They say that life is stranger than fiction and it is true. Because no one thought that instead of a driverless car, the world will get driverless economy.
Although this idea belongs to the U.S. developers, it is, in fact, an issue that all of us will have to deal with due to the status of the United States economy.
There are many signs suggesting that the current leadership of the country lacks one very important quality – the leadership. Donald Trump and his administration act as if they do not know anything about their scope of work. I believe that it is meaningless to describe each and every evidence here because the entire process is well documented in many formats, be it text, pictures or video.
It appears that they switched on autopilot because Trump and members of his team are clueless what needs to be done. Besides Trump’s 100-Days impressive list of “I-Have-Not-Done-Anything” results, Trump does not like to be outside of the White House.
According to Reuters review, in his first 100 days in office, Donald Trump made fewer appearances outside of the presidential bubble than his three immediate predecessors. Trump still constantly tells Americans what is on his mind through the prolific use of Twitter messages, but he has not traveled out into the country often since taking office on Jan. 20.
Reuters reports that Trump made comments at official appearances 132 times in the first 100 days, compared with 139 by Barack Obama in the same period, 177 by George W. Bush and 162 by Bill Clinton. (tmsnrt.rs/2p8M8EU). Some 22 of his appearances were in settings other than the White House, Air Force One, a government agency or at Mar-a-Lago, a Florida resort that his administration has called the “winter White House.” That compares to 62 such appearances by Obama in his first 100 days, 80 for Bush and 46 for Clinton.
In addition, Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State (I almost forgot that he is actually around), solidified his right to be next to Trump by making a statement regarding human rights.
According to Business Insider, translating “America First” into diplomatic policy, Tillerson on Wednesday declared the United States would no longer condition its foreign relationships on countries adopting US values like human rights.
Addressing employees at the State Department Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says “there’s almost no trust” between the US and Russia at the current time. (May 3)
Yet even as he left key administrative questions unanswered, Tillerson offered the most extensive presentation to date of what President Donald Trump’s “America First” mantra, adopted during the campaign and carried into the White House, means for America’s relations with the world. Over the last two decades, he said, Washington had “lost track” of whether post-Cold War alliances were still serving US interests.
“These are really important alliances, but we’ve got to bring them back into balance,” Tillerson told a standing-room-only crowd in a State Department auditorium.
The former Exxon Mobil CEO distinguished between US “values” and “policies” that he said would drive his strategy. Policies can and must change, he said, while the challenge for diplomats is identifying how to best represent US values. For America’s national security, he added, policies won’t necessarily be contingent on values.
“In some circumstances, if you condition our national security efforts on someone adopting our values, we probably can’t achieve our national security goals,” Tillerson said. “It really does create obstacles.” Still, he insisted the US would not “leave those values on the sidelines.”
Associated Press reports that Tillerson took diplomats on a rhetorical tour of global hotspots, laying out the various elements of his diplomatic efforts to date:
—On Russia, Tillerson said, “there’s almost no trust” between the world’, greatest nuclear powers, but that the administration was trying to rebuild trust by looking at one issue at a time. First up is Syria, as Washington and Moscow see if they can get a cease-fire that can hold.
—On America’s two closest neighbors, he said Mexico and Canada are “ready to engage in a good-faith effort” to update their trade relationships with America, alluding to Trump’s insistence that the North America Free Trade Agreement be renegotiated or canceled. He said ties with both aren’t “as rocky as it looks sometimes.”
—In Asia, he said the US has prepared new sanctions on North Korea. According to him, the US will take action against countries failing to fully implement existing United Nations penalties on doing business with Pyongyang. He said the administration is taking a new look at relations with China and next month would hold the first session of a diplomatic and security dialogue with senior Chinese officials.
The New York Times reports that Tillerson’s address came as he prepares a massive reorganization and downsizing that has fueled Democratic and Republican fears that the Trump administration is relegating the importance of aid and diplomacy. Even as Tillerson proposes a 26% cut to the budget, Trump is pressing for a major funding boost to the Pentagon and has already secured billions of dollars in new military funding from Congress.
Initially, I could not believe that these were the words of the U.S. top diplomat who suppose to know what consequences his words might trigger. On the other side, I was flattered because even in my wildest dream I couldn’t imagine that the day will come when I would be able to lecture Secretary of State, the third most powerful person in the world (at least it was the case until February 2017).
Rex Tillerson should know that Human Rights are global values. In fact, it is well known that the United States is unlikely to top the list of countries with a clean record. There is no need to go deep into details to substantiate my view. It would be enough to examine what conventions/treaties related to human rights were signed or not signed and ratified by the U.S.:
- Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, G.A. res. 2391 (XXIII), annex, 23 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 18) at 40, U.N. Doc. A/7218 (1968), entered into force Nov. 11, 1970. – not signed
- Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and CrimesAgainst Humanity, G.A. res. 2391 (XXIII), annex, 23 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 18) at 40, U.N. Doc. A/7218 (1968), entered into force Nov. 11, 1970 – not signed
- Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 78 U.N.T.S. 277, entered into force Jan. 12, 1951 – was signed on Dec. 11, 1948, but ratified only on Nov. 25, 1988, forty years later.
- Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, 213 U.N.T.S. 222, entered into force Sept. 3, 1953, as amended by Protocols Nos 3, 5, 8, and 11 which entered into force on 21 September 1970, 20 December 1971, 1 January 1990, and 1 November 1998 respectively – neither Convention nor subsequently issued Protocols were signed.
- European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, E.T.S. 126, entered into force Feb. 1, 1989 and Protocol No.1 & 2 to the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, (ETS No. 152), Strasbourg, 4.XI.1993 – neither Convention nor subsequently issued Protocols were signed.
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, G.A. res. 2106 (XX), Annex, 20 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 14) at 47, U.N. Doc. A/6014 (1966), 660 U.N.T.S. 195, entered into force Jan. 4, 1969 – was signed on Sep 28, 1966, but ratified only on Oct. 21, 1994, thirty years later.
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, G.A. res. 34/180, 34 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 46) at 193, U.N. Doc. A/34/46, entered into force Sept. 3, 1981 – was signed on Jul. 17, 1980, but until today is not ratified.
The above is a tiny bit of what the U.S. did not sign to ensure due protection of human rights. Ratifications of certain Conventions have been postponed for an unreasonably long period of time. But without ratification, signed Conventions/Treaties are not legally binding for the U.S. government.
The other interesting aspect is related to The 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which establishes universal standards for the protection of basic civil and political liberties. It is one of three documents that comprise the “International Bill of Rights.”
Jimmy Carter, president from 1977 through 1980, wrote that the U.S. Senate gave this consent in April 1992, and in early June, George Bush signed the instrument of ratification. Until that date, the United States of America was the only representative of the West which was named in the list with countries as China, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa (during the aspartate), that have refused to accede to international human rights instruments. Along with the 102 other countries worldwide that have ratified or acceded to the ICCPR, our country will submit a report to the UN Human Rights Committee every five years, outlining measures taken by the US to implement the Covenant’s provisions. In addition, US citizens will be able to serve on this committee, which has been meeting since 1976 to discuss the progress of countries that have ratified the Covenant.
However, President Bush officially took exception to some Covenant provisions that conflict with domestic laws, including one on juvenile executions. The Bush administration wanted to reserve the right to allow states to continue to execute juveniles. The only other nations that execute their young are Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. I am not sure whether necessary adjustments were made to the U.S. legislation in order to conform with the Covenant and with international law on this and other points.
I am not sure whether necessary adjustments were made to the U.S. legislation in order to conform with the Covenant and with international law on this and other points.
If it is indeed the leader of the free world, why the United States did not want to lead the process of implementation of this historic legal document? For many people it would be especially confusing, considering that UDHR is almost identical to the U.S. constitutional amendments.
It is very likely that the cause lies in the status of the international law which prevails over national legislation. If a government is not a signatory to a treaty, continuous violation of legal standards, both domestic and international, might not lead to a significant impact. Whereby once an International Treaty/Convention/Covenant is signed, such government is exposed to the world.
Taking into account the U.S. foreign policy, the obvious reluctance of the government to sign and ratify UDHR because it needed to avoid potential liability to pay restitutions and/or compensations.
There are many aspects which differentiate compensation from restitution. But in general, compensation orders may be made against an offender for any injury directly caused to a victim by an offense. The offense has to be a direct cause of the injury but does not have to be the sole cause. The injury is defined as one of, or a combination of bodily harm; mental illness or disorder; pregnancy; grief, distress, trauma or other adverse shocks.
A compensation order may be made for: pain and suffering; expenses incurred, and future expenses reasonably likely to be incurred, for medical treatment or counseling; other expenses incurred, and reasonably likely to be incurred in the future, as a direct result of the offense.
The core principles on restitution under international law are mainly customary norms that apply exclusively to relations between States. However, some of those principles have their own specifics and could apply in relation to breaches of international obligations owed not only by States but also by individuals.
The international human rights law recognizes that violations are capable of causing mental damage and emotional suffering and allows international human rights bodies to consider the next of kin of direct victims of human rights violations, their dependents, and persons who have suffered harm in intervening to assist them or to prevent victimisation, as victims in their own right.
According to the Human Rights Committee, the burden cannot rest alone on the author of the communication, especially considering that the author and the State party do not always have equal access to the evidence and that frequently the State party alone has access to relevant information.
Therefore, in order to balance this situation in accordance with the victim’s capacity to prove the damage suffered, international adjudicatory bodies have relied on presumptions and circumstantial evidence “when they lead to consistent conclusions as regards the facts of the case”.
So, even if the United States would sign and ratify only main Treaties, Conventions, Protocols, etc, it could have immediately face endless claims not only from foreign states and citizens but also from American people. Considering that restitution order is a result of events which are well documented and specific treatment of victims, the U.S. government was and still is, very clear what might follow the ratification.
Since, for so many years, American politicians managed to mislead American people and the international community by creating an image of the United States as a warrior who tirelessly fights for human rights, I may conclude that they were at the top of the game as professionals. However, it didn’t help them to foresee that there will be a significant difference in professionalism between representatives the Republican Party of the 50s and 60s and those who occupy the White House today.
If what was reported is true and Rex Tillerson actually said that the United States would no longer condition its foreign relationships on countries adopting US values like human rights, it may lead to a wide range of potential consequences.
First of all, by one phrase he reduced to almost a zero decades of diplomatic pas de deux so brilliantly performed by previous administrations and sent a clear message to the world that human rights are not a priority for the U.S. international policy. And just as if it wasn’t enough, he added, – “In some circumstances, if you condition our national security efforts on someone adopting our values, we probably can’t achieve our national security goals,” Tillerson said. “It really does create obstacles.”
Unbelievable. I wonder whether under “values” he meant economic valuation models which companies use to determine the commercial viability of a business project. Because if he considers alliances as something more important than human rights, he is basically saying that people’s life is “cost of doing business”, more or less.
However, due to the range of his intellectual ability, Rex Tillerson wouldn’t have understood that his statement might open the door for legal interpretations. Perhaps, some people may argue that it is very unlikely. But, until very recently, who would think that Secretary of State would make such statement? Since it was possible, legal consequences are possible too.
Perhaps, some people may argue that it is very unlikely. But, until very recently, who would think that Secretary of State would make such statement? Since it was possible, legal consequences are possible too.
I know that it is too early to predict because there are many factors that would need to be considered, including an enormous complexity of the process. But, theoretically, effective from the day when the statement was made, there are slim chances for the restitution to be claimed for the following reasons:
- Priorities of the U.S. international policy couldn’t have been explained more clear. Such clear explanation was provided not by anyone from the White House but by the third person in the United States government.
- This trend for the U.S. policy indicates that American government does not mind to look the other way if there is a continuous stream of evidence that countries in question substantially violate fundamental rights of their citizens. It means that the current administration signals its willingness to legitimize such violations.
- If for example, we replace countries with physical persons, such attitude would automatically qualify the Unites States as a partner in crime.
- It is necessary to remember that Rex Tillerson does not represent his private company. He shall be clear that by excepting nomination as Secretary of State he has also accepted accountability for all actions of all previous administrations of the United States. I guess it would be clear for Mr. Tellirson if I compare it to a corporate level acquisition when together with the acquisition of a company, buyer assumes all liabilities too.
- A significant shift in foreign policy, especially the shift of this magnitude, is likely to occur when leaders of a country admit that previously applied methods are wrong. Whether the leadership would directly acknowledge wrongdoings is irrelevant due to lack of reasonable explanation why such shift is taking place.
- Considering that all U.S. involvements in military conflicts have been officially substantiated as a need to spread democracy and protect human rights, Rex Tillerson’s statement highlights that it might have not been genuine. At least in one case – 2003 illegal invasion of Iraq.
- We shall also not forget that disgusting policy towards ethnic minorities in the United States, which eventually triggered the Civil Rights Movement, might have a chance to finally face the justice.
- The fact that America did not sign all international treaties with regards to the human rights protection is irrelevant. Because the set of international treaties that the U.S. has signed is enough to form a substantial ground for restitution.
- Besides, unlike in cases of compensation, direct evidence is not required. As far as I know, there are plenty of circumstantial evidence. All people need to do is to visit the archive of the leading news channels. Or YouTube.
- Restitution may not have the statute of limitation. There is no requirement for victim or victims to be alive. Next of kin of direct victim of human rights violations, their dependents, and persons who have suffered harm in intervening to assist them or to prevent victimization, may be considered as victims in their own right. So, the line could be quite long.
They say that sometimes to win the war you’ve got to lose a battle. It is true because the cold war victory of the United States might turn up to be a victory of a battle. Perhaps the real winners of the war are those who transformed the top level of the U.S. government into puppets.