DONALD Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear disarmament treaty with Iran may have suited his own local politics.
However, his action resulted in the Iranian theocracy taking a much more principled stance than the US. Americans masquerading as the world’s leading democracy is now looking very fraught.
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has indicated that his country would continue to work with other nations to limit the development of a nuclear arsenal. Fortunately, other countries, notably under the leadership of French President Emmanuel Macron are pursuing an alternative to the approach taken by the US under the leadership of President Trump.
Iran has taken this action despite the nuclear threat and bellicose attitude of the Israeli government and the regional tensions.
Tony Walker, writing in “The Conversation”, argued of the Trump withdrawal that “it risks fracturing a Western alliance that has provided the cornerstone of global security” since the end of World War II. He also pointed out that the French, German and British leaders “raised the possibility of the US being in breach of a UN Security Council resolution endorsing the deal”. At the time the US is planning to update its own nuclear arsenal, an Islam-based theocracy is playing a part in nuclear disarmament.
This is simply frightening. Russia and China are also likely to support the UN resolution that underpins the nuclear disarmament of Iran.
It is not just Iran. Moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has provided another blow to the high moral ground of democracies. In the past, Israel has been able to claim a high-moral ground as the only democracy in the Middle East. Israeli actions in dealing with Palestinian protests have shattered its credibility. How can a democratic state act so inhumanely?
Former NZ prime minister Helen Clark summed up her horror at Israeli action in a tweet: “Dozens of #Palestinians killed, thousands injured at #Gaza – #Israel border. Shocking scenes of live ammunition used against protestors. This is disproportionate force. Never was it more obvious that occupation must end”. She went on to call for the implementation of the two-state solution.
Israel pays lip service while resisting the two-state solution. Hardly the path to a peaceful solution with its neighbours. And the Americans pander. The Palestinians also have much to answer for – but the ongoing occupation of Palestine, seizure of lands and homes hardly bodes well for the future.
While democracies behave in this manner it should be no wonder that so much of the world is yet to be convinced that power in the hands of the people is the most effective way to govern.
It is not just the Middle East. Donald Trump withdraws from the Paris Climate Change Accord. President Xi Jinping of China commits his country of more than a billion people to do all it can to meet the targets. And it is not just on Climate Change that Xi Jinping and China are leading the way for the future.
The leadership of the Chinese Communist Party made a strong commitment to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2015 there were 193 countries that committed to these goals. Sadly, progress has been slow. However, at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on October 18, in Xi Jinping’s address there were five occasions when he called on his people to commit to sustainable development.
China is rapidly moving away from fossil fuels towards renewable sources of energy. Can the same be said for many of the world’s democracies? Such failures open democracy for accusations of visions being limited to the next election, of short-term thinking and of failure to care about the future.
Democracy is at a crossroads. Human rights, freedom of the individual, protection from arbitrary decisions and a say in who governs us are key democratic elements. However, if these advantages are lost, then how can we expect others to adopt a democratic approach?
Michael Moore is a former member of the ACT Legislative Assembly and an independent minister for health in the Carnell government.