When it comes to untrustworthiness, the U.S. trumps Iran

Middle East
on 24 Comments

The news of a framework for an impending deal between the P5+1 and Iran over the latter’s nuclear program has been met in the United States media with skepticism. Leading pundits of the right say with relative uniformity that trusting Iran to keep its word on nukes after sanctions have been lifted is foolish, while those on the American “left” couch their optimism about the deal with warnings about Iran’s inherent untrustworthiness. In short, the American mainstream punditry is rather united in warning that Iran cannot be trusted to uphold its end of a deal.

It’s true that one of the major parties to the agreement should not under any circumstances be trusted when dealing with issues relating to international law. This nation has broken treaties with impunity in the past. This nation has funneled arms and funding to terrorists. This nation, which should not be trusted, does not follow the same international laws and conventions that it demands others do. This nation, of course, is the United States.

The US has never been too concerned with upholding treaties or laws when its interests have been antithetical to them. Whether the treaties are, for example, with the Native American nations or weapons agreements with the international community, the US regularly disregards the agreements it finds problematic to its geopolitical aims. The rationale has changed over the years- from manifest destiny to the Global War on Terror- but the end result is the same. Again and again, the US has proven it will violate law and treaties if it deems fit.

For a good example of the duplicity of the US on the world stage, Iran need look no farther than across its western border, to Iraq. Iraq is a good example for two reasons. One, US involvement in the country, especially over the past two decades s, shows the ugliest side of the US’s interactions with countries it regards as not deserving the protections afforded by international law (read: not strong enough to fight back). Two, it would encompass the rest of the post if I were to attempt to list all the violations of international law and treaties by the United States.

The US pillaging of Iraq is well known at this point. Here is an abridged list of the crimes over the years perpetrated there by the US:
• Likely involved in coup of 1963 against Abd al-Karim Qasim
Slaughtered retreating army forces after repelling them from Kuwait
• Invaded in 2003 without support from international community
• Invaded in 2003 after Iraq allowed in inspectors to inspect possible WMDs- when nothing was found, US invaded anyway (this is likely the most damning in the context of this post)
• Used depleted uranium during daily bombing sorties on civilian population from 1992-2003
• Violated Geneva Conventions in treatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib
• Operated black sites in Iraq for torture and murder of prisoners of war during insurgency

You get the picture. Given the impossibility of trusting a nation with a record like the US, it’s a miracle Iran has engaged in negotiations, period. Given the history of the US in Iraq, why should Iran trust that things would be any different for them? After all- the US media and chattering class has, as usual, conveniently forgotten this little historical tidbit- the US is the same nation that engineered the Iranian coup of 1953, deposing Iran’s Prime Minister and restoring the sadistic Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, to the throne.

When one looks at the actions of the US on the international stage, it’s obvious that the world’s lone superpower is the least trustworthy of the parties negotiating in Lausanne, Switzerland. A history of consistency in doing whatever it wishes with no consequences for violations of international norms and laws has created an unstable id at the center of American foreign policy. For the US punditry to harangue Iran for its alleged untrustworthiness and future imagined violations of the treaty being negotiated is laughable. The US can’t trust Iran? No. Iran can’t trust the US.

About Eoin Higgins

Eoin Higgins is a writer and historian from upstate New York. He is a graduate of the Masters in History program at Fordham University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. His writing can be found at EoinHiggins.com. Follow him on twitter @EoinHiggins_

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24 Responses

  1. just
    April 15, 2015, 4:36 pm

    Thanks for this, Eoin.

    Not only does the US trump almost any other country on untrustworthiness, it also trumps almost every other one with its concomitant hypocrisy.

    As does its “ally”, Israel.

  2. Kris
    April 15, 2015, 5:07 pm

    Thanks–wonderful article, and very timely, given that now we’re hearing 24/7 that Iran can not be trusted and is always moving the goalposts.

  3. RoHa
    April 15, 2015, 8:52 pm

    Is the term “lone superpower” still appropriate? Russia has recovered from the break up of the Soviet Union, and China just gets stronger every day.

    For another reason why Iran should be cautious about taking America’s word, they could look at NATO. The U.S. promised the Russians that they would not expand NATO as the Russians withdrew from Eastern Europe. And promptly broke that promise.

    • HarryLaw
      April 16, 2015, 9:13 am

      Chomsky when interviewed in ‘Salon’ recently, had this to say on US duplicity.. “Once NATO had expanded to East Germany, Gorbachev was infuriated. He was informed by the Bush 41 administration that it was only a verbal promise. It wasn’t on paper, and the implication is if you’re dumb enough to accept a gentleman’s agreement with us, that’s your problem. Then Clinton came in, expanded NATO to the borders of Russia. And now it’s gone further, even to Ukraine which is right at the heart of, apart from historical connections, of Russian geo-strategic concerns. That’s very serious”.

      • Citizen
        April 17, 2015, 7:20 am

        I don’t see why US thinks it can do all that & get away with it–Russia can piss with the best of them on nuclear stockpiles & although a significant number of Russians don’t like Putin, they are educated very well on the hypocritical and ruthless nature of US governments.

  4. traintosiberia
    April 15, 2015, 10:35 pm

    Sanction and no fly -zone after 1991 were not supported by the UN. It was done at the behest of Israel by the western agents.

  5. traintosiberia
    April 15, 2015, 10:46 pm

    http://nationalinterest.org/feature/really-bad-idea-limited-war-iran-12623
    The neocons push Americans down the slope few inches at a time and ask for more every time certain threshold of no return is reached . 1991 Gulf war started with demand by the Zionist that a threat of invasion would stop and reverse Saddam. Once that was achieved ,neocons started reminding America that its prestige would suffer unless Iraq was attacked and defanged.
    Today the neocons are making similar arguments and slowly pushing US towards more confrontation. Along the way , the neocons are using the same play book with rosy assurances of definite results . The neocons are also blithely repudiating their past views and counsel to add more stringer demands on Iran.

  6. ivri
    April 16, 2015, 2:41 am

    Trustworthiness is not the top criterion – it is general goals and intentions. Nobody could survive in a Mafia clan without being VERY trusted.

    • Mooser
      April 17, 2015, 2:39 pm

      “Trustworthiness is not the top criterion – it is general goals and intentions. Nobody could survive in a Mafia clan without being VERY trusted.”

      And people say “ivri” doesn’t get the import of the posts at Mondo. I am a bit surprised that “ivri” would revive an old anti-Italian slur like that against the US and Israeli interests working together.

  7. eljay
    April 16, 2015, 9:11 am

    || ivri: Trustworthiness is not the top criterion – it is general goals and intentions. ||

    Either way, the U.S. loses.

  8. pabelmont
    April 16, 2015, 9:49 am

    The UN — if not international law and international agreements in general — is intended to protect the ability of the bug 5 (USA, USSR/Russia, china, UK, France) to be protected in their exercise of “realpolitik”, that is use of might-makes-right. See: https://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/the-geopolitical-right-of-exception-at-the-united-nations/

    • HarryLaw
      April 16, 2015, 12:50 pm

      That’s right pabelmont, the veto wielding powers are above International law for all time, if four of the five tried to introduce a resolution against lets say the US, the US simply vetoes the resolution, and it goes down the memory hole. Cute ain’t it? Yes Siree Bob.

  9. freedomfromreligion
    April 16, 2015, 10:07 am

    Our government long ago fell down the moral rabbit hole that opens up when one accepts “ends justifies the means” thinking. With the 2016 elections approaching, it’s depressingly hard to imagine what ethical person would even want to be President of such a country.

  10. JimMichie
    April 16, 2015, 10:55 am

    HEAR! HEAR! The history of the ugly ole’ USA is replete with lie after lie, deception after deception and war after war! Little wonder why Zionist Israel behaves so despicably! Zionist Israel is replicating the US track record! Both, on the international scene, are rogue nations!

    • Mooser
      April 17, 2015, 2:45 pm

      “Both, on the international scene, are rogue nations!”

      And what has the US got (besides a vast land area, open to two oceans over thousands of miles, abundant resources, luck with our near neighbors, a tremendous and varied population, continually enhanced by immigration from the entire world, tremendous agricultural surplus, and some capacity for self-correction in our founding documents, and a whole lot more) that Israel hasn’t got? Right or wrong be damned, Israel should be able to get away with damn near anything!

      Of course, there is some question about whether God favors the US. Israel, I’m sure, doesn’t have that problem.

  11. Vera Gottlieb
    April 16, 2015, 11:28 am

    After having lived in the US for so many years, it didn’t take long to discover that – given the chance and not be caught, many an American would go the path of dishonesty. As long as one doesn’t get caught…

  12. David Doppler
    April 16, 2015, 11:45 am

    I find it ironic that Obama is having his Presidential prerogatives clipped by Congress while attempting to pursue diplomacy to contain Iran’s nuclear threat and build economic ties with a traditional enemy, following decades of Presidential usurpation of Congress’s sole constitutional authority to declare war. I suspect he’d have gotten much less pushback if he’d instead just launched a sneak attack on Tehran.

    What explains this behavior that would puzzle a founding father? It is Neocon ideology, pure and simple, alive and well in the halls of government, and in the editorial offices where these issues are “covered” without covering them.

    Haaretz and the Times of Israel have reported that Netanyahu has told his cabinet that his biggest fear is that Iran will comply with the agreement. “Netanyahu said at the meeting that it would be impossible to catch the Iranians cheating simply because they will not break the agreement,” one official said [those sneaky bastards!]. He also outlined his principal strategy to work through the US Congress to fight the deal. http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-said-to-fear-iran-will-stick-to-deal-if-one-is-signed/

    And why? because it is not peace he or the Neocons want, but war; not political order, but chaos, the Lebanonization of Israel’s neighboring countries, blowback be damned (or welcomed as justification for running a police state that has no choice but to take and hold adjacent land to ensure its security).

    Framing it in terms of Democrats vs Republicans or President vs Congress is just cover for skilled in-fighting by a few well-placed, hard-core ideologues, who take their direction from Netanyahu. Until we face this threat to our Republic directly, it will continue its hold on power.

    Israel, too, would be wise to dump Netanyahu, strictly in its own interests, because he offers nothing but ever-expanding war, until, a generation from now, it will truly be a clash of civilizations, with no way out save that paved by failed Crusaders.

  13. Chu
    April 16, 2015, 2:47 pm

    Imagine any media pundit and/or guest trying to debate this list
    in the television realm?

    They wouldn’t have a job the following day. USA, home of the free
    and the brave!

  14. traintosiberia
    April 17, 2015, 4:24 pm

    Include the bosses ,journalists , and reporters as well

    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/04/16/nbcs-conduct-richard-engel-kidnapping-serious-brian-williams-scandal/

    They work together for the “the common good” ,towards ” common lofty ideals” .

  15. Kathleen
    April 18, 2015, 10:44 am

    Hey Eoin and the rest of you who agree with this analysis…get with it. The U.S. is number 1, exceptional, the best in all things good and honorable. If you don’t like it here… there is always Russia, Cuba, Iran, Saudi Arabia……EUROPE You know the drill. U.S.A..U.S.A!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • HarryLaw
      April 18, 2015, 1:21 pm

      Kathleen, you missed, that it is the one indispensable nation. Sir! Yes, sir!

  16. traintosiberia
    April 18, 2015, 10:58 am

    One is forced to wonder how many out of the current negotiating teams from Germany,France,US,UK and Russia will end up being on the board of United Against Nuclear Iran.

    Wendy is definitely one . She has already evaluated the Iranian DNA.
    Fabius is already there .

    That UANI showcases Olli Hoenin of IAEA is not a surprise . But Sir Richard Dearlove? He was the one of letting the world on to the secret that ” intelligence ate being fixed around” to fit cherished goal of OSP and neocons. May be he is eating his guilt. May be its his penance.

    How could somebody trust the US leadership when the leaders tap into the resources and expertise of the members of UANI for ideas and plans?

  17. JWalters
    April 18, 2015, 6:06 pm

    There is no single “THE U.S.” The government and media has been captured by a financial oligarchy. The general population, busy surviving and raising their family, have been lied to in a massive propaganda campaign for decades. Smedley Butler told the story. The truth will set these people free.

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