On 10 July, US president Donald Trump offered a “solution” for recent scandals surrounding his country’s treatment of immigrant families. The problem with that “solution”, however, is that it calls on people to respect what the US government has long treated with utter contempt: laws and borders.
“Well, I have a solution: Tell people not to come to our country illegally. That's the solution: Don't come to our country illegally. Come like other people do—come legally. I'm saying this very simply: We have laws, we have borders. Don't come to our country illegally.” pic.twitter.com/kiwB8rJVDl
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 10, 2018
“We have laws. We have borders.”
Washington, more than any other power, created the modern international community of laws and treaties, yet it now reserves the right to defy those same laws with impunity.
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And as the America magazine says, “the U.S. violates international law in plain sight”.
In the 20th century, Washington used covert CIA operations to exert its influence abroad. That included supporting numerous coups and brutal right-wing dictatorships in its ‘backyard‘ in the 20th century. And today, in countries like Paraguay, Honduras, Brazil, and (so far unsuccessfully) Venezuela, the same agenda is still playing out – albeit in slightly different ways.
The 21st century, meanwhile, has seen illegal US invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and the use of “endless incarceration, extrajudicial killing, pervasive surveillance, drone strikes in defiance of national boundaries, torture on demand, and immunity for all of the above on the grounds of state secrecy”.
- The International Court of Justice (ICJ) found in the 1980s that the US had violated international law in Nicaragua through its support for the anti-government ‘Contras’, and that it was guilty of attacking Nicaraguan shipping and oil installations, while mining the country’s ports and harbours. The US decided to withdraw from the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction rather than paying reparations.
- In 2013, the Washington Post reported that the National Security Agency (NSA) had “broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008”.
- Also in 2013, human rights groups said the US had broken international law by killing civilians in drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen.
Trump’s different, though, right?
Alternet went on to give ten specific examples from Johnston’s book – The Making of Donald Trump.
As president, meanwhile, Trump clearly dislikes established authorities looking into his own affairs in accordance with the law – calling legal investigations “a total witch hunt”.
The real solution
Fortunately, the US Green Party’s Dr Jill Stein has offered a more effective solution:
We must not only stop the abuse of immigrants. We must end US policies driving mass migration in the first place – economic & military domination, neoliberal globalization, drug wars, regime change, & climate destruction.
— Dr. Jill Stein🌻 (@DrJillStein) June 30, 2018
And Stein’s right. If Trump is serious about ending immigration to the US, he must first put an end to his country’s disastrous foreign interventions. That will be a thousand times more effective than any wall he can build.
– Join or support the Stop the War Coalition. Show your support for Veterans for Peace, who are fighting for peaceful solutions to the world’s problems. And take action with the Campaign Against Arms Trade.
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