TPNW: The Treaty That the US Dare Not Speak Its Name

Sunday, September 26, could be an historic day for mankind to step back from the brink of nuclear destruction. The UN celebrates it as The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. It stems from the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), the worldwide UN treaty that prohibits "the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as assistance and encouragement to the prohibited activities." It is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons with the ultimate goal being their total elimination.

Should a nuclear armed state ratify, it provides for a time-bound framework for negotiations leading to the verified and irreversible elimination of it nuclear weapons program.

The UN ratified TPNW 122-1 on July 7, 2017. It required ratification by 50 countries to become effective. That occurred January 22, 2021, 90 days after 50th ratifier Honduras, inked its approval. Six more countries have ratified since. Thirty-six other signatories are awaiting ratification.

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New Report Documents the Deadly Impact and Global Condemnation of US Sanctions

A coalition of North American human rights organizations has released a report on the impact and consequences of US sanctions. The report is based on wide-ranging research and interviews with citizens in countries which are suffering under US sanctions.

The report reveals a reality which western media rarely or never reports.

One finding is that US sanctions hurt the poor, have resulted in thousands of deaths and “humanitarian exemptions” do not work. Another finding is that more than 70% of the world nations officially condemn US sanctions as violating international law and the UN Charter.

A free PDF copy of the report can be downloaded from www.sanctionskill.org/impact/.

The report will be distributed at the United Nations and to US Congressional offices. We encourage social justice, human rights, and legal organizations to study and take up this issue. The 35-page report, with its extensive references, is appropriate for college courses.

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Conflicts of Interest: Netflix’s 9/11 Documentary Turning Point

On this COI, Matteo Marchionni – host of the Neutral Partisan Report – returns to the show to review the new Netflix documentary Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror. Matteo and host Kyle Anzalone break down highlights from each episode. The documentary reveals a shocking number of crimes committed by the US post-9/11. However, the show constantly spins the stories for the war state and lets absurd lies by swamp creatures go unchecked.

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A Win for Antiwar Activists on Yemen

Annelle Sheline comments on the passage of Rep. Ro Khanna’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would cut off all assistance to Saudi Arabia for the war on Yemen:

The House voted today to pass Rep. Ro Khanna’s amendment to end US support for Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen. The amendment passed with 11 Republicans voting in favor, and 11 Democrats voting against, with a final vote of 219 to 207. The passage of the amendment represents a win for those that have pushed to end American complicity in the war on Yemen since the Saudi-led coalition began its aerial bombardment in 2015.

The passage of the amendment is good news, and it shows that the antiwar coalition that opposed the war under Trump is still intact and committed to ending US involvement. As Sheline mentions, Khanna’s amendment may end up being stripped from the final bill, but it is imperative that it remain part of the legislation.

The amendment, H. Amdt. 113, represents a significant tightening of restrictions on US assistance to the Saudi coalition. If it becomes law, it would block funding for intelligence-sharing, maintenance, and logistical support for Saudi coalition governments for carrying out strikes against targets in Yemen. The amendment includes a broad prohibition on funding for any involvement in the conflict inside Yemen. By adopting Khanna’s amendment, the House is finally using the power of the purse to try to rein in unauthorized US involvement in an atrocious war. Antiwar activists will need to keep the pressure on to make sure that this is included as part of the final bill, but this is an important step forward in ending the indefensible US role in the wrecking of Yemen.

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Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

A ‘Blob’ By Any Other Name

Last week, The New York Times published an article about Afghanistan and the foreign policy “Blob,” and it was written in a way that mocked the term and the critics that use it. The funny thing is that the article reproduced exactly the sort of groupthink and hostility to outside criticism implied by the “Blob” label. There is probably nothing more blobbish than an article that quotes several high-profile pundits and analysts as they dismiss their detractors as ignorant and lazy without giving the other side a chance to be heard.

Judging from the finished product, one might think that the author didn’t even talk to any critics of foreign policy establishment groupthink and conformism, but that was not the case. Robert Kelly, professor of political science at Pusan National University in South Korea, was one of the critics contacted for comment, but nothing that he said made it into the final article. He sent me the comments he made, some of which I include here with his permission. Asked about the “Blob,” Kelly replied:

I do think there is: 1) an interventionist consensus, 2) a tendency to exaggerate threats to the US and its allies, and 3) support a forward-in-the-world foreign policy which is not necessarily in America’s interest, especially in the Middle East, where I think it is pretty clear that we are over-extended.

When defenders of the foreign policy establishment deride the “Blob” label, they usually argue that the establishment is not monolithic and contains a wide range of views. The critics’ response to this is that the differences that do exist are usually fairly small, and almost everyone shares consensus assumptions about the U.S. role in the world and the desirability and necessity of US “leadership. Take Kelly’s three points and ask if his observations are supported by the evidence. Is there an interventionist consensus among foreign policy scholars and policymakers? Yes, there clearly is. The main and sometimes only disagreements about how the US should respond to a foreign crisis or conflict are not over whether the US should involve itself, but only over how it does so and to what extent. Intervention of one kind or another is practically taken as a given.

Is there a tendency to exaggerate threats to the US and its allies? Of course. Threat inflation is the foreign policy establishment’s bread and butter. Without constant threat inflation, it would be difficult to garner sufficient political support for most of what the US does in the world. Christopher Coyne and Abigail Hall explore this at length in their new book, Manufacturing Militarism. Is there broad support within the foreign policy establishment for a “forward-in-the-world foreign policy”? Obviously, yes. That is practically the definition of what the establishment believes.

Read the rest of the article at SubStack

Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

Conflicts of Interest: Matthew Hoh Names the Reps. Most Responsible for the Afghan War Disaster

On COI #163, Matthew Hoh joins Kyle Anzalone to discuss the villains of the Afghan War. Hundreds of members of Congress helped to keep the conflict going, but Matt names some of the worst offenders. He shares personal stories about reps who used their support for the war to build political capital needed to pass Obamacare. Several representatives agreed in private that the war was a lost cause that wasted hundreds of thousands of lives, Matt said, but for political reasons continued to support it publicly.   

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