In the Global War on Terror (GWOT), which the US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld later changed to the Global Prevention of Violent Extremism (GPVE), the former wrestler cum undergraduate scholar at Princeton University had bemoaned about the lack of success in ‘terminating’ the rank and file of Al Qaeda and the extremist groups in Iraq.
Before expressing his frustration about the lack of US progress in Iraq, which the Bush Administration — aided and abetted by Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2003 — Rumsfeld went on a forlorn soliloquy.
“In our fight against the terrorists, we have to know the known knowns, *the known* unknowns, *the unknown* unknowns.” To which he added: “Are more radicals coming out from the religious schools or are we eliminating more militants than the (religious) institutions are able to equip and train? Not unless we can get this right, the US is at risk of being permanently bogged down by the GPVE.”
In other words, if the US forces cannot know for a fact that the number of radical terrorists in the Muslim other were indeed declining on an aggregate basis all across the world, it was pointless to keep raiding and attacking Iraq, even killing, mere suspects who, knowingly or otherwise, had got themselves involved in Jihadist causes. Why ?
This epiphany, however, had come too late to the US Secretary of Defense. One of the few members of the Republican Party from the Ford Administration who could tackle Henry Kissinger to the floor in the rough and tumble of the Washingtonian politics.
Dick Cheney, at 32, was already the Chief of Staff of the Ford Administration in 1974. Donald Rumsfeld, meanwhile, was appointed by President Gerald Ford, who had succeeded Richard Nixon, to be the new President of the US (POTUS) after the Watergate scandal, as the Secretary of Defense of the Ford Administration; only to serve in the same position again with George Bush II.
It is important to recall these names. This is because regardless of whom they served, they couldn’t extract the US from a war against lesser foes without suffering a hammer blow to the reputation of the US as an arrogated “great” power.
In 1974, it was Vietnam. Fast forward to the tail end of 2023, the spirit of Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger still roamed freely in the White House albeit in the guise of Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan and William all donning their roles at the State Department, the National Security Council and Central Intelligence Agency respectively. All seemed deferential to the Israeli lobby despite claiming to be American patriots. Nothing really changed.
The UN Secretary General Antonio Guiterres had invoked Article 99 of the United Nations Charter frivolously. Gaza was facing a humanitarian collapse at the societal level. This was the surest and fastest way to bring the plight of the Gazans to the attention of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which was formed of 5 Permanent Members, followed by another 9 more non permanent member states; of which the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was representing the Arab bloc of 22 countries in the UN Security Council.
The case could not have been clearer. More than 102 UN personnel had perished since Tel Aviv’s hyper violent retaliation against Hamas’s resistance incursion on occupied Palestine cum Israel on October 7, 2023.
As UN Secretary General Antonio Guiterres, who had hailed from Portugal and served as the former President of the European Commission before, described situation of the Gazans in harrowing terms. The Gazans were “human pinballs in the ever narrowing strip,” as the “human pinballs” over the last 2 months.
Be that as it may, the likes of President Joe Biden Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, cannot but concur that winning any guerilla warfare, especially one where Israel’s adversaries had built up an extensive labyrinth of 450 KM of tunnels, cannot depend on bunker bombs anymore. With more than 100,000 tonnes of explosives dropped on to Gaza, without inflicting any damage on Hamas, the latter had literally built up a structural advantage.
Yet the US does not seem to mind that it must not fall into the ‘trap’ set up by the American Istaeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC is the arm of Israel in the Congress and beyond. However, time and again, a majority of US Evangelicals and ultra far right of Israel have cavorted with AIPAC to advance their narrow interest —- even if these moves add to the risk of the Biden Administration being totally undermined in their voters base.
Thus, instead of voting NO to the UNSC on December 8, 2023, to allow the “humanitarian pause,” to be transformed into a ceasefire that can allow safety zones to sprung up arrest the decline of the societal collapse, Washington DC and Tel Aviv, with AIPAC in tow, decided to go against the strong view of the world.
That the US would veto the position of any collection of countries, many of which were concerned with the fate of Gazans from the man-made inferno on the ground, it goes without saying the US, Israel and AIPAC had formed into a crucible of joint special interest. This has been a “known known” since 1967. That the three shall always conspire perpetually to advance the vicious agenda of political Zionism, indeed, to pip the Palestinians to almost everything to ensure their survival, consequently, arable land, water and electrical supply, had been a well-known fact. All human rights organizations worth the value had fallen in line to define Israel as an “Apartheid” state.
That being said, UN, it seems, does mean UNITED for NOTHING. An understanding long derived by the people of Myanmar who have been bravely challenging the rule of the junta of Senior General Myint Aung Hlaing. To those who believe that the UN Secretary General Antonio Guiterres could have pulled off a stunning breakthrough to end the misery, albeit certain of the death of the Gazans, they have ignored the lessons of history since 1948. It is not so much as the US and Israel never seems to lose any war when they combined their forces. Rather, AIPAC has never failed to pull the US into every war in the Middle East that involves Israel too. This iron triangle is of the greatest concern.
The likes of Professor John Mearsheimer at University of Chicago and Professor Stephen Walt at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government had once written about AIPAC’s outsized influence on US Foreign Policy and Congressional politics.
Former President Barack Obama, in turn, affirmed that he ended his tenure in 2016, bearing the scars of the infamous lobby when his administration refused to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in attacking Iran. If anything, the Obama Administration conducted a secret diplomatic channel in Oman to engage Iran instead. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu found out, flew into a rage in 2014. He flew into Washington DC to lecture President Obama for more than an hour in the White House. He also gave a speech to the joint session of the Congress, reprimanding the Obama Administration for not siding with Israel. Such is the arrogance of the power of the right wing Zionist zealotry.
Come what may, now that the UNSC’s resolution to have the ceasefire had not gone through due to the single veto of the US, President Recep Tayip Erdogan of Turkiye was right to claim: “The world is beyond five.” The international community cannot rely on the whims and organized hypocrisy of the few over the many. With the global population about to reach 9 billion people in 2030, a collective entity of five, that has a total population of not more than 2 billion, of which 70 percent of this number are Chinese in mainland, does not make any democratic or strategic sense on ensuring the welfare of the global commons.
Little Britain with a population of 67.7 million (2023) can veto a resolution at UNSC against 8.1 billion (2023) people of the world ! That is certainly not a democracy making UN the most undemocratic organisation of the world.
For the lack of a better word, has the UN truly lost the proverbial marbles in protecting its own charter ? Is the UN even relevant anymore ? Or has the UN descended *into* becoming a mere talk shop, a tool for the 5 veto powers with their partial and parochial agenda ? The answers to all these questions are : Yea yea and yes. Welcome to the new world of disorder.
Dr Rais Hussin is the Founder of EMIR Research, a think tank focused on strategic policy recommendations based on rigorous research.