If America's standing as the "leader of the free world" has been on shaky ground following its disastrous wars post-9/11, US President Donald Trump has ensured that whatever little credibility it may still have among its European allies and the UN is shattered. His messy and bloody military adventure in Libya via the CIA-trained proxy General Khalifa Haftar is reflective of his administration's growing alienation from international conventions.
Trump's decision to finance and equip Haftar with sophisticated weaponry, including fighter jets, has met with fierce resistance from the UN-recognised government in Tripoli. Even though the bloody military coup attempt to install Haftar has failed thus far, the ongoing bloodletting is further indication that Trump will pursue his regime-change agenda defiantly, regardless of the innocent lives being lost.
Lose-lose policies have characterised Trump since he entered the White House, and if the electoral strength of his right-wing, white supremacist supporters persists, his second term may turn out to be even worse. America's leadership will remain firmly stuck in the hands of neocons operating in cahoots with Israel's equally racist colonialists.
"Over the last 10 years, 70 per cent of the terrorist-related deaths in this country have been at the hands of right-wing extremists. Last year…every single one of the 50 terrorist deaths…came at the hands of white nationalists."
– me on @MSNBC today:pic.twitter.com/LwvxAyBSrN
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) April 28, 2019
So-called Trumpism has outstripped Machiavellism. Moreover, unlike the false sophistry of previous US administrations, particularly those of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Trump's buffoonery is blatantly associated with visible layers of arrogance, deceit, corruption and disdain.
His illegal intervention in Venezuela is further evidence of rampant power gone astray. If such behaviour is to be expected of a hoodlum, then that is what Trump's gung-ho meddling in the affairs of other nations defines him as.
Elliot Abrams (a convicted criminal who is now Trump's special envoy to Venezuela) says the U.S. gets to decide the future of other countries. I told hm HOW DARE YOU.
— Ariel Gold 🔥💕 אריאל (@ArielElyseGold) April 27, 2019
Venezuela has been engulfed by a civil war as Trump's men put the squeeze on the military there to abandon President Nicolás Maduro. Right-wing hawks, including US National Security Advisor John Bolton, have demanded that senior military officials pull the rug to allow US-backed Juan Guaidó to assume power and take control of the oil-rich country. A coup is underway, whether the world likes to acknowledge it or not; that is the blunt message emanating from the White House.
.@vladimirpadrino, @Ivanr_HD, @MaikelMorenoTSJ: Your time is up. This is your last chance. Accept Interim President Guaido's amnesty, protect the Constitution, and remove Maduro, and we will take you off our sanctions list. Stay with Maduro, and go down with the ship.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) April 30, 2019
Apart from creating civil strife in Libya and Venezuela, Trump's mafia-like operation can also be gauged by his apparent blackmailing of Ecuador. The example of Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange and the way that the government of Ecuador evicted him from its Embassy in London, where he had taken refuge, in exchange for a loan from the International Monetary Fund, illustrates the danger to whistle-blowers resulting from Washington's control of the fund. You can't get an IMF loan unless the United States — for which read, Donald Trump, — approves it. That was the deal to get Assange out of the embassy and thus be available to be extradited to America.
US military involvement in Saudi Arabia's disastrous war in Yemen, under the direct command of Trump, is another case in point. Although Congress voted in favour of a resolution to end US support, Trump vetoed it. His calculation is obviously based on the trade-offs that he can continue to secure from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. Even though a new UN-commissioned report shows that the impact of the US-backed Saudi war of aggression on civilians, particularly children, is far worse than previous assessments, Congress has failed to override Trump's veto.
While it looks as if US-based commentators on CNN, FOX and most other media outlets are pitted against each other in their efforts to rationalise or ridicule Trump's actions, the President himself simply moves on in a blaze of fiery rhetoric and unilateral action. Recently, for example, Trump made one of his trademark boisterous remarks about Saudi Arabia, claiming that he had warned King Salman that he would not last in power for "two weeks" without the backing of the US military.
While that may well have been undiplomatic, the House of Saud knows only too well that it is true. Not only is it a confirmation of the devastating reach of US imperialism, but it also says to the world that Trump and his group of thugs do not care about respecting civilised values or, it must be said international laws and conventions.
In the case of Iran, Trump has boasted that he trusts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's allegations against Tehran, despite his own intelligence agencies disputing the so-called "evidence". Furthermore, he is willing to sacrifice American soldiers on behalf of Zionist ambitions.
Sanctions against Iran coupled with threats of a full-scale war reveal Washington to be complying fully with Israeli diktats. This has the potential to plunge the world into unprecedented chaos and instability.
Trump's unilateral decision to pull the US out of the P5 + 1 Iran nuclear deal in 2017 was not met favourably by Europe, but his recklessness knows no bounds. That he has done this to satisfy Netanyahu, with the full knowledge that he is turning his administration into a pariah in the eyes of European signatories to the agreement, is no secret.
Such disdain for international conventions and humanitarian law is unfortunately not confined to the countries and regions mentioned above. His outrageous assault on Palestinian rights confirms how repugnant and depraved the Trump administration really is.
To bring Palestinians into line, and to force a Saudi-backed Bantustan leadership to accept whatever bizarre version of "peace" Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has plotted in league with Netanyahu, the US President has taken several steps aimed at intimidating the Palestinian Authority. These include the cutting of $200 million in direct aid to the occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank and the stopping of another $300 million normally donated annually to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA).
To get an idea of how determined Trump is to reign as the undisputed rogue leader of the "world's policeman", we need to look no further than his arbitrary decree to give Jerusalem, the Syrian Golan Heights and now, more than likely, the occupied West Bank to a colonial settler regime, Israel. This is foreign intervention on a scale which not only defies UN Security Council resolutions but also "gifts" Netanyahu what he and fellow Zionists have plotted by way of expanding Israel's illegal settlements.
Donald Trump's single-minded goal to reshape the world in his image will ultimately become his downfall, of that I am sure. Until then, though, fuelling wars and conflicts in pursuit of undisguised white supremacist hegemony will continue to take a toll on human lives. His rogue leadership has basically declared war on international law, and the rest of the world is doing nothing about it.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.