OPEC producer tussle hikes oil prices: US withdraws from UN Human Rights body | Sunday Observer

OPEC producer tussle hikes oil prices: US withdraws from UN Human Rights body

Even as the United States of America last week withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council, US President Donald Trump pretended to ‘reverse’ his government’s recent, much-criticised, programme of immediately separating minors (including toddlers) from arrested illegal immigrants on the US’ southern land border. Alongside these histrionics by Washington, the world worried over the rise in crude petroleum prices due to the on-going production quota tussle among OPEC producers, while global business tensed over the looming July 6 imposition of high import tariffs on billions of dollars worth trade between the US and China, the world’s two economic giants.

And, today, the people of Turkey vote in key parliamentary and presidential elections that decide whether incumbent strong-man President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could proceed to implement his constitutional reforms that centralises state power in the presidency.

Meanwhile, the war in Yemen ground on between Houthi tribe rebels and the Saudi Arabia-backed Yemeni government is now holed up in the southern port of Aden and engaging with other tribal insurgencies (including a southern insurgency led by Yemen’s so-called ‘Islamic State’ movement). And, in Indonesia a hardline Islamist cleric was sentenced to death by a court in Jakarta for his role in masterminding a series of bombings of civilian locations causing numerous deaths and injury over the past several years. The sentence on Oman Rohman, 46, popularly known as preacher Aman Abdurrahman, is the first death penalty in 13 years given in a terrorism case.

Also last week, US news media reported that President Trump had begun moves to create a ‘Space Force’, parallel to the Army, Navy and Air Force, that would carry out war in space – presumably against other Earth-based actors and states. What this will be, exactly, awaits more information.

Why did the United States, one-time champion of human rights and co-creator of much of the world’s multilateral human rights machinery, suddenly withdraw from the United Nation’s primary body dealing with human rights? America’s Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Hayley was unashamedly explicit when formally announcing the withdrawal on Tuesday in Washington: the US was opposed to what America views as the Human Rights Council “bias” against a single country – Israel.

Numerous opinion leaders across the world questioned how the world’s most powerful and admired ‘democracy’, and presumed leader of global political management, could withdraw from an important institution of world governance solely because of its own support for a single state. After all, these institutions have been established for the purposes of collective political management in an increasingly inter-connected global society and economy in which the very survival of Humanity on Earth now depends on such collective action.

West Asia watchers, of course, know that American dissatisfaction with not just the Human Rights Council but the UN system as a whole, has most often been prompted by Washington’s favouritism towards what is now virtually an American ‘client state’, Israel.

The US sponsorship of Israel has been lavish from the very beginning of the establishment of that new ‘country’ in Palestine by European Jewish settlers who forcibly and violently drove out most of the indigenous Palestinians, especially, the Palestinian Muslims.

Prior to the 1940s (during which, under cover of World War 2, European Jews began settling there), Palestine comprised a very mixed population of Arab Muslims, Christians, Jews, and tiny other off-shoot Christian and Jewish sects. For centuries, they had all lived peaceably under Turkey’s old Ottoman Empire, oblivious to emerging modern geo-politics that inexorably subordinated the interests of local West Asian nations to that of the superpowers and their allies. If Syria became a client state of the Communist Soviet bloc, Turkey and Jordan quickly signed up with the US-led Capitalist Western bloc.

The energy of the European Jewish settlement of Palestine – funded primarily by European and American Jewish business clans – gave the Western bloc the opportunity to insert a new, European culture-based, polity into the West Asian complex of principally Moslem and Arab nation-states. After all, many of the West Asian states were recovering from European colonisation and preferred ‘Non-Alignment’ rather than kow-towing to their past overlords.

If the state of Israel grew on the basis of Western military and political underwriting, it has survived in the world largely because of continued American and European support both militarily and geo-politically. The US has used its veto alongside many European powers to block United Nations measures against Israel’s numerous violations of international law. The sustained and systematic violations over the last seventy years, include, most importantly, Israel’s continued military occupation of Palestine as well as strategic strips of territory in Lebanon and Syria and consequently displaced Palestinians, now large refugee populations in all neighbouring states.

The UN system now includes numerous mechanisms cutting across all agencies, to manage – long-term – the continuing Palestinian refugee population, the survival of Palestinian communities within the ethnic supremacist state of Israel that favours Jews, the besieged and impoverished populations of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the development of political machinery on the ground to prevent further worsening of the already tragic situation. The US had already withdrawn from UNESCO many years ago after that UN body repeatedly criticised Israel for its ethnic discrimination against non-Jews inside Israel as well as for Tel Aviv’s blockade against the West Bank and Gaza populations that socially and culturally deprives these populations and impedes their social development.

Washington’s geo-political underwriting of Israel has been a cornerstone of US policy primarily due to the American Jewish and Conservative Christian vote banks that are of major electoral importance to both main political parties, the Democrats and Republicans. Neither party administrations have wavered from this support.

All of US geo-politics vis-à-vis West Asia has revolved around not just protecting Israel’s existence, but Israel’s military dominance in the entire region. Thus, even before withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council, the US had been going against the UN system’s cherished standards of human rights in its bilateral support for West Asia’s biggest perpetrator of human rights violations, Israel.

Nevertheless, the world – except for Israel – had been hoping that Washington’s once sophisticated geo-political outlook that systematically used global political mechanisms would be retained and, that the US would not take this drastic step. It now remains to be seen how much global human rights politics would be negatively or positively affected by the US move.

Many commentators point out that given the multi-polar world that we now live in, America’s new unilateralism at world level, will not hugely undermine some of the basic structures of global governance because other powers have stepped in to fill the void. But America’s isolationism could encourage client states like Israel (and other sundry rogue regimes desirous of thriving under an American umbrella) to also act more unilaterally thereby further destabilising neighbouring regions if not shaking the world system as a whole.

Thus, the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Pact has only resulted in other states stepping up their coordination in climate management and China will now play a bigger role in the Trans Pacific Partnership after Washington’s departure. Even a collapse of NAFTA will not result in a major global impact, especially, once the three countries involved – US, Canada and Mexico – negotiate new trade arrangement either bilaterally or collectively. The world is learning to live with the isolationism and caprice of the world’s sole superpower.

As most analysts have concluded, this new behaviour of withdrawal of the US from the world’s stage, is clearly a symptom of the geo-political exhaustion and decline of that superpower.

With the climate crisis leading the way, the world is learning the need to subordinate individual national needs and aspirations to the collective survival needs of humanity as a whole.

Many analysts believe Washington’s current isolationism will not outlast the Trump administration.