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Monday, August 10, 2009


American foreign-policy "legalisms"

I've written many times over the utter absurdity of the way the U.S. employs the "state sponsor of terrorism" designation as if it represented actual facts rather than a purely political weapon to be used against such "enemies" as Cuba. What brings this up again is that I was doing some filing and came across a speech I gave at an antiwar event back in March, in which I noted that the U.S. had just finished renewing its "legal" justification for economic sanctions against Iran on the grounds that the U.S. is in a "national emergency" (an emergency!) because "The actions and policies of the Government of Iran are contrary to the interests of the United States in the region and pose a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States." Not a potential threat, nor even a simple current threat, mind you, but an "unusual and extraordinary threat," and not just to our "national security" and "foreign policy" but even to our "economy"!

Against this completely counter-factual and nonsensical "legal" determination we have to weigh the U.S.' "legal" determination of whether a military coup has occurred on Honduras. On June 29 the State Department announced they were "studying" whether that was an appropriate determination, and as recently as August 6 they claimed that a review was "still ongoing" (evidently they assigned the review to someone who was on sabbatical). Just as a reminder to the State Department (I'm sure readers of this blog don't need it), the coup involved the military showing up at the home of the President and trundling him out of the country in his pajamas and forging a letter of resignation, and subsequently refusing him re-entry to the country at gunpoint. Anyone who needs assistance in determining whether that constitutes a military coup, please report to summer school for some remedial education.

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