How Exceptional America Is – OpEd
By Eric Zuesse
America is becoming exceptionally exceptional. In some votes at the UN General Assembly — the Assembly of nations — only Israel, or one or two other U.S. allies, vote along with it, and all others either vote against it, or else abstain in order to prevent U.S. retaliation against their own nation. No other nation is anything like that. In fact, on many occasions, the U.S. arm-twists other delegations in order to get them to abstain from voting so as to make less stark, and less embarrassing, America’s international isolation. But America is also extraordinarily exceptional in other ways, which have nothing to do with the UN
America is thus truly an exceptional nation. As the Republican Party magazine National Review commented, on September 15th, “Last week, the United States and Israel were the only countries to vote against a General Assembly resolution on the global coronavirus response. Some have seized upon that vote to paint the United States as a bad faith actor that stands alone in the world.” However, this vote wasn’t about only “the global coronavirus response.” It was — perhaps even more importantly — about U.S. sanctions against Iran, Venezuela, Syria, Russia, China, and other countries that the U.S. regime considers to be its enemies. (None of these countries ever invaded or even threatened to invade America; all of those sanctions are 100% U.S. aggression. These are target-countries that America’s aristocracy wants to take over. The world’s U.S.-sanctioned countries are marked in red on this map of the world.) Israel strongly supports sanctions against both Syria and Venezuela, and it routinely invades and bombs Syria, just for good measure. So, it joined America’s position on that.
That UN General Assembly vote was held on September 11th. America’s Associated Press bannered the following day, “UN assembly approves pandemic resolution; US, Israel object”, and reported that, “The 193-member world body adopted the resolution by a vote of 169-2, with Ukraine and Hungary abstaining. It was a strong show of unity by the UN’s most representative body, though many countries had hoped for adoption by consensus.” The AP further stated:
It calls on governments and international financial institutions “to provide more liquidity in the financial system, especially in all developing countries.” It supports recovery plans that “drive transformative change towards more inclusive and just societies including by empowering and engaging all women and girls.”
And it urges UN member nations “to adopt a climate- and environment-responsive approach to COVID-19 recovery efforts” including by aligning investments and domestic policies with the UN goals and the 2015 Paris agreement to combat climate change. …
By a vote of 132-3, the assembly amended the resolution to urge all countries “to refrain from promulgating and applying any unilateral economic, financial or trade measures not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations that impedes the full achievement of economic and social development, particularly in developing countries.”
The United States was then overwhelmingly defeated in attempts to remove two paragraphs from the resolution, one referring to women’s rights to “sexual and reproductive health” and the other to “promoting global sustainable transport.”
In addition to arguing against the language on sanctions, the United States opposed all references to the World Health Organization, which the Trump administration stopped funding, accusing the UN agency of failing to do enough to stop the virus from spreading when it first surfaced in China.
Nowhere in the AP’s article was any mention made that in the “vote of 169-2,” the two nations which had voted against the Resolution were the U.S. and Israel, but only that there had been “objections from the United States and Israel,” regarding attachment, to the Resolution, of the Amendment that added the anti-sanctions provision to it. This omission was not an error. It is a type of omission that is common in propaganda. America was more isolated than that ‘news’-report made clear.
This vote was about only a “Resolution,” a statement of the various nations’ values, to work toward, not about any nation’s policy, but the U.S. and Israel don’t share those goals — not even rhetorically. This opposition to that Resolution’s goals was truly exceptional.
In particular, nothing is more abhorrent to the U.S. regime than to stop or impede its sanctions. These sanctions include, for example, punishments against any company or government that will, in any way, assist in Russia’s 96% completed NordStream 2 natural gas pipeline to Germany, for the EU to buy Russia’s pipelined natural gas instead of America’s fracked canned shipped natural gas. The U.S. regime insists that EU nations buy the far costlier trans-Atlantic-shipped fracked U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG). That insistence upon the EU’s wasting money, in order to prop-up America’s fracking industry, is, indeed, exceptional, because European nations haven’t customarily been treated as being mere colonies of other powers. America is treating purchasers from, or cooperators with, that competitor (Russia), as being its enemies. The way the U.S. Representative stated this (after a lengthy diatribe which blamed China for Covid-19 and said that the U.S. had quit the World Health Organization because WHO lacked “independence from the Chinese Communist Party”) was: “Economic sanctions are a legitimate means to achieve foreign policy, security, and other national and international objectives, and the United States is not alone in that view or in that practice.” (That exact same sentence had earlier been stated by the U.S. regarding a different matter, on 18 November 2019.) Actually, the U.S. regime is very “alone” on it. Furthermore, the other part was also a lie: the U.S. regime asserts that coercing corporations and countries to not buy from the lowest-cost supplier is within its sovereign right to do. However, as Professor Alfred de Zayas, who until recently was the UN’s top expert on this topic, explained in depth on 27 June 2019, that assertion is blatantly false, on many clear grounds concerning international law. It is a blatant lie, no matter how many times the U.S. regime asserts it (and asserts that the U.S. regime isn’t “alone” in asserting it).
Even back when Barack Obama (the man who repeatedly claimed that “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation”) was America’s President, the U.S. was exceptional at the United Nations. For example, on 24 November 2014, I headlined “U.S. Among Only 3 Countries Officially Backing Nazism & Holocaust-Denial”, and reported that, “In a UN vote, on November 21st, only three countries — the United States, Ukraine, and Canada — voted against a resolution to condemn racist facsism, or nazism, and to condemn denial of Germany’s World War II Holocaust against primarily Jews. This measure passed the General Assembly, on a vote of 115 in favor, 3 against, and 55 abstentions (the abstentions were in order not to offend U.S. President Obama, who was opposed to the resolution).” Then, on 21 June 2015, I headlined “America’s UN Ambassador Continues Standing Up for Nazis” and noted that, again, Obama’s UN Ambassador, Samantha Power, had stood up for nazism; she had just delivered an address in Ukraine rallying that country’s supporters of nazism to war against Russia. Then, on 21 November 2017, I headlined “Trump Continues Obama’s Support of Nazism”, and reported that:
On November 16th, U.S. President Donald Trump, acting through an agent of his agent UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, voted at the UN against a resolution that condemns bigotry, and especially condemns nazism and all forms of racism. He thus, yet again, continues in the tradition from his predecessors, Presidents Obama and Bush, each year placing this nation in the company of only one or two U.S. allies throughout the world who join with the U.S. in refusing to commit to opposing and doing everything to reduce not just political Nazism (which, of course, is past), but ideological nazism, racist fascism — institutionalized bigotry (which, sadly, is not past).
But, be that as it may, the U.S. is also exceptional in many other ways. I listed some of those on July 13th.
There are two main reasons why the U.S. regime is able to coerce other nations to not violate its will. One is that though publicly available reports allege that it spends approximately 37% of the entire world’s military expenditures, the U.S. regime actually spends around 50% of the entire world’s military costs, and therefore it possesses extraordinary physical capacity to impose its will, if and when merely economically blockading an ‘enemy’ country (via sanctions) fails to do the job of getting it to comply. And the other main reason is that, since the U.S. government is at least as corrupt as the average “third-world” country is, but is instead one of the world’s richest countries, arranging pay-offs to other world leaders, in order to obtain their cooperation, is easily affordable. (These payoffs are being paid by all U.S. taxpayers, not by only America’s billionaires, who reap all of the profits from the empire that is imposed.)
American exceptionalism is real. It’s not the type of exceptionalism that the regime’s propaganda claims to be the case, but nonetheless it is real.