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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 3/16/19

Plus ca change plus c'est la meme chose

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Message Jean-Luc Basle

Senators are congratulating themselves over a resolution mandating President Trump to stop US support to Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. Senator Rand Paul sees it as a "great opportunity " for Congress to take back its war powers. The House which already passed a similar resolution, is expected to vote on the Senate version or a reconciled version of the House and Senate bills. But, is this vote what its sponsors professed it to be? Not really.

According to the U.S. Constitution, only Congress has the power to declare war (Article I, Section 8, Clause 11). In 1973, this power was reaffirmed by the War Powers Act with a proviso, however. The President may commit armed forces to military action for 60 days without Congressional authorization. This is a step back. If Congress wishes to regain its war powers, it must cancel the 1973 Act.

But the issue is not who has the power to declare war as much as what should the United States' foreign policy be. As former Congressman Ron Paul reminded the House on April 23, 2010, economic sanctions are an act of war. Congress must cancel economic sanctions imposed on Iran and re-instate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action of July 14, 2015 since Iran is in compliance with the agreement, according to U.S. intelligence agencies and the United Nations' inspectors. Congress must also put a stop to the U.S government's policy of regime change which is in violation of Article I, clause 4 of the U.N. Charter.

More generally, if Congress is serious about its war powers, it must a) reinstate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, b) substantially reduce the United States' defense budget, c) renounce the United States' hegemonic policy as defined in the Defense Plan Guidance of February 1992, and d) formally declare that going forward, the United States' policy will be conducted in accordance with the United Nations' charter.

Are any of these steps being considered? No. So, what are we to make out of the Senate vote? Not much. The hullaballoo about Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's assassination on order of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has died down. It had no impact on the Senate's vote, contrary to assertions by politicians and the media. Who seriously believe that the death of one man, be it a journalist, would influence the United States' foreign policy? Who forgot Madeleine Albright's statement: the security of the United States is worth the death of 500,000 Iraqi children?

The United States' Middle East foreign policy remains unchanged. Saudi Arabia is one of its closest allies in the Middle East. Mohammad bin Salman is Israel's stooge. Jared Kushner who reportedly gave him advice to "weather the storm after Jamal Khashoggi's killing", is Israel's man in the White House. As for Donald Trump, he does not know his ass from his elbow when it comes to foreign policy. This is why he is in the hands of the Laurel and Hardy of world diplomacy, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, who share a sinister view of the world.

The United States' foreign policy is an utter failure. One would think Congress would get the message. But, it does not. No matter how powerful the U.S. Army is, no matter how hard Washington tries to impose its will on other nations with economic sanctions or other coercive methods, if the people are behind their leaders, its policy will fail, witness Cuba, Vietnam, North Korea, Iran, Syria" As long as the United States refuses to face reality, the merry-go-round will go round, and round, and round. "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose".

 

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Former Vice President Citigroup New York (retired) Columbia University -- Business School Princeton University -- Woodrow Wilson School

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