Honor Among Thieves?
BY: Dr Arshad M Khan
When Michael Cohen, fixer for Donald Trump, payoff-artist and jailbird-to-be, who starts 3-year prison sentence on May 6, branded his former boss a liar and cheat who ran for president not to help the country but enhance the Trump-brand, was he wrong? How many of Trump associates are in jail, going to jail or indicted, i.e. scumbags, albeit rich scumbags?
He has been entertaining at the White House his friend Benjamin Netanyahu, now the first Israeli prime minister about to be indicted for corruption. Mr. Netanyahu claims it’s a political witch hunt, yet the attorney-general preparing the indictment was appointed by him.
Mr. Trump has legitimized Israeli occupation of Syria’s Golan Heights by accepting its annexation, deeming it necessary for Israel’s security. It is a present for Netanyahu prior to the Israeli election and some might go as far as to say it is interference. But the ‘liar and cheat’ label affixed by Michael Cohen sticks. The property is not Mr. Trump’s to accede to and saying so does not make it so. The action violates international law, UN principles and threatens UN Resolution 242 and the ‘land for peace’ equation.
So there we are: Michael Cohen’s ‘liar and cheat’ crony offers another to-be-indicted crony something he does not own or have the right to offer. All of which makes little difference to their conspiracy-leaning and fake-news enthusiast base of support. Trump has just to say, ‘It’s fake news’. Netanyahu says, ‘Its a witch hunt’. And their crowds cheer them on.
And all Modi has to do is mouth propaganda — even though he got a military slap in the face in response to his latest show of force — and his crowds roar their applause.
If we measure civilization by the manner in which it treats the weak, the defenseless, the outnumbered, then what can one say about Mr. Netanyahu’s Jewish state or Mr. Modi’s Hindu nationalism, both attempts to nullify minorities.
And what can one say to a US Congress that stands up in unison to applaud the same Benjamin Netanyahu three dozen times during the course of a speech. There was a time when statesmen of the caliber of Winston Churchill were given the privilege of addressing Congress, but times have changed.
The current UK parliament could not have been imagined by Churchill. As late as 2008, the leaders of the main parties David Cameron (Tory), David Miliband (Labor) and Nick Clegg (Liberal) might have differed on domestic politics but shared a similar world view, including the EU. Not any more. Parliament is fractured. Eight different forms of Brexit were voted upon and none could muster a majority. Theresa May’s plan has been voted down twice. An exercise in incompetence, they are now voting on a deal covering only Northern Ireland merely to gain more time from the EU.
When the Brexit referendum was held, only England (though not the prosperous Greater London and the southeast) voted to leave; Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU. Theresa May repeatedly brings up the 17.4 million ‘leave’ voters. Hardly candid because what about the rest? As of December 2016, the voting population of the UK was 45.7 million.
Most farcical of all, Theresa May even promised to step down if they voted for her deal. In the normal course of events, leaders’ offers to step down are intended as a threat not a boon. Maybe she thought she could snag a few more votes from the jumble of her Tory colleagues after her job.
Is there a Winston Churchill among them? Not even close.
Dr Arshad M Khan is a former Professor based in the U.S. whose comments over several decades have appeared in a wide-ranging array of print and internet media.