Between Cynicism and Vengeance

Nothing could be more frightening than watching U.S. officials discussing international law and war crimes. Live on air, Fox News host Harris Faulkner told Condoleezza Rice that, “when you invade a sovereign nation, that is a war crime.” The former head of U.S. diplomacy, one of the architects of the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, not only nodded in agreement, but responded, “It is certainly against every principle of international law and international order.”

Rice is credited with the concept of “preventive war,” actually borrowed from the 1945 defense of the top Third Reich rulers indicted at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal. She was one of the imperialist voices saying that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that Saddam Hussein had mobile laboratories, that he had bought uranium from Niger and that he was preparing for large-scale military action. All lies.

One should read the reactions to this dialogue between Faulkner (nothing to do with the author) and Rice. The predominant feeling is one of disgust or nausea. A majority prefer the lying Rice to the cynical one. After all, lying requires someone to swindle — that is why it creates social bonds — while cynicism neither takes into account nor needs the other and openly disregards people’s memories.

It presupposes, for example, that everyone is an imbecile and does not know that the deterioration of international law has as its most dangerous germ, not so much violating its norms, but forgetting them.

What international law sustains the blockade of a sovereign and peaceful country for 60 years? What legal justification has allowed the United States to usurp Guantanamo and use that territory to hold and torture prisoners? Where is the legal norm that sustains the premise of the encirclement of Cuba, which is “to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government,” as deputy assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs, Lester Mallory, said in a cynical memorandum in 1960 — never more applicable than now?

Not to mention another sentiment that accompanies cynicism: revenge.

The special adviser to President Joe Biden for Latin America, Juan González, declared last Friday that the international sanctions imposed against Russia are designed to squeeze Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. In declarations to the Voice of America, he added that Havana, Caracas and Managua “will feel the squeeze,” despite the fact that none of these countries has anything to do with the decisions made by the Kremlin. What Gonzalez does not say is that sanctions against Russia do have an impact on Europe and the United States, even though they are not intended to.

But the ministry of vengeance decides that Cuba and anyone who moves in opposition to Washington’s decisions is not the collateral damage, but the target. It doesn’t matter that the scenario of confrontation is far away; the anti-Castro industry in Florida heard Gonzalez’s message clearly and immediately called on the White House not to further delay the decision to reprimand Cuba, because “in a war you do not respond with dialogue, but with bombs” (sic).*

In 2003, something similar happened. In Miami alone there was a massive demonstration in support of the U.S. “war against terrorism,” the most striking signs and choruses of which read: “Iraq now, Cuba later.”

What is happening between Russia and Ukraine fuels the revanchist loop from Washington to Florida and vice versa. The relationship between Democrats in the White House and Trumpists in the southern state is fraught with estrangement and a desire to harm each other, with Cuba as a bargaining chip.

Miami Republicans will not vote for Democrats, no matter what the latter do. Both actors engage in McCarthyism and, at this point, fired up by the Russo-phobic atmosphere and the new cold war, are engaged in a form of self- and inter-regeneration: two bodies that must exchange their blood cells in order to continue living. Of course, in the name of international law and with Rice as fairy godmother.

Although we have been through this many times, the cynicism of the West now reaches savage heights. Live and direct, with plots and subplots of a new war that leads to no one knows where, the question is pertinent: How can we defend ourselves from the excessive, murderous hatred, from this global desire for revenge that always martyrs the same people?

*Editor’s Note: Although accurately translated, this quote could not be independently verified.

About this publication

About Patricia Simoni 182 Articles
I began contributing to Watching America in 2009 and continue to enjoy working with its dedicated translators and editors. Latin America, where I lived and worked for over four years, is of special interest to me. Presently a retiree, I live in Morgantown, West Virginia, where I enjoy the beauty of this rural state and traditional Appalachian fiddling with friends. Working toward the mission of WA, to help those in the U.S. see ourselves as others see us, gives me a sense of purpose.

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