அரசியல் பிரச்சாரத்தின் ஆதாரக் கோட்பாடு

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அரசியல் பிரச்சாரத்தின் ஆதாரக் கோட்பாடு.

'' நீதி, மதம், அரசியல், சமுதாயம் சம்பந்தமான எல்லாவித சொல்லடுக்குகளுக்கும் பிரகடனங்களுக்கும் வாக்குறுதிகளுக்கும் பின்னே ஏதாவதொரு வர்க்கத்தின் நலன்கள் ஒழிந்து நிற்பதைக் கண்டுகொள்ள மக்கள் தெரிந்துகொள்ளாத வரையில் அரசியலில் அவர்கள் முட்டாள்தனமான ஏமாளிகளாகவும் தம்மைத் தாமே ஏமாற்றிக்கொள்வோராகவும் இருந்தனர், எப்போதும் இருப்பார்கள். பழைய ஏற்பாடு ஒவ்வொன்றும் எவ்வளவுதான் காட்டு மிராண்டித் தனமாகவும் அழுகிப் போனதாகவும் தோன்றிய போதிலும் ஏதாவது ஒரு ஆளும்வர்க்கத்தின் சக்தியைக் கொண்டு அது நிலைநிறுத்தப்பட்டு வருகிறது. சீர்திருத்தங்கள், அபிவிருத்திகள் ஆகியவற்றின் ஆதரவாளர்கள் இதை உணராத வரையில் பழைய அமைப்பு முறையின் பாதுகாவலர்கள் அவர்களை என்றென்றும் முட்டாளாக்கிக் கொண்டே இருப்பார்கள். இந்த வர்க்கங்களின் எதிர்ப்பைத் தகர்த்து ஒழிப்பதற்கு ஒரே ஒரு வழிதான் உண்டு. அது என்ன?

பழைமையைத் துடைத்தெறியவும் புதுமையைச் சிருக்ஷ்டிக்கவும் திறன் பெற்றவையும், சமுதாயத்தில் தாங்கள் வகிக்கும் ஸ்தானத்தின் காரணமாக அப்படிச் சிருக்ஷ்டித்துக் தீரவேண்டிய நிர்ப்பந்தத்திலிருக்கிறவையுமான சக்திகளை, நம்மைச் சூழ்ந்துள்ள இதே சமுதாயத்துக்குள்ளேயே நாம் கண்டுபிடித்து, அந்தச் சக்திகளுக்கு ஞானமூட்டிப் போராட்டத்துக்கு ஸ்தாபன ரீதியாகத் திரட்ட வேண்டும். இது ஒன்றேதான் வழி. ''

மாமேதை தோழர் லெனின்
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Saturday, 23 September 2017

20th Amendment: Parliament will have more powers over the provincial councils சுரேஸ்பி


We will not support the 20th Amendment – Suresh Premachandran
By
2017-09-19

BY Mirudhula Thambiah

Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) Leader Suresh Premachandran said although his party is a constituent of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), it will not support
the 20th Amendment as it will create a mess in the provincial council system.

"According to the amendment, if a particular provincial council is dissolved before the specific date of dissolution, its powers shall be exercised by Parliament until the specified date.

However, we do not want the direct interference of Parliament in such a case," he said.

Following are excerpts of the interview:

? You are a constituent party of the TNA. When the TNA had supported the 20th Amendment, why do you oppose the Amendment?

A: According to the 20th Amendment, Parliament will have more powers over the councils and the governor will interfere in the administrative matters of the council. We, the EPRLF will not accept this as the Tamil people fought for regional autonomy and as a result certain similar rights were ensured through the 13th Amendment which introduced the provincial council system. If the provincial councils are administered by Parliament, even for a certain period according to the 20th Amendment, how can we accept that? According to the amendment, in case a particular provincial council is dissolved before the specific date of dissolution, its powers shall be exercised by Parliament until the specified date. However, we do not want the direct interference of Parliament in such a case.

During this period, the government will impose their plans on the province since the provincial council administration will be under them. They will take up the administrative system
and bring in new settlements similar to what is already happening in some regions. Nobody can stop it.They claim that the 20th Amendment has been introduced for the purpose of uniformity to hold elections of all councils at once to avoid extensive financial expenses. In such a case,
if Parliament dissolves a specific provincial council before its expiry, they can propose a bi-election. Can they hold by-elections without proper financial allocations? Why can't they understand that such amendments will bring in further problems to the people? Why have not they considered the representation of smaller parties? Can they cope financially if Parliament declares by-elections? Smaller parties definitely cannot afford to face these challenges. Thus bigger parties like SLFP and UNP will be at an advantage at these provincial council elections. This amendment will affect the political representation of small parties.Provincial councils were established as a result of the struggle of the Tamil people. A provincial council is run in a methodical manner by the Chief Secretaries and other staff in the administration. However, when Parliament or the government interferes in the matter, it will mess up the entire system. If the provincial councils function under the government, it is government policies that will be implemented. This could be economic or colonization policies which are not acceptable to the Tamil people.Now the Supreme Court has stated that this is against the voting rights of the people. This amendment should be taken up for polling to find out if people accept it. We believe this will be an important Court order to consider. The Court's decision itself makes it clear that this will definitely affect minorities.We will not accept the 20th Amendment as well as the re-amendment to it as it will definitely affect minority representation.

? Does that mean you don't want to support TNA's decision?

A: TNA leadership does not discuss these matters within the coalition. The decisions are taken by its leader Sampanthan and Sumanthiran. They never discuss these matters with the leaders of the other parties - the EPRLF, TELO and PLOTE. However, the decision was taken by only two people and they claim it is the decision of the TNA. It is not the decision of the TNA but Sampanthan and Sumanthiran. I'm unaware if this is acceptable to ITAK.

? The members of the Eastern Provincial Council initially stated they will not support this amendment but later changed their stance, unlike the Northern Provincial Council. How do
you view this situation?

A: I don't understand why the Eastern Provincial councillors take decisions in a hurry. Officially, the new amendment had not been sent to the provincial council. Until today, the Northern Provincial Council has not received the amendment.As you know the Northern Provincial Council said they will oppose the 20th Amendment and they will examine their stand if there are new amendments to it.
However, the Eastern Provincial Council postponed the debate about the 20th Amendment and later they received the proposed new amendments to the 20th Amendment, may be through the representatives of the SLMC or TNA. Thus the council adopted the amendment. The TNA-SLMC Coalition Provincial Council accepted the 20th Amendment.At the same time, it is understood that the Eastern Provincial Council did not hold a proper debate regarding the 20th Amendment. Some members of the council abstained from voting.

? Most minority political parties including TNA initially opposed the 20th Amendment. However, they later changed their stance. Do you see any selfish political agenda behind this
move?

A: Definitely! The present government, be it the UNP or the SLFP, are not prepared to face any elections. This is the main reason why they wanted to postpone the elections for one year. They should dissolve the Eastern, North-Western and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils on 26 or 28 September. They are not prepared to face the provincial council elections.

Therefore, they found a solution by holding elections for all provinces at once and introducing the 60:40 electoral system to the provincial councils elections as well. Therefore the 20th Amendment is a decision taken to safeguard the government.Thus I will not say TNA on whole, but Sampanthan, Sumantiran and the SLMC adopted the 20th Amendment to support the government.

? Recently, the President gazetted the establishment of the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) soon after he met the relatives of missing persons. Why do representatives continue to state that attempts to solve this issue are merely an eyewash?

A: It is now a long period since the OMP Act was adopted. It could have been implemented from the very next day, but that did not happen. Now, since the UNHRC sessions have begun, they would have imposed the gazette. Also, the Commissioner of the Human Rights Council indirectly warned Sri Lanka to act on their promises as they were quite slow in the implementation process. Nobody knows when they would open regional offices in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu.

Once again, these offices may register the names of missing persons. Maybe a 'missing person' certificate will also be issued. By obtaining this certificate, people may obtain a pension
if those who went missing were government employees. There will not be any inquiry in this regard. The OMP does not have any authority to carry out investigations regarding the cases. So, once the names are registered, they may issue a certificate and people will only have to keep it safe. There will not be any other advantage and if the government agrees to compensate the families, they may provide it to those who have certificates.

There will not be any kind of solution even if the relatives or parents state where their loved ones went missing or by whom they were taken by. This is why the relatives of missing persons, who have been protesting for more than 100 days, state that they don't believe this government and urged for an international inquiry.

? But the government will not support or permit an international inquiry. Therefore, how far is it possible for these people to obtain justice?

A: Not only the government, but other representatives, even in the 'Mahinda' faction claim that the security forces cannot be investigated or produced before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Leave aside the international inquiry; they are not ready to even try them through a local inquiry in Sri Lanka. In these circumstances, we cannot expect justice for the affected people.

Once, the President said that it is not the right time to establish an inquiry. If they delay taking legal action against a culprit, what type of a law could it be?

Already the Paranagama Commission registered the names of the missing persons and they spent time in recording statements. Now this OMP will follow the same process. People have given statements regarding their loved ones who went missing, like the date, place and who took them. Thus, all the information was recorded by the Commission and the government is aware of it. Why have they failed to consider this?

? There is an allegation that the Eastern Chief Minister is discriminating the other communities. How do you view this?

A: I have heard a lot about his discriminations. There are many complaints. People have complained to me on this regard when I visited the Eastern Province. I was told that Tamil areas are discriminated against obtaining job appointments and allocations. Most opportunities are provided to the Muslim youth but not for the others. There are many complaints and I don't think any of these complaints have been rectified so far.

Email:che.myhero@gmail.com
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Friday, 22 September 2017

Making the case for constitutional reform


Making the case for constitutional reform
September 20, 2017, 10:16 pm

By Harim Peiris

Even as this article is being penned, the interim report of the Executive Committee of the Constitutional Council is scheduled for the 21st of September 2017, about one and a half
years, since Parliament turned itself into a Constitutional Council in January 2016. This crucial process of nation building through state reform, is typically generating more political
heat than shedding light on facts or creating a process of informed public discourse.

Comparative international experience, history and political science would teach us that any nation building exercise, of societies transitioning from civil war to post war or internal
conflict to post conflict, does require reforms that roll back the restrictions on civil liberties necessitated by the war effort, rehabilitation and reconstruction which deals with the
effects of the conflict and political reforms aimed at dealing with the root causes of the conflict. Sri Lanka is no exception to the rule.

The government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe elected in 2015, claim a mandate for three sets of reforms, or the pillars of their policy
framework, democratic reforms, such as through the 19th amendment and the RTI Act, economic reforms through various policy instruments and reconciliation reforms. Regarding
constitutional reforms, the Sirisena / Wickremesinghe Administration sought to reform or replace the executive presidency, electoral voting system and devolution of power.

There does seem to exist a degree of consensus among the major parties regarding electoral reform, reforms which would see us moving to a more mixed or hybrid system of direct and
proportional representation elections. The smaller parties have concerns regarding their representation, especially parties which gets seats through the PR system though not winning
a constituency. Ultimately their interest would also need to be accommodated and technical formulas are not impossible to come by.

The devolution of power is a political debate which has been ongoing in post-independence Sri Lanka, with the famous Bandaranayke – Chelvanayagam Pact and the Dudley –
Chelvanayagam Pact some of the earlier expressions of that dialogue and resultant leadership consensus. In more recent times, the political reform debate and proposed new
constitution of August 2000 of the then President Kumaratunga’s SLFP led Peoples Alliance Administration or the more recent proposals and recommendations under President
Rajapakse of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) and the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), which proposed a slew of far reaching state reform have in
reality brought about a degree of common ground on less centralized and more power sharing political structures. The political contention that the LTTE fought for devolution of power
and hence power sharing is granting the LTTE agenda through constitutional reforms, is quite a stretch of the facts, since the LTTE actually opposed provincial councils, devolution
with power sharing and instead fought for a separate state and absolute unchecked power. Further devolution could rather strengthen the state, by making a diverse society more
cohesive through reducing if not eliminating the alienation from the Sri Lankan state of ethnic minorities, resolving what LTTE suicide bomb victim late Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam so
aptly termed, "the anomaly of imposing a mono ethnic state on a multi ethnic polity".

However, it is with regard to the executive presidency, where the recent political discourse has ignored the ground realities and Sri Lanka’s near four-decade long experience with the
office of the executive president. Firstly, Sri Lanka will always have a President, since we are no longer a monarchy, the issue is whether the president will have near unchecked
powers, as before the 19th amendment, have more limited executive powers through further reforms or be a nominal or ceremonial head of state, with executive power vesting
collectively in the Cabinet of Ministers, as was Sri Lanka’s experience prior to 1978.

Now the promoters of the executive presidency argue two points, the first that an executive president requiring to be elected by the whole country as a single electorate, cannot ignore
a single voter segment including the ethnic and religious minority communities, predominantly present in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of the country. This argument has some
merit but is not entirely correct. Prior to the presidential election on January 2015, it was 20 years previously, way back in 1994, that the North and East voted for the winner of the
presidential election. Even the 1999 re-election of President Kumaratunga was achieved with a split minority vote, with the majority of the North and Eastern vote going to the
unsuccessful challenger. There are other political institutions which can better accommodate minorities and unrepresented groups, the most obvious being a second chamber or
conversely a small numerical increase in the nominated members for the lower house, which also solves the problems of electoral reform for the smaller parties.

The weakest argument put forward by proponents of a strong executive presidency is that such a strong centralizing power and authority, helps to keep a nation together, implicitly
arguing that it promotes social cohesion. However, Sri Lanka’s history of the past two decades proves just the reverse. That strong centralized power often leads to excess and a lack
of restraint in the exercise of such power, leading to what Lord Acton famously stated as "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely". It is a truism that power without
accountability and checks and balances breeds resentment and rebellion. Sri Lanka’s experience with armed challenges to the Sri Lankan state from both the JVP and the LTTE was
also caused or at the very least went together with a reduction in democratic space through the centralized power and the consequent reduction of checks and balances brought about
by the 1972 and the 1978 Republican constitutions. It is increased democracy and power sharing which promotes social cohesiveness and thereby strengthens national unity and
national security and not merely the cohesive power of absolute authority.

20A: You only vote twice



20A: You only vote twice

The Bill on the 20th Amendment to the Constitution has been so controversial that the Joint Opposition is said to have planned a “mass cross over” from the Government to the
Opposition, when it is taken for debate in Parliament this week as scheduled. However, it is reported that the Government has deferred its debate.

Whatever the veracity of the reports on the crossovers was, the essence of this piece of legislation is very important in terms of democracy, as it is mainly meant for the conducting of elections for all nine Provincial Councils on the same day.

However, other legal effects of the Bill are in fact highly contentious in the eyes of the Provincial Councils.

The Government also mulls to do away with the current Proportional Representation (PR) system and replace it with a mixed electoral system in respect of Parliament and Provincial Council elections through some other Acts. Monday’s Daily Mirror had carried two statements from President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to this effect. Already laws have been amended for the Local Government elections to be held under the mixed electoral system.

We have the experience of holding countrywide elections in one day as well as on a staggered basis. Parliament elections are being held on a particular day specified by the Elections Commission or the previous Elections Department, while the Provincial Council elections and the Local Government elections are being held normally on a staggered basis. Before 1960 the Parliamentary elections too had been held in various stages.

The disadvantages of holding elections in stages or on a staggered basis are long debated. During the ongoing debate over the 20th Amendment, not a single person had argued against holding elections for any of the three levels of people’s representation - Parliament, Provincial Councils or Local Government bodies– on a single day.

It is an oft -stated fact that holding of elections for Provincial Councils or Local Government bodies hikes up the burden not only on the public coffers but also on the political parties contesting at those elections.

Apart from that, it carries with it a huge impact on the objective of democracy as the results of one phase of an election would definitely influence the voters, who would vote in the subsequent phases of the same election.

In India the election for the Lok Sabha (Parliament) is held on staggered basis but the results of all stages of polling are announced only at the end of the election. However, even then, there is a possibility of voter behaviour during the initial stages of the election being an indication of the results of those stages and thereby having a bearing on the voter, casting his/her vote at the subsequent stages.

Needless to say, elections for some or all Provincial Councils would have to either be postponed or advanced, if elections for all Provincial Councils are to be held on the same day.

Hence, it is hilarious in this case to argue, as some groups had done, that franchise of the people would be violated by postponing elections or rights of the members of the Provincial Councils elected by the people for a full term are violated by advancing the election dates of those councils.

Leaders of the Opposition in the Parliament and the Provincial Councils must be more responsible not to be hell-bent on defeating the Bill in toto without attempting to remove the other contentious sections, in order to embarrass the Government.

On the other hand it is also pertinent for the Government to be amenable to remove the sections that are likely to go against the spirit of devolution such as those on transferring some of the powers of Provincial Councils and the Provincial Governors to Parliament.

It is good to have an open dialogue on this matter between the two sides of the political divide, outside Parliament first.

Rocket man and a Barking dog!


North Korea: Kim Jong-un's statement about 'deranged dotard' Donald Trump in full
 Donald Trump's threat is 'sound of a dog barking' say North Korea
"Kim Jong Un warns Donald Trump he will 'pay dearly'"
North Korean state media released a rare personal statement from leader Kim Jong-un on Friday, in which he hit back at Donald Trump's threat to "totally destroy" his country.

Here is the statement, released by KCNA in English to reach an international audience, in full:
"Pyongyang, September 22 (KCNA) - Respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, released a statement on Thursday.

"The full text of the statement reads:

 "The speech made by the US president in his maiden address on the UN arena in the prevailing serious circumstances, in which the situation on the Korean peninsula has been rendered tense as never before and is inching closer to a touch-and-go state, is arousing worldwide concern.

"Shaping the general idea of what he would say, I expected he would make stereo-typed, prepared remarks a little different from what he used to utter in his office on the spur of the moment as he had to speak on the world's biggest official diplomatic stage.

"But, far from making remarks of any persuasive power that can be viewed to be helpful to defusing tension, he made unprecedented rude nonsense one has never heard from any of his predecessors.

"A frightened dog barks louder.

"I'd like to advise Trump to exercise prudence in selecting words and to be considerate of whom he speaks to when making a speech in front of the world.
 
"The mentally deranged behavior of the US president openly expressing on the UN arena the unethical will to "totally destroy" a sovereign state, beyond the boundary of threats of regime change or overturn of social system, makes even those with normal thinking faculty think about discretion and composure.

"His remarks remind me of such words as "political layman" and "political heretic" which were in vogue in reference to Trump during his presidential election campaign.

"After taking office Trump has rendered the world restless through threats and blackmail against all countries in the world. He is unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country, and he is surely a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire, rather than a politician.

"His remarks which described the US option through straightforward expression of his will have convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last.

"Now that Trump has denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world and made the most ferocious declaration of a war in history that he would destroy the DPRK, we will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.

"Action is the best option in treating the dotard who, hard of hearing, is uttering only what he wants to say.

"As a man representing the DPRK and on behalf of the dignity and honor of my state and people and on my own, I will make the man holding the prerogative of the supreme command in the U.S. pay dearly for his speech calling for totally destroying the DPRK.

"This is not a rhetorical expression loved by Trump.

"I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue.

"Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation.

"I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire."

© Provided by Independent Print Limited

Thursday, 21 September 2017

இலங்கை: ''புதிய'' அரசியல் யாப்பு இடைக்கால அறிக்கை - மும் மொழி இணைப்பு

Sri Lanka: The New Constitution- A Neo- Colonial Project!

 
 
Sri Lanka: The New Constitution – A Neo-colonial Project!
 
Tamara Kunanayakam
Global Research, September 18, 2017, Defend Democracy Press 17 September 2017
 
As we meet here this evening, a radical overhaul is underway – of our political, economic, financial, social and cultural system. A new Constitution is being discussed, at the same time a plethora of radical reforms are being rushed through. The fact that many of these reforms are being challenged as unconstitutional indicates that the new Constitution is aimed at making what is un-Constitutional today, Constitutional tomorrow, making legal what is illegal by a simple trick of changing the Law!
The issue is not whether a new Constitution is needed or not. It is the fundamental and inalienable right of the people to determine the economic, social, political and cultural system in which they choose to live. But that choice will be their choice only if it is freely made, not with a gun pointed at their heads. Today, Sri Lanka finds itself practically under a form of tutelage to the US, a global power whose strategic objective is to maintain its global hegemony.
 
It is indeed symbolic that the US Ambassador chose to announce Washington’s decision to “assist” Sri Lanka draft its Constitution and implement the Human Rights Council resolution from the amphibious warship USS New Orleans, which is used to land and support ground forces on enemy territory and patrols provocatively close to China. It is also ironic that it is from Temple Trees that the Acting US Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells declared, last week, that“the United States is – and will continue to be – an Indo-Pacific power.”
 
She was the first to announce America’s “first ever naval exercise” in Sri Lanka in October, in Trincomalee.
 
You will agree that rewriting the Constitution under such conditions can only advance Washington’s cause, not ours!
 
There are also other guns pointed at us: the 2015 Human Rights Council resolution and the notorious IMF/World Bank conditionalities, including in particular the political conditionality misleadingly known as ‘Good Governance,” a neoliberal project inimical to the national interest.
 
Yes, ‘Good Governance” – or “Yahapalana” as we know it here – was not invented by Ranil, Chandrika, Sirisena or Mangala! The IMF, World Bank and the US Treasury coined the term in the late 1980s as a political conditionality for the enslavement of indebted Third World countries such as ours to make us permanently indebted and dependent, facilitating external interference and domination!
 
“Good Governance” takes politics out of government and manages a shift from government to governance. By doing so, it has undermined nation-building wherever it has been implemented, and fuelled identity conflicts especially in multi-ethnic societies. You will find the same buzzwords in the Human Rights Council resolution and in the ‘good governance’ conditionality: “rule of law,” “democracy,” “devolution,” “participation,” etc.  These are the same buzz words parroted by the Yahapalana regime.  In January 2016 last year, the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe told Parliament that the purpose of the new Constitution was, among other things, to establish “a political culture that respects the rule of law and strengthens democracy.”
 
The aim of ‘Good Governance’ is to convert whatever remains of the State into effective and strong state agencies that guarantee the interests of foreign capital in particular. This not only means that the State will no longer serve the public interest; it will actually be turned into a repressive State against the very people it must serve. Even the World Bank admits that good governance is anti-democratic, that it demands measures directed against the expectations of the majority of the people. In a 2002 report, the World Bank was explicit:

“Good governance requires the power to carry out policies and to develop institutions that may be unpopular among some − or even a majority − of the population.”
 
Behind both these threats  –  the Human Rights Council resolution and the IMF/World Bank conditionality – is the same face: Washington’s!
 
Let’s be clear. The demands contained in the Human Rights Council resolution are not Burundi’s or Cuba’s or Russia’s or China’s. They are Washington’s. It was Yahapalana’s abject servility that made it possible for Washington to turn it into a weapon against the Sri Lankan people and their nation. As for the international financial institutions, they are dominated by Washington, which controls nearly 50% of the IMF vote share compared to Sri Lanka’s 0.19%!
 
The reforms demanded of us are so fundamental that they cannot be implemented without changing the Republican Constitution. A hybrid court is one. Another is the so-called devolution of power, which is a project to dismantle the State. Yet another is the conversion of our armed forces into an auxiliary of the US armed forces against our national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. That will require wide-ranging security sector reforms; demilitarisation of the North and East (which means two-thirds of our coastline); external control over recruitment and vetting of employees and officials; ending military involvement in civilian activities; etc. etc.
 
Underpinning the resolution is the demand for accountability, accountability is the pillar on which the so-called “Responsibility to Protect” (or RtoP) stands, and the goal of RtoP is to legitimise US intervention and domination!
 
In the late 19th century, the US and Great Britain justified their “savage wars of peace” as the “White Man’s Burden” to bring “civilization and progress” to barbaric non-Western, non-Christian, non-white peoples. Today, the justification is “Responsibility to Protect,” which is claimed by the US and its junior partners in the West as the right to intervene in other countries under the pretext of protecting citizens of those countries. The moral rhetoric is human rights and humanitarianism. The victims are the same – non-Western, non-Christian, non-white.
 
RtoP is a project of re-colonisation, associated with tutelage. In a report on Responsibility to Protect, the UN Secretary General called for revising the UN Trusteeship System, i.e., the system of tutelage for “non-self-governing” colonial territories (2013). The original proposal came from former US Ambassador Edward Marks who was Deputy Chief of Mission in Sri Lanka, in 1987. Marks talked about an international regime of tutelage for multi-ethnic societies, which he said were “failed States.” His argument is that “the transition from colonial rule to political and economic independence in the nation-state model is proving to be too much for some very fragile multi-ethnic societies.”
 
The implications of the resolution are far reaching in terms of the ability of foreign powers to intervene in the sovereign affairs of a country, despite domestic opposition. An OHCHR Report on Rule of law tools for post-conflict States (2006), is unambiguous. According to it, in case of domestic opposition to international involvement, an international mandate “provides international actors with the authority and means to intervene directly in domestic affairs and overrule domestic procedures if necessary.”
 
US interference in Sri Lanka began long before the resolution was adopted. It was, however, the Yahapalana regime that gave it wings and also international legitimacy.

United Nations Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
The US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Sri Lanka to fix the road map even before a legitimate Government was in place. The two visits to Sri Lanka of Jeffrey Feltman, the UN Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, are also significant. On his first visit shortly after the 2015 Presidential elections, Feltman declared he was here “to assist in the process of accountability and reconciliation.” On his second visit last month he revealed that accountability and reconciliation had meant changing the Constitution. He came to monitor progress.
 
Feltman is a former US Assistant Secretary of State, a neoconservative hawk linked to Robert Kagan – their theoretician, Victoria Nuland and Samantha Power. Feltman has been involved – at the highest level – in regime change, destabilization, the break-up of sovereign States into ethnic enclaves, fomenting violence. I would require more time to give an account of his role in covert operations in the Ukraine, Russia, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Moldova, Georgia, Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador, etc.
Other significant visits include that of Samantha Power, also known as the “Liberal War Hawk,” and George Soros, US multi-billionaire who believes we don’t have enough “constitutional democracy.”
Once the Council resolution was adopted, things moved into high gear. Three months later, the Prime Minister announced the establishment of the Constitutional Assembly, two months later, along with USAID, he said assistance would be obtained from Washington, the European Union, and the UK through the Foreign Office funded Westminister Foundation for Democracy, which was set up in 1992  to organize political parties in Eastern Europe following the collapse of the socialist bloc. In July 2016, the US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal visited Sri Lanka and admitted there was a direct link between the Council resolution and a new Constitution. She said the Constitution was part of the work “foreshadowed” in the Council resolution and that as ‘co-sponsor,’ the US felt it was “a shared responsibility to help this process through.” That was just before the US Ambassador’s announcement from USS New Orleans that Washington would assist with the drafting.
 
What began as an agenda to abolish the Executive Presidency was transformed overnight into a full-blown reform of the Constitution.
 
With the new Constitution, as with the resolution, the Yahapalana regime is trying to convert us Sri Lankans into Washington’s little soldiers who will defend a hegemonic vision based on “invisible threats.” With the arrival of the Yahapalana regime, there has been a strengthening of military ties between the two countries, as confirmed before the US Congress by Acting US Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells. The recent launch of the US-trained Sri Lanka’s first Navy Marine Force trained for rescue and evacuation of US troops in case of attacks at sea, and the Indian Ocean Conference at Temple Trees, are part of a process that will permanently affect Sri Lanka’s independence and sovereignty.
 
It is significant that the Minister holding the Foreign Affairs portfolio at the recent Indian Ocean Conference in Temple Trees (August-September) had been involved in drafting a military agreement with high-level US military officials in secret meetings in 2002. He was then Minister of Defence. The Prime Minister on both occasions was the same and was believed to have met with the then US President George Bush in Washington to discuss the Agreement that was to be signed in December.
Coming back to the “invisible threats” to Washington that Sri Lanka will be called upon to fight, what are they? Where is the evidence? These are legitimate questions.
 
The response to these questions by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld shows that Sri Lanka will be dragged into wars and conflicts over which it has no knowledge or control. Rumsfeld was referring to Iraq and so-called Weapons of Mass Destruction, which turned to be a fiction of Washington’s fertile, but sick, imagination, but for which a modern day “savage war for peace” was fought, people massacred and a country destroyed.
 
Here’s what he said: The “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence….There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know. … Each year, we discover a few more of those unknown unknowns.”
 
In this regard, I will leave you with a question for further reflection. It was posed by the famous American writer and filmmaker, Errol Morris:

“Imagine someone tells you that there is an elephant in the room. You search the room, opening drawers, checking closets, looking under the bed. No elephant. Absence of evidence or evidence of absence?”
 
Friends, fellow Patriots, if the Constitution is to be ours, written by a free people, we must first resist this diabolical project!
 
Note: This is the text of a speech delivered at the launch of the movement Elya (Light) during a mass and very successful meeting in Colombo on September 6th.


Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Full text of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s UN speech 19-09-2017



Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses world leaders at the 72nd UN General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on September 19, 2017. (AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary)
Netanyahu UN 2017

Full text of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s UN speech
September 19, 2017, 11:11 pm 

Full text of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the UN General Assembly, September 19, 2017:

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen,

We’re in the midst of a great revolution, a revolution in Israel’s standing among the nations. This is happening because so many countries around the world have finally woken up to what Israel can do for them. Those countries now recognize what brilliant investors like Warren Buffet and great companies like Google and Intel, what they’ve recognized and known for years: that Israel is the innovation nation — the place for cutting-edge technology in agriculture, in water, in cyber security, in medicine, in autonomous vehicles — you name it, we’ve got it.

Those countries now also recognize Israel’s exceptional capabilities in fighting terrorism. In recent years, Israel has provided intelligence that has prevented dozens of major terrorist attacks around the world. We have saved countless lives. You may not know this, but your governments do, and they are working closely together with Israel to keep your countries safe and your citizens safe.

I stood here last year on this podium and I spoke about this profound change in Israel’s standing in the world and just look at what has happened since, in one year: hundreds of presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers and other leaders have visited Israel, many for the first time.

Of these many visits, two were truly historic. In May, President Trump became the first American president to include Israel in his first visit abroad. President Trump stood at the Western Wall, at the foot of the Temple Mount, where the Jewish people’s Temples stood for nearly a thousand years. When the president touched those ancient stones, he touched our hearts forever.

In July, Prime Minister Modi became the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel. You may have seen the pictures. We were on a beach in Hadera. We rode together in a jeep outfitted with a portable desalination device that some thriving Israeli entrepreneur invented. We took off our shoes, waded into the Mediterranean and drank seawater that had been purified only a few minutes earlier. We imagined the endless possibilities for Israel, India, for all humanity.

In the past year, Israel hosted so many world leaders, and I had the honor of representing my country on six different continents. One year. Six continents.

I went to Africa, where I saw Israeli innovators increasing crop yields, turning air into water, fighting AIDS.

I went to Asia, where we deepened our relations with China and with Singapore, and expanded our cooperation with our Muslim friends in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

I went to Europe, where in London and Paris, Thessaloniki and Budapest, we enhanced our security and economic ties.

I went to Australia, becoming the first Israeli prime minister to visit our great allies Down Under.

And just last week, I went to South America, visiting Argentina and Colombia, and then I went on to Mexico, becoming, if you can believe it, the first Israeli prime minister ever to visit Latin America.

After 70 years, the world is embracing Israel, and Israel is embracing the world. One year. Six continents. Now, it’s true. I haven’t yet visited Antarctica, but one day I want to go there too because I’ve heard that penguins are also enthusiastic supporters of Israel. You laugh, but penguins have no difficulty recognizing that some things are black and white, are right and wrong.

Unfortunately, when it comes to UN decisions about Israel, that simple recognition is too often absent. It was absent last December when the Security Council passed an anti-Israel resolution that set back the cause of peace.

It was absent last May, when the World Health Organization adopted — you have to listen to this: the World Health Organization adopted a Syrian-sponsored resolution that criticized Israel for health conditions on the Golan Heights.

As the great John McEnroe would say, “You can-not be serious!” I mean, this is preposterous.

Syria has barrel-bombed, starved, gassed and murdered hundreds of thousands of its own citizens and wounded millions more, while Israel has provided lifesaving medical care to thousands of Syrian victims of that very same carnage. Yet who does the World Health Organization criticize? Israel.
So is there no limit to the UN’s absurdities when it comes to Israel?

Well, apparently not, because in July, UNESCO declared the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron a Palestinian World Heritage site. That’s worse than fake news. That’s fake history. Mind you, it’s true that Abraham, the father of both Ishmael and Isaac, is buried there, but so too are Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca – Sarah is a Jewish name, by the way – and Leah, who just happen to be patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people. You won’t read about that in the latest UNESCO report.

But if you want to, you can read about that in a somewhat weightier publication — it’s called the Bible. I highly recommend it. I hear it even got 4 ½ out of 5 stars on Amazon. And it’s a great read. I read it every week.

Ladies and gentlemen, a moment to be serious: Despite the absurdities, despite the repetition of these farcical events, there is change. Slowly but surely, there are signs of positive change, even at the United Nations.

Mr. Secretary General, I very much appreciate your statement that denying Israel’s right to exist is anti-Semitism, pure and simple. Now, that’s important, because for too long the epicenter of global anti-Semitism has been right here at the UN. And while it may take many years, I am absolutely confident that the revolution in Israel’s ties with individual nations will ultimately be reflected in this hall of nations. I say that because there is also a marked change in the position of some of our key friends.

Thanks to President Trump’s unequivocal support for Israel in this body, that positive change is gathering force. So, thank you, President Trump. Thank you for supporting Israel at the UN. And thank you for your support, Ambassador Nikki Haley. Thank you for speaking the truth about Israel.

But, ladies and gentlemen, here at the UN, we must also speak the truth about Iran, as President Trump did so powerfully this morning. Now, you know I’ve been ambassador to the UN and I’m a long-serving Israeli prime minister, so I’ve listened to countless speeches in this hall, but I can say this: none were bolder, none more courageous and forthright than the one delivered by President Trump today.

President Trump rightly called the nuclear deal with Iran, he called it an embarrassment. Well, I couldn’t agree with him more. And here’s why: Iran vows to destroy my country every day, including by its chief of staff the other day. Iran is conducting a campaign of conquest across the Middle East and Iran is developing ballistic missiles to threaten the entire world.

Two years ago, I stood here and explained why the Iranian nuclear deal not only doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb, Iran’s nuclear program has what’s called a sunset clause. Let me explain what that term means: It means that in a few years, those restrictions will be automatically removed — not by a change in Iran’s behavior, not by a lessening of its terror or its aggression. They’ll just be removed by a mere change in the calendar. And I warned that when that sunset comes, a dark shadow will be cast over the entire Middle East and the world, because Iran will then be free to enrich uranium on an industrial scale, placing it on the threshold of a massive arsenal of nuclear weapons.

That’s why I said two years ago that the greater danger is not that Iran will rush to a single bomb by breaking the deal, but that Iran will be able to build many bombs by keeping the deal.

Now, in the last few months, we’ve all seen how dangerous even a few nuclear weapons can be in the hands of a small rogue regime.

Now imagine the danger of hundreds of nuclear weapons in the hands of a vast Iranian Islamist empire, with the missiles to deliver them anywhere on earth.

I know there are those who still defend the dangerous deal with Iran, arguing that it will block Iran’s path to the bomb.

Ladies and gentlemen, That’s exactly what they said about the nuclear deal with North Korea, and we all know how that turned out. Unfortunately, if nothing changes, this deal will turn out exactly the same way.

That’s why Israel’s policy regarding the nuclear deal with Iran is very simple: Change it or cancel it, fix it or nix it. Nixing the deal means restoring massive pressure on Iran, including crippling sanctions, until Iran fully dismantles its nuclear weapons capability. Fixing the deal requires many things, among them inspecting military and any other site that is suspect, and penalizing Iran for every violation. But above all, fixing the deal means getting rid of the sunset clause.

And beyond fixing this bad deal, we must also stop Iran’s development of ballistic missiles and roll back its growing aggression in the region. I remember we had these debates. As you know, I took a fairly active role in them. And many supporters of the nuclear deal naively believed that it would moderate Iran. It would make it a responsible member, so they said, of the international community.

Well as you know, I strongly disagreed. I warned that when the sanctions on Iran would be removed, Iran would behave like a hungry tiger unleashed, not joining the community of nations, but devouring nations, one after the other. And that’s precisely what Iran is doing today.

From the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean, from Tehran to Tartus, an Iranian curtain is descending across the Middle East. Iran spreads this curtain of tyranny and terror over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere, and it pledges to extinguish the light of Israel.

Today, I have a simple message for Ayatollah Khamenei, the dictator of Iran: The light of Israel will never be extinguished.

Those who threaten us with annihilation put themselves in mortal peril. Israel will defend itself with the full force of our arms and the full power of our convictions. We will act to prevent Iran from establishing permanent military bases in Syria for its air, sea and ground forces. We will act to prevent Iran from producing deadly weapons in Syria or in Lebanon for use against us.

And we will act to prevent Iran from opening new terror fronts against Israel along our northern border.

As long as Iran’s regime seeks the destruction of Israel, Iran will face no fiercer enemy than Israel.

But I also have a message today for the people of Iran: You are not our enemy; you are our friends. Shomaah doosteh mah hasteed [You are our friends]. One day, my Iranian friends, you will be free from the evil regime that terrorizes you, hangs gays, jails journalists, tortures political prisoners, and shoots innocent women like Neda Sultan, leaving her choking on her own blood on the streets of Tehran. I have not forgotten Neda. I am sure you haven’t too.

And when that day of liberation finally comes, the friendship between our two ancient peoples will surely flourish once again.

Ladies and gentlemen, Israel knows that in confronting the Iranian regime, we are not alone. We stand shoulder to shoulder with those in the Arab world who share our hopes for a brighter future.

We’ve made peace with Jordan and Egypt, whose courageous President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi I met here last night. I appreciate President el-Sissi’s support for peace, and I hope to work closely with him and other leaders in the region to advance peace.

Israel is committed to achieving peace with all our Arab neighbors, including the Palestinians. Yesterday, President Trump and I discussed this, all of this, at great length. I appreciate President Trump’s leadership, his commitment to stand by Israel’s side, his commitment to advance a peaceful future for all. Together, we can seize the opportunities for peace and together we can confront the great dangers of Iran.

The remarkable alliance between the United States and Israel has never been stronger, never been deeper. Israel is deeply grateful for the support of the Trump administration, the American Congress and the American people.

Ladies and gentlemen, in this year of historic visits and historic anniversaries, Israel has so much to be grateful for. A hundred and twenty years ago, Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress to transform our tragic past into a brilliant future by establishing the Jewish state. One hundred years ago, the Balfour Declaration advanced Herzl’s vision by recognizing the right of the Jewish people to a national home in our ancestral homeland. Seventy years ago, the United Nations further advanced that vision by adopting a resolution supporting the establishment of a Jewish state. And 50 years ago, we reunited our eternal capital Jerusalem, achieving a miraculous victory against those who sought to destroy our state. Theodor Herzl was our modern Moses — and his dream has come true. We’ve returned to the Promised Land, revived our language, in-gathered our exiles and built a modern, thriving democracy.

Tomorrow evening, Jews around the world will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of our new year. It’s a time of reflection, and we look back with wonder at the miraculous rebirth of our nation, and we look ahead with pride to the remarkable contributions Israel will continue to make to all nations.

You look around you and you will see those contributions every day — in the food you eat, the water you drink, the medicines you take, the cars you drive, the cell phones you use, and in so many other ways that are transforming our world.

You see it in the smile of an African mother in a remote village, who, thanks to an Israeli innovation, no longer must walk eight hours a day to bring water to her children.

You see it in the eyes of an Arab child, who was flown to Israel to undergo a life-saving heart operation.

And you see it in the faces of the people in earthquake-stricken Haiti and Nepal who were rescued from the rubble and given new life by Israeli doctors.

As the prophet Isaiah said, “I have made you a light unto the nations, bringing salvation to the ends of the earth.”

Today, 2,700 years after Isaiah spoke those prophetic words, Israel is becoming a rising power among the nations. And at long last, its light is shining across the continents, bringing hope and salvation to the ends of the earth.

Happy New Year, Shanah Tovah from Israel. Thank you

Full text: Trump's 2017 U.N. speech transcript

Trump UN Speech 2017
 
 
Full text: Trump's 2017 U.N. speech transcript
By POLITICO STAFF | 09/19/2017 12:36 PM EDT
 
Mr. Secretary General, Mr. President, world leaders, and distinguished delegates: Welcome to New York. It is a profound honor to stand here in my home city, as a representative of the American people, to address the people of the world.
 
As millions of our citizens continue to suffer the effects of the devastating hurricanes that have struck our country, I want to begin by expressing my appreciation to every leader in this room who has offered assistance and aid. The American people are strong and resilient, and they will emerge from these hardships more determined than ever before.
 
Fortunately, the United States has done very well since Election Day last November 8th. The stock market is at an all-time high -- a record. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 16 years, and because of our regulatory and other reforms, we have more people working in the United States today than ever before. Companies are moving back, creating job growth the likes of which our country has not seen in a very long time. And it has just been announced that we will be spending almost $700 billion on our military and defense.
 
Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been. For more than 70 years, in times of war and peace, the leaders of nations, movements, and religions have stood before this assembly. Like them, I intend to address some of the very serious threats before us today but also the enormous potential waiting to be unleashed.
 
We live in a time of extraordinary opportunity. Breakthroughs in science, technology, and medicine are curing illnesses and solving problems that prior generations thought impossible to solve. But each day also brings news of growing dangers that threaten everything we cherish and value. Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet. Rogue regimes represented in this body not only support terrorists but threaten other nations and their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity.
 
Authority and authoritarian powers seek to collapse the values, the systems, and alliances that prevented conflict and tilted the world toward freedom since World War II.
 
International criminal networks traffic drugs, weapons, people; force dislocation and mass migration; threaten our borders; and new forms of aggression exploit technology to menace our citizens.
To put it simply, we meet at a time of both of immense promise and great peril. It is entirely up to us whether we lift the world to new heights, or let it fall into a valley of disrepair.
 
We have it in our power, should we so choose, to lift millions from poverty, to help our citizens realize their dreams, and to ensure that new generations of children are raised free from violence, hatred, and fear.
 
This institution was founded in the aftermath of two world wars to help shape this better future. It was based on the vision that diverse nations could cooperate to protect their sovereignty, preserve their security, and promote their prosperity.
 
It was in the same period, exactly 70 years ago, that the United States developed the Marshall Plan to help restore Europe. Those three beautiful pillars -- they’re pillars of peace, sovereignty, security, and prosperity.
 
The Marshall Plan was built on the noble idea that the whole world is safer when nations are strong, independent, and free. As President Truman said in his message to Congress at that time, “Our support of European recovery is in full accord with our support of the United Nations. The success of the United Nations depends upon the independent strength of its members.”
 
To overcome the perils of the present and to achieve the promise of the future, we must begin with the wisdom of the past. Our success depends on a coalition of strong and independent nations that embrace their sovereignty to promote security, prosperity, and peace for themselves and for the world.
 
We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions, or even systems of government. But we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties: to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation. This is the beautiful vision of this institution, and this is foundation for cooperation and success.
 
Strong, sovereign nations let diverse countries with different values, different cultures, and different dreams not just coexist, but work side by side on the basis of mutual respect.
 
Strong, sovereign nations let their people take ownership of the future and control their own destiny. And strong, sovereign nations allow individuals to flourish in the fullness of the life intended by God.
In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch. This week gives our country a special reason to take pride in that example. We are celebrating the 230th anniversary of our beloved Constitution -- the oldest constitution still in use in the world today.
 
This timeless document has been the foundation of peace, prosperity, and freedom for the Americans and for countless millions around the globe whose own countries have found inspiration in its respect for human nature, human dignity, and the rule of law.
 
The greatest in the United States Constitution is its first three beautiful words. They are: “We the people.”
 
Generations of Americans have sacrificed to maintain the promise of those words, the promise of our country, and of our great history. In America, the people govern, the people rule, and the people are sovereign. I was elected not to take power, but to give power to the American people, where it belongs.
 
In foreign affairs, we are renewing this founding principle of sovereignty. Our government's first duty is to its people, to our citizens -- to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values.
 
As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries will always, and should always, put your countries first. (Applause.)
 
All responsible leaders have an obligation to serve their own citizens, and the nation-state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition.
 
But making a better life for our people also requires us to work together in close harmony and unity to create a more safe and peaceful future for all people.
 
The United States will forever be a great friend to the world, and especially to its allies. But we can no longer be taken advantage of, or enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return. As long as I hold this office, I will defend America’s interests above all else.
 
But in fulfilling our obligations to our own nations, we also realize that it’s in everyone’s interest to seek a future where all nations can be sovereign, prosperous, and secure.
 
America does more than speak for the values expressed in the United Nations Charter. Our citizens have paid the ultimate price to defend our freedom and the freedom of many nations represented in this great hall. America's devotion is measured on the battlefields where our young men and women have fought and sacrificed alongside of our allies, from the beaches of Europe to the deserts of the Middle East to the jungles of Asia.
 
It is an eternal credit to the American character that even after we and our allies emerged victorious from the bloodiest war in history, we did not seek territorial expansion, or attempt to oppose and impose our way of life on others. Instead, we helped build institutions such as this one to defend the sovereignty, security, and prosperity for all.
 
For the diverse nations of the world, this is our hope. We want harmony and friendship, not conflict and strife. We are guided by outcomes, not ideology. We have a policy of principled realism, rooted in shared goals, interests, and values.
 
That realism forces us to confront a question facing every leader and nation in this room. It is a question we cannot escape or avoid. We will slide down the path of complacency, numb to the challenges, threats, and even wars that we face. Or do we have enough strength and pride to confront those dangers today, so that our citizens can enjoy peace and prosperity tomorrow?
 
If we desire to lift up our citizens, if we aspire to the approval of history, then we must fulfill our sovereign duties to the people we faithfully represent. We must protect our nations, their interests, and their futures. We must reject threats to sovereignty, from the Ukraine to the South China Sea. We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow. And just as the founders of this body intended, we must work together and confront together those who threaten us with chaos, turmoil, and terror.
 
The scourge of our planet today is a small group of rogue regimes that violate every principle on which the United Nations is based. They respect neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of their countries.
 
If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph. When decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength.
No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the wellbeing of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea. It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans, and for the imprisonment, torture, killing, and oppression of countless more.
 
We were all witness to the regime's deadly abuse when an innocent American college student, Otto Warmbier, was returned to America only to die a few days later. We saw it in the assassination of the dictator's brother using banned nerve agents in an international airport. We know it kidnapped a sweet 13-year-old Japanese girl from a beach in her own country to enslave her as a language tutor for North Korea's spies.
 
If this is not twisted enough, now North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life.
 
It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply, and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict. No nation on earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles.
 
The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about; that’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.
 
It is time for North Korea to realize that the denuclearization is its only acceptable future. The United Nations Security Council recently held two unanimous 15-0 votes adopting hard-hitting resolutions against North Korea, and I want to thank China and Russia for joining the vote to impose sanctions, along with all of the other members of the Security Council. Thank you to all involved.
 
But we must do much more. It is time for all nations to work together to isolate the Kim regime until it ceases its hostile behavior.
 
We face this decision not only in North Korea. It is far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime -- one that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing death to America, destruction to Israel, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.
 
The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. The longest-suffering victims of Iran's leaders are, in fact, its own people.
 
Rather than use its resources to improve Iranian lives, its oil profits go to fund Hezbollah and other terrorists that kill innocent Muslims and attack their peaceful Arab and Israeli neighbors. This wealth, which rightly belongs to Iran's people, also goes to shore up Bashar al-Assad's dictatorship, fuel Yemen's civil war, and undermine peace throughout the entire Middle East.
 
We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program. (Applause.) The Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it -- believe me.
 
It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran's government end its pursuit of death and destruction. It is time for the regime to free all Americans and citizens of other nations that they have unjustly detained. And above all, Iran's government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people, and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors.
 
The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran's people are what their leaders fear the most. This is what causes the regime to restrict Internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protestors, and imprison political reformers.
 
Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the Iranian people will face a choice. Will they continue down the path of poverty, bloodshed, and terror? Or will the Iranian people return to the nation's proud roots as a center of civilization, culture, and wealth where their people can be happy and prosperous once again?
 
The Iranian regime's support for terror is in stark contrast to the recent commitments of many of its neighbors to fight terrorism and halt its financing.
 
In Saudi Arabia early last year, I was greatly honored to address the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations. We agreed that all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and the Islamist extremism that inspires them.
 
We will stop radical Islamic terrorism because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation, and indeed to tear up the entire world.
 
We must deny the terrorists safe haven, transit, funding, and any form of support for their vile and sinister ideology. We must drive them out of our nations. It is time to expose and hold responsible those countries who support and finance terror groups like al Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban and others that slaughter innocent people.
 
The United States and our allies are working together throughout the Middle East to crush the loser terrorists and stop the reemergence of safe havens they use to launch attacks on all of our people.
Last month, I announced a new strategy for victory in the fight against this evil in Afghanistan. From now on, our security interests will dictate the length and scope of military operations, not arbitrary benchmarks and timetables set up by politicians.
 
I have also totally changed the rules of engagement in our fight against the Taliban and other terrorist groups. In Syria and Iraq, we have made big gains toward lasting defeat of ISIS. In fact, our country has achieved more against ISIS in the last eight months than it has in many, many years combined.
We seek the de-escalation of the Syrian conflict, and a political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people. The actions of the criminal regime of Bashar al-Assad, including the use of chemical weapons against his own citizens -- even innocent children -- shock the conscience of every decent person. No society can be safe if banned chemical weapons are allowed to spread. That is why the United States carried out a missile strike on the airbase that launched the attack.
 
We appreciate the efforts of United Nations agencies that are providing vital humanitarian assistance in areas liberated from ISIS, and we especially thank Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon for their role in hosting refugees from the Syrian conflict.
 
The United States is a compassionate nation and has spent billions and billions of dollars in helping to support this effort. We seek an approach to refugee resettlement that is designed to help these horribly treated people, and which enables their eventual return to their home countries, to be part of the rebuilding process.
 
For the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we can assist more than 10 in their home region. Out of the goodness of our hearts, we offer financial assistance to hosting countries in the region, and we support recent agreements of the G20 nations that will seek to host refugees as close to their home countries as possible. This is the safe, responsible, and humanitarian approach.
 
For decades, the United States has dealt with migration challenges here in the Western Hemisphere. We have learned that, over the long term, uncontrolled migration is deeply unfair to both the sending and the receiving countries.
 
For the sending countries, it reduces domestic pressure to pursue needed political and economic reform, and drains them of the human capital necessary to motivate and implement those reforms.
For the receiving countries, the substantial costs of uncontrolled migration are borne overwhelmingly by low-income citizens whose concerns are often ignored by both media and government.
 
to flee from their homes. The United Nations and African Union led peacekeeping missions to have invaluable contributions in stabilizing conflicts in Africa. The United States continues to lead the world in humanitarian assistance, including famine prevention and relief in South Sudan, Somalia, and northern Nigeria and Yemen.
 
We have invested in better health and opportunity all over the world through programs like PEPFAR, which funds AIDS relief; the President's Malaria Initiative; the Global Health Security Agenda; the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery; and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, part of our commitment to empowering women all across the globe.
 
We also thank -- (applause) -- we also thank the Secretary General for recognizing that the United Nations must reform if it is to be an effective partner in confronting threats to sovereignty, security, and prosperity. Too often the focus of this organization has not been on results, but on bureaucracy and process.
 
In some cases, states that seek to subvert this institution's noble aims have hijacked the very systems that are supposed to advance them. For example, it is a massive source of embarrassment to the United Nations that some governments with egregious human rights records sit on the U.N. Human Rights Council.
 
The United States is one out of 193 countries in the United Nations, and yet we pay 22 percent of the entire budget and more. In fact, we pay far more than anybody realizes. The United States bears an unfair cost burden, but, to be fair, if it could actually accomplish all of its stated goals, especially the goal of peace, this investment would easily be well worth it.
 
Major portions of the world are in conflict and some, in fact, are going to hell. But the powerful people in this room, under the guidance and auspices of the United Nations, can solve many of these vicious and complex problems.
 
The American people hope that one day soon the United Nations can be a much more accountable and effective advocate for human dignity and freedom around the world. In the meantime, we believe that no nation should have to bear a disproportionate share of the burden, militarily or financially. Nations of the world must take a greater role in promoting secure and prosperous societies in their own regions.
 
That is why in the Western Hemisphere, the United States has stood against the corrupt and destabilizing regime in Cuba and embraced the enduring dream of the Cuban people to live in freedom. My administration recently announced that we will not lift sanctions on the Cuban government until it makes fundamental reforms.
 
We have also imposed tough, calibrated sanctions on the socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela, which has brought a once thriving nation to the brink of total collapse.
 
The socialist dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country. This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried. To make matters worse, Maduro has defied his own people, stealing power from their elected representatives to preserve his disastrous rule.
 
The Venezuelan people are starving and their country is collapsing. Their democratic institutions are being destroyed. This situation is completely unacceptable and we cannot stand by and watch.
 
As a responsible neighbor and friend, we and all others have a goal. That goal is to help them regain their freedom, recover their country, and restore their democracy. I would like to thank leaders in this room for condemning the regime and providing vital support to the Venezuelan people.
 
The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable. We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people.
 
We are fortunate to have incredibly strong and healthy trade relationships with many of the Latin American countries gathered here today. Our economic bond forms a critical foundation for advancing peace and prosperity for all of our people and all of our neighbors.
 
I ask every country represented here today to be prepared to do more to address this very real crisis. We call for the full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela. (Applause.)
The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented. (Applause.) From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems.
 
America stands with every person living under a brutal regime. Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action. All people deserve a government that cares for their safety, their interests, and their wellbeing, including their prosperity.
 
In America, we seek stronger ties of business and trade with all nations of good will, but this trade must be fair and it must be reciprocal.
 
For too long, the American people were told that mammoth multinational trade deals, unaccountable international tribunals, and powerful global bureaucracies were the best way to promote their success. But as those promises flowed, millions of jobs vanished and thousands of factories disappeared. Others gamed the system and broke the rules. And our great middle class, once the bedrock of American prosperity, was forgotten and left behind, but they are forgotten no more and they will never be forgotten again.
 
While America will pursue cooperation and commerce with other nations, we are renewing our commitment to the first duty of every government: the duty of our citizens. This bond is the source of America's strength and that of every responsible nation represented here today.

If this organization is to have any hope of successfully confronting the challenges before us, it will depend, as President Truman said some 70 years ago, on the "independent strength of its members." If we are to embrace the opportunities of the future and overcome the present dangers together, there can be no substitute for strong, sovereign, and independent nations -- nations that are rooted in their histories and invested in their destinies; nations that seek allies to befriend, not enemies to conquer; and most important of all, nations that are home to patriots, to men and women who are willing to sacrifice for their countries, their fellow citizens, and for all that is best in the human spirit.
 
In remembering the great victory that led to this body's founding, we must never forget that those heroes who fought against evil also fought for the nations that they loved.
 
Patriotism led the Poles to die to save Poland, the French to fight for a free France, and the Brits to stand strong for Britain.
 
Today, if we do not invest ourselves, our hearts, and our minds in our nations, if we will not build strong families, safe communities, and healthy societies for ourselves, no one can do it for us.
We cannot wait for someone else, for faraway countries or far-off bureaucrats -- we can't do it. We must solve our problems, to build our prosperity, to secure our futures, or we will be vulnerable to decay, domination, and defeat.
 
The true question for the United Nations today, for people all over the world who hope for better lives for themselves and their children, is a basic one: Are we still patriots? Do we love our nations enough to protect their sovereignty and to take ownership of their futures? Do we revere them enough to defend their interests, preserve their cultures, and ensure a peaceful world for their citizens?
 
One of the greatest American patriots, John Adams, wrote that the American Revolution was "effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people."
 
That was the moment when America awoke, when we looked around and understood that we were a nation. We realized who we were, what we valued, and what we would give our lives to defend. From its very first moments, the American story is the story of what is possible when people take ownership of their future.
 
The United States of America has been among the greatest forces for good in the history of the world, and the greatest defenders of sovereignty, security, and prosperity for all.
 
Now we are calling for a great reawakening of nations, for the revival of their spirits, their pride, their people, and their patriotism.
 
History is asking us whether we are up to the task. Our answer will be a renewal of will, a rediscovery of resolve, and a rebirth of devotion. We need to defeat the enemies of humanity and unlock the potential of life itself.
 
Our hope is a word and world of proud, independent nations that embrace their duties, seek friendship, respect others, and make common cause in the greatest shared interest of all: a future of dignity and peace for the people of this wonderful Earth.
 
This is the true vision of the United Nations, the ancient wish of every people, and the deepest yearning that lives inside every sacred soul.
 
So let this be our mission, and let this be our message to the world: We will fight together, sacrifice together, and stand together for peace, for freedom, for justice, for family, for humanity, and for the almighty God who made us all.
 
Thank you. God bless you. God bless the nations of the world. And God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much.