by Danny Haiphong, published on Black Agenda Report, March 24, 2021
The United States has long positioned its imperial ambitions as the definition of international law and rejected entirely the spirit and authority of the U.N. Charter.
“Since the end of World War II, the United States and its allies have spearheaded an international regime of terror.”
A new alliance called the “Groups of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations” has formed in a clear act of resistance to the unilateral and aggressive policies of the United States and its junior partners. Representatives of the alliance reside fully in the Global South. Nations spearheading the initiative include the DPRK, Iran, Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cuba, Eritrea, Laos, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent, and the Grenadines, Syria, Venezuela, and Palestine in addition to the largest of the developing countries, Russia and China. The alliance makes clear its firm opposition to coercive measures such as sanctions and the obliteration of historic agreements that emphasize multilateral cooperation.
There is a clear material foundation for the formation of the new alliance. The United States has long positioned its imperial ambitions as the definition of international law and rejected entirely the spirit and authority of the U.N. Charter. Hostility toward the U.N. Charter has only worsened over time whether in maneuvers such as the U.S. withdrawal from the INF treaty and the JPCOA or the imposition of starvation sanctions on Iran, Nicaragua, Syria, and Venezuela.
“U.S. Hostility toward the U.N. Charter has only worsened over time.”
These examples only scratch the surface of U.S. criminality in the international realm. Since the end of World War II, the United States and its allies have spearheaded an international regime of terror whose primary mission is to pacify the planet to the dictates of private capital and militarism. Whether in the form of the ongoing U.S. war of aggression on Korea or the CIA overthrow of the democratically-elected Iranian government in 1953, no nation in the Global South has come out unscathed from the U.S. empire’s destructive quest for hegemony.
The fall of the Soviet Union and the socialist bloc in the last decade of the 20th century left the Third World without the sufficient political strength and organization to ward off the worst excesses of U.S. domination. Many Global South nations were forced to accept U.S. hegemony and concede defeat. Others were set ablaze by the U.S.-led axis of empire. The U.S.-NATO overthrow of Yugoslavia in 1999 and the permanent wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan are just a few examples of the carnage wrought by a U.S.-led global order.
“No nation in the Global South has come out unscathed from the U.S. empire’s destructive quest for hegemony.”
As is true of all prior social systems, the growth and expansion of an existing social order lays the basis for a new one to take its place. Premature declarations of “the end of history” or the total victory of U.S. imperialism have been contradicted by the survival and growth of movements for self-determination worldwide. In the last year alone, Bolivia’s Movement Toward Socialism regained power following a failed U.S.-backed coup, the leftist leader of the Worker’s Party Lula Da Silva was cleared to run for President in Brazil, and Ecuador is likely to elect a left-wing government into power in the second round of its presidential election. But the success is not constrained to Latin America. Syria and Iran have survived countless attacks from the empire and lesser-known cases such as Eritrea and Zimbabwe have survived violent U.S. efforts to recolonize the African continent.
It would be remiss, however, to deny Asia of its rightful place of leadership in the new global order emerging from the ruins of imperialism. The rise of Russia and China has quickly become the principal source of anxiety for a U.S. empire in decline. Russia, while remaining a capitalist country, has rebounded from its collapse at the hands of Western supported oligarchs beginning in 1991. Russia and China currently lead the fight for a multipolar world or a planet free of a singular hegemonic power dictating world affairs. The U.S. has grown particularly concerned with China , not least because its planned economy is equipped with advanced technology and the dual goal of defeating poverty and climate change—two of the most profitable byproducts of late-stage capitalism.
“Russia and China currently lead the fight for a multipolar world.”
The formation of the “Groups of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations” is the logical conclusion of the great costs imposed upon those nations which have rejected an international order dominated by the hegemonic ambitions of U.S. imperialism. To minimize the significance of this development, U.S. corporate media has framed the alliance as a response to Biden’s renewed focus on “multilateralism.” Yet the Biden administration has only further pursued imperial expansion and used the term “multilateralism” to render the criminality of the system more digestible.
Biden has escalated the U.S.’s aggressive posture toward Russia and China . His administration has also committed itself to the destruction of weaker nations such as Syria without any protest in the corporate media or society at large. In fact, the corporate media has praised Biden’s temporary COVID-19 relief bill as a victory against poverty while minimizing the devastating impact of his administration’s mass deportation regime and reliance on the mechanisms of private profit to address what has always been a public health issue in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Biden has only used the term ‘multilateralism’ to render the criminality of the system more digestable.”
American exceptionalism has been deployed by the Biden administration as a weapon of mass destruction in the battle of ideas. Gone are the days where U.S. leadership was questioned as incompetent under Donald Trump. “America is back” and ready to utilize “alliances” to enforce imperialism in a period of crisis. That the early days of the Biden era have offered no relief from the ongoing violence of U.S. militarism has necessitated the formation of a Global South-led alliance that defends the very concept of international law from U.S. and Western-led imperialist annihilation.
Peace loving people wherever they are should not hesitate to support the “Groups of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations.” But it will be equally important for people outside of the alliance to understand what its development means for the broader struggle for liberation. That is, unity must be achieved across social boundaries around a common set of demands. Special attention must also be placed on the concrete conditions and interests of respective social classes and peoples. The tension between the broad and the particular, the abstract and the concrete, is where theory meets practice. The “Groups of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations” has reconciled these tensions in the struggle for peace. It is we in the United States and the West who must return the favor and engage in the difficult work of digging our way out of the empire’s contradictions from within its repressive core.
Danny Haiphong is a contributing editor to Black Agenda Report and co-author of the book “American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News- From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror.” Follow his work on Twitter @SpiritofHo and on YouTube as co-host with Margaret Kimberley of Black Agenda Report Present’s: The Left Lens. You can support Danny at www.patreon.com/dannyhaiphong