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10 Jan, 2020 17:09

Trump contrasts ‘civilized world’ to Iran, but who are the true barbarians?

Trump contrasts ‘civilized world’ to Iran, but who are the true barbarians?

Trump said Iran is in conflict with the ‘civilized world,’ but civilized states don’t seek regime change, lead aggressive wars, and trash international law like the US has done more than once. So, who are the true barbarians?

With every line, Donald Trump took the breath away from the watching audience and even some of the horseshoe of military brass behind him when he responded to the Iranian retaliation to his reckless (and illegal) assassination of Iranian General Qassim Soleimani.

Indeed, he sounded a little breathless himself, especially at the beginning of his oddly delayed remarks on Iran. Like a man in shock having just received some bad news.

Stumbling over words and pronunciations of people and place names, if the purpose of the statement was to reassure the people of America and the world that “all is well” as he tweeted, it was not a rip-roaring success.

Also on rt.com Operation Kayfabe: How Trump and Iran avoided war while both claiming victory

Low-hanging fruit is the phrase which best describes the actual content of his address, how war was peace, and escalation actually de-escalation. How it was Iran which had “stood down” rather than he who had earlier promised a “beautiful” response from his $2 trillion armoury if a single “American base” was “attacked” by Iran by way of retaliation for the slaying of an individual who was effectively the second man in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

How it was Barak Obama not he who had blood on his hands, how Iran had used the money Obama “gave them” (actually Iran’s money previously frozen by the US) to murder Americans.

But it was a recurring line he used and which has not yet been much discussed in the “Orientalised” West which struck me as worth dissecting.

Iran was in conflict with the “civilized world” he said, and more than once.

That Trump first of all sees himself as “civilized” is surprising. It would be hard to name a single US president with a lower cultural level than the host of The Apprentice and most people in the world are frequently embarrassed by his distinctly uncivilised behaviour towards women, including his own wife just for starters. 

His are the “civilised” values which annihilated 100 million Native Americans in the name of manifest destiny. The “civilised” values of Wounded Knee from the possessor of bone-spurs which precluded his own involvement in actual military conflict.

But if he is the “civilised” one in this confrontation then who are the barbarians?

Iran was the centre of a vast civilisation stretching all the way to Greece millennia before the first settlers representing Trump’s civilisation even arrived in the “New World.”

Also on rt.com US acting ‘like ISIS’ threatening to destroy Iran’s cultural sites - FM Zarif

Or perhaps Trump was referring to Iran’s friends as savages, as Sitting Bulls, and Geronimos?

Did he mean China, a centre of the world for thousands of years? Or Russia, the land of Dostoyevsky, of Pushkin, of Mayakovsky? Some time since Trump visited the ballet and, if he did, he would be there to grab… let’s not go there.

Did he mean France and Germany which continue to struggle to rescue the Iran nuclear deal and which semi-publicly seethes over Trump’s brutish simian conduct? Could he really have meant them?

In fact, the only two countries actually supporting Trump’s actions on the Iran front (and one of them under duress) are Saudi Arabia, actually in a state of fear and alarm about where all this might lead, and Israel!

If Trump, Netanyahu, and the Saudi royal family really constitute the “civilized world” then humanity is in even more trouble than we thought.

In fact, one definition of a “civilized world” might usefully be those who are fighting the Black Hundreds of ISIS and Al Qaeda, the mediaeval obscurantists whose black banners so nearly flew over Damascus and Baghdad. But that definition would have had to include General Soleimani, who hammered ISIS and Al Qaeda and so again, let’s not go there.

Also on rt.com Killing of Soleimani 'wake-up call' to get rid of US presence in the region – Iran's envoy to UN

Another definition of a civilized world might be those who are working to denuclearize the world, to make and stick to new treaties which gradually eliminate the existential threat of nuclear weapons and a winter which would end all “civilisation” leaving maybe only the cockroaches alive. But that definition would have to exclude President Trump so again, let’s not go there.

Perhaps the safest definition of a “civilised world” would be a world in which states do not make aggressive war against other states, do not seek to destroy the governments of other states. States which eschew hegemony and the naming of centuries after themselves. A civilised world in which international law is obeyed and not trashed, a world in which no state occupies, oppresses, or exploits another. A “rules-based order” as the true barbarians currently describe themselves. In fact the hordes of Genghis Khan were way more civilised than them. 

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.