids, financially,” he said. “If it’s good and clean, so be it.”

    Topkok also acknowledged, however, that a catastrophic accident would “impact us all.”

    Many village residents’ summer fishing camps sit along the Tuksuk Channel, below the mine site. Harvests from the basin and its surroundings feed families in Brevig Mission and Teller year-round.

    “It’s my freezer,” said Dolly Kugzruk, president of Teller’s tribal government and an opponent of the mine.

    Researchers have found all five species of Pacific salmon in and around the Imuruk Basin. Harvests in the area have hit 20,000 fish in some years — roughly 30 per fishing family, according to state data.

    At a legislative hearing several years ago on a proposal to support Graphite One’s project, one Teller resident, Tanya Ablowaluk, neatly summed up opponents’ fears: “Will the state keep our freezers full in the event of a spill?”

    Gold Rush prospector’s descendants would reap royalties

    Elsewhere in rural Alaska, Indigenous people have consented to resource extraction on their ancestral lands on the basis of compromise: They accept environmental risks in exchange for a direct stake in the profits.

    Two hundred miles north of the Imuruk Basin, zinc and lead unearthed at Red Dog Mine have generated more than $1 billion in royalties for local Native residents and their descendants, including $172 million last year. On the North Slope, the regional Iñupiat-owned corporation receives oil worth tens of millions of dollars a year from developments on its traditional land.

    The new Manh Choh mine in Alaska’s Interior will also pay royalties to Native landowners, as would the proposed Donlin mine in Southwest Alaska.

    No such royalties would go to the Iñupiaq residents of Brevig Mission and Teller, based on the way Graphite One’s project is currently structured.

    The proposed mine sits exclusively on state land. And Graphite One would pay royalties to the descendants of a Gold Rush-era prospector — a legacy of the not-so-distant American past when white settlers could freely claim land and resources that had been used for thousands of years by Indigenous people.

    Nicholas Tweet was a 23-year-old fortune seeker when he left Minnesota for Alaska in the late 1800s. His quest for gold, over several years, took him hiking over mountain ranges, floating down the Yukon River by steamboat, walking hundreds miles across beaches and, finally, rowing more than 100 miles from Nome in a boat he built himself.

    Tweet settled in Teller with his family, initially prospecting for gold.

    As graphite demand spiked during World War I, Tweet staked claims along the Kigluaik Mountains, and he worked with a company that shipped the mineral to San Francisco until the war ended and demand dried up.

    Today, Tweet’s descendants are still in the mining business on the Seward Peninsula. And they still controlled graphite claims in the area a little more than a decade ago. That’s when Huston, a Vancouver entrepreneur, was drawn into the global graphite trade through his interest in Tesla and his own graphite-based golf clubs.

    News of a possible deal with Huston’s company arrived at one of the Tweets’ remote mining operations via a note dropped by a bush plane. They reached an agreement after months of discussions — sometimes, according to Huston, with 16 relatives in the room.

    So far, the Tweet family, whose members did not respond to requests for comment, has received $370,000 in lease fees. If the project is built, the family would receive additional payments tied to the value of graphite mined by Graphite One, and members could ultimately collect millions of dollars.

    Bering Straits Native Corp., owned by more than 8,000 Indigenous shareholders with ties to the region, recently acquired a stake Graphite One’s project — but only by buying its way in.

    The company announced its $2 million investment this month. The deal includes commitments by Graphite One to support scholarships, hire Bering Straits’ shareholders and give opportunities to the Native-owned corporation’s subsidiary companies, according to Dan Graham, Bering Straits’ interim chief executive. He declined to release details, saying they have not yet been finalized.

    As it considered the investment, Bering Straits board members held meetings with Brevig Mission and Teller residents, where they heard “a lot of concerns,” Graham said. Those concerns “were very well thought through at the board level” before the corporation offered its support for the project, he added.

    “Graphite One is very committed to employing local workers from those villages, to being as transparent as possible on what the development is,” Graham said.

    Graphite One officials say they have work to do to ensure the region’s residents are trained for mining jobs in time for the start of construction. The company had a maximum of 71 people working at its camp this summer, but Graphite One and its contractors hired just eight people from Teller and Brevig Mission. Sixteen more were from Nome and other villages in the region, according to Graphite One.

    Company officials say they have no choice but to develop a local workforce. Because of graphite’s relatively low value in raw form, compared to gold or copper, they say the company can’t afford to fly workers in from outside the region.

    Graphite One says it’s also taking direction from members of a committee of local residents it’s appointed to provide advice on environmental issues. In response to the committee’s feedback, the company chose not to barge its fuel through the Imuruk Basin earlier this year; instead, it flew it in, at an added cost of $4 a gallon.

    Since Graphite One acquired the Tweets’ graphite claims, progress on the development has been slow. But now, escalating tensions with China and the national push to Americanize the electric vehicle supply chain are putting Huston’s project on the political fast track.

    ‘We don’t have a choice’

    In July, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski boarded a helicopter in Nome and flew to Graphite One’s remote exploration camp overlooking the Imuruk Basin.

    A few days later, the Alaska Republican stood on the Senate floor and brandished what she described as a hunk of graphite from an “absolutely massive,” world-class deposit.

    “After my site visit there on Saturday, I’m convinced that this is a project that every one of us — those of us here in the Congress, the Biden administration — all of us need to support,” she said. “This project will give us a significant domestic supply, breaking our wholesale dependence on imports.”

    U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, and GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy have all expressed support for the project.

    Graphite One has enlisted consultants and lobbyists to advance its interests, according to disclosure filings and emails obtained through public records requests.

    They include Clark Penney, an Anchorage-based consultant and financial advisor with ties to the Dunleavy administration, and Nate Adams, a former employee of Murkowski and Sullivan who’s worked as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C.

    Murkowski has said the mine will reduce dependence on foreign countries that lack America’s environmental and human rights safeguards.

    “Security of supply would be assured from day one, and the standards for the mine’s development and operation would be both exceedingly high and fully transparent,” Murkowski wrote in a letter to the Biden administration in 2022.

    The Defense Department, meanwhile, announced its grant of up to $37.5 million for Graphite One in July. This month, the company also announced it had received a $4.7 million Defense Department contract to develop a graphite-based firefighting foam.

    In a statement, a department spokesman said the July agreement “aims to strengthen the domestic industrial base to make a secure, U.S.-based supply of graphite available for both Department of Defense and consumer markets.”

    In Teller and Brevig Mission, Graphite One’s opponents have noticed how the electrical vehicle transition seems to be driving interest in the mine planned for nearby.

    As the project gathers outside political support, some village residents said that local attitudes have been shifting, too, in response to the company’s offers of jobs and perks.

    Tocktoo, the chief of Brevig Mission’s tribal council, said resistance in his community has diminished as Graphite One “tries to buy their way in.”

    The company awards door prizes at meetings and distributes free turkeys, he said. Two years ago, the company gave each household in Brevig Mission and Teller a $50 credit on their electrical bills.

    The project, though, remains years away from construction, with production starting no earlier than 2029.

    Before it can be built, Graphite One will have to obtain an array of permits, including a major authorization under the federal Clean Water Act that will allow it to do construction around wetlands.

    And the project also faces geopolitical and economic uncertainties.

    At least last year, Graphite One was tight on cash. It had to slightly shorten its summer exploration season because it didn’t have the money to finish it, company officials said at a public meeting this year.

    And while Graphite One is counting on a partnership with a Chinese business to help set up its graphite processing and manufacturing infrastructure, the partner company’s top executive has said publicly that U.S.-China political tensions may thwart the transfer of necessary technologies.

    Murkowski, in an interview at the Nome airport on her way home from her visit to Graphite One’s camp, stressed that the project is still in its very early stages.

    The permitting process and the substantial environmental reviews that will accompany it, she added, will give concerned residents a chance to pose questions and raise objections.

    “There’s no process right now for the public to weigh in. And it’s all so preliminary,” she said. “When you don’t know, the default position is, ‘I don’t think this should happen.’”

    But opponents of the project in Brevig Mission and Teller say they fear their objections won’t be heard. Lucy Oquilluk, head of a Teller-based tribal government, said she feels a sense of inevitability.

    “It just feels like we have nothing to say about it. We don’t have a choice,” Oquilluk said. “They’re going to do it anyways, no matter what we say.”

    https://alaskapublic.org/2023/09/29/tesla-needs-graphite-alaska-has-plenty-but-mining-it-raises-fears-in-n

    #Tesla #graphite #extractivisme #terres_rares #voitures_électriques #mines #peuples_autochtones #USA #Etats-Unis #Canada #Graphite_One #Brevig_Mission #Teller

  • Trump the Terminator?
    https://tomdispatch.com/trump-the-terminator

    14.1.2024 by Alfred McCoy - How His Second Presidency Could Signal the End of American Global Power

    With recent polls giving Donald Trump a reasonable chance of defeating President Biden in the November elections, commentators have begun predicting what his second presidency might mean for domestic politics. In a dismally detailed Washington Post analysis, historian Robert Kagan argued that a second Trump term would feature his “deep thirst for vengeance” against what the ex-president has called the “radical Left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our Country,” thereby launching what Kagan calls “a regime of political persecution” leading to “an irreversible descent into dictatorship.”

    So far, however, Trump and the media that follow his every word have been largely silent about what his reelection would mean for U.S. foreign policy. Citing his recent promise of “a four-year plan to phase out all Chinese imports of essential goods,” the New York Times did recently conclude that a renewed trade war with China “would significantly disrupt the U.S. economy,” leading to a loss of 744,000 jobs and $1.6 trillion in gross domestic product. Economic relations with China are, however, but one piece of a far larger puzzle when it comes to future American global power, a subject on which media reporting and commentary have been surprisingly reticent.

    So let me take the plunge by starting with a prediction I made in a December 2010 TomDispatch piece that “the demise of the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagines.” I added then that a “realistic assessment of domestic and global trends suggests that in 2025, just 15 years from now, it could be all over except for the shouting.”

    I also offered a scenario hinged on — yes! — next November’s elections. “Riding a political tide of disillusionment and despair,” I wrote then, “a far-right patriot captures the presidency with thundering rhetoric, demanding respect for American authority and threatening military retaliation or economic reprisal. The world pays next to no attention as the American Century ends in silence.”

    Back then, of course, 2025 was so far off that any prediction should have been a safe bet. After all, 15 years ago, I was already in my mid-60s, which should have given me a “get-out-of-jail-free” card — that is, a reasonable chance of dying before I could be held accountable. But with 2025 now less than a year away, I’m still here (unlike all too many of my old friends) and still responsible for that prediction.

    So, let’s imagine that “a far-right patriot,” one Donald Trump, does indeed “capture the presidency with thundering rhetoric” next November. Let me then don the seven-league boots of the historical imagination and, drawing on Trump’s previous presidential record, offer some thoughts about how his second shot at an America-first foreign policy — one based on “demanding respect for American authority” — might affect this country’s global power, already distinctly on the decline.

    As our Lonely Planet Guide to a country called the future, let’s take along a classic study former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote in retirement in 1997. Drawing on his view that Eurasia remained the “central basis for global primacy,” he argued that Washington had to do just three things to maintain world leadership: first, preserve its position in Western Europe through the NATO alliance; second, maintain its military bases along the Pacific littoral to check China; and finally, prevent any “assertive single entity” like China or Russia from controlling the critical “middle space” of Central Asia and the Middle East. Given his past record and current statements, it seems all too likely that Trump will indeed badly damage, if not destroy, those very pillars of American global power.

    Wrecking the NATO Alliance

    Trump’s hostility to alliances in general and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in particular is a matter of historical record. His hostility to NATO’s crucial mutual-defense clause (Article 5) — requiring all signatories to respond if one were attacked — could prove fatal. Just days after his 2018 sycophantic summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Fox News host Tucker Carlson asked Trump, “Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?”

    Weighing his words with uncharacteristic care, Trump replied: “I understand what you’re saying. I’ve asked the same question.” He then offered what could, in a second term, prove a virtual death sentence for NATO. “Montenegro,” he said, “is a tiny country with very strong people…They’re very aggressive people. They may get aggressive, and congratulations, you’re in World War Three.”

    Since then, of course, Putin has invaded Ukraine and the Biden White House has rallied NATO to defend that frontline European state. Although Congress approved a massive $111 billion in aid (including $67 billion in military aid) for Ukraine in the war’s first 18 months, the Republican-led House has recently stalled President Biden’s request for an additional $67 billion critical to Kyiv’s continued resistance. As the campaign for his party’s nomination gathers momentum, Trump’s pro-Putin sentiments have helped persuade Republican legislators to break with our NATO allies on this critical issue.

    Keep in mind that, right after Russia invaded in February 2022, Trump labeled Putin’s move “genius,” adding, “I mean, he’s taking over a country for $2 worth of sanctions. I’d say that’s pretty smart.” Last September, after Putin thanked him for claiming that, were he still president, he could end the war in 24 hours, Trump assured Meet the Press: “I would get him into a room. I’d get Zelensky into a room. Then I’d bring them together. And I’d have a deal worked out.”

    In reality, a reelected Trump would undoubtedly simply abandon Ukraine, at best forcing it into negotiations that would be tantamount to surrender. As formerly neutral nations Finland and Sweden have rallied to NATO and alliance stalwarts like Britain and Germany make major arms deliveries to Ukraine, Europe has clearly labeled Russia’s invasion and war an existential threat. Under such circumstances, a future Trump tilt toward Putin could swing a wrecking ball through the NATO alliance, which, for the past 75 years, has served as a singular pillar in the architecture of U.S. global power.

    Alienating Allies on the Pacific Littoral

    Just as NATO has long served as a strategic pillar at the western end of the vast Eurasian land mass, so four bilateral alliances along the Pacific littoral from Japan to the Philippines have proven a geopolitical fulcrum for dominance over the eastern end of Eurasia and the defense of North America. Here, the record of the first Trump administration was, at best, mixed. On the credit side of history’s ledger, he did revive “the Quad,” a loose alliance with Australia, India, and Japan, which has gained greater coherence under President Biden.

    But only time spared Trump’s overall Asian diplomacy from utter disaster. His obsessive personal courtship of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, marked by two meaningless meetings and the exchange of 27 mash notes, failed to produce any sign of Pyongyang’s (nuclear) disarmament, while weakening America’s alliance with long-standing ally South Korea. Although Japan’s prime minister obsequiously paid court to Trump, he battered that classic bilateral alliance with constant complaints about its cost, even slapping a punitive 25% duty on Japanese steel imports.

    Ignoring the pleas of close Asian allies, Trump also cancelled the Trans-Pacific Partnership, leaving the door open for China to conclude its own Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership with 15 Asia-Pacific countries that now account for nearly a third of Beijing’s foreign trade. Another four years of Trump’s “America first” diplomacy in the Pacific could do irreparable damage to those key strategic alliances.

    Further south, by using Taiwan to both confront and court Chinese President Xi Jinping, while letting the Philippines drift toward Beijing’s orbit and launching a misbegotten trade war with China, Trump’s version of Asian “diplomacy” allowed Beijing to make some real diplomatic, economic, and military gains, while distinctly weakening the American position in the region. Biden, by contrast, has at least partially restored it, a strengthening reflected in a surprisingly amicable San Francisco summit last November with President Xi.

    In South Asia, where the bitter rivalry between India and Pakistan dominates all diplomacy, President Trump trashed a 70-year military alliance with Pakistan with a single New Year’s Day message. “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years,” Trump tweeted, “and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools… No more!” Since then, Pakistan has shifted decisively into Beijing’s orbit, while India now plays Moscow and Washington off against each other to its economic advantage.

    Just as Trump’s posture toward Europe could swing a wrecking ball through the NATO alliance in a second term, so his mix of economic nationalism and strategic myopia could destabilize the array of alliances along the Pacific littoral, toppling that second of Brzezinski’s three pillars for American global power.

    That “Assertive Single Entity” in Central Asia

    And when it comes to that third pillar of U.S. global power –- preventing any “assertive single entity” from controlling the “middle space” of Eurasia — President Trump failed woefully (as, in fact, had his predecessors). After announcing China’s trillion-dollar Belt & Road Initiative in 2013, President Xi has spent billions building a steel grid of roads, rails, and pipelines that crisscross the middle space of that vast Eurasian landmass, an enormous new infrastructure that has led to a chain of alliances stretching across central Asia.

    The power of China’s position was manifested in 2021 when Beijing helped push the U.S. military out of Afghanistan in a deft geopolitical squeeze-play. More recently, Beijing also brokered a breathtaking diplomatic entente between Shi’a Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia, stunning Washington and many Western diplomats.

    Trump’s Middle East policy during his first term in office was focused solely on backing Israel’s right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, cancelling a nuclear agreement with Iran, seconding his marginalization of the Palestinians, and promoting Arab recognition of Israel. Since the Hamas terrorist attack of October 7th and Netanyahu’s devastating assault on Gaza’s civilian population, President Biden’s reaction was skewed in an almost Trumpian fashion toward Israel, with a consequent loss of influence in the wider region. And count on one thing: an incoming Trump administration would only compound the damage.

    In short, Beijing is already toppling the third pillar of American global power in that critical “middle space” of Eurasia. In a second Trump term, an unchecked Chinese diplomatic and economic juggernaut could arguably grind that pillar into rubble.

    Africa in the “World Island”

    In fact, however, no matter what Brzezinski might have thought, there are other pillars of world power beyond Eurasia — above all, Africa. Indeed, Sir Halford Mackinder, the author of the global geopolitical analysis that deeply influenced the former national security adviser, argued over a century ago that the locus of global power lay in a tri-continental combination of Europe, Asia, and Africa that he dubbed “the world island.”

    In the age of high imperialism, Europe found Africa a fertile field for colonial exploitation and, during the Cold War, Washington added to that continent’s suffering by making it a superpower surrogate battleground. But Beijing grasped the human potential of Africa and, in the 1970s, began building lasting economic alliances with its emerging nations. By 2015, its trade with Africa had climbed to $222 billion, three times America’s. Its investments there were then projected to reach a trillion dollars by 2025.

    Recognizing the strategic threat, President Barack Obama convened a 2014 summit with 51 African leaders at the White House. Trump, however, dismissed the entire continent, during a 2018 Oval Office meeting, as so many “shithole countries.” The Trump administration tried to repair the damage by sending First Lady Melania off on a solo trip to Africa, but her bizarre colonial outfits and ill-timed administration cuts in foreign aid to the continent only added to the damage.

    In addition to a storehouse of natural resources, Africa’s chief asset is its growing pool of human talent. Africa’s median age is 19 (compared to 38 for both China and the U.S.), meaning that, by 2050, that continent will be home to a full one-third of the world’s young. Given his fraught record with the region, Trump’s second term would likely do little more than hand the whole continent to China on a gold-plated platter.

    South of the Border

    Even in Latin America, the situation has been changing in a complex fashion. As a region informally incorporated into the American imperium for more than a century and suffering all the slights of an asymmetric alliance, its increasingly nationalist leaders welcomed China’s interest in this century. By 2017, in fact, Chinese trade with Latin America had hit a substantial $244 billion, making it — yes! — the region’s largest trading partner. Simultaneously, Beijing’s loans to Caribbean countries had reached a hefty $62 billion by the end of the Trump administration.

    Except for drug interdiction and economic sanctions against leftist regimes in Cuba and Venezuela, the Trump White House generally ignored Latin America, doing nothing to slow China’s commercial juggernaut. Although the Biden administration made some diplomatic gestures toward the region, China’s trade rose relentlessly to $450 billion by 2022.

    Reflecting a bipartisan indifference in this century, a reelected President Trump would likely do little to check China’s growing commercial hegemony over Latin America. And the region would undoubtedly welcome such indifference, since the alternative — along with draconian moves at the U.S.-Mexican border — might involve plans to fire missiles at or send troops to knock out drug labs in Mexico. The backlash to such unilateral intervention amid panic over immigration could cripple U.S. relations with the region for decades to come.

    Fading American Hegemony

    In the world that a second Trump term might face in 2025, American global power will probably be far less imposing than it was when he came into office in 2016. The problem won’t be that this time around he’s already appointing advisers determined to let Trump be Trump or, as the New York Times put it recently, who are “forging plans for an even more extreme agenda than his first term.” By every significant metric — economic, diplomatic, and even military — U.S. power has been on a downward slide for at least a decade. In the more unipolar world of 2016, Trump’s impulsive, individualized version of diplomacy was often deeply damaging, but on at least a small number of occasions modestly successful. In the more multipolar world he would have to manage nearly a decade later, his version of a unilateral approach could prove deeply disastrous.

    After taking his second oath of office in January of 2025, President Trump’s “thundering rhetoric, demanding respect for American authority and threatening military retaliation or economic reprisal,” might indeed fulfill the prediction I made some 15 years ago: “The world pays next to no attention as the American Century ends in silence.”

    #USA #impérialisme

  • Spannungen zwischen Nato-Staaten und China : Analyse einer zunehmenden Rivalität
    https://www.telepolis.de/features/Spannungen-zwischen-Nato-Staaten-und-China-Analyse-einer-zunehmenden-Rival

    Dans une série d’articles bien documentés Norman Paech vérifie le bien fondé des accusations de génocide contre la Chine. Il confirme l’impression que j’ai depuis le début : Il y a sans doute beaucoup de pratiques du pouvoir chinois qu’on peut critiquer dans le détail, mais les reproches d’actes et de volonté génocidaires contre la Chine sont des fabrications des milieux islamistes et anticommunistes états-uniens, allemands et ouïgours.

    17.1.2024 - China gewinnt an Bedeutung, doch auch der Widerstand wächst. Vorwürfe vor allem aus Nato-Staaten. Wie sich der Konflikt auswirkt. Eine Analyse in drei Teilen. (Teil 1)

    Völkerrechtliche Perspektiven auf die Situation der Uiguren in China
    https://www.telepolis.de/features/Voelkerrechtliche-Perspektiven-auf-die-Situation-der-Uiguren-in-China-9600

    20.1.2024 - UN-Hochkommissariat sieht Menschenrechtslage in Xinjiang kritisch. Chinas Vorgehen stehen zur Debatte. Was sagen Völkerrecht und UNO? Eine Analyse in drei Teilen. (Teil 2)

    China und Xinjiang : Anschuldigungen wegen Völkermordes im Realitätscheck
    https://www.telepolis.de/features/China-und-Xinjiang-Anschuldigungen-wegen-Voelkermordes-im-Realitaetscheck-

    21.1.2024 - Überwachungsapparat in Xinjiang. Leben der Uiguren tiefgreifend verändert. Wird aber die uigurische Kultur zerstört? Eine Analyse in drei Teilen. (Teil 3 und Schluss)

    #USA #Chine #minorités_nationales #terrorisme #islamisme #impérialusme #génocide

    • You’re welcome, @kassem. J’avais vu la publication. Que tu la signale m’a donné l’occasion de trouver et lire l’article. Ce qui n’a pas été sans désagrément.

      à l’est de Detroit, une autre enclave de la communauté arabe et une tout autre ambiance : Hamtramck, vingt-deux mille habitants et 40 % de la population née à l’étranger. Les courants migratoires viennent désormais essentiellement du #Yémen, où se déroule depuis des années une guerre civile dans laquelle les Etats-Unis ont longtemps apporté leur soutien à la coalition sunnite menée par l’Arabie saoudite. Et, comme à chaque fois, une guerre lointaine dépose un flot de #réfugiés pauvres sur les porches des petites maisons ouvrières américaines construites pour d’autres migrants, au début du XXe siècle.

      Le visage et le corps des femmes disparaissent sous le voile et la robe islamique, celui des hommes reste fermé, tandis que leurs enfants affichent un sourire inversement ­proportionnel à la discrétion de leurs parents. Ils ont défilé en famille dans les rues de Hamtramck pour un cessez-le-feu à #Gaza et pour la #Palestine. La petite ville, naguère majoritairement polonaise, a longtemps connu au sein de son conseil municipal la mixité des origines et des religions, sous la houlette d’une femme, Karen Majewski. La maire avait autorisé, il y a vingt ans déjà, les appels à la prière musulmane, puisque sonnent ici les cloches de l’église catholique.

      Mais, depuis les dernières élections locales, le conseil municipal est désormais exclusivement arabe, musulman et masculin. Et l’ambiance a radicalement changé. « Est-ce que l’Holocauste n’était pas une punition préventive de Dieu contre “le peuple élu” et sa sauvagerie actuelle contre les enfants et les civils palestiniens ? », a écrit Nasr Hussain, un proche du maire sur l’une des pages Facebook d’un groupe dédié à la ville. L’édile, Amer Ghalib, d’origine yéménite et sans étiquette politique, a refusé de se désolidariser de ces propos ouvertement antisémites.

      Une immense brèche s’était déjà ouverte, il y a six mois, quand le conseil municipal avait fait retirer du fronton des édifices publics et sur l’avenue centrale tous les drapeaux autres que celui des Etats-Unis. C’était en réalité pour éradiquer l’arc-en-ciel LGBTQ qui flottait dans la ville, parmi les bannières des pays d’origine de ses habitants. Des membres des minorités sexuelles sont venus s’embrasser sous les yeux horrifiés des élus, lors du temps de parole accordé au public par le conseil municipal.

      Des haines à géométrie variable

      Des plaintes pour discrimination ont été déposées contre la ville. Ce qui n’a pas empêché le maire, comme un immense bras d’honneur, de poser, en août et en septembre, avec l’ancien conseiller à la sécurité de Donald Trump Michael Flynn. Ce républicain congédié par l’ancien président (qui l’a depuis publiquement regretté) pour ses liens avec la Russie en 2017, connu également pour sa proximité avec le groupe conspirationniste d’extrême droite QAnon, est aujourd’hui en tournée aux Etats-Unis pour lancer un mouvement chrétien et nationaliste. En d’autres temps, il dénonçait l’islam comme un « cancer vicieux », mais la politique a des frontières et des haines à géométrie variable. Et les religieux, des ennemis en commun.

      Mais c’est sur l’autre versant que pleuvent les accusations d’antisémitisme. (...)

      https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabes_américains

  • Der Tod eines US-amerikanischen Bloggers im ukrainischen Gefängnis und die Doppelmoral
    https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=109594

    En temps de guerre tous les états ressemblent aux régimes fascistes. L’Ukraine ne fait pas exception de cette règle. Un blogeur états-unien en est mort. Dans nos pays si démocratiques une situation comparable est en train de se préparer. Il nous reste encore un peu de temps pour défendre nos libertés. Comment faire ? C’est simple : il ne faut jamais se taire.

    17.1.2024 von Gábor Stier - Der US-amerikanische Journalist Gonzalo Lira ist in einem ukrainischen Gefängnis gestorben. Sein „Verbrechen“ bestand darin, dass er mit der Politik der Ukraine und der Vereinigten Staaten nicht einverstanden war. Washington hat keinen Finger gerührt, um ihn zu befreien, obwohl es hätte es tun können. Der Fall lässt daran zweifeln, wie aufrichtig die Empörung und die Besorgnis des Weißen Hauses über die russischen Gesetze ist, die diejenigen betreffen, die sich gegen den Krieg und die Verhaftung von US-Journalisten in Russland aussprechen. Von Gábor Stier, Übersetzung von Éva Péli.

    „In fast keinem Punkt stimmte ich mit ihm überein, aber er hätte nicht in einem ukrainischen Gefängnis sterben sollen!“, schrieb Kit Klarenberg von The Grayzone, als er die Nachricht von Gonzalo Liras Tod auf X verkündete. Über den Tod des 55-jährigen chilenisch-US-amerikanischen Bloggers und Journalisten mit doppelter Staatsbürgerschaft war auch Tucker Carlson schockiert, der ebenfalls als einer der Ersten darüber berichtete und das Weiße Haus der Komplizenschaft bei der Inhaftierung und Folterung von Lira beschuldigte. Der bekannte US-amerikanische Fernsehjournalist sprach mit dem Vater von Gonzalo Lira, der sich über die Geschehnisse empörte: „Ich kann nicht akzeptieren, wie mein Sohn gestorben ist. Er wurde gefoltert, erpresst, monatelang festgehalten und die US-Botschaft hat nichts für ihn getan. Diktator Selenskyj ist für diese Tragödie verantwortlich, mit dem Einverständnis des senilen US-Präsidenten Joe Biden.“

    Das US-Außenministerium bestätigte den Tod von Gonzalo Lira, weitere Auskünfte wurden unter Berufung auf die Interessen der Familie des Verstorbenen verweigert. Auch Elon Musk, der noch Ende des Jahres die Freilassung von Gonzalo Lira forderte, schrieb dazu auf X:

    „Das ist absolut gegen das Gesetz“, und kommentierte damit einen Artikel des US-Unternehmers David Sacks. Sacks wies darauf hin, dass die Biden-Regierung Lira mit einem Telefonanruf hätte zurückholen können, aber sie blieb untätig. Die ukrainische Regierung wusste also, dass sie ungestraft handeln konnte. Auch der Sohn von Donald Trump kommentierte die Todesnachricht des Journalisten und merkte sarkastisch an, man warte vergeblich darauf, dass sich die US-amerikanischen Medien empören.

    Wenn die Empörung ausbleibt

    Im Gegensatz zu früheren ähnlichen Fällen in Russland sind dieses Mal weder die westlichen Mainstream-Medien noch die westlichen Politiker wirklich empört. Natürlich wurde der Fall inmitten des Informationskriegs sofort von der russischen Presse und Politik aufgegriffen. Der Tod des Journalisten wurde vom russischen UN-Diplomaten Dmitri Poljanskij als ein schreckliches Verbrechen bezeichnet.

    Gonzalo Angel Quintilio Lira Lopez wurde in den Vereinigten Staaten geboren und besitzt auch die chilenische Staatsbürgerschaft. In Videos, die er in den sozialen Medien veröffentlichte, kritisierte er die NATO, die Regierung von US-Präsident Joe Biden und Wolodymyr Selenskyj. Außerdem bezeichnete er den Krieg als einen Krieg zwischen den USA und Russland. Der 55-jährige Lira lebte früher in Charkow und bloggte unter dem Namen „CoachRedPill“. Nach der Eskalation des Konflikts mit Russland im Februar 2022 wechselte er zu YouTube-Videos. Sein Kanal hatte mehr als 140.000 Follower. Im Mai 2023 wurde er von dem ukrainischen Sicherheitsdienst (SBU) verhaftet und beschuldigt, die ukrainische Führung und Armee diskreditiert zu haben.

    Der Blogger tauchte Ende Juli mit einer Reihe von Beiträgen auf X wieder auf. Darin enthüllte er seine Folter im Gefängnis und schilderte, wie der SBU versuchte, ihn mit Geld zu erpressen. Er postete auch über seinen Versuch, nach Ungarn zu fliehen und dort Asyl zu beantragen. Nach Angaben des SBU versuchte daraufhin Lira, der zu diesem Zeitpunkt gegen Kaution unter Hausarrest stand, die Grenze auf seinem Motorrad zu überqueren, wurde erneut festgenommen und in das Gefängnis von Charkiw gebracht. Danach verschwand er aus den sozialen Medien und kürzlich erhielt die Familie eine Nachricht über seine ernsthaften gesundheitlichen Probleme. Er hatte im Oktober eine Lungenentzündung und seine Lunge kollabierte. Der Nachricht zufolge ignorierten die Gefängnisbehörden dies und erkannten das Problem erst am 22. Dezember an, als er operiert werden sollte, aber er starb im Krankenhaus in Charkiw.

    Wenn der Hilferuf ignoriert wird

    Während der mehr als achtmonatigen Haft verweigerten die ukrainischen Behörden dem Journalisten nicht nur lange Zeit die medizinische Versorgung, sondern folterten ihn, verlangten von ihm 70.000 US-Dollar und verweigerten ihm den Kontakt zu seinen Anwälten. Seine Familie wandte sich daher an das US-Außenministerium, um Hilfe zu erhalten – ohne Erfolg. Ende des Jahres forderte Elon Musk von den ukrainischen Behörden eine Erklärung für die Inhaftierung von Lira, woraufhin der SBU erklärte, der Blogger habe regelmäßig die russische Aggression gerechtfertigt, in den sozialen Medien prorussische Thesen verbreitet und damit gegen ukrainisches Recht verstoßen. Auch der russische Journalistenverband sprach sich für Lira aus und machte Journalisten in aller Welt darauf aufmerksam, was mit ihrem Kollegen geschehen war.

    Zunächst einmal wirft der Tod von Gonzalo Lira die Frage auf, wie man mit Meinungsfreiheit und Menschenrechten in Kriegszeiten umgehen soll. Wie wir sehen: selektiv. Und das nicht nur in Kriegszeiten. Wenn es um Russland geht, um die Verhaftung derjenigen, die den Krieg verurteilen, die russische Armee kritisieren oder sie diffamieren, dann sind die westlichen Mainstream-Medien schnell empört und diskutieren ausführlich über das Wesen des russischen „Regimes“ und die Haftbedingungen. Doch wenn die Ukraine dasselbe tut, dann folgt ein tiefes Schweigen. Dann wird über den Fall berichtet, aber die Empörung bleibt aus – Respekt für die Ausnahmen. Stattdessen wird darüber sinniert, dass in Kriegszeiten die Rechte eingeschränkt und der Meinungskorridor schmaler werden.

    Aber der Tod des US-amerikanischen Bloggers wirft auch die Frage nach der Doppelmoral in einem anderen Sinne auf. Vergessen wir nicht, dass es sich um einen US-amerikanischen Staatsbürger handelt, von dessen Geschichte die zuständigen US-Behörden wussten, die jedoch keinen Finger rührten. Das liegt daran, dass Lira die Regierung kritisierte, er war mit diesem Krieg nicht einverstanden. Er stellte sich gegen den Mainstream, deshalb war sein Tod nicht von Bedeutung. Er verdiente keinen Schutz, und jetzt gibt es keine Empörung. Anders als im Fall von Evan Gershkovich – ein Journalist des Wall Street Journal, der wegen Spionageverdachts in russischer Haft sitzt und für dessen Freilassung die US-Diplomatie Himmel und Hölle in Bewegung setzt.

    Wenn jemand aus der Reihe tanzt

    Dies zeigt: Die allgemein akzeptierte These, wonach, wenn ein US-amerikanischer Bürger irgendwo in der Welt Unrecht erleidet, kommt die US-amerikanische Kriegsflotte zu Hilfe, weil die Vereinigten Staaten ihre Bürger und natürlich auch ihre Verbündeten schützen, differenzierter betrachtet werden muss. Gibt es womöglich US-Bürger erster und zweiter Klasse? Durchaus! Wie wir sehen, schützt der US-Pass nicht jede und jeden. Nur diejenigen, die „richtig“ denken. Doch angesichts der Geschehnisse stellt sich die Frage: Können die Vereinigten Staaten das Vertrauen ihrer Verbündeten genießen, wenn die USA selbst mit ihren eigenen Bürgern so selektiv umgeht? Von wegen! Jeder sollte sich darüber im Klaren sein, dass jeder, der ausschert, keinen Anspruch auf Schutz hat! Nicht im Geringsten!

    Wie wir in diesem Fall sehen können, sind diejenigen, die aus der Reihe tanzen, die sich gegen den Mainstream stellen, gefährliche Elemente, die auf die eine oder andere Weise beiseitegeschoben werden müssen, um den Fortschritt nicht zu verhindern.

    Gonzalo Lira wurde ins Abseits gedrängt, indem dem Kiewer Regime das Mandat erteilt wurde, mit ihm zu machen, was es für richtig hält. In Washington war es sehr wohl bekannt, dass den Blogger in der Ukraine nicht viel Gutes erwartet. Natürlich musste Lira das selbst gewusst haben, denn er kannte das Land gut. Aber das entbindet die Ukraine nicht von der Verantwortung, einen Mann wegen seiner Ansichten sterben zu lassen. Es hat sie auch nicht gestört, dass er ein ausländischer Staatsbürger war. Stellen Sie sich das Schicksal vor, das Ukrainerinnen oder Ukrainer erwartet, die ihre Meinung äußern, wenn ein Mensch aus den USA so behandelt wird. Der übrigens keine Bedrohung für die nationalen Sicherheitsinteressen der Ukraine darstellte, lediglich die Situation anders sah. Und lassen wir lieber außen vor, was für ein Bollwerk der Demokratie die Ukraine ist und wie viel demokratischer das ukrainische System ist als das russische. Nun, der Tod von Gonzalo Lira zeugt nicht davon, dass das System demokratischer sei.

    Aber wir dürfen nicht vergessen, dass Kiew all dies mit dem Wissen und sogar der Unterstützung der westlichen Welt tut. Denn der Antirussismus überlagert und verblendet alles. Wir leben in einer Welt, in der zwar von demokratischen Werten die Rede ist, in der aber scheinheilig mit zweierlei Maß gemessen wird.

    Der Artikel ist ursprünglich auf dem ungarischen Portal Moszkvater erschienen.

    #USA #Ukraine #guerre #torture

  • Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh: Lawyer’s closing statement in ICJ case against Israel praised

    This was the powerful closing statement in South Africa’s genocide case against Israel.

    Senior advocate #Blinne_Ní_Ghrálaigh addressed the International Court of Justice on day one of the hearing.

    ICJ: Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh’s powerful closing statement in South Africa case against Israel
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttrJd2aWF-Y&embeds_referring_euri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thenational.sco

    https://www.thenational.scot/news/24042943.blinne-ni-ghralaigh-lawyers-closing-statement-icj-case-israel

    #Cour_internationale_de_justice (#CIJ) #Israël #Palestine #Afrique_du_Sud #justice #génocide

    • Israël commet-il un génocide à #Gaza ? Le compte rendu d’une #audience historique

      Alors que les massacres israéliens à Gaza se poursuivent, l’Afrique du Sud a tenté de démontrer, jeudi 11 et vendredi 12 janvier devant la justice onusienne, qu’un génocide est en train d’être commis par Israël à Gaza.

      « Une #calomnie », selon l’État hébreu.

      Devant le palais de la Paix de #La_Haye (Pays-Bas), la bataille des #mots a commencé avant même l’audience. Jeudi 11 janvier au matin, devant la #Cour_de_justice_internationale_des_Nations_unies, des manifestants propalestiniens ont exigé un « cessez-le-feu immédiat » et dénoncé « l’#apartheid » en cours au Proche-Orient. Face à eux, des familles d’otages israélien·nes ont montré les photos de leurs proches kidnappés le 7 octobre par le Hamas.

      Pendant deux jours, devant 17 juges internationaux, alors que les massacres israéliens à Gaza continuent de tuer, de déplacer et de mutiler des civils palestiniens (à 70 % des femmes et des enfants, selon les agences onusiennes), le principal organe judiciaire des Nations unies a examiné la requête, précise et argumentée, de l’Afrique du Sud, destinée à imposer au gouvernement israélien des « #mesures
      _conservatoires » pour prévenir un génocide de la population palestinienne de Gaza.

      La première et plus urgente de ces demandes est l’arrêt immédiat des #opérations_militaires israéliennes à Gaza. Les autres exigent des mesures urgentes pour cesser les tueries, les déplacements de population, faciliter l’accès à l’eau et à la nourriture, et prévenir tout génocide.

      La cour a aussi entendu les arguments d’Israël, qui nie toute #intention_génocidaire et a martelé son « #droit_à_se_défendre, reconnu par le droit international ».

      L’affaire ne sera pas jugée sur le fond avant longtemps. La décision sur les « mesures conservatoires », elle, sera rendue « dès que possible », a indiqué la présidente de la cour, l’États-Unienne #Joan_Donoghue.

      Rien ne dit que les 17 juges (dont un Sud-Africain et un Israélien, Aharon Barak, ancien juge de la Cour suprême israélienne, de réputation progressiste mais qui n’a jamais critiqué la colonisation israélienne) donneront raison aux arguments de l’Afrique du Sud, soutenue dans sa requête par de nombreux États du Sud global. Et tout indique qu’une décision sanctionnant Israël serait rejetée par un ou plusieurs #vétos au sein du #Conseil_de_sécurité des Nations unies.

      Cette #audience solennelle, retransmise sur le site de l’ONU (revoir les débats du jeudi 11 et ceux du vendredi 12), et relayée par de nombreux médias internationaux, a pourtant revêtu un caractère extrêmement symbolique, où se sont affrontées deux lectures radicalement opposées de la tragédie en cours à Gaza.

      « Israël a franchi une limite »

      Premier à prendre la parole, l’ambassadeur sud-africain aux Pays-Bas, #Vusi_Madonsela, a d’emblée replacé « les actes et omissions génocidaires commis par l’État d’Israël » dans une « suite continue d’#actes_illicites perpétrés contre le peuple palestinien depuis 1948 ».

      Face aux juges internationaux, il a rappelé « la Nakba du peuple palestinien, conséquence de la #colonisation_israélienne qui a [...] entraîné la #dépossession, le #déplacement et la #fragmentation systématique et forcée du peuple palestinien ». Mais aussi une « #occupation qui perdure depuis cinquante-six ans, et le siège de seize ans imposé [par Israël] à la bande de Gaza ».

      Il a décrit un « régime institutionnalisé de lois, de politiques et de pratiques discriminatoires, mises en place [par Israël – ndlr] pour établir sa #domination et soumettre le peuple palestinien à un apartheid », dénonçant des « décennies de violations généralisées et systématiques des #droits_humains ».

      « En tendant la main aux Palestiniens, nous faisons partie d’une seule humanité », a renchéri le ministre de la justice sud-africain, #Ronald_Ozzy_Lamola, citant l’ancien président Nelson Mandela, figure de la lutte contre l’apartheid dans son pays.

      D’emblée, il a tenté de déminer le principal argument du gouvernement israélien, selon lequel la procédure devant la Cour internationale de justice est nulle et non avenue, car Israël mènerait une #guerre_défensive contre le #Hamas, au nom du #droit_à_la_légitime_défense garanti par l’article 51 de la charte des Nations unies – un droit qui, selon la Cour internationale de justice, ne s’applique pas aux #Territoires_occupés. « Gaza est occupée. Israël a gardé le contrôle de Gaza. [...] Ses actions renforcent son occupation : la légitime défense ne s’applique pas », insistera un peu plus tard l’avocat Vaughan Lowe.

      « L’Afrique du Sud, affirme le ministre sud-africain, condamne de manière catégorique la prise pour cibles de civils par le Hamas et d’autres groupes armés palestiniens le 7 octobre 2023. Cela étant dit, aucune attaque armée contre le territoire d’un État, aussi grave soit-elle, même marquée par la commission des #crimes atroces, ne saurait constituer la moindre justification ni le moindre prétexte, pour se rendre coupable d’une violation, ni sur le plan juridique ni sur le plan moral », de la #convention_des_Nations_unies_pour_la_prévention_et_la_répression_du_crime_de_génocide, dont est accusé l’État hébreu.

      « La réponse d’Israël à l’attaque du 7 octobre, a-t-il insisté, a franchi cette limite. »

      Un « génocide » au caractère « systématique »

      #Adila_Hassim, principale avocate de l’Afrique du Sud, s’est évertuée à démontrer méthodiquement comment Israël a « commis des actes relevant de la définition d’#actes_de_génocide », dont elle a martelé le caractère « systématique ».

      « Les Palestiniens sont tués, risquent la #famine, la #déshydratation, la #maladie, et ainsi la #mort, du fait du siège qu’Israël a organisé, de la #destruction des villes, d’une aide insuffisante autorisée à atteindre la population, et de l’impossibilité à distribuer cette maigre aide sous les #bombardements incessants, a-t-elle énuméré. Tout ceci rend impossible d’avoir accès aux éléments essentiels de la vie. »

      Adila Hassim s’est attelée à démontrer en quoi la #guerre israélienne cochait les cases du génocide, tel qu’il est défini à l’article 2 de la convention onusienne : « Des actes commis dans l’intention de détruire, en tout ou en partie, un groupe national, ethnique, racial ou religieux. »

      Le « meurtre des membres du groupe », premier élément du génocide ? Adila Hassim évoque le « meurtre de masse des Palestiniens », les « 23 000 victimes dont 70 % sont des femmes ou des enfants », et « les 7 000 disparus, présumés ensevelis sous les décombres ». « Il n’y a pas de lieu sûr à Gaza », dit-elle, une phrase empruntée aux responsables de l’ONU, répétée de nombreuses fois par la partie sud-africaine.

      Hasssim dénonce « une des campagnes de bombardement les plus lourdes dans l’histoire de la guerre moderne » : « 6 000 bombes par semaine dans les trois premières semaines », avec des « #bombes de 900 kilos, les plus lourdes et les plus destructrices », campagne qui vise habitations, abris, écoles, mosquées et églises, dans le nord et le sud de la bande de Gaza, camps de réfugié·es inclus.

      « Les Palestiniens sont tués quand ils cherchent à évacuer, quand ils n’ont pas évacué, quand ils ont pris la #fuite, même quand ils prennent les itinéraires présentés par Israël comme sécurisés. (...) Des centaines de familles plurigénérationelles ont été décimées, personne n’ayant survécu (...) Personne n’est épargné, pas même les nouveau-nés (...) Ces massacres ne sont rien de moins que la #destruction_de_la_vie_palestinienne, infligée de manière délibérée. » Selon l’avocate, il existe bien une #intention_de_tuer. « Israël, dit-elle, sait fort bien combien de civils perdent leur vie avec chacune de ces bombes. »

      L’« atteinte grave à l’intégrité physique ou mentale de membres du groupe », et la « soumission intentionnelle du groupe à des conditions d’existence devant entraîner sa destruction physique totale ou partielle », autres éléments constitutifs du génocide ? Adila Hassim évoque « la mort et la #mutilation de 60 000 Palestiniens », les « civils palestiniens arrêtés et emmenés dans une destination inconnue », et détaille le « #déplacement_forcé de 85 % des Palestiniens de Gaza » depuis le 13 octobre, sans retour possible pour la plupart, et qui « répète une longue #histoire de #déplacements_forcés de masse ».

      Elle accuse Israël de « vise[r] délibérément à provoquer la faim, la déshydratation et l’inanition à grande échelle » (93 % de la population souffrent d’un niveau critique de faim, selon l’Organisation mondiale de la santé), l’aide empêchée par les bombardements et qui « ne suffit tout simplement pas », l’absence « d’eau propre », le « taux d’épidémies et de maladies infectieuses qui s’envole », mais aussi « les attaques de l’armée israélienne prenant pour cible le système de santé », « déjà paralysé par des années de blocus, impuissant face au nombre de blessures ».

      Elle évoque de nombreuses « naissances entravées », un autre élément constitutif du génocide.

      « Les génocides ne sont jamais annoncés à l’avance, conclut-elle. Mais cette cour a devant elle 13 semaines de #preuves accumulées qui démontrent de manière irréfutable l’existence d’une #ligne_de_conduite, et d’#intentions qui s’y rapportent, justifiant une allégation plausible d’actes génocidaires. »

      Une « #déshumanisation_systématique » par les dirigeants israéliens

      Un autre avocat s’avance à la barre. Après avoir rappelé que « 1 % de la population palestinienne de Gaza a été systématiquement décimée, et qu’un Gazaoui sur 40 a été blessé depuis le 7 octobre », #Tembeka_Ngcukaitobi décortique les propos des autorités israéliennes.

      « Les dirigeants politiques, les commandants militaires et les représentants de l’État d’Israël ont systématiquement et explicitement exprimé cette intention génocidaire, accuse-t-il. Ces déclarations sont ensuite reprises par des soldats, sur place à Gaza, au moment où ils anéantissent la population palestinienne et l’infrastructure de Gaza. »

      « L’intention génocidaire spécifique d’Israël, résume-t-il, repose sur la conviction que l’ennemi n’est pas simplement le Hamas, mais qu’il est à rechercher au cœur même de la société palestinienne de Gaza. »

      L’avocat multiplie les exemples, encore plus détaillés dans les 84 pages de la requête sud-africaine, d’une « intention de détruire Gaza aux plus hauts rangs de l’État » : celle du premier ministre, #Benyamin_Nétanyahou, qui, à deux reprises, a fait une référence à #Amalek, ce peuple que, dans la Bible (I Samuel XV, 3), Dieu ordonne d’exterminer ; celle du ministre de la défense, qui a comparé les Palestiniens à des « #animaux_humains » ; le président israélien #Isaac_Herzog, qui a jugé « l’entièreté de la nation » palestinienne responsable ; celle du vice-président de la Knesset, qui a appelé à « l’anéantissement de la bande de Gaza » (des propos condamnés par #Nétanyahou) ; ou encore les propos de nombreux élus et députés de la Knesset appelant à la destruction de Gaza.

      Une « déshumanisation systématique », dans laquelle les « civils sont condamnés au même titre que le Hamas », selon Tembeka Ngcukaitobi.

      « L’intention génocidaire qui anime ces déclarations n’est nullement ambiguë pour les soldats israéliens sur le terrain : elle guide leurs actes et leurs objectifs », poursuit l’avocat, qui diffuse devant les juges des vidéos où des soldats font eux aussi référence à Amalek, « se filment en train de commettre des atrocités contre les civils à Gaza à la manière des snuff movies », ou écoutent un réserviste de 95 ans les exhorter à « tirer une balle » sur leur « voisin arabe » et les encourager à une « destruction totale ».

      L’avocat dénonce le « manquement délibéré de la part du gouvernement à son obligation de condamner, de prévenir et de réprimer une telle incitation au génocide ».

      Après une plaidoirie technique sur la capacité à agir de l’Afrique du Sud, #John_Dugard insiste : « Gaza est devenu un #camp_de_concentration où un génocide est en cours. »

      L’avocat sud-africain #Max_du_Plessis exhorte la cour à agir face à Israël, qui « depuis des années (...) s’estime au-delà et au-dessus de la loi », une négligence du droit rendue possible par l’#indifférence de la communauté internationale, qui a su, dans d’autres conflits (Gambie, Bosnie, Ukraine) décider qu’il était urgent d’agir.

      « Gaza est devenu inhabitable », poursuit l’avocate irlandaise #Blinne_Ni_Ghralaigh. Elle énumère d’autres chiffres : « Au rythme actuel », égrène-t-elle, « 247 Palestiniens tués en moyenne chaque jour », dont « 48 mères » et « plus de 117 enfants », et « 629 blessés ». Elle évoque ces enfants dont toute la famille a été décimée, les secouristes, les enseignants, les universitaires et les journalistes tués dans des proportions historiques.

      « Il s’agit, dit-elle, du premier génocide de l’Histoire dont les victimes diffusent leur propre destruction en temps réel, dans l’espoir vain que le monde fasse quelque chose. » L’avocate dévoile à l’écran les derniers mots du docteur #Mahmoud_Abu_Najela (Médecins sans frontières), tué le 23 novembre à l’hôpital Al-Awda, écrits au feutre sur un tableau blanc : « À ceux qui survivront. Nous avons fait ce que nous pouvons. Souvenez-vous de nous. »

      « Le monde, conclut Blinne Ni Ghralaigh, devrait avoir #honte. »

      La réponse d’Israël : une « calomnie »

      Vendredi 12 janvier, les représentants d’Israël se sont avancés à la barre. Leur argumentation a reposé sur deux éléments principaux : un, la Cour internationale de justice n’a pas à exiger de « mesures conservatoires » car son armée ne commet aucun génocide ; deux, si génocide il y a, il a été commis par le Hamas le 7 octobre 2023.

      Premier à prendre la parole, #Tal_Becker, conseiller juridique du ministère des affaires étrangères israélien, invoque l’Histoire, et le génocide infligé aux juifs pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, « le meurtre systématique de 6 millions de juifs dans le cadre d’une destruction totale ».

      « Israël, dit-il, a été un des premiers États à ratifier la convention contre le génocide. » « Pour Israël, insiste-t-il, “#jamais_plus” n’est pas un slogan, c’est une #obligation_morale suprême. »

      Dans « une époque où on fait bon marché des mots, à l’heure des politiques identitaires et des réseaux sociaux », il dénonce une « #instrumentalisation » de la notion de génocide contre Israël.

      Il attaque une présentation sud-africaine « totalement dénaturée des faits et du droit », « délibérément manipulée et décontextualisée du conflit actuel », qualifiée de « calomnie ».

      Alors que les avocats sud-africains avaient expliqué ne pas intégrer les massacres du Hamas dans leur requête devant la justice onusienne, car « le Hamas n’est pas un État », Tal Becker estime que l’Afrique du Sud « a pris le parti d’effacer l’histoire juive et tout acte ou responsabilité palestiniens », et que les arguments avancés « ne se distinguent guère de ceux opposés par le Hamas dans son rejet d’Israël ». « L’Afrique du Sud entretient des rapports étroits avec le Hamas » et le « soutient », accuse-t-il.

      « C’est une guerre qu’Israël n’a pas commencée », dit-il en revenant longuement, images et enregistrements à l’appui, sur les atrocités commises par le Hamas et d’autres groupes palestiniens le 7 octobre, « le plus important massacre de juifs en un jour depuis la #Shoah ».

      « S’il y a eu des actes que l’on pourrait qualifier de génocidaires, [ils ont été commis] contre Israël », dit-il, évoquant le « #programme_d’annihilation » des juifs par le Hamas. « Israël ne veut pas détruire un peuple, poursuit-il. Mais protéger un peuple : le sien. »

      Becker salue les familles d’otages israéliens présentes dans la salle d’audience, et montre certains visages des 130 personnes kidnappées dont le pays est toujours sans nouvelle. « Y a-t-il une raison de penser que les personnes que vous voyez à l’écran ne méritent pas d’être protégées ? », interroge-t-il.

      Pour ce représentant de l’État israélien, la demande sud-africaine de mesures conservatoires revient à priver le pays de son droit à se défendre.

      « Israël, poursuit-il, se défend contre le Hamas, le Djihad palestinien et d’autres organisations terroristes dont la brutalité est sans limite. Les souffrances sont tragiques, sont déchirantes. Les conséquences sont parfaitement atroces pour les civils du fait du comportement du Hamas, qui cherche à maximiser les pertes de civils alors qu’Israël cherche à les minorer. »

      Becker s’attarde sur la « #stratégie_méprisable » du Hamas, une « méthode de guerre intégrée, planifiée, de grande ampleur et odieuse ». Le Hamas, accuse-t-il, « a, de manière systématique, fondu ses opérations militaires au sein de zones civiles densément peuplées », citant écoles, mosquées et hôpitaux, des « milliers de bâtiments piégés » et « utilisés à des fins militaires ».

      Le Hamas « a fait entrer une quantité innombrable d’armes, a détourné l’aide humanitaire ». Remettant en cause le chiffre « non vérifié » de 23 000 victimes (pourtant confirmé par les Nations unies), Tal Becker estime que de nombreuses victimes palestiniennes sont des « militants » qui ont pu prendre « une part directe aux hostilités ». « Israël respecte le droit », martèle-t-il. « Si le Hamas abandonne cette stratégie, libère les otages, hostilités et violences prendront fin. »

      Ponte britannique du droit, spécialiste des questions juridiques liées aux génocides, #Malcom_Shaw embraie, toujours en défense d’Israël. Son discours, technique, est parfois interrompu. Il se perd une première fois dans ses notes, puis soupçonne un membre de son équipe d’avoir « pris [sa] #plaidoirie pour un jeu de cartes ».

      Shaw insiste : « Un conflit armé coûte des vies. » Mais Israël, dit-il, « a le droit de se défendre dans le respect du #droit_humanitaire », citant à l’audience les propos de la présidente de la Commission européenne, Ursula von der Leyen, le 19 octobre 2023. Il poursuit : « L’#usage_de_la_force ne peut constituer en soi un acte génocidaire. » « Israël, jure-t-il, ne cible que les cibles militaires, et ceci de manière proportionnée dans chacun des cas. »

      « Peu d’éléments démontrent qu’Israël a eu, ou a, l’intention de détruire tout ou partie du peuple palestinien », plaide-t-il. Shaw estime que nombre de propos tenus par des politiciens israéliens ne doivent pas être pris en compte, car ils sont « pris au hasard et sont sortis de leur contexte », parce qu’ils témoignent d’une « #détresse » face aux massacres du 7 octobre, et que ceux qui les ont prononcés n’appartiennent pas aux « autorités pertinentes » qui prennent les décisions militaires, à savoir le « comité ministériel chargé de la sécurité nationale » et le « cabinet de guerre ».

      Pour étayer son argumentation, Shaw cite des directives (non publiques) de Benyamin Nétanyahou destinées, selon lui, à « éviter un désastre humanitaire », à proposer des « solutions pour l’approvisionnement en eau », « promouvoir la construction d’hôpitaux de campagne au sud de la bande de Gaza » ; les déclarations publiques de Benyamin Nétanyahou à la veille de l’audience (« Israël n’a pas l’intention d’occuper de façon permanente la bande de Gaza ou de déplacer sa population civile ») ; d’autres citations du ministre de la défense qui assure ne pas s’attaquer au peuple palestinien dans son ensemble.

      « La requête de l’Afrique du Sud brosse un tableau affreux, mais incomplet et profondément biaisé », renchérit #Galit_Rajuan, conseillère au ministère de la justice israélien, qui revient longuement sur les #responsabilités du Hamas, sa stratégie militaire au cœur de la population palestinienne. « Dans chacun des hôpitaux que les forces armées israéliennes ont fouillés à Gaza, elles ont trouvé des preuves d’utilisation militaire par le Hamas », avance-t-elle, des allégations contestées.

      « Certes, des dommages et dégâts ont été causés par les hostilités dans les hôpitaux, parfois par les forces armées israéliennes, parfois par le Hamas, reconnaît-elle, mais il s’agit des conséquences de l’utilisation odieuse de ces hôpitaux par le Hamas. »

      Rajuan martèle enfin qu’Israël cherche à « atténuer les dommages causés aux civils » et à « faciliter l’aide humanitaire ». Des arguments connus, que de très nombreuses ONG, agences des Nations unies et journalistes gazaouis présents sur place réfutent régulièrement, et que les journalistes étrangers ne peuvent pas vérifier, faute d’accès à la bande de Gaza.

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/120124/israel-commet-il-un-genocide-gaza-le-compte-rendu-d-une-audience-historiqu

    • Gaza, l’accusa di genocidio a Israele e la credibilità del diritto internazionale

      Il Sudafrica ha chiesto l’intervento della Corte internazionale di giustizia dell’Aja per presunte violazioni di Israele della Convenzione sul genocidio del 1948. Triestino Mariniello, docente di Diritto penale internazionale alla John Moores University di Liverpool, presente alla storica udienza, aiuta a comprendere il merito e le prospettive

      “Quello che sta succedendo all’Aja ha un significato che va oltre gli eventi in corso nella Striscia di Gaza. Viviamo un momento storico in cui la Corte internazionale di giustizia (Icj) ha anche la responsabilità di confermare se il diritto internazionale esiste ancora e se vale alla stessa maniera per tutti i Paesi, del Nord e del Sud del mondo”. A parlare è Triestino Mariniello, docente di Diritto penale internazionale alla John Moores University di Liverpool, già nel team legale delle vittime di Gaza di fronte alla Corte penale internazionale (Icc), che ha sede sempre all’Aja.

      Non vanno confuse: l’aula di tribunale ripresa dalle tv di tutto il mondo l’11 e il 12 gennaio scorsi, infatti, con il team legale sudafricano schierato contro quello israeliano, è quella della Corte internazionale di giustizia, il massimo organo giudiziario delle Nazioni Unite, che si esprime sulle controversie tra Stati. L’Icc, invece, è indipendente e legifera sulle responsabilità penali individuali.

      Il 29 dicembre scorso il Sudafrica ha chiesto l’intervento della prima per presunte violazioni da parte di Israele della Convenzione sul genocidio del 1948, nei confronti dei palestinesi della Striscia di Gaza. Un’udienza storica a cui Mariniello era presente.

      Professore, qual era innanzi tutto l’atmosfera?
      TM A mia memoria mai uno strumento del diritto internazionale ha avuto tanto sostegno e popolarità. C’erano centinaia, probabilmente migliaia di persone all’esterno della Corte, emittenti di tutto il mondo e apparati di sicurezza, inclusi droni ed elicotteri. Sentire anche le tv più conservatrici, come quelle statunitensi, parlare di Palestina e genocidio faceva comprendere ancora di più l’importanza storica dell’evento.

      In estrema sintesi, quali sono gli elementi più importanti della tesi sudafricana?
      TM Il Sudafrica sostiene che Israele abbia commesso atti di genocidio contro la popolazione di Gaza, ciò significa una serie di azioni previste dall’articolo 2 della Convenzione sul genocidio, effettuate con l’intento di distruggere del tutto o in parte un gruppo protetto, in questo caso i palestinesi di Gaza. Questi atti, per il Sudafrica, sono omicidi di massa, gravi lesioni fisiche o mentali e l’imposizione di condizioni di vita volte a distruggere i palestinesi, come l’evacuazione forzata di circa due milioni di loro, la distruzione di quasi tutto il sistema sanitario della Striscia, l’assedio totale all’inizio della guerra e la privazione di beni essenziali per la sopravvivenza. Ciò che caratterizza un genocidio rispetto ad altri crimini internazionali è il cosiddetto “intento speciale”, la volontà cioè di voler distruggere del tutto o in parte un gruppo protetto. È l’elemento più difficile da provare, ma credo che il Sudafrica in questo sia riuscito in maniera solida e convincente. Sia in aula sia all’interno della memoria di 84 pagine presentata, vi sono, infatti, una serie di dichiarazioni dei leader politici e militari israeliani, che proverebbero tale intento. Come quella del premier Benjamin Netanyahu che, a inizio guerra, ha invocato la citazione biblica di Amalek, che sostanzialmente significa: “Uccidete tutti gli uomini, le donne, i bambini e gli animali”. O una dichiarazione del ministro della Difesa, Yoav Gallant, che ha detto che a Gaza sono tutti “animali umani”. Queste sono classiche dichiarazioni deumanizzanti e la deumanizzazione è un passaggio caratterizzante tutti i genocidi che abbiamo visto nella storia dell’umanità.

      Qual è stata invece la linea difensiva israeliana?
      TM Diciamo che l’impianto difensivo di Israele è basato su tre pilastri: il fatto che quello di cui lo si accusa è stato eseguito da Hamas il 7 ottobre; il concetto di autodifesa, cioè che quanto fatto a Gaza è avvenuto in risposta a tale attacco e, infine, che sono state adottate una serie di precauzioni per limitare l’impatto delle ostilità sulla popolazione civile. Israele, inoltre, ha sollevato il tema della giurisdizione della Corte, mettendola in discussione, in quanto non vi sarebbe una disputa in corso col Sudafrica. Su questo la Corte si dovrà pronunciare, ma a tal proposito è stato ricordato come Israele sia stato contattato dal Sudafrica in merito all’accusa di genocidio e non abbia risposto. Questo, per l’accusa, varrebbe come disputa in corso.

      Che cosa chiede il Sudafrica?
      TM In questo momento l’accusa non deve dimostrare che sia stato commesso un genocidio, ma che sia plausibile. Questa non è un’udienza nel merito, siamo in una fase d’urgenza, ma di richiesta di misure cautelari. Innanzitutto chiede il cessate fuoco, poi la rescissione di tutti gli ordini che possono costituire atti di genocidio. Si domanda alla Corte di imporre un ordine a Israele per preservare tutte le prove che potrebbero essere utili per indagini future e di porre fine a tutti gli atti di cui il Sudafrica lo ritiene responsabile.

      Come valuta le due memorie?
      TM La deposizione del Sudafrica è molto solida e convincente, sia in merito agli atti genocidi sia all’intento genocidiario. E credo che anche alla luce dei precedenti della Corte lasci veramente poco spazio di manovra. Uno dei punti di forza è che fornisce anche una serie di prove in merito a quello che è successo e che sta accadendo a Gaza: le dichiarazioni dei politici israeliani, cioè, hanno ricevuto un’implementazione sul campo. Sono stati mostrati dei video di militari, ad esempio, che invocavano Amalek, la citazione di Netanyahu.

      In realtà il Sudafrica non si limita allo scontro in atto, ma parla di una sorta Nakba (l’esodo forzato dei palestinesi) ininterrotto.
      TM Ogni giurista dovrebbe sempre analizzare qualsiasi ostilità all’interno di un contesto e per questo il Sudafrica fa riferimento a 75 anni di Nakba, a 56 di occupazione militare israeliana e a 16 anni di assedio della Striscia.

      Come valuta la difesa israeliana?
      TM Come detto, tutto viene ricondotto all’attacco di Hamas del 7 ottobre e a una risposta di autodifesa rispetto a tale attacco. Ma esiste sempre un contesto per il diritto penale internazionale e l’autodifesa -che per uno Stato occupante non può essere invocata- non può comunque giustificare un genocidio. L’altro elemento sottolineato dal team israeliano, delle misure messe in atto per ridurre l’impatto sui civili, è sembrato più retorico che altro: quanto avvenuto negli ultimi tre mesi smentisce tali dichiarazioni. Basti pensare alla privazione di beni essenziali e a tutte le informazioni raccolte dalle organizzazioni internazionali e dagli organismi delle Nazioni Unite. A Gaza non esistono zone sicure, ci sono stati casi in cui la popolazione evacuata, rifugiatasi nelle zone indicate da Israele, è stata comunque bombardata.

      Ora che cosa pensa succederà?
      TM La mia previsione è che la Corte si pronuncerà sulle misure cautelari entro la fine di gennaio e l’inizio di febbraio, quando alcuni giudici decadranno e saranno sostituiti. In alcuni casi ha impiegato anche solo otto giorni per pronunciarsi. Ora ci sono delle questioni procedurali, altri Stati stanno decidendo di costituirsi a sostegno di Israele o del Sudafrica.

      Che cosa implica tale sostegno?
      TM La possibilità di presentare delle memorie. La Germania sosterrà Israele, il Brasile, i Paesi della Lega Araba, molti Stati sudamericani, ma non solo, si stanno schierando con il Sudafrica.

      Il ministro degli Esteri italiano, Antonio Tajani, ha dichiarato che non si tratta di genocidio.
      TM L’Italia non appoggerà formalmente Israele dinnanzi all’Icj. La Francia sarà neutrale. I Paesi del Global South stanno costringendo quelli del Nord a verificare la credibilità del diritto internazionale: vale per tutti o è un diritto à la carte?

      Se la Corte decidesse per il cessate il fuoco, quali sarebbero le conseguenze, visto che non ha potere politico?
      TM Il parere della Corte è giuridicamente vincolante. Il problema è effettivamente di esecuzione: nel caso di un cessate il fuoco, se non fosse Israele ad attuarlo, dovrebbe intervenire il Consiglio di sicurezza.

      Con il rischio del veto statunitense.
      TM Siamo sul terreno delle speculazioni, ma se la Corte dovesse giungere alla conclusione che Israele è responsabile di un genocidio a Gaza, onestamente riterrei molto difficile un altro veto degli Stati Uniti. È difficile al momento prevedere gli effetti dirompenti di un’eventuale decisione positiva della Corte. Certo è che, quando si parla di Israele, la comunità internazionale, nel senso dei Paesi occidentali, ha creato uno stato di eccezione, che ha sempre posto Israele al di sopra del diritto internazionale, senza rendersi conto che le situazioni violente che viviamo in quel contesto sono il frutto di questo eccezionalismo anche a livello giuridico. Fino a quando si andrà avanti con questo contesto di impunità non finiranno le spirali di violenza.

      https://altreconomia.it/gaza-laccusa-di-genocidio-a-israele-e-la-credibilita-del-diritto-intern

    • La Cour internationale de justice ordonne à Israël d’empêcher un génocide à Gaza

      Selon la plus haute instance judiciaire internationale, « il existe un #risque réel et imminent qu’un préjudice irréparable soit causé » aux Palestiniens de Gaza. La Cour demande à Israël de « prendre toutes les mesures en son pouvoir pour prévenir la commission […] de tout acte » de génocide. Mais n’appelle pas au cessez-le-feu.

      Même si elle n’a aucune chance d’être appliquée sur le terrain, la #décision prise vendredi 26 janvier par la plus haute instance judiciaire des Nations unies marque incontestablement un tournant dans la guerre au Proche-Orient. Elle intervient après quatre mois de conflit déclenché par l’attaque du Hamas le 7 octobre 2023, qui a fait plus de 1 200 morts et des milliers de blessés, conduit à la prise en otage de 240 personnes, et entraîné l’offensive israélienne dans la bande de Gaza, dont le dernier bilan s’élève à plus de 25 000 morts.

      La Cour internationale de justice (CIJ), basée à La Haye (Pays-Bas), a expliqué, par la voix de sa présidente, la juge Joan Donoghue, « être pleinement consciente de l’ampleur de la #tragédie_humaine qui se joue dans la région et nourri[r] de fortes #inquiétudes quant aux victimes et aux #souffrances_humaines que l’on continue d’y déplorer ». Elle a ordonné à Israël de « prendre toutes les #mesures en son pouvoir pour prévenir la commission à l’encontre des Palestiniens de Gaza de tout acte » de génocide.

      « Israël doit veiller avec effet immédiat à ce que son armée ne commette aucun des actes » de génocide, affirme l’#ordonnance. Elle « considère également qu’Israël doit prendre toutes les mesures en son pouvoir pour prévenir et punir l’incitation directe et publique à commettre le génocide à l’encontre des membres du groupe des Palestiniens de la bande de Gaza ».

      La cour de La Haye, saisie à la suite d’une plainte de l’Afrique du Sud, demande « en outre » à l’État hébreu de « prendre sans délai des #mesures_effectives pour permettre la fourniture des services de base et de l’#aide_humanitaire requis de toute urgence afin de remédier aux difficiles conditions d’existence auxquelles sont soumis les Palestiniens de la bande de Gaza ».

      Enfin, l’ordonnance de la CIJ ordonne aux autorités israéliennes de « prendre des mesures effectives pour prévenir la destruction et assurer la conservation des #éléments_de_preuve relatifs aux allégations d’actes » de génocide.

      La juge #Joan_Donoghue, qui a donné lecture de la décision, a insisté sur son caractère provisoire, qui ne préjuge en rien de son futur jugement sur le fond des accusations d’actes de génocide. Celles-ci ne seront tranchées que dans plusieurs années, après instruction.

      La cour « ne peut, à ce stade, conclure de façon définitive sur les faits » et sa décision sur les #mesures_conservatoires « laisse intact le droit de chacune des parties de faire valoir à cet égard ses moyens » en vue des audiences sur le fond, a-t-elle poursuivi.

      Elle considère cependant que « les faits et circonstances » rapportés par les observateurs « suffisent pour conclure qu’au moins certains des droits » des Palestiniens sont mis en danger et qu’il existe « un risque réel et imminent qu’un préjudice irréparable soit causé ».

      Environ 70 % de #victimes_civiles

      La CIJ avait été saisie le 29 décembre 2023 par l’Afrique du Sud qui, dans sa requête, accuse notamment Israël d’avoir violé l’article 2 de la Convention de 1948 sur le génocide, laquelle interdit, outre le meurtre, « l’atteinte grave à l’intégrité physique ou mentale de membres du groupe » visé par le génocide, l’imposition de « conditions d’existence devant entraîner sa destruction physique totale ou partielle » ou encore les « mesures visant à entraver les naissances au sein du groupe ».

      Le recours décrit longuement une opération militaire israélienne qualifiée d’« exceptionnellement brutale », « tuant des Palestiniens à Gaza, incluant une large proportion de femmes et d’enfants – pour un décompte estimé à environ 70 % des plus de 21 110 morts [au moment de la rédaction du recours par l’Afrique du Sud – ndlr] –, certains d’entre eux apparaissant avoir été exécutés sommairement ».

      Il soulignait également les conséquences humanitaires du déplacement massif des populations et de la destruction massive de logements et d’équipements publics, dont des écoles et des hôpitaux.

      Lors des deux demi-journées d’audience, jeudi 11 et vendredi 12 janvier, le conseiller juridique du ministère des affaires étrangères israélien, Tal Becker, avait dénoncé une « instrumentalisation » de la notion de génocide et qualifié l’accusation sud-africaine de « calomnie ».

      « C’est une guerre qu’Israël n’a pas commencée », avait poursuivi le représentant israélien, affirmant que « s’il y a eu des actes que l’on pourrait qualifier de génocidaires, [ils ont été commis] contre Israël ». « Israël ne veut pas détruire un peuple mais protéger un peuple : le sien. »
      Gaza, « lieu de mort et de désespoir »

      La CIJ, de son côté, a fondé sa décision sur les différents rapports et constatations fournis par des organisations internationales. Elle cite notamment la lettre du 5 janvier 2024 du secrétaire général adjoint aux affaires humanitaires de l’ONU, Martin Griffiths, décrivant la bande de Gaza comme un « lieu de mort et de désespoir ».

      L’ordonnance rappelle qu’un communiqué de l’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS) du 21 décembre 2023 s’alarmait du fait que « 93 % de la population de Gaza, chiffre sans précédent, est confrontée à une situation de crise alimentaire ».

      Le 12 janvier 2024, c’est l’Office de secours et de travaux des Nations unies pour les réfugiés de Palestine dans le Proche-Orient (UNRWA) qui lançait un cri d’alerte. « Cela fait maintenant 100 jours que cette guerre dévastatrice a commencé, que la population de Gaza est décimée et déplacée, suite aux horribles attaques perpétrées par le Hamas et d’autres groupes contre la population en Israël », s’alarmait-il.

      L’ordonnance souligne, en miroir, les multiples déclarations de responsables israéliens assumant une répression sans pitié dans la bande de Gaza, si nécessaire au prix de vies civiles. Elle souligne que des rapporteurs spéciaux des Nations unies ont même pu s’indigner de « la rhétorique manifestement génocidaire et déshumanisante de hauts responsables du gouvernement israélien ».

      La CIJ pointe par exemple les propos du ministre de la défense Yoav Gallant du 9 octobre 2023 annonçant « un siège complet de la ville de Gaza », avant d’affirmer : « Nous combattons des animaux humains. »

      Le 12 octobre, c’est le président israélien Isaac Herzog qui affirmait : « Tous ces beaux discours sur les civils qui ne savaient rien et qui n’étaient pas impliqués, ça n’existe pas. Ils auraient pu se soulever, ils auraient pu lutter contre ce régime maléfique qui a pris le contrôle de Gaza. »

      Et, à la vue des intentions affichées par les autorités israéliennes, les opérations militaires dans la bande de Gaza ne sont pas près de s’arrêter. « La Cour considère que la situation humanitaire catastrophique dans la bande de Gaza risque fort de se détériorer encore avant qu’elle rende son arrêt définitif », affirme l’ordonnance.

      « À la lumière de ce qui précède, poursuivent les juges, la Cour considère qu’il y a urgence en ce sens qu’il existe un risque réel et imminent qu’un préjudice irréparable soit causé aux droits qu’elle a jugés plausibles avant qu’elle ne rende sa décision définitive. »

      Si la décision de la CIJ est juridiquement contraignante, la Cour n’a pas la capacité de la faire appliquer. Cependant, elle est incontestablement une défaite diplomatique pour Israël.

      Présente à La Haye, la ministre des relations internationales et de la coopération d’Afrique du Sud, Naledi Pandor, a pris la parole à la sortie de l’audience. Si elle a regretté que les juges n’aient pas appelé à un cessez-le-feu, elle s’est dite « satisfaite que les mesures provisoires » réclamées par son pays aient « fait l’objet d’une prise en compte » par la Cour, et qu’Israël doive fournir un rapport d’ici un mois. Pour l’Afrique du Sud, lancer cette plainte, a-t-elle expliqué, « était une façon de s’assurer que les organismes internationaux exercent leur responsabilité de nous protéger tous, en tant que citoyens du monde global ».

      Comme l’on pouvait s’y attendre, les autorités israéliennes ont vivement critiqué les ordonnances d’urgence réclamées par les juges de La Haye. Si le premier ministre, Benyamin Nétanyahou, s’est réjoui de ce que ces derniers n’aient pas réclamé, comme le demandait l’Afrique du Sud, de cessez-le-feu – « Comme tout pays, Israël a le droit fondamental de se défendre. La CIJ de La Haye a rejeté à juste titre la demande scandaleuse visant à nous priver de ce droit », a-t-il dit –, il a eu des mots très durs envers l’instance : « La simple affirmation selon laquelle Israël commet un génocide contre les Palestiniens n’est pas seulement fausse, elle est scandaleuse, et la volonté de la Cour d’en discuter est une honte qui ne sera pas effacée pendant des générations. »

      Il a affirmé vouloir continuer « à défendre [ses] citoyens dans le respect du droit international ». « Nous poursuivrons cette guerre jusqu’à la victoire absolue, jusqu’à ce que tous les otages soient rendus et que Gaza ne soit plus une menace pour Israël », a ajouté Nétanyahou.

      Jeudi, à la veille de la décision de la CIJ, le New York Times avait révélé que les autorités israéliennes avaient fourni aux juges de La Haye une trentaine de documents déclassifiés, censés démonter l’accusation de génocide, parmi lesquels « des résumés de discussions ministérielles datant de la fin du mois d’octobre, au cours desquelles le premier ministre Benyamin Nétanyahou a ordonné l’envoi d’aide, de carburant et d’eau à Gaza ».

      Cependant, souligne le quotidien états-unien, les documents « ne comprennent pas les ordres des dix premiers jours de la guerre, lorsqu’Israël a bloqué l’aide à Gaza et coupé l’accès à l’électricité et à l’eau qu’il fournit normalement au territoire ».

      Nul doute que cette décision de la plus haute instance judiciaire des Nations unies va renforcer les appels en faveur d’un cessez-le-feu. Après plus de quatre mois de combats et un bilan lourd parmi la population civile gazaouie, Nétanyahou n’a pas atteint son objectif d’éradiquer le mouvement islamiste. Selon les Israéliens eux-mêmes, près de 70 % des forces militaires du Hamas sont intactes. De plus, les familles d’otages toujours aux mains du Hamas ou d’autres groupes islamistes de l’enclave maintiennent leurs pressions.

      Le ministre palestinien des affaires étrangères Riyad al-Maliki s’est réjoui d’une décision de la CIJ « en faveur de l’humanité et du droit international », ajoutant que la communauté international avait désormais « l’obligation juridique claire de mettre fin à la guerre génocidaire d’Israël contre le peuple palestinien de Gaza et de s’assurer qu’elle n’en est pas complice ». Le ministre de la justice sud-africain Ronald Lamola, cité par l’agence Reuters, a salué, lui, « une victoire pour le droit international ». « Israël ne peut être exempté du respect de ses obligations internationales », a-t-il ajouté.

      De son côté, la Commission européenne a appelé Israël et le Hamas à se conformer à la décision de la CIJ. L’Union européenne « attend leur mise en œuvre intégrale, immédiate et effective », a-t-elle souligné dans un communiqué.

      La France avait fait entendre pourtant il y a quelques jours une voix discordante. Le ministre des affaires étrangères Stéphane Séjourné avait déclaré, à l’Assemblée nationale, qu’« accuser l’État juif de génocide, c’est franchir un seuil moral ». Dans un communiqué publié après la décision de la CIJ, le ministère a annoncé son intention de déposer des observations sur l’interprétation de la Convention de 1948, comme le lui permet la procédure. « [La France] indiquera notamment l’importance qu’elle attache à ce que la Cour tienne compte de la gravité exceptionnelle du crime de génocide, qui nécessite l’établissement d’une intention. Comme le ministre de l’Europe et des affaires étrangères a eu l’occasion de le noter, les mots doivent conserver leur sens », indique le texte.

      Les États-Unis ont estimé que la décision était conforme à la position états-unienne, exprimée à plusieurs reprises par Joe Biden à son allié israélien, de réduire les souffrances des civils de Gaza et d’accroître l’aide humanitaire. Cependant, a expliqué un porte-parole du département d’État, les États-Unis continuent « de penser que les allégations de génocide sont infondées » et notent « que la Cour n’a pas fait de constat de génocide, ni appelé à un cessez-le-feu dans sa décision, et qu’elle a appelé à la libération inconditionnelle et immédiate de tous les otages détenus par le Hamas ».

      C’est dans ce contexte que se déroulent des discussions pour obtenir une trêve prolongée, la deuxième après celle de novembre, qui avait duré une semaine et permis la libération de plusieurs dizaines d’otages.

      Selon les médias états-uniens, Israël a proposé une trêve de 60 jours et la libération progressive des otages encore retenu·es. Selon ce projet, a affirmé CNN, les dirigeants du Hamas pourraient quitter l’enclave. Selon la chaîne d’informations américaine, « des responsables américains et internationaux au fait des négociations ont déclaré que l’engagement récent d’Israël et du Hamas dans des pourparlers était encourageant, mais qu’un accord n’était pas imminent ».

      Le Washington Post a révélé jeudi que le président américain Joe Biden allait envoyer dans les prochains jours en Europe le directeur de la CIA, William Burns, pour tenter d’obtenir un accord. Il devrait rencontrer les chefs des services de renseignement israélien et égyptien, David Barnea et Abbas Kamel, et le premier ministre qatari Mohammed ben Abdulrahman al-Thani. Vendredi soir, l’Agence France-Presse (AFP) a affirmé qu’ils se retrouveraient « dans les tout prochains jours à Paris », citant « une source sécuritaire d’un État impliqué dans les négociations ».

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/260124/la-cour-internationale-de-justice-ordonne-israel-d-empecher-un-genocide-ga

  • There Was an Iron Wall in Gaza
    https://jacobin.com/2024/01/iron-wall-gaza-israel-defense-forces-realpolitik-palestine-history

    Dans cet article nous apprenons l’histoire du mouvement palestinien, du développement de la politique sioniste et des approches égyptiennes au problème introduit dans la région par la fondation de l’état d’Israël. C’est une lecture obligatoire pour chacune et chacun qui ne sait pas expliquer dans le détail les événements depuis 1945 et le rôle des acteurs historiques. Attention, l’article contient quelques déscriptions d’atrocités qu’on préfère ne pas lire juste avant de prendre son petit déjeuner.

    4.1.2024 byy Seth Ackerman - In a 1948 essay, “The Twilight of International Morality,” the international relations theorist Hans Morgenthau looked back at the bygone style of diplomacy practiced by the old aristocratic states of Europe — what might be called “traditional Realpolitik” — and ventured a contrarian argument: that behind its amoral facade and despite its reputation for cynicism and duplicity, it was always grounded in an inviolable ethical code.

    He considered Otto von Bismarck, the German avatar of nineteenth-century Realpolitik, and contrasted him with Adolf Hitler. Both men had faced the same stubborn problem: the fact of Germany’s “encirclement” by dangerous neighbors, France to the west and Russia to the east.

    But whereas Bismarck “accepted the inevitability of that fact and endeavored to turn it to Germany’s advantage,” through an intricate and sometimes devious Realpolitik diplomacy, Hitler, being “free of the moral scruples which had compelled Bismarck to accept the existence of France and Russia,” set out, quite simply, to annihilate them both.

    Whether this difference was really attributable to “moral scruple” or not can be debated; Bismarck’s foreign policy was a practical success, after all, while Hitler’s obviously wasn’t. But Morgenthau had put his finger on a useful and important distinction.

    The “Bismarck method” and the “Hitler method” can be thought of as two alternative ways of dealing with danger in the world. The first is the method of Realpolitik, which accepts power realities for what they are; assumes coexistence with enemies to be, for better or worse, permanent and unavoidable; and for that reason prefers, wherever possible, to defuse threats by searching for areas of common interest, employing the minimum quantum of violence necessary to achieve vital objectives.

    The second method is animated by an ideologically driven demonology of one type or another — an obsession with monsters that must be destroyed — coupled with an insatiable craving for what Henry Kissinger, in a well-known aphorism, called “absolute security”: “The desire of one power for absolute security,” he wrote in his 1954 doctoral dissertation on the diplomacy of Austrian diplomat Klemens von Metternich, “means absolute insecurity for all the others.”
    United Behind Israel

    Since October 7, every voice of authority in the West, from Joe Biden on down — in the foreign ministries, the think tanks, the major media — has united behind Israel’s declared objective to “crush and eliminate” Hamas. Its commando strike through Israel’s Gaza “iron wall” and the spree of atrocities against civilians that accompanied it are said to have voided whatever legitimacy the group might once have been accorded. A demand for Hamas’s total defeat and eradication is — for now, anyway — official policy in the United States, the European Union, and the other G7 nations.

    The problem, however, is that Hamas, which won 44 percent of the vote in the last Palestinian legislative elections, is a mass political party, not just an armed group, and neither can in fact be eradicated “militarily.” As long as Hamas exists, attempting to permanently exclude it from Palestinian politics by foreign diktat is guaranteed not only to fail but to sow unending chaos.

    Because the Hamas-must-go policy is unachievable and unsustainable, it is fated to be temporary, and the only question is how long it will take the world’s leaders to recognize their mistake and how much damage will be done in the meantime.

    In Afghanistan it took the United States twenty years, across three administrations, to summon the nerve to admit that it couldn’t defeat the Taliban. Despite the nearly three thousand who died on American soil at the hands of the Taliban’s al-Qaeda “guests,” the US realized in the end that it had no better option than to talk to the group and make a deal. When an accommodation was finally reached, in 2020, it was — in classic Realpolitik fashion — based on a common interest in defeating a mutual enemy, namely ISIS. In exchange for a commitment from the Taliban not to allow its territory to be used as a base for foreign terrorist operations, the United States withdrew its forces in 2021 and the Taliban is now in power in Kabul.

    But Gaza can’t afford to wait twenty years for Biden and company to come to their senses; given the pace of Israel’s killing machine, the last surviving Palestinian there will be long dead by then.

    All his life, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken publicly and privately of his dream that Israel might someday get an opportunity to finish the job of 1948 and rid the Land of Israel of its masses of Palestinian interlopers. He expounded on this theme one evening in Jerusalem in the late 1970s to an appalled dinner guest, the military historian Max Hastings, who recounted the conversation in his memoirs; and he returned to the theme on the floor of the Knesset a decade later, after the Tiananmen Square massacre, when he lamented Israel’s failure to have seized the moment while the world’s attention was focused on China, to carry out a “mass expulsion of the Arabs.”

    Now, thanks to a fortuitous convergence of circumstances — a vengeful public, a far-right governing coalition, and, most importantly, a compliant US president — Netanyahu has been given another chance, and he’s not letting the opportunity slip away.

    Israel has explained what it’s doing in plain language. No one can claim they didn’t know. Through a combination of mass-casualty terror bombing — what Robert Pape of the University of Chicago, a leading scholar of coercive air power, has called “one of the most intense civilian punishment campaigns in history” — the destruction of hospitals and other critical infrastructure, and a near-total blockade of humanitarian supplies, it is working “to create conditions where life in Gaza becomes unsustainable,” in the words of Major General (Ret.) Giora Eiland, an adviser to the current defense minister.

    Israel, in other words, is grimly marching Morgenthau’s argument to its logical conclusion — proving, before the eyes of the world, that the final and most fundamental alternative to Realpolitik is genocide.
    Speak of the Devil

    In a 2008 article published by the Israel Council on Foreign Relations, Efraim Halevy, one of the more pragmatic Realpolitikers in Israel’s security establishment, aired his qualms about the prevailing Israeli approach to dealing with Gaza and its rulers.

    A former head of the Mossad, director of Israel’s national security council, and ambassador to the European Union, Halevy had worked on the Hamas file for many years, and his message was blunt: Hamas wasn’t going away anytime soon. Israel would therefore do well to find a way to make the group “a factor in a solution” rather than a perpetually “insurmountable problem.”

    Since the notion of Hamas as a solution to anything was bound to jar the reader’s preconceptions, Halevy took care to lay out a few relevant facts.

    He explained, first, that whatever the group’s founding documents might say, twenty years of contact with real-world politics had educated Hamas in the realities of power, and it was now “more than obvious to Hamas that they have no chance in the world to witness the destruction of the State of Israel.”

    Consequently, the group’s leaders had reverted to a more achievable goal: rather than Israel’s destruction, they sought its withdrawal to its 1967 borders, in exchange for which Hamas would agree to an extended armistice — “a thirty-year truce,” Halevy called it — which the group said it would respect and even help enforce, and which could eventually be made permanent if the parties so desired.

    Second, although Hamas’s leaders were adamant that Hamas would not recognize Israel or talk to it directly, they didn’t object to Mahmoud Abbas doing so, and they declared themselves ready, according to Halevy, “to accept a solution negotiated [by Abbas] with Israel if it were approved in a national Palestinian referendum.”

    Two years earlier, Hamas had prevailed in Palestinian elections by emphasizing its pragmatism and willingness to respect the two-state center-ground of Palestinian public opinion. That decision had represented a victory for the moderates within the organization. One of them, Riad Mustafa, a Hamas parliamentary deputy representing Nablus, explained the group’s position in a 2006 interview:

    I say unambiguously: Hamas does not and never will recognize Israel. Recognition is an act conferred by states, not movements or governments, and Palestine is not a state. Nevertheless, the [Hamas-led] government’s program calls for the end of the occupation, not the destruction of Israel, and Hamas has proposed ending the occupation and a long-term truce to bring peace to this region.

    That is Hamas’ own position. The government has also recognized President Abbas’ right to conduct political negotiations with Israel. If he were to produce a peace agreement, and if this agreement was endorsed by our national institutions and a popular referendum, then — even if it includes Palestinian recognition of Israel — we would of course accept their verdict. Because respecting the will of the people and their democratic choice is also one of our principles.

    According to Halevy, Hamas had conveyed these ideas to the Israeli leadership as far back as 1997 — but it never got a response. “Israel rejected this approach out of hand,” he wrote, “viewing it as a honey trap that would allow Hamas to consolidate its strength and status until such time as it would be capable of confronting Israel in battle, with a chance of winning.”

    Halevy regarded this as a serious mistake. “Is the current approach of Hamas genuine or is it a honey trap?” he asked. “Who can say?” Everything would depend on the details — but “such details cannot be pursued unless Hamas is engaged in meaningful discussion.”

    Finally — and presciently, it’s now clear — he reminded his readers that refusing to talk brought risks of its own:

    The Hamas leadership is by no means unanimous concerning the policies it should adopt. There are the pragmatists, the die-hard ideologues, the politicians, and the commanders in the field. All are now locked in serious debate over the future.

    As long as the door to dialogue is closed, there is no doubt as to who will prevail in this continuous deliberation and soul-searching.

    Organized Inhumanity

    Instead of taking Halevy’s Realpolitik advice, Israel and the United States doubled down on their monster-slaying crusade. Following Hamas’s election victory, they cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, boycotted its new government, and tried to foment an anti-Hamas coup in Gaza, using forces loyal to elements of Fatah. The coup backfired, however, and when the dust cleared in early 2007, Fatah’s forces in Gaza had been routed, leaving Hamas in full control of the Strip.

    In response to that fiasco, Israel’s cabinet designated Gaza a “hostile entity” and prescribed an unprecedented tightening of its blockade, a measure officially referred to as the “closure” — an elaborate system of controls over the movement of people and goods into and out of the enclave, made possible by Israel’s continued grip over Gaza’s borders.
    Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, of Hamas (L), and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, of Fatah, chair the first meeting of the previously attempted Palestinian unity government, on March 18, 2007, in the Gaza Strip.
    (Abid Katib / Getty Images)

    The closure of Gaza was a unique experiment — a pioneering innovation in organized inhumanity. The United Nations (UN) human rights jurist John Dugard has called it “possibly the most rigorous form of international sanctions imposed in modern times.”

    To make it sustainable, the closure was crafted to allow Israel to fine-tune the level of suffering Gazans experienced. The goal, as an adviser to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert put it, was “to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” Thus, on the one hand, the productive economy was comprehensively wiped out by denying it materials, fuel, and machinery. But on the other hand, Israel would try to estimate how many truckloads of food deliveries per day it would need to approve in order for the minimum caloric requirements of Gaza’s population to be met without producing famine conditions.

    The phrase that Israel’s closure administrators used among themselves to summarize their objective was, “No prosperity, no development, no humanitarian crisis.” By October 7, this policy had been in place for sixteen years, and a majority of Gaza’s population could not remember a time before it.

    Jamie Stern-Weiner has summarized the effects:

    The unemployment rate soared to “probably the highest in the world,” four-fifths of the population were forced to rely on humanitarian assistance, three-quarters became dependent on food aid, more than half faced “acute food insecurity,” one in ten children were stunted by malnutrition, and over 96 percent of potable water became unsafe for human consumption.

    The head of the United Nations (UN) agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, observed in 2008 that “Gaza is on the threshold of becoming the first territory to be intentionally reduced to a state of abject destitution, with the knowledge, acquiescence and — some would say — encouragement of the international community.”

    The UN warned in 2015 that the cumulative impact of this induced “humanitarian implosion” might render Gaza “unlivable” within a half-decade. Israeli military intelligence agreed.

    As time went on, Israel under Netanyahu tried to turn the closure into a tool of coercive statecraft. When Hamas was being cooperative, the restrictions were minutely eased and Gazans’ misery would ever so slightly subside. When Hamas was recalcitrant, Israel would, so to speak, put the Palestinians on a more stringent diet.

    But even in the most convivial moments of the Israel-Hamas relationship, conditions in Gaza were maintained at a level of deprivation that, anywhere else, would be considered catastrophic. In the period just prior to October 7, Gazans had electricity for only half the day. Eighty percent of the population relied on humanitarian relief for basic needs, 40 percent suffered from a “severe” lack of food, and 75 percent of the population lacked access to water fit for human consumption.

    That was the bad news. The good news was that Israel had recently hinted it might permit repairs to Gaza’s water desalination plants — depending on how Hamas behaved.
    Bismarck in Zion

    It would be wrong to compare this situation to old-style, nineteenth-century colonialism. It was much worse than that. It was more like a grotesque parody of colonialism — “no prosperity, no development, no humanitarian crisis” — a cartoonishly malevolent version of the kind of foreign domination against which “wars of national liberation” have been fought by people on every continent and in every era — and by the most gruesome means.

    One can debate this or that aspect of the academic left’s discourse about Israel as a settler-colonial state. But the colonial dynamic that lies at the root of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians is not a matter of debate; it’s a fact of history, recognized as such not just by campus social-justice activists but by the leading figures of modern Zionism.

    Vladimir Jabotinsky, the erudite and much misunderstood Zionist leader who posthumously became the founding father of the Israeli right (one of his closest aides, Benzion Netanyahu, was the father of the current prime minister) sought to drive home just this point in his famous 1923 essay “The Iron Wall.”

    At the time, many on the Zionist left still clung to the pretense that Zionism posed no threat to the Palestinians. They dissembled in public about the movement’s ultimate aims — the creation of a state “as Jewish as England is English,” in the words of Chaim Weizmann — and, even in private, some of them professed to believe that the Jewish presence in Palestine would bring such wondrous economic blessings that the Palestinians themselves would someday be won over to the Zionist cause.

    This combination of deception and self-deception put the whole Zionist venture at risk, Jabotinsky believed, and in “The Iron Wall” he set out, in exceptionally lucid and unforgiving prose, to strip away the Left’s illusions.

    It’s worth quoting him at length:

    My readers have a general idea of the history of colonization in other countries. I suggest that they consider all the precedents with which they are acquainted, and see whether there is one solitary instance of any colonization being carried on with the consent of the native population. There is no such precedent.

    The native populations, civilized or uncivilized, have always stubbornly resisted the colonists, irrespective of whether they were civilized or savage.

    And it made no difference whatever whether the colonists behaved decently or not. The companions of Cortez and Pizzaro or (as some people will remind us) our own ancestors under Joshua Ben Nun, behaved like brigands; but the Pilgrim Fathers, the first real pioneers of North America, were people of the highest morality, who did not want to do harm to anyone, least of all to the Red Indians, and they honestly believed that there was room enough in the prairies both for the Paleface and the Redskin. Yet the native population fought with the same ferocity against the good colonists as against the bad.

    Every native population, civilized or not, regards its lands as its national home, of which it is the sole master, and it wants to retain that mastery always; it will refuse to admit not only new masters but even new partners or collaborators.

    This is equally true of the Arabs. Our peace-mongers are trying to persuade us that the Arabs are either fools, whom we can deceive by masking our real aims, or that they are corrupt and can be bribed to abandon to us their claim to priority in Palestine, in return for cultural and economic advantages. I repudiate this conception of the Palestinian Arabs. Culturally they are five hundred years behind us, they have neither our endurance nor our determination; but they are just as good psychologists as we are, and their minds have been sharpened like ours by centuries of fine-spun logomachy.

    We may tell them whatever we like about the innocence of our aims, watering them down and sweetening them with honeyed words to make them palatable, but they know what we want, as well as we know what they do not want. They feel at least the same instinctive jealous love of Palestine, as the old Aztecs felt for ancient Mexico, and the Sioux for their rolling Prairies.

    To imagine, as our Arabophiles do, that they will voluntarily consent to the realization of Zionism in return for the moral and material conveniences which the Jewish colonist brings with him, is a childish notion, which has at bottom a kind of contempt for the Arab people; it means that they despise the Arab race, which they regard as a corrupt mob that can be bought and sold, and are willing to give up their fatherland for a good railway system.

    There is no justification for such a belief. It may be that some individual Arabs take bribes. But that does not mean that the Arab people of Palestine as a whole will sell that fervent patriotism that they guard so jealously, and which even the Papuans will never sell. Every native population in the world resists colonists as long as it has the slightest hope of being able to rid itself of the danger of being colonized.

    That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of “Palestine” into the “Land of Israel.”

    What should the Zionists do, then, according to Jabotinsky? First, and most important, he urged the movement to build up its military strength — the “iron wall” of the essay’s title.

    Second, under the shield of its armed forces, the Zionists should speed ahead with the colonization of Palestine, against the will of the indigenous Arab majority, by securing a maximum of Jewish immigration in a minimum span of time.

    Once a Jewish majority had become a fait accompli (in 1923, Jews still made up only about 11 percent of Palestine’s population), it would only be a matter of time, Jabotinsky thought, before it finally penetrated the minds of the Arabs that the Jews were not going to be chased out of Palestine. Then they would see that they had no better option than to come to terms with Zionism.

    And at that point, Jabotinsky concluded, “I am convinced that we Jews will be found ready to give them satisfactory guarantees” — guarantees of extensive civil, political, even national rights, within a Jewish state — “so that both peoples can live together in peace, like good neighbors.”

    Whatever one thinks of the morality — or the sincerity — of Jabotinsky’s strategy in “The Iron Wall,” as Realpolitik it made eminent sense. It started from a realistic appraisal of the problem: that the Palestinians could not be expected to give up the fight to preserve their homeland. It proposed a program of focused coercive violence to frustrate their resistance. And it held out a set of assurances safeguarding key Palestinian interests in the context of an overall settlement in which the main Zionist objective would be achieved.

    Whether this Bismarckian program could have “worked” (from the Zionist perspective) will never be known, however. For in the years that followed, a very different sort of scenario gained prominence in the thinking of the Zionist leadership.

    This was what was known as “transfer”: a euphemism meaning the “voluntary” or involuntary physical removal of the Palestinian population from the “Land of Israel.”

    In 1923, when he wrote “The Iron Wall,” Jabotinsky was firmly opposed to transfer. “I consider it utterly impossible to eject the Arabs from Palestine,” he wrote. “There will always be two nations in Palestine.” He maintained this stance quite adamantly until the final years of his life, holding firm even as support for the concept steadily spread through both the mainstream Zionist left and among his own increasingly radicalized right-wing followers.

    The Israeli historian Benny Morris chronicled this doctrinal shift in his The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem. He summarized it this way:

    As Arab opposition, including violent resistance, to Zionism grew in the 1920s and 1930s, and as this opposition resulted in periodic British clampdowns on Jewish immigration, a consensus or near-consensus formed among the Zionist leaders around the idea of transfer as the natural, efficient and even moral solution to the demographic dilemma.

    Thus, by 1948, Morris concluded, “transfer was in the air.”
    We Will Attack and Smite the Enemy

    In the early morning hours of Friday, April 9, 1948, during the conflict that Israelis call the War of Independence, 132 armed men — mostly from the Irgun, the right-wing paramilitary group that Jabotinsky had led until his death in 1940, but also a few others from a splinter-group offshoot called Lehi — entered a Palestinian village near Jerusalem with the intention of capturing it and requisitioning supplies from its inhabitants.

    Six months earlier, the UN had announced its decision to partition Palestine into a Jewish state, which was to be allocated 55 percent of the territory, and a Palestinian Arab state, on the remaining 45 percent. (At the time, there were about 600,000 Jews and 1.3 million Arabs in Palestine.)

    The Zionists were delighted to gain such a prize, while the Palestinians — in shock at the prospect of having more than half their homeland torn away from them — rejected the plan in its totality. In response to the announcement, a wave of civil strife between Jews and Arabs erupted, shortly escalating into all-out war.

    Amid this violence, the village in question, Deir Yassin, had been faithfully respecting a truce with nearby Jewish settlements. “There was not even one incident between Deir Yassin and the Jews,” according to the local commander of the Haganah, the mainstream Zionist militia that would soon become the core of the newly created Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

    Despite this, the rightist paramilitaries had made a decision to carry out the “liquidation of all the men in the village and any other force that opposed us, whether it be old people, women, or children,” according to an Irgun officer, Ben-Zion Cohen, who participated in the operation’s planning. The stated reason for this decision was that it would “show the Arabs what happens” when Jews were united and determined to fight.

    (Cohen’s recollections of the operation, as well as those of several other Deir Yassin veterans, were recorded and deposited with the Jabotinsky Institute archives in Tel Aviv in the mid-1950s, where they were discovered decades later by an Israeli journalist.)

    That morning, the inhabitants of Deir Yassin awoke to the sound of grenades and gunfire. Some began fleeing in their nightclothes; others scrambled for their weapons or took refuge in the homes of neighbors. The attackers’ initial battle plan quickly fell apart amid equipment failures and communication problems, and they took unexpectedly heavy casualties from the local men armed with rifles. After a few hours of fighting, a decision was made to call a retreat.

    Cowering inside their homes at that moment were the Palestinian families who’d been unable to flee in time. As soon as the paramilitary commanders ordered the retreat, these villagers became the targets of the Jewish fighters’ frustrations.

    What happened next was recounted by survivors to British police investigators from the Palestine Mandate’s civil administration. Twenty years later, the records of the investigation were obtained by two journalists, Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre, for their bestselling 1972 book, O Jerusalem!

    The survivors described scenes like the following.

    Fahimi Zeidan, a twelve-year-old girl, recalled the door to her house being blasted open as she and her family hid along with members of a neighboring family. The paramilitaries took them outside. “The Jews ordered all our family to line up against the wall and they started shooting us.” After they shot an already wounded man, “one of his daughters screamed, they shot her too. They then called my brother Mahmoud and shot him in our presence, and when my mother screamed and bent over my brother (she was carrying my little sister Khadra who was still being breastfed) they shot my mother too.”

    Haleem Eid, a thirty-year-old woman, testified that she saw “a man shoot a bullet into the neck of my sister Salhiyeh who was nine months pregnant. Then he cut her stomach open with a butcher’s knife.” When another village woman, Aiesch Radwas, tried to extricate the fetus from the dead mother’s womb, she was shot, too.

    Zeinab Akkel recalled that she tried to save her younger brother’s life by offering the Jewish attackers all her money (about $400). One of them took the money and “then he just knocked my brother over and shot him in the head with five bullets.”

    Sixteen-year-old Naaneh Khalil said she saw a man take “a kind of sword and slash my neighbor Jamil Hish from head to toe then do the same thing on the steps to my house to my cousin Fathi.”

    Meir Pa’il, a Jewish Agency intelligence official who was on the scene, later described the sight of Irgun and Lehi fighters running frantically through the village, “their eyes glazed over, full of lust for murder.”

    When some Irgunists discovered a house that had earlier been the source of fatal gunfire for one of their fallen comrades, they assaulted it, and nine civilians emerged in surrender. One of the paramilitaries shouted: “This is for Yiftach!” and machine-gunned them all to death.

    Prisoners were loaded onto trucks and driven through the streets of Jerusalem in a “victory parade.” After a group of male villagers was paraded in this way, they were unloaded from the trucks and executed. Meir Pa’il recalled photographing roughly twenty-five men shot in firing squad formation.

    According to Haganah intelligence documents, some of the villagers were taken to a nearby paramilitary base, where Lehi fighters killed one of the babies and then, when its mother fainted in shock, finished off the mother as well.

    One of the British officers from the Criminal Investigation Division attached the following note to the investigation file:

    I interviewed many of the women folk in order to glean some information on any atrocities committed in Deir Yassin but the majority of those women are very shy and reluctant to relate their experiences especially in matters concerning sexual assault and they need great coaxing before they will divulge any information. The recording of statements is hampered also by the hysterical state of the women who often break down many times whilst the statement is being recorded.

    There is, however, no doubt that many sexual atrocities were committed by the attacking Jews. Many young school girls were raped and later slaughtered. Old women were also molested. One story is current concerning a case in which a young girl was literally torn in two. Many infants were also butchered and killed. I also saw one old woman who gave her age as one hundred and four who had been severely beaten about the head by rifle butts. Women had bracelets torn from their arms and rings from their fingers and parts of some of the women’s ears were severed in order to remove earrings.”

    The next day, when Haganah forces inspected the village, one of them was shocked to find Jewish guerrillas “eating with gusto next to the bodies.” A doctor who accompanied the detachment noted that “it was clear that the attackers had gone from house to house and shot the people at close range,” adding: “I had been a doctor in the German Army for five years in World War I, but I never saw such a horrifying spectacle.”

    The commander of the Jewish youth brigade sent to assist in the cleanup operation entered a number of the houses and reported finding several bodies “sexually mutilated.” A female brigade member went into shock upon discovering the corpse of a pregnant woman whose abdomen appeared to have been crushed.

    The cleanup crew burned and buried the bodies in a quarry, later filling it with dirt.

    As they did so, a radio broadcast could be heard in Jerusalem delivering the following message:

    Accept my congratulations on this splendid act of conquest.

    Convey my regards to all the commanders and soldiers. We shake your hands.

    We are all proud of the excellent leadership and the fighting spirit in this great attack.

    We stand to attention in memory of the slain.

    We lovingly shake the hands of the wounded.

    Tell the soldiers: you have made history in Israel with your attack and your conquest. Continue thus until victory.

    As in Deir Yassin, so everywhere, we will attack and smite the enemy. God, God, Thou hast chosen us for conquest.

    The voice delivering the message belonged to the Irgun’s chief commander — the future Nobel Peace Prize winner and prime minister of Israel, Menachem Begin.
    Saying No to Yes

    “More than any single occurrence in my memory of that difficult period, it was Deir Yassin that stood out in all its awful and intentional fearsomeness,” the late Palestinian American literary scholar Edward Said, who was twelve at the time and living in Cairo, later recalled — “the stories of rape, of children with their throats slit, mothers disemboweled, and the like. They gripped the imagination, as they were designed to do, and they impressed a young boy many miles away with the mystery of such bloodthirsty and seemingly gratuitous violence against Palestinians whose only crime seemed to be that they were there.”

    A different memory of Deir Yassin was conveyed by Yaacov Meridor, a former Irgun commander, during a 1949 debate in the Israeli Knesset: to a disapproving mention of the massacre by a left-wing deputy, he retorted: “Thanks to Deir Yassin we won the war, sir!”

    Because of the wide publicity it received, Deir Yassin contributed disproportionately to the terrified panic that spurred the Palestinians’ flight in 1948–49. But it was only one of several dozen massacres perpetrated by Jewish forces, most of which had been the work of the mainstream Haganah/IDF. In a few cases, the IDF appears to have matched or even exceeded the depravity of the Irgun in Deir Yassin (as, for example, at al-Dawayima in October 1948).
    Palestinian refugees fleeing in October–November 1948. (Wikimedia Commons)

    The radicalized heirs of Jabotinsky delighted in reminding the Left of these details. “How many Deir Yassins have you [the Left] been responsible for?” another rightist deputy interjected. “If you don’t know, you can ask the Minister of Defense.” (The minister of defense was David Ben-Gurion, who’d been kept abreast of the atrocities perpetrated by his troops during the war.)

    The result was that, by mid-1949, the majority of the Palestinian population had fled for their lives or been expelled from their homes by Jewish forces and were living now as refugees beyond the borders of Palestine. Their abandoned villages would be bulldozed, and they would never be allowed to return. Israel, meanwhile, had expanded its control in Palestine from the 55 percent of the land awarded to it in 1947 by the UN to the 78 percent of the 1949 armistice lines.

    Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the Arab states and Palestinian organizations were unanimous in declaring Israel an illegitimate “Zionist entity” that would be dismantled and destroyed when Palestine was finally liberated. Until then, Arab governments were to have no contacts with Israel of any kind — even purely economic — on penalty of ostracism from the rest of the Arab world. This stance was affirmed and reaffirmed, year after year, in speeches, diplomatic texts, and Arab League communiqués.

    But Israel spent these years patiently tending to its iron wall, so that by 1967, when a second general Arab-Israeli war arrived, the wall was so impregnable that Israel was able to defeat the combined forces of all its adversaries in less than a week, conquering vast expanses of Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian territory.

    From that moment on, the rules of the conflict changed. There was only one feasible way for the Arab states to regain their conquered territories, and that was by coming to terms with the conqueror. Moshe Dayan, Israel’s defense minister, captured the essence of the situation in a laconic remark made three days after the war’s end. “We are quite pleased with what we have now. If the Arabs desire any change, they should call us.”

    With the brute physics of military compulsion now forcing the Arabs to rethink their long-held attitude toward the Jewish state, Israel had a unique opportunity to finally pursue the Bismarckian type of settlement that Jabotinsky had advocated fifty years earlier (albeit in a very different context).

    But for reasons originating in both the traumas of Jewish history and the political circumstances of the post-1967 world, Israel was unable to do it. Since the war, its political culture — on the Left and the Right, among the secular as well as the religious — had become suffused with a messianic belief in the imperative of Jewish territorial expansion and the illegitimacy of territorial compromise. Israelis clung to a concept of “absolute security” (in Kissinger’s sense) that over the years would drive them into a series of military disasters, most notably the 1982 “incursion” into Lebanon, which was supposed to last a few weeks but ended up dragging on for almost two decades. And a grossly distorted mental image of Israel’s Arab neighbors was cultivated in the nation’s collective psyche, based on the self-fulfilling prophecy of eternal enmity driven by a timeless hatred of Jews.

    The mentality was acutely captured by Joshua Cohen in his 2021 novel, The Netanyahus, a fictionalized account of a 1960 sojourn by Benzion Netanyahu and his young family (including a teenage Binyamin) to a bucolic American college town for a faculty job interview.

    At one point in the book, a fellow Israeli academic assesses the work of Netanyahu père, who was a scholar of medieval Jewish history:

    [There] comes a point in nearly every text he produces where it emerges that the true phenomenon under discussion is not anti-Semitism in Early Medieval Lorraine or Late Medieval Iberia but rather anti-Semitism in twentieth-century Nazi Germany; and suddenly a description of how a specific tragedy affected a specific diaspora becomes a diatribe about the general tragedy of the Jewish Diaspora, and how that Diaspora must end — as if history should not describe, but prescribe — in the founding of the State of Israel.

    I am not certain whether this politicization of Jewish suffering would have the same impact on American academia as it had on ours, but, in any milieu, connecting Crusader-era pogroms with the Iberian Inquisitions with the Nazi Reich must be adjudged as exceeding the bounds of sloppy analogy, to assert a cyclicity of Jewish history that approaches dangerously close to the mystical.

    The paradoxical result of all this was that the more powerful Israel became, the more power it felt it needed, and the more concessions it extracted from its enemies, the more concessions it required. Jabotinsky had advised the Zionist movement to build up its military strength in order to frustrate its adversaries’ attacks — and Israel became quite adept at this. But absent external duress, it could never bring itself to clinch the culminating step of Jabotinsky’s Bismarckian program: the ultimate accommodation with the defeated enemy.

    Put another way, Israel couldn’t take yes for an answer.

    In February 1971, Anwar Sadat, the new president of Egypt, the largest and most powerful Arab state, became the first Arab leader to declare his willingness to sign a peace treaty with Israel. He would do so, he said, if Israel committed to withdraw from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and agree to a negotiated resolution of the Palestinian issue.

    Eventually, Sadat’s persistence in seeking an agreement with Israel paid off: through the good offices of Jimmy Carter, an Egyptian-Israeli agreement on the terms of a peace treaty was signed at Camp David in 1978 — for which Sadat shared the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize — and Israel handed back Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in stages, ending in 1982.

    But it would take eight years, a region-wide war, a US-Soviet standoff that brought the world close to nuclear Armageddon, and a spectacular diplomatic gesture on Sadat’s part — his astonishing 1977 visit to Jerusalem, which led directly to his assassination by Islamic extremists four years later — to overcome Israeli obstructionism and make an Egyptian-Israeli agreement a reality.

    For two years following his February 1971 initiative, Sadat fruitlessly tried to advance his peace proposal in the face of Israel’s contemptuous rejection. (In those days, the Israeli sociologist Uri Ben-Eliezer writes, Sadat was still “depicted in Israel as an ignorant Egyptian peasant and a target for mockery.”) By spring 1973, he’d decided that his diplomatic avenues were exhausted, and he resolved to go to war to recover Egypt’s lost territory.

    Sadat knew that Egypt couldn’t reconquer the territories in battle. His plan, in essence, was a barroom brawler’s stratagem: he would start a fight with his stronger opponent, quickly get in a few good blows, and then count on onlookers — in this case the United States and the Soviet Union — to step in and break up the scuffle before too much damage could be done. By creating a Cold War crisis, he intended to force the United States, the only power with any leverage over Israel, to drag the Israelis to the negotiating table.

    His brilliantly executed surprise attack of October 6, 1973, secretly coordinated with Syria, served its purpose. It caught Israel unaware and unprepared, triggering a national crisis of confidence whose reverberations would be felt throughout Israeli society for years to come. It led to a US-Soviet confrontation that came close to the point of nuclear escalation. And it forced the United States to begin the process of nudging Israel in the direction of a settlement.

    Looking back on this sequence of events in his memoirs decades later, the Israeli elder statesman Shimon Peres, not wanting to cast judgment on the decisions of his former colleagues (he’d been a junior minister in government in 1971–73), wrote cautiously about Sadat’s rejected prewar peace terms: “It is hard to judge today whether peace with Sadat might have been possible at that time on the terms that were eventually agreed to five years later.”

    But other officials from that era have been less reserved. “I truly believe that it was a historic mistake” to have spurned Sadat’s 1971 overture, wrote Eytan Bentsur, a top aide to then foreign minister Abba Eban, in a judgment now echoed by many Israeli and American analysts. “History will judge if an opportunity had not been missed — one which would have prevented the Yom Kippur War and foreshadowed the peace with Egypt” at Camp David.
    “Do Not Be Fooled by Wily Sadat”

    If Sadat’s 1971 proposal was killed by negatives quietly conveyed via confidential diplomatic channels, it also fell victim, in the public sphere, to a deeply entrenched mental tic in Western discourse on the Middle East: the reflex of construing any given Arab peace proposal as a trick secretly designed to achieve not peace but the destruction of Israel.

    How a peace initiative can even be a trick, and what anyone could hope to gain by announcing a “trick peace proposal,” are questions that lack obvious answers. But to this day, the legend of the “fake Arab peace initiative” continues to exert a powerful psychological hold over many Western and Israeli observers.

    For example, shortly after Sadat publicized his 1971 peace offer, the diplomatic historian A. J. P. Taylor — the most famous British historian of his time — warned in a newspaper commentary that the Egyptian leader was attempting an elaborate ruse. “Do not be fooled by wily Sadat,” Taylor cautioned. The telltale clue that exposed Sadat’s real intentions, according to the scholar, was his insistence on the return of all occupied Egyptian territory, including the strategically important city of Sharm e-Shaikh.

    Taylor was certain that Sharm el-Shaikh was “a place of no use or importance to Egypt” aside from its dominating position at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba. If Sadat wanted it back so badly, that could only mean one thing: he wasn’t really seeking peace; he “merely wants to be in a position to strangle Israel again.”

    Obviously, history has not been kind to that conjecture. Fifty-two years later, Sharm el-Shaikh is an upscale resort town, the jewel of Egypt’s tourism industry. An Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty has been in force for more than four decades and has never been breached, by either side. Israel, needless to say, remains unstrangled.

    The mentality of Israel’s Western publicists grew more and more detached from reality in this way, with world events interpreted through the increasingly distorted lens of Zionist demonology. A 1973 editorial in what was then the largest-circulation Jewish newspaper in the United States, New York Jewish Week, is illustrative. At that moment, a UN Middle East peace conference was getting underway in Geneva, and there had recently been a spate of press commentary cautiously suggesting that perhaps Sadat might really want peace with Israel after all.

    The editorialists of Jewish Week had a question for such naïfs: Had they learned nothing from Hitler?

    The Arab leaders have told us that their aims are quite limited. They say they merely want to regain the territories that Israel conquered in 1967. Then they will be satisfied and recognize Israel, to live in peace forever after.

    Had Chamberlain and Daladier read “Mein Kampf” and heeded its warnings, they would have known that Hitler was dissembling [about] his real aims.

    Were the gullible editors and statesmen who believe the Arab protestations of limited war objectives to read the unrepudiated war aims of the Arab leaders who now profess moderation, they would know that the Yom Kippur War and the subsequent Arab peace offensive were right out of the Munich betrayal.

    With the benefit of hindsight and the enormous condescension of posterity, it’s all too easy to laugh at this kind of hysteria. Surely, after fifty years, the jury is in, and we can now say with certainty that no Middle Eastern Czechoslovakia has fallen victim to the battalions of the Egyptian Wehrmacht.

    But exactly the same reasoning and rhetoric are routinely deployed today, only now with Hamas replacing Anwar Sadat’s Egypt as the epicenter of the looming Fourth Reich — a dream-logic montage of history in which an interchangeable chorus of Hitlerian Arabs “professes moderation” at an uncannily Munich-like Geneva (or is it a Geneva-like Oslo?) in order to dupe gullible Westerners about their genocidal intentions.

    In fairness to the editorialists of Jewish Week, it should be recalled that Sadat — whose saintly memory as a peacemaker is venerated today by everyone in official Washington, from earnest White House speechwriters to flag-pinned congressional yahoos — routinely indulged in antisemitic invective of a virulence that would never be heard from the top leaders of Hamas today.

    In a 1972 speech, he called the Jews “a nation of liars and traitors, contrivers of plots, a people born for deeds of treachery” and said that “the most splendid thing that the Prophet Mohammad did was to drive them out of the whole of the Arabian peninsula.” For good measure, he promised that he would “never conduct direct negotiations” with the Jews. (As seen, he soon did just that.)

    Nor did Sadat hesitate to verbally evoke the “destruction of Israel” when it suited him; he did so routinely, including in a speech to his ruling Arab Socialist Union party just four months after his February 1971 peace initiative. In that June address, he spoke of his eagerness for the coming battle to destroy the “Zionist intrusion.”

    There were two contrasting ways of interpreting this sort of rhetoric from Sadat. On the one hand, there was the approach taken by the editorialists of the English-language Jerusalem Post — a publication deeply in thrall to the legend of the Arab peace fake-out — who gleefully declared that Sadat’s speech had “pulled off the mask of the peace-seeker, to show the true face of the warmonger.” His peace initiative of four months earlier had thereby been exposed as “a calculated fraud.”

    But how did the editorialists know it was the February peace proposal that was the fraud and not the June war threat? And if the peace proposal was a “calculated fraud,” why would Sadat expose his own calculated fraud? The Arab-peace-fake-out theory has always had this tendency to run itself into a logical ditch.

    An alternative interpretation could be found in a rival Israeli newspaper, Al HaMishmar, the organ of the small, far-left Mapam party, which proposed a much more believable explanation for Sadat’s bellicose rhetoric. The paper simply pointed out that his oration had been an election speech, delivered at a party conference. Most likely, the paper suggested — in the skeptical spirit of clear-eyed Realpolitik — it had just been a bit of electioneering.

    Al HaMishmar was right, of course, and the Jerusalem Post was wrong. Sadat’s peace proposal was not a fraud, and the theory of the Sadat peace fake-out had no truth to it.

    But more importantly, it was the opposite of the truth.

    Recall that Sadat’s position was that he was willing to make peace with Israel, but only on the condition that Israel withdraw from the occupied territories and accept a just solution to the Palestinian question. To Arab audiences, he promised again and again that he would always insist on both — that he would never stoop to anything so dishonorable, so treacherous, as making a separate peace with Israel that failed to address the plight of the suffering Palestinians.

    However, in the end, that’s exactly what he did. At Camp David in 1978, when he found himself unable to extract any substantive concessions from Israel on the Palestine file, he yielded to the superior force of Israel’s iron wall and signed an agreement that restored Egypt’s lost territory while offering little more than a fig-leaf gesture toward the Palestinians. (The agreement pledged that Egypt and Israel would continue negotiations on Palestinian “autonomy” under Israeli sovereignty; the brief trickle of pro forma negotiations that followed quickly petered out, as expected.)
    President Jimmy Carter shaking hands with Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin at the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty at the White House, 1979. (Wikimedia Commons)

    The defection of Egypt, the strongest Arab state, from the Arab coalition was a historic disaster for the Palestinian movement, from which it arguably never recovered.

    Which means that if Sadat had, in fact, been harboring any dark thoughts in the back of his mind when he put forward his 1971 peace proposal, what they amounted to was not a secret plan to bring about the destruction of the Jewish state, as erroneously proclaimed by Taylor and the American Jewish press and a cavalcade of witting and unwitting propagandists from the pages of Reader’s Digest to the platforms of Meet the Press.

    What Sadat was actually concealing was his shamefaced readiness to countenance the defeat of the Palestinian cause — which is how it came to be that Menachem Begin, thirty years after proclaiming, “As in Deir Yassin, so everywhere, we will attack and smite the enemy,” and Sadat, seven years after declaring that he would “never conduct direct negotiations” with Israel but would strive to bring about its “complete destruction,” could stand together on the White House lawn and warmly shake hands while a beaming Jimmy Carter looked on.

    That was Realpolitik in action.
    “The Language of Lies and Treason”

    At that moment, the man who would become the moving spirit behind the creation of Hamas — a forty-three-year-old quadriplegic Gazan named Ahmed Yassin — was on the cusp of an astonishing political ascendancy.

    At the time of the Camp David Accords, politics in Israeli-occupied Gaza revolved around two poles. On the Left, there was a constellation of forces grouped around the physician Haidar Abdel-Shafi, a former communist, and his local branch of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. These included the feminist and labor leader Yusra al-Barbari of the General Union of Palestinian Women; Fayez Abu Rahmeh of the Gaza Bar Association, which aided Gazan political prisoners; and Mousa Saba, the head of the Gaza chapter of the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association), which hosted summer camps and discussion seminars for Palestinians of all faiths. Abdel-Shafi, who’d been a founding member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the 1960s, was an early proponent of a two-state settlement in which an independent Palestinian state would coexist alongside Israel.

    The other pole centered on the Gaza branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which had been founded in 1946. Yassin, a pious schoolteacher with a thin voice who’d been paralyzed in a sports accident as a child, joined the Brotherhood early on and in the 1960s began attracting a devoted local following for his charismatic lay preaching.

    At the end of the 1960s, the local Brotherhood was at a low ebb, its membership no more than a few dozen. But over the course of the 1970s, Yassin and his band of followers would embark on an energetic organizing campaign whose institutional expression was what they called the “Mujama al-Islamiya” (the Islamic “Center,” or “Collective”), a network of religious schools, community centers, children’s nurseries, and the like.

    Throughout this process of institution-building, Yassin and his followers rigorously kept their distance from anti-Israel violence — or indeed nationalist agitation of any kind. Jean-Pierre Filiu, a French Arabist scholar and author of a magisterial history of Gaza, writes that Yassin “adhered to the Brotherhood’s moralizing line that prioritized spiritual revival over active militancy.” In Yassin’s view, “the Palestinians had lost Palestine because they were not sufficiently Muslim — it was only by returning to the sources of their faith and to their daily duties as Muslims that they would ultimately be able to recover their land and their rights.”

    In a significant political gesture, the Israeli military governor in Gaza attended the 1973 inauguration ceremony of the Jura al-Shams mosque, the central hub and showpiece of the Mujama. As late as 1986, an Israeli governor of Gaza, General Yitzhak Segev, could explain that Israel was giving “financial aid to Islamic groups via mosques and religious schools in order to help create a force that would stand against the leftist forces which support the PLO.”

    Occasionally, these connections attracted accusations from PLO partisans that Yassin and his men were puppets or stooges of the Israelis. But the Islamists’ tacit nonaggression pact with the occupier was not the product of manipulation; it reflected a coincidence of interests — an expression of Realpolitik on both sides.

    What really drove Yassin and his followers, above all else, was their vision of “Islamization from below”: the creation of a society in which every individual could choose to be a good Muslim and be surrounded by institutions that would nurture that choice. That was the essence of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology everywhere, and like the US religious right, its exponents were highly adaptable when it came to the means by which to advance it. American fundamentalists might alternately burn Beatles records or sponsor Christian rock festivals, build suburban megachurches or preach with long hair in hippie conventicles. The Islamists of Gaza would approach their mission with a similar flexibility.

    In the 1970s and 1980s, the ethos of the Mujama was defined by a vehement rejection of all politics (“the language of lies and treason,” they liked to say) in favor of priorities like family, education, and a return to traditional mores. Hence the Islamists’ adamancy about abstaining from the national struggle — a choice that had the added benefit of shielding their project from harassment by the Israeli military authorities.

    The men of the Mujama were not above using violence against other Palestinians in pursuit of their objectives: in a moment of hubris amid the wave of Arab revulsion at Sadat’s peace treaty, Yassin’s forces tried to take on the local left — “the communists,” “the atheists,” as they contemptuously called all their left-wing rivals — by running a candidate against Abdel-Shafi in elections to the presidency of the Red Crescent Society.

    When the Islamist candidate lost in a landslide, “several hundred Islamist demonstrators expressed their anger on 7 January 1980 by ransacking the Red Crescent offices, before moving on to cafés, cinemas, and drinking establishments in the town center,” Filiu reports. (The Israeli army conspicuously refrained from intervening.) In the 1980s, Gaza would be the scene of a vicious and at times violent campaign by the Islamists to impose “modest” dress on women.

    It was only after the outbreak of the First Intifada at the very end of 1987 — a spontaneous and massive popular uprising over which PLO cadres quickly assumed leadership — that Yassin overruled his divided advisers and made a strategic decision to join the struggle against Israel.

    Amid the explosion of mass strikes and boycotts, stone-throwing demonstrations and confrontations with Israeli soldiers, the men of the Mujama saw which way the wind was blowing. They had a product to sell, and it was obvious what their target market wanted. In contradiction to everything they had preached over the previous decade, they began issuing anonymous leaflets calling on the faithful to resist the occupation. Soon they started signing the leaflets “the Islamic Resistance Movement,” whose Arabic initials spell “Hamas.”

    Almost overnight, the notorious quietists of Gaza’s religious right, once ridiculed and condemned by Palestinian nationalists for sitting out the anti-Israel struggle, transformed themselves into armed guerrillas.

    By the time of the 1993 Oslo Accords, they had become the unlikely standard-bearers of uncompromising Palestinian nationalism.
    Arafat Says Uncle

    If the Oslo Accords signing ceremony in 1993 looked like a restaging of the earlier handshake on the White House lawn — a new production of an old play, with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin in the Sadat and Begin roles, and Bill Clinton typecast as the new Jimmy Carter — that was not the only resemblance between Camp David and Oslo.

    Both agreements were by-products of Israel’s congenital inability to take yes for an answer.

    If the “yes” in Egypt’s case came in 1971, when Sadat first signaled his willingness to recognize Israel, the “yes” of Yasser Arafat’s PLO was first delivered in December 1973, just before the Geneva peace conference, when Arafat sent a secret message to Washington:

    The Palestine Liberation Organization in no way seeks the destruction of Israel, but accepts its existence as a sovereign state; the PLO’s main aim at the Geneva conference will be the creation of a Palestinian state out of the “Palestinian part of Jordan” [i.e., the West Bank and East Jerusalem] plus Gaza.

    But Arafat’s private declaration brought no change in the PLO’s formal, public position: officially, the group remained committed, in the words of the 1968 PLO charter, to “the elimination of Zionism in Palestine.”

    The reason for this discrepancy stemmed from the fact that “recognizing Israel” meant something very different for the Palestinians than it had for Egypt.

    Sadat’s peace initiative had proposed trading recognition of Israel for a full restoration of Egypt’s territorial integrity. For the Palestinians, by contrast, recognition of Israel was tantamount in and of itself to a signing away of their right to 78 percent of their homeland’s territory. What for Egypt had been merely a humbling political concession to a regional military rival was, for the Palestinians, an existential act of renunciation.

    Arafat believed the Palestinian masses would nevertheless support such a sacrifice — but only as part of a historic compromise in which recognition of the loss of 78 percent of Palestine would be compensated by assurances that the remaining 22 percent would become a Palestine state.

    He therefore adopted what might be called his “American strategy.” For the next fifteen years, Arafat chased the prize of a dialogue with the United States, hoping to strike a deal: in exchange for a formal, public PLO commitment to recognize Israel, Washington would publicly commit to work for Palestinian statehood and apply the necessary pressure on Israel.

    The PLO leader pitched this concept to any American who would listen. In a 1976 conversation with a visiting US senator in Beirut, Arafat “said that before he was able to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as an independent state he must have something to show his people,” a US embassy dispatch reported to State Department headquarters in Washington. “This something could be Israeli withdrawal of a ‘few kilometers’ in the Gaza Strip and on the West Bank,” with a UN force taking control of the evacuated territory.

    Israel acted quickly to foil Arafat’s strategy. In 1975, it extracted from Secretary of State Henry Kissinger a signed memorandum of agreement in which Kissinger pledged that the United States would not “negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization so long as the Palestine Liberation Organization does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.” By making PLO recognition of Israel a precondition for dialogue with the United States, the agreement ruled out any scenario in which recognition might be granted in exchange for US commitments.

    Kissinger had no qualms about signing away his ability to talk to the PLO. He was convinced that nothing could come of such talks — not because the Palestinians were rejectionists, but because the Israelis were. “Once [the PLO] are in the peace process,” he told a meeting of US Middle East ambassadors in June 1976, “they’ll raise all the issues the Israelis can’t handle” — the issues of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

    According to Kissinger, anyone foolish enough to think a US administration could use its leverage to force Israel to concede on those issues “totally underestimates what it involves in taking on the [Israel] lobby. They never hit you on the issue; you have to fight ten other issues — your credibility, everything.” In short, “We cannot deliver the minimum demands of the PLO, so why talk to them?”

    As soon as Kissinger’s memorandum was signed, Israel’s fixers and propagandists went to work transforming it from a mere understanding between foreign ministers into a sacrosanct totem of domestic politics, to which every ambitious US politician had to genuflect. In the 1980 presidential election, all four major candidates — Ted Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, John Anderson, and Ronald Reagan — tried to outdo one another in anathematizing the PLO and promising not to talk to it.

    This time the ideological Wurlitzer had to be cranked up to eleven: it wasn’t enough to portray the PLO as a group that currently rejected Israel’s existence (which, if anything, might serve as an argument in favor of US contacts with the group — to try to persuade it to change its stance).

    Rather, the PLO had to be depicted as incapable of accepting Israel’s existence, or coexisting with Jews at all. In the popular phrase of the time, endlessly repeated or paraphrased by ostensibly factual news organizations like the Associated Press and the New York Times, the PLO was an organization “sworn to Israel’s destruction.” Or, as Exodus author Leon Uris — the Homer of American Zionism, its bard and ur-mythologist — put it in a 1976 open letter: the PLO was “emotionally and constitutionally bound to the liquidation of Jewish existence in the Middle East.”

    Top US officials were forced to ritually repeat this fiction — that the PLO was bent on Israel’s destruction — even though they knew firsthand that it wasn’t true. “We have to consider what the parties’ position is,” Jimmy Carter’s secretary of state, Edmund Muskie, said in June 1980, defending the United States’ increasingly isolated stance opposing PLO involvement in peace talks, “and the PLO’s position is that it is not interested in a negotiated settlement with Israel. It is interested only in Israel’s extinction.”

    Meanwhile, privately, the CIA was telling the State Department that, far from refusing to recognize Israel, the PLO was internally debating what to demand in exchange for recognition: “Despite efforts by Fatah moderates [such as Arafat] to convince the rest of the [PLO] leadership that a dialogue with the US entails sufficient long range benefits to justify [recognizing Israel], the PLO leadership remains largely convinced that it must demand more than just talks with the US before giving up what it considers to be its only major ‘card’ in the negotiating process.”
    Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel and Chairman Yasser Arafat of the Palestinian Authority shake hands at a trilateral meeting at the US ambassador’s residence in Oslo, Norway, November 1999. (Wikimedia Commons)

    Like A. J. P. Taylor’s musings about Anwar Sadat, the assessments of the PLO that prevailed in that era have aged poorly. Far from proving “emotionally and constitutionally bound to the liquidation of Jewish existence in the Middle East,” the PLO today not only recognizes Israel, it has a leader, Mahmoud Abbas, whose policy of “security coordination” with the occupation authorities is considered so indispensable to the Israeli army that the country’s lobbyists and diplomats have to periodically remind confused right-wing Republicans that they actually want the United States to keep funding the Palestinian security forces.

    Abbas, whose endless concessions to Israel have consigned him to political irrelevance among his own people, has spent the past decade begging for a NATO occupation of the West Bank — an odd way to go about pursuing the “liquidation of Jewish existence in the Middle East.”

    Finally, in 1988, Arafat caved. In exile in Tunisia following the PLO’s bloody expulsion from Lebanon, he pushed the Palestinian National Council (PNC) for a unilateral recognition of Israel with no assurance that any movement toward a Palestinian state would be forthcoming. In his memoirs, then Secretary of State George Shultz gleefully summed up the episode this way: “Arafat finally said ‘Uncle.’”

    Israel had at last received its “yes” from the Palestinians, signed, witnessed, and notarized. But it had no effect whatsoever on either the United States or the Israeli attitude toward Palestinian statehood.

    More than thirty years later, the Palestinian decision of 1988 — which called for peace between an Israel on 78 percent of the land and a Palestinian state on 22 percent — remains an offer on the table, one that no Israeli government has ever expressed a willingness to touch.

    Had Arafat stopped there, the Palestinians, in diplomatic terms, would have been positioned as advantageously as could be expected given the circumstances.

    Instead, he made a tragic, historic error. He went further than “yes.”

    In 1992, fearful of being sidelined from the post–Gulf War flurry of Middle East diplomacy, Arafat secretly authorized back-channel talks in Oslo with representatives of the newly elected Israeli government of Yitzhak Rabin, in the course of which he agreed to concessions that, once made public, were met with outrage and disbelief by the most alert Palestinian observers.

    In the Oslo Accords, Arafat not only reaffirmed the PLO’s recognition of Israel without any reciprocal Israeli recognition of Palestinian statehood — or even any mention of the possibility of statehood — he conceded to Israel a veto over Palestinian statehood (“The PLO . . . declares that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations”).

    Not only did Arafat renounce the use of force against Israel — unilaterally, with no reciprocation — and agree to suppress resistance to the occupation on Israel’s behalf, he did so with no commitment from the occupiers to stop confiscating Palestinian land to expand Jewish settlements, roads, or military installations.

    The Palestinian-American historian Rashid Khalidi has called Arafat’s move “a resounding, historic mistake, one with grave consequences for the Palestinian people.” Edward Said labeled it “an instrument of Palestinian surrender, a Palestinian Versailles.” Haidar Abdel-Shafi, who headed the official Palestinian delegation to the US-sponsored post–Gulf War peace talks, condemned the deal and its “terrible sacrifices,” calling it “in itself an indication of the terrible disarray in which the Palestinians find themselves.” Mahmoud Darwish, the Palestinian national poet and author of the 1988 Declaration of Independence, resigned from the PLO leadership in protest.

    One of the most underappreciated facts about the Oslo agreement, as the quotes above attest, is that among its most vehement Palestinian critics were not just the opponents of the two-state solution but its most committed and long-standing supporters — those like Khalidi, Said, Darwish, or Shafi, who as far back as the early 1970s had taken what was then the lonely step of urging a Palestinian reckoning with the bitter verdict of 1948.
    Truth and Consequences

    “We learned the lesson of Oslo,” Khaled Meshaal, the Qatar-based head of Hamas’s external politburo, told a reporter from the French daily Le Figaro late last month. “In 1993 Arafat recognized Israel, which gave him nothing in return.”

    He contrasted Arafat’s blunder with what he portrayed as Hamas’s shrewder balancing act. In 2017, the group adopted a new charter — a project Meshaal personally spearheaded — which embraced a two-state solution and excised the antisemitic language and apocalyptic bellicosity of the original 1988 founding statement.

    But, it did so, he stressed, “without mention of recognition of Israel by Hamas.”

    Meshaal “suggests that when the ‘time comes’ — that is, with the creation of a Palestinian state — the question of recognizing Israel will be examined,” Le Figaro reported. “But since not everyone in Hamas is in agreement, he doesn’t want to go any further.”

    Hamas’s top political leadership had spent the years leading up to October 7 trying to position Hamas as a respectable diplomatic interlocutor, one that could someday succeed where Arafat had failed in clinching Palestinian statehood. All of that came crashing down with the atrocities of October 7, leaving observers perplexed about what exactly had happened, and why.

    Almost immediately there were murmurings among diplomats, journalists, and intelligence officials about some kind of split within Hamas. But only occasionally was the case stated as bluntly as it was by Hugh Lovatt, an expert on Palestinian politics at the European Council on Foreign Relations, who was quoted in late October saying: “The brutal violence deployed by Hamas against Israeli civilians represents a power grab by radicals in the military wing, cornering political moderates who advocated dialogue and compromise.”

    Over the last two weeks, more details have surfaced.

    In a report late last month for the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Ehud Yaari, an Israeli specialist on Arab politics with close ties to the country’s security establishment, wrote about “Growing Internal Tensions Between Hamas Leaders,” citing “extensive private conversations with numerous regional sources.”

    “The specific details of the [October 7] attack,” Yaari reported, “appear to have come as a complete surprise to [Hamas chairman Ismail] Haniyeh and the rest of the external leadership.” They had given approval for a cross-border attack, but not like the one that ended up being carried out.

    Only a “core group of commanders” had been involved in the detailed planning for October 7, Yaari reported. These included Hamas’s Gaza strongman Yahya Sinwar, plus two top commanders of the military wing (known as the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades), one of whom is Sinwar’s brother Mohammed.

    It was this group, Yaari alleges, that at the last minute inserted new orders — to “murder as many civilians as possible, capture hostages, and destroy Israeli towns” — into the battle plan. The plan was withheld from Hamas’s field commanders “until a few hours before the operation.” (The October 7 operation was a joint action carried out by a coalition of forces from a number of different Palestinian armed factions, not just Hamas.)

    “The scope and brutality of the attack triggered criticism from external leaders” of Hamas, Yaari wrote, some of whom “sharply condemned Sinwar’s ‘megalomaniac’ search for grandeur” in “private conversations.”

    The last-minute changes to the battle plan might help to explain the surprising variation in victims’ testimonies about the attackers’ behavior. In an article published in Haaretz last month, for example, a resident of the Nahal Oz kibbutz, Lishay Idan, recounted her family’s ordeal and told of how, at Nahal Oz, “very strange things happened.”

    “A terrorist wearing camouflage and a green headband, who looked like he was in charge, told the hostages he was from Hamas’ military wing and it didn’t harm civilians. ‘They said they were only looking for soldiers and they didn’t harm women and children,’ Idan said.” Even as acts of extreme brutality were being committed against civilians by other attackers in the area, she explained, these particular fighters behaved differently.

    “It’s no simple thing for me to say this,” she concluded, “but it seems the cells that came to our kibbutz were better focused. In some cases they took humanitarian considerations into account.” They “brought us a blanket and pillows and told us to put the children to sleep,” and when her child needed to be fed, they “asked me to write down exactly where [a bottle of baby formula] was in the house” next door. “Lishay wrote it in Hebrew,” the article recounts, “the terrorists used Google Translate, and off they went.”

    A few other October 7 victims have recounted similarly discordant testimonies.

    Currently, top Hamas leaders are engaged in intensive “day-after” discussions with counterparts from Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party about the prospects for a national unity agreement — possibly including the long-discussed scenario of Hamas’s accession to the PLO, the recognized international representative body of the Palestinian people.

    According to Yaari, these talks are now exacerbating the split between Sinwar and the rest of the Hamas leadership:

    When reports of these talks reached Sinwar, he told Haniyeh that he considers this conduct “outrageous,” demanded that all contacts with the PLO and dissident Fatah factions be discontinued, and insisted that no consultations or statements on the “morning after” take place until a permanent ceasefire is reached.

    The external leadership has ignored Sinwar’s directive, however.

    A source who spoke to Le Figaro — a knowledgeable “Gazan notable” — went even further, claiming that “Israel isn’t alone in wanting [Sinwar] to lose. His friends in the political wing in Qatar and the Qataris themselves wouldn’t be unhappy if he were killed by Israel.”

    In a different world — a world where Israel preferred peace to conquest — one could imagine some devious Bismarck-like leader in Jerusalem watching over these machinations like a chess player, plotting to split Hamas, isolate the irreconcilables, and make a deal with a Palestinian national unity front.

    Or one could imagine, perhaps, some international mediator coming along to propose an agreement in which Israel would withdraw to its 1967 borders in exchange for, say, Hamas consenting to the destruction of its Gaza tunnels under UN supervision.

    Would Hamas agree to such a plan? Who can say? But it’s easy to guess what Netanyahu’s response would be.

    A decade ago, US Secretary of State John Kerry dispatched a team of US military advisers to Jerusalem to work out a plan that might satisfy Israel’s security concerns in the event of a peace agreement with the Palestinians and an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.

    Netanyahu refused to let his generals cooperate with the American visitors.

    “You understand the significance of an American security plan that is acceptable to us?” Netanyahu asked his defense minister. “At that moment we’ll have to start talking borders.”

    Such are the consequences of Israel’s decades-long quest for Lebensraum. Repelled by the thought of security without conquest, terrified of “talking borders,” and encircled by enemies of its own making, a cornered Israel has finally absolved itself of its last moral obligation. It no longer feels bound to accept its neighbors’ physical existence. Whatever happens next, Israel will share responsibility with its accomplices.

    #Israël #Palestine #USA #histoire #OLP #Hamas #Irgun #sionisme #islam

  • Workers at a Boeing Supplier Raised Issues About Defects. The Company Didn’t Listen.
    https://jacobin.com/2024/01/alaska-airlines-boeing-parts-malfunction-workers-spirit-aerosystems

    La sous-traitance et le licenciement de techniciens expérimentés menace la sécurité des avions Boeing. Ces problèmes touchent toutee les entreprises et organisations qui sont gérées dans le but d’optimisation financière. Là c’est la vie des passagers qui est mise en danger, ailleurs on détruit des structures d’entraide et on oblige des millions d’employés à travailler pour un salair de misère. Les dégats se sentent partout, dans tous les pays capitalistes. Il n’y a que les symdicats et le mouvement ouvrier qui peuvent nous protéger contre.

    9.1.2024 by Katya Schwenk, David Sirota , Lucy Dean Stockton, Joel Warner - Less than a month before a catastrophic aircraft failure prompted the grounding of more than 150 of Boeing’s commercial aircraft, documents were filed in federal court alleging that former employees at the company’s subcontractor repeatedly warned corporate officials about safety problems and were told to falsify records.

    One of the employees at Spirit AeroSystems, which reportedly manufactured the door plug that blew out of an Alaska Airlines flight over Portland, Oregon, allegedly told company officials about an “excessive amount of defects,” according to the federal complaint and corresponding internal corporate documents reviewed by us.

    According to the court documents, the employee told a colleague that “he believed it was just a matter of time until a major defect escaped to a customer.”

    The allegations come from a federal securities lawsuit accusing Spirit of deliberately covering up systematic quality-control problems, encouraging workers to undercount defects, and retaliating against those who raised safety concerns. Read the full complaint here.

    Although the cause of the Boeing airplane’s failure is still unclear, some aviation experts say the allegations against Spirit are emblematic of how brand-name manufacturers’ practice of outsourcing aerospace construction has led to worrisome safety issues.

    They argue that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has failed to properly regulate companies like Spirit, which was given a $75 million public subsidy from Pete Buttigieg’s Transportation Department in 2021, reported more than $5 billion in revenues in 2022, and bills itself as “one of the world’s largest manufacturers of aerostructures for commercial airplanes.”

    “The FAA’s chronic, systemic, and longtime funding gap is a key problem in having the staffing, resources, and travel budgets to provide proper oversight,” said William McGee, a senior fellow for aviation and travel at the American Economic Liberties Project, who has served on a panel advising the US Transportation Department. “Ultimately, the FAA has failed to provide adequate policing of outsourced work, both at aircraft manufacturing facilities and at airline maintenance facilities.”

    David Sidman, a spokesperson for Boeing, declined to comment on the allegations raised in the lawsuit. “We defer to Spirit for any comment,” he wrote in an email to us.

    Spirit AeroSystems did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the federal lawsuit’s allegations. The company has not yet filed a response to the complaint in court.

    “At Spirit AeroSystems, our primary focus is the quality and product integrity of the aircraft structures we deliver,” the company said in a written statement after the Alaska Airlines episode.

    The FAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its oversight of Spirit.
    “Business Depends Largely on Sales of Components for a Single Aircraft”

    Spirit was established in 2005 as a spin-off company from Boeing. The publicly traded firm remains heavily reliant on Boeing, which has lobbied to delay federal safety mandates. According to Spirit’s own Securities and Exchange Commission filings, the company’s “business depends largely on sales of components for a single aircraft program, the B737,” the latest version of which — the 737 Max 9 — has now been temporarily grounded, pending inspections by operators.

    Spirit and Boeing are closely intertwined. Spirit’s new CEO Patrick Shanahan was a Trump administration Pentagon official who previously worked at Boeing for more than thirty years, serving as the company’s vice president of various programs, including supply chain and operations, all while the company reported lobbying federal officials on airline safety issues. Spirit’s senior vice president Terry George, in charge of operations engineering, tooling, and facilities, also previously served as Boeing’s manager on the 737 program.

    Last week’s high-altitude debacle — which forced an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9’s emergency landing in Portland — came just a few years after Spirit was named in FAA actions against Boeing. In 2019 and 2020, the agency alleged that Spirit delivered parts to Boeing that did not comply with safety standards, then “proposed that Boeing accept the parts as delivered” — and “Boeing subsequently presented [the parts] as ready for airworthiness certification” on hundreds of aircraft.

    Then came the class-action lawsuit: In May 2023, a group of Spirit AeroSystems’ shareholders filed a complaint against the company, claiming it made misleading statements and withheld information about production troubles and quality-control issues before media reports of the problems led to a major drop in Spirit’s market value.

    An amended version of the complaint, filed on December 19, provides more expansive charges against the company, citing detailed accounts by former employees alleging extensive quality-control problems at Spirit.

    Company executives “concealed from investors that Spirit suffered from widespread and sustained quality failures,” the complaint alleges. “These failures included defects such as the routine presence of foreign object debris (‘FOD’) in Spirit products, missing fasteners, peeling paint, and poor skin quality. Such constant quality failures resulted in part from Spirit’s culture which prioritized production numbers and short-term financial outcomes over product quality, and Spirit’s related failure to hire sufficient personnel to deliver quality products at the rates demanded by Spirit and its customers including Boeing.”
    “We Are Being Asked to Purposely Record Inaccurate Information”

    The court documents allege that on Feruary 22, 2022, one Spirit inspection worker explicitly told company management that he was being instructed to misrepresent the number of defects he was working on.

    “You are asking us to record in a inaccurately [sic] way the number of defects,” he wrote in an email to a company official. “This make [sic] us and put us in a very uncomfortable situation.”

    The worker, who is unnamed in the federal court case, submitted an ethics complaint to the company detailing what had occurred, writing in it that the inspection team had “been put on [sic] a very unethical place,” and emphasizing the “excessive amount of defects” workers were encountering.

    “We are being asked to purposely record inaccurate information,” the inspection worker wrote in the ethics complaint.

    He then sent an email to Spirit’s then CEO, Tom Gentile, attaching the ethics complaint and detailing his concerns, saying it was his “last resort.”

    When the employee had first expressed concerns to his supervisor about the mandate, the supervisor responded “that if he refused to do as he was told, [the supervisor] would fire him on the spot,” the court documents allege.

    After the worker sent the first email, he was allegedly demoted from his position by management, and the rest of the inspection team was told to continue using the new system of logging defects.

    Ultimately, the worker’s complaint was sustained, and he was restored to his prior position with back pay, according to the complaint. He quit several months later, however, and claimed that other inspection team members he had worked with had been moved to new positions when, according to management, they documented “too many defects.”
    “Spirit Concealed the Defect”

    In August 2023, news broke that Boeing had discovered a defect in its MAX 737s, delaying rollout of the four hundred planes it had set to deliver this year. Spirit had incorrectly manufactured key equipment for the fuselage system, as the company acknowledged in a press statement.

    But these defects had been discovered by Spirit months before they became public, according to the December court filings.

    The court documents claim that a former quality auditor with Spirit, Joshua Dean, identified the manufacturing defects — bulkhead holes that were improperly drilled — in October 2022, nearly a year before Boeing first said that the defect had been discovered. Dean identified the issue and sent his findings to supervisors on multiple occasions, telling management at one point that it was “the worst finding” he had encountered during his time as an auditor.

    “The aft pressure bulkhead is a critical part of an airplane, which is necessary to maintain cabin pressure during flight,” the complaint says. “Dean reported this defect to multiple Spirit employees over a period of several months, including submitting formal written findings to his manager. However, Spirit concealed the defect.”

    In April 2023, after Dean continued to raise concerns about the defects, Spirit fired him, the complaint says.

    In October 2023, Boeing and Spirit announced they were expanding the scope of their inspections. The FAA has said it is monitoring the inspections, but said in October there was “no immediate safety concern” as a result of the bulkhead defects.
    “Emphasis on Pushing Out Product Over Quality”

    Workers cited in the federal complaint attributed the alleged problems at Spirit to a culture that prioritized moving products down the factory line as quickly as possible — at any cost. The company has been under pressure from Boeing to ramp up production, and in earnings calls, Spirit’s shareholders have pressed the company’s executives about its production rates.

    According to the Financial Times, after the extended grounding of Boeing’s entire fleet of 737 Max airlines following two major crashes in 2018 and 2019, “the plane maker has sought to increase its output rate and gain back market share it lost to Airbus,” its European rival.

    Spirit, which also produces airframe components for Airbus, has felt the pressure of that demand. As Shanahan noted in Spirit’s third-quarter earnings call on November 1, “When you look at the demand for commercial airplanes, having two of the biggest customers in the world and not being able to satisfy the demand, it should command our full attention.”

    According to the court records, workers believed Spirit placed an “emphasis on pushing out product over quality.” Inspection workers were allegedly told to overlook defects on final walkthroughs, as Spirit “just wanted to ship its completed products as quickly as possible.”

    Dean claimed to have noticed a significant deterioration in Spirit’s workforce after Spirit went through several rounds of mass layoffs in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the huge influx in government funding they received.

    According to court documents, Dean said that “Spirit laid off or voluntarily retired a large number of senior engineers and mechanics, leaving a disproportionate number of new and less experienced personnel.”
    “Over-Tightening or Under-Tightening That Could Threaten the Structural Integrity”

    After the Alaska Airlines plane was grounded, United Airlines launched an independent inspection of its planes. Initial reporting shows that inspectors found multiple loose bolts throughout several Boeing 737 Max 9 planes. Alaska Airlines is currently conducting an audit of its aircraft.

    Concerns about properly tightened equipment were detailed in the federal complaint.

    “Auditors repeatedly found torque wrenches in mechanics’ toolboxes that were not properly calibrated,” said the complaint, citing another former Spirit employee. “This was potentially a serious problem, as a torque wrench that is out of calibration may not torque fasteners to the correct levels, resulting in over-tightening or under-tightening that could threaten the structural integrity of the parts in question.”

    According to former employees cited in the court documents, in a company-wide “toolbox audit,” more than one hundred of up to 1,400 wrenches were found out of alignment.

    On Spirit’s November earnings call, after investors pressed the company’s new CEO about its quality-control problems, Shanahan promised that the company was working to fix the issues — and its reputation.

    “The mindset I have is that we can be zero defects,” he said. “We can eliminate all defects. . . . But every day, we have to put time and attention to that.”

    #USA #aviation #sécurité #syndicalisme #travail #sous-traitance #salaire

  • ONLY VICTIMS: A Study of Show Business Blacklisting
    https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/a/robert-f-vaughn/only-victims-a-study-of-show-business-blacklist

    by Robert F. Vaughn ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 14, 1972

    Robert Vaughn, the TV-movie actor best known as the Man from U.N.C.L.E., is also a Ph.D. from USC and this is his doctoral dissertation. It suffers from most of the defects associated with academic thesis writing (turgid prose, factual glut, excessive footnoting, ponderous quotations), but those interested in the methodology of extralegal censorship or the specifics of the entertainment industry’s blacklisting practices in the ’40’s and ’50’s should be willing to overlook these faults. Because lodged among the scholarly impedimenta is some genuinely intriguing and new material which enhances both our understanding of the blacklist technique and our perspective of the particular history involved. Vaughn summarizes and evaluates the House Committee on Un-American Activities’ investigations conducted between 1938 and 1958 into alleged Communist influence in Hollywood, television programming, and the legitimate theater — hearings which produced no legislation, only sensational headlines for politicians like Martin Dies, J. Parnell Thomas, and Francis Walter and ""personalized persecution of entertainment people."" Some of the ""friendly"" witnesses were cowed; others cheerfully cooperated, supplying lists of names; a few of the unfriendly First Amendment types were jailed for contempt (i.e., the Hollywood Ten); and many of those who relied on the Fifth Amendment were blacklisted by their respective industries. What is most useful here, however, is Vaughn’s original research — questionnaire and interview data elicited from selected uncooperative HUAC witnesses — which serves as the basis for some definitive conclusions about the retrospective effects of blacklisting, e.g., motion picture and TV actors were hit hardest (theater performers were hardly affected at all and many writers were able to continue producing under pseudonyms). In sum, what we have here is the most complete and intelligent treatment of the virulent practice of blacklisting now available.

    Pub Date: March 14, 1972
    ISBN: 0879100818
    Publisher: Putnam
    Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1972

    Robert Vaughn
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Vaughn

    Vaughn was a longtime member of the Democratic Party.[7] His family was also Democratic and was involved in politics in Minneapolis.[53] Early in his career, he was described as a “liberal Democrat”.[54][55][56][57][58] He was opposed to the Hollywood Blacklist of suspected Communists on freedom of speech principles, but Vaughn also was opposed to Communism as a totalitarian system.[59] Vaughn campaigned for John F. Kennedy in the 1960 United States presidential election.[38] He was the chair of the California Democratic State Central Committee speakers bureau and actively campaigned for candidates in the 1960s.[38][53]

    Vaughn was the first popular American actor to take a public stand against the Vietnam War and was active in the peace group Another Mother for Peace.[4] Vaughn debated with William F. Buckley Jr. on his program Firing Line on the Vietnam War.[60] With Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner, he was a founder of Dissenting Democrats.[61] Early in the 1968 presidential election, they supported the candidacy of Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy, who was running for president as an alternative to Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who had supported President Lyndon Johnson’s escalation of the war in Vietnam.[61]

    Vaughn was reported to have political ambitions of his own,[62] but in a 1973 interview, he denied having had any political aspirations.[63] In a conversation with historian Jack Sanders, he stated that after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, "I lost heart for the battle.

    House Un-American Activities Committee
    https://fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_Un-American_Activities_Committee

    En 1947, les dirigeants des studios demandent à la commission de reconnaître que certains films sortis sur les écrans pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, comme Mission à Moscou (Mission to Moscow), L’Étoile du Nord (The North Star) et Song of Russia, peuvent en fait être considérés comme de la propagande pro-soviétique, mais que ces films étaient précieux dans le contexte de l’effort de guerre allié, et ont été tournés, dans certains cas, à la demande de représentants officiels de la Maison Blanche.

    #USA #maccarthysme #histoire #culture #cinéma #listes_noires #cancel_culture

  • Why did Hezbollah strike the Israeli ’Meron’ intel, airforce base? | Al Mayadeen English
    https://english.almayadeen.net/news/politics/why-did-hezbollah-strike-the-israeli--meron--intelligence--a

    A report by a specialized research group based in the US state of Texas, which was brought to light by Israeli media months ago, revealed problems in pinpointing the locations of some civilian aircraft in the region, particularly over southern Lebanon and northern occupied Palestine.

    After precise monitoring of jamming signals disrupting receivers’ ability to detect satellite waves, “Mount Meron” was determined as the source of interference against civilian GPS devices.

    Indeed, satellite-based location systems were entirely disrupted during the first week following the Al-Aqsa Flood operation. Israeli media reported that the disruption was aimed at preventing the Resistance in Lebanon from using devices for precise missile or drone strikes against the entity.

    The targeting of “Meron” by Hezbollah holds strategic significance of disrupting, or even with later operations potentially hindering, “Israel’s” ability to conduct precise military strikes.

    A center for aerial operations against Lebanon and Syria

    Historically, the high-base served as the command center for Israeli aerial operations and surveillance on the northern front of the occupation.

    Its geographical position offers direct surveillance of a substantial portion of Lebanese territory and complete oversight, including broadcasting and receiving capabilities. This provides the base with powerful control and communication abilities towards Lebanon. Moreover, for hostile operations against Syria, “Meron” Base is complemented by radar and broadcasting facilities located on the occupied Mount Hermon, overlooking Syrian territories.

    In recent years, the base has gained increased significance, especially with the expanded use of military drones.

    As “Israel” increasingly relies on UAVs for intelligence gathering in Lebanon and Syria on a nearly daily basis, the base has emerged as the primary command center for aerial operations against both countries. It facilitates direct communication with the drones, ensuring uninterrupted connectivity and making it more challenging to disrupt their signals. The base also streamlines military operations due to the concentration of communication devices, command centers, and radars on “Mount Meron.”

    Thanks to its extensive geographical oversight of Lebanese territory, the base can receive and broadcast various wireless communications directly to and from Lebanon. This makes it a critical communication component with informants and a central hub for tracking and monitoring wireless communications, including espionage activities.

    The base’s giant advanced cameras and modern monitoring devices provide strategic oversight over a large portion of the line between Lebanon and occupied Palestine. It also covers Israeli sites and their corresponding locations in Lebanon.

    Consequently, “Meron” Base plays a pivotal role in intelligence gathering that was previously concentrated in locations in proximity with the Lebanese borders, many of which have been targeted and destroyed by the Resistance in recent weeks.

    The strategic base has not been immune to threats since the beginning of the military escalation in southern Lebanon.

    Many Israeli analysts have spoken about the possible evolution of the Resistance’s targets list. This is particularly relevant given that Hezbollah previously repeatedly struck the base during the 2006 July war, which resulted in the death of two settlers and the injury of five others, as acknowledged by Israelis.

    However, attacking the base today during a period below the threshold of an all-out war constitutes a heavy blow to the entity. Its implications go beyond direct consequences.

    The Resistance has meticulously chosen the nature of its targets throughout this period as part of its precise management of the escalation ladder with the Israelis.

    Over the past three months, Hezbollah has effectively controlled the pace and general course of events, compelling the Israelis to adhere to its equations.

    This applies to the military operations zone, the nature of the strikes within Lebanon, and the deterrence of the occupation from targeting Lebanese civilians within the equation of reciprocity.

    However, “Israel’s” assassination of Palestinian Resistance leader Sheikh Saleh Al-Arouri and a number of his comrades in Beirut’s southern suburb (Dahyeh) with missile strikes, prompted Hezbollah to opt for an escalation.

    Today’s strike was described by Hezbollah as an “Initial Response” to the assassination of al-Arouri, leaving the door open for potential confrontations should the occupation entity decide to respond to this escalation in kind.
    Historical and religious significance

    In addition to the military and intelligence critical role it provides to the Israeli entity, the “Meron” Base holds special importance for Zionist Jews, as they consider the mountain itself to be mentioned in the Torah

    (...)
    A severe response

    Striking the “Meron” Base with precision-guided missiles marks Hezbollah’s confirmation that it has introduced the latest-generation Kornet E-M missiles into the battle.

    These missiles have a range of up to 10 kilometers and were most likely used in the accurate targeting of the base, as indicated by footage recorded by one of the Zionist settlers during the strike today.

    The precision targeting of a base of such importance, housing command centers and equipment worth hundreds of millions of dollars and regularly hosting leaders of the occupation’s military, in addition to specialized and elite personnel, is indicative of the base now serving as a prime target for the Resistance. It also signifies that the Israeli entity is facing a genuine predicament.

    While its main headquarters in the north is now under imminent threat from Hezbollah, the occupation entity cannot evacuate the base, pushing “Israel” into a very difficult dilemma. Additionally, the Resistance has effectively pushed the front line with the Israeli entity to 8 kilometers inside the occupied Palestinian borders.

    Furthermore, Israeli generals had believed that their main headquarters were largely out of the Resistance’s reach and that their war against it was mostly remote, relying on aircraft and drones. This has changed after the operation today.

    Most importantly, given the base’s role in operating and coordinating air strikes, the base is a central target to respond to the occupation army for assassinating al-Arouri earlier this week.

    Therefore, it can be concluded that the “calamity of the occupation is great” today, as the military leadership’s headquarters in the north has been targeted. This means that the Resistance has placed the ball in the court of the Israeli army and its government.

    Israelis must choose between remaining silent in the face of this humiliating and perilous strike, or heading toward a response, the repercussions and limits of which they do not know.

    • C’est O.K. si on aime le genre. C’est du Cimino, alors je le classe en troisième position après (1) Heaven’s Gate et (2) The Deer Hunter . Toujours pas vu Thunderbolt and Lightfoot , mais je suppose que Year Of The Dragon occupe la quatrième place dans l’oeuvre de Michael Cimino. The Sunchaser arrive sûrement après.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Cimino#As_director

      The Sicilian de 1987 est encore un must car le scénario est de Gore Vidal.
      C’est hilarant, mais je ne l’ai toujours pas vu.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sicilian_(film)

      Salvatore Giuliano, an infamous bandit, together with his ragtag band of guerrillas, attempted to liberate early 1950s Sicily from Italian rule and make it an American state. Giuliano robs from the rich landowners to give to the peasants, who in turn hail him as their savior. As his popularity grows, so does his ego, and he eventually thinks he is above the power of his backer, Mafia Don Masino Croce. Don Croce, in turn, sets out to kill the upstart by convincing his cousin and closest adviser Gaspare “Aspanu” Pisciotta to assassinate him.

      Avec ca il se peut que Year Of The Dragon descende encore une position. Dans le genre rien ne bat A Better Tomorrow , le premier film de la série.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMKcL2cXr4E

  • Why America fell out of love with its Army
    https://responsiblestatecraft.org/us-army-recruitment
    Elle était si belle, the Army, toutes nos mères tombaient amoureuses des jeunes et beaux GIs stationnés dans ma ville natale pour la défendre contre les méchants russes et leur armée rouge fémicidaire. Aujourd’hui méme les américains ne veulent plus der leur « Army of Excellence ». C’est triste le déclin de l’empire.

    Jan 04, 2024 by Justin Overbaugh - A lack of truth and accountability tends to have a bad effect on trust, and as it turns out, recruitment, too

    For the past several years now, a phalanx of defense officials and retired senior officers have been lamenting the dearth of people willing to serve in the U.S. military.

    The problem is particularly acute for the Army, the largest of the U.S. forces, which fell short of its target by 25,000 recruits over the past two years. The situation is so grave that experts claim it imperils the all-volunteer force, an institution that has provided manpower for the American military for half a century.

    Why does the Army, an organization that prides itself on achievement, fail at this fundamental task? Excuses tend to focus on market dynamics such as shrinking recruiting pools, lack of knowledge among American youth about service opportunities, and impacts from COVID 19. These factors are undoubtedly relevant, but are they the actual cause of the Army’s failure?

    Current officials seem to think so. After failing in 2022, the Army increased its efforts to convince young people to serve. This, combined with a campaign to overcome “misperceptions” about life in the military, was a primary focus of the branch’s $104 million advertising budget in 2023.

    Additionally, the Army estimated it invested over $119 million in the future soldier preparatory course. This new program enabled young Americans, initially disqualified because of low aptitude scores or high body-fat results, the opportunity to improve their marks. The Army claimed over 8,800 recruits completed the course and moved on to basic combat training. In the end, however, none of these initiatives enabled the force to achieve its quotas.

    If market dynamics are not the underlying cause of the crisis, what is? I believe that the Army fails to meet its recruiting goals not because of a challenging market environment, but rather because a sizable portion of the American public has lost trust in it and no longer sees it as an institution worthy of personal investment.

    Professor of sociology Piotr Sztompka defines trust as “a bet about the future contingent actions of others.” He presents the concept of trust in two components: beliefs and commitment. Essentially, a person trusts when they believe something about the future and they act in accordance with this belief. This is directly relevant to recruiting: in a high trust environment, people are more likely to enlist because they have a reasonable expectation of future benefit.

    Unfortunately, anyone considering service today can look to myriad examples of the Army failing to meet their end of the bargain. Whether it is a lack of adequate and safe housing for soldiers and their families, the persistence of sexual assault, an inability to address suicide rates or to accurately account for property and funds — or even to develop a comprehensive physical fitness test — the Army, and the Department of Defense more broadly, consistently fail to achieve results.

    But these shortcomings, while disastrous, pale in comparison to the Army’s ultimate failure: the failure to win wars.

    In his book, “Why America Loses Wars,” Donald Stoker reminds us that winning in war means, “the achievement of the political purpose for which the war is being fought.” Judging by this standard, the Army has clearly failed at its raison d’être, to fight and win the nation’s wars, over the past two decades. This failure has come at catastrophic cost: the loss of over 900,000 lives, the death of over 7000 U.S. service members, and the depletion of eight trillion dollars. Additionally, on the international scene, the U.S. has bled influence, and levels of violence are on the rise.

    Considering the wreckage listed above, it is little wonder that the American people have markedly lost confidence in the institution and its leaders in recent years and could explain the unwillingness to volunteer for service. Essentially, signing up for the military is starting to look like a really bad bet.

    Adding insult to injury, a recent survey of military members indicates their enthusiasm to recommend military service has also declined significantly. While quality of life issues are highlighted as a concern, one cannot ignore the impact of failed wars on this trend. The 2021 Afghanistan withdrawal, leaving the Taliban in control of the country after 20 years, has left veterans feeling betrayed and humiliated, and naturally, unlikely to encourage others to follow their path in life.

    Instead of flailing about trying to overcome challenging market dynamics, therefore, the Army should immediately commit to fixing itself. It can start by admitting its significant failures and its baffling inability to be honest with the American public about them. There are plenty of retired officers who have had public epiphanies about these systematic failures, but this kind of candor and responsibility needs to propagate among currently serving senior officials across the defense enterprise and the political establishment.

    Once honesty is re-established as a core value, and the Army has come to grips with the fact that it failed, it can then begin to explore the reason why.

    Simply put, the Army fails because it is set up to fail. It was asked to accomplish objectives in Afghanistan and Iraq that it could not possibly hope to achieve. Professors Leo Blanken and Jason Lapore point out what every senior defense official should clearly understand by now: that despite its impressive capabilities, the U.S. military is of limited utility in the type of non-existential conflicts we have fought in the past two decades. This is because the U.S. military is built for and excels at “battlefield dominance,” yet it was saddled with conducting counterinsurgency, reconstruction and building democratic institutions, tasks it was not trained for or prepared to accomplish.

    These revelations are not new, senior defense officials should have understood these dynamics all along, and speaking frankly, they did. From General Shinseki’s ignored warnings about the number of troops at the beginning of the Iraq invasion, to ongoing assessments throughout both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, it seems that it was clear throughout the defense establishment (at least behind closed doors) that the U.S. military could not and would not achieve the nation’s political objectives.

    Yet despite this, top defense officials assured the American public that the U.S. military was “making progress” towards its goals, right up to the point that it was manifestly evident that they were not. And yet, at precisely the moment the American public is looking for accountability, many of the same senior officials who failed to achieve results for the nation, are instead rewarded with lucrative positions in the defense industry and with foreign countries.

    Seeing that the military refuses to hold itself accountable, it is unsurprising that by withholding their most precious resources, their sons and daughters, the American public is.

    The service’s leadership handbook states that “trust is the foundation of the Army’s relationship with the American people, who rely on the Army to ethically, effectively and efficiently serve the Nation.”

    To earn back the trust of the American people and solve the recruiting crisis, the Army is going to have to do what everyone else has to do when relationships are broken: accept responsibility and begin to show, by deeds not words, a commitment to change.

    Senior Army officials could immediately improve by critically examining the “unquestioned assumptions that form the basis of…American grand strategy,” reevaluating military officer professional development models, and understanding how misaligned military incentive structures work against achieving policy goals. Regardless of the approach, it should be laser-focused on delivering the ethical, effective and efficient service to the nation mentioned above.

    If the Army lets this opportunity pass them by, however, claims that the military and the broader defense establishment are in a position to decisively win the nation’s wars lack credibility, as the American public will understandably remain uneasy about making a personal investment in the Army.

    Justin Overbaugh is a Colonel in the U.S. Army with experience in Combat Arms, Special Operations, Intelligence, and Talent Acquisition. In his 25-year career, he led operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and across Europe and he commanded the Tampa Recruiting Battalion from 2017-2019. This article reflects his own personal views which are not necessarily endorsed by the United States Army or the Department of Defense.
    The views expressed by authors on Responsible Statecraft do not necessarily reflect those of the Quincy Institute or its associates.

    #USA #armée #soldats #crise