Why Sitting Bull was right about Washington’s lack of integrity

John Wight
John Wight has written for newspapers and websites across the world, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal. He is also a regular commentator on RT and BBC Radio. John is currently working on a book exploring the role of the West in the Arab Spring. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnWight1
U.S. President Barack Obama © Jim Young
That integrity is a foreign land where Washington is concerned is an inarguable fact. In the latest example, the failure to complete the construction of a nuclear disposal plant agreed with Russia once again leaves Washington’s credibility in tatters.

Underlying this issue is the attempt by the US federal government to alter the terms of the agreement it signed with Russia in 2000 for the disposal of weapons-grade plutonium, with each country building industrial plants with this specific objective in mind. Russia has kept its side of the bargain and, at no small cost, built the facility required to dispose of its excess nuclear material in the manner agreed.

The US on the other hand is now looking at an alternative method of disposal, which amounts to storing said material in a process that allows it to retain its “breakout potential” – i.e. its ability to be converted back into weapons grade plutonium.

Given the record of subterfuge and double-dealing on the part of successive US governments when it comes to its failure to honour treaties and agreements, nobody should be surprised. Indeed, this subterfuge is so common where Washington is concerned that you could be forgiven for considering it a quintessentially American trait.

Since 2000 alone, the record in this regard makes stark reading. The willfully false assertion that Saddam Hussein possessed stockpiles of WMD, for example, was used as justification for one of the most disastrous wars ever unleashed, certainly in modern times, which only succeeded in plunging Iraq and the wider entire region into a dark night of terrorism and sectarian bloodletting. It is a state of affairs that shows no evidence of abating anytime soon, 13 years later.

READ MORE: ‘Empty words’: Senior Russian MP denounces Obama’s proposal on nuclear talks

Following on from that, when Barack Obama entered the White House in 2009, he did so as the supposed antidote to the arrogance and mendacity that typified the Bush years before him. One of his very first pledges upon taking office was that he would close of the controversial US prison facility, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, during his first term in office. It was a pledge and an announcement that met with support across the world, given that along with rendition, waterboarding and torture, the very name Guantanamo conjured up his predecessor’s “war on terror,” which replaced international law with might is right as the cornerstone of global affairs.

Yet despite Obama’s pledge, 15 years later Guantanamo remains in operation. Behind its bars 37 inmates, denied the right to due process, continue to be held in a state of legal limbo. Compounding the scandal of this US military prison facility is the fact it exists on Cuba’s sovereign territory despite repeated demands by the Cuban government for it to be returned.

More recently, we have had the scandal of the Panama Papers, containing evidence of mass and wholesale financial and tax impropriety by leading politicians, corporate executives and the super-rich. However, an even bigger story has been the politicization of the information contained within these papers throughout the Western media, involving a transparent attempt to smear Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, even though neither his name nor the name of any member of his family appears anywhere in them.

This is no surprise considering that the misnamed International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), based in Washington, is the body responsible for leaking the information to the media. The ICIJ is the international arm of the US Center for Public Integrity, an organization that counts among its major donors George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Family Fund, and the Carnegie Endowment, among others.

This has to explain why out of all the people whose names have been leaked thus far there are conspicuously few American citizens among them. Do they really expect us to believe that the US is immune to financial corruption? Really? Wall Street, the global financial crisis, the land of corporate greed and malfeasance, yet up to now not one major name from the world of politics, business, or banking is included within the Panama Papers?

With this in mind, it really doesn’t take a genius to discern the agenda being pursued here.

This brings us back to this latest example of US bad faith and lack of integrity when it comes to fulfilling its agreements and international obligations vis-à-vis Russia. By now, Moscow should be accustomed to being lied to by Washington. Whether it is the assurances given to the last Soviet government of Mikhail Gorbachev that upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union there would be no eastward expansion of NATO, which were not kept, or the manipulation of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 to effect regime change in Libya by NATO, time and again the US government, either unilaterally or via Washington-controlled international bodies, has proved that not only its word but its official stamp on treaties and agreements is meaningless.

In this regard, the words of none other than Sitting Bull have proved eerily prescient over the generations since the great Indian warrior-chief uttered them. "There are things they tell us that sound good to hear, but when they have accomplished their purpose they will go home and will not try to fulfill our agreements with them."

Sitting Bull’s analysis of Washington and its integrity has stood the test of time.

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