What Are International Obligations?

US Steps Up Sanctions, Says Iran Violates International Obligations – Published on ZNet, by Danny Schechter, August 11, 2012 (see him also on World People’s Blog).

What are “international obligations? Does the United States have to uphold them along with other counties? Does Washington even know they are defined as “obligations owed by states to the international community as a whole, intended to protect and promote the basic values and common interests of all.” By this very definition, no one state can decide what’s best for all. 

When the United States stepped up its sanctions on Iran last past week, it cited Iran’s failure to adhere to its “international obligations.” There was, of course, no reference to domestic politics where President Obama, under attack from adversary Mitt Romney, criticized his failure to stop Iran’s nuclear program … //

… Read this:

–“IDF chief Benny Gantz has further confirmed the outright reluctance of the Israeli military to attack Iran, a position that goes directly counter to that of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Channel 10′s Immanuel Rosen reported about an allegedly off the record conversation (possibly with Rosen himself), in which Gantz said that the Israeli home front was not prepared for the Iranian response to an Israeli attack. He added that such a military strike would have a “limited effect” on Iran.”

At the same time, posturing and preparations for an attack continue.

The Atlantic Magazine says there is now a 38% chance of an attack. Others in Israel are still being belligerent. In response, Iran’s President has repeated his verbal criticisms of Zionism. (These are invariably conflated in some western media, and pro-Israeli propaganda outlets as evidence of an imminent militarily threat of extermination.)

So which side of this issue does President Obama come down on? What facts does he select to support his actions?

He chooses those that enhance his tough-guy credentials for political reasons.

In fact, facts have mostly nothing to do with the war or words. It’s all about politics and perception, or whatever his campaign believes will be most helpful this week.

“International obligations” are what they say they are. There’s nothing international about that.

Meanwhile, Iran is continuing with talks, as PressTV reports: “A senior Iranian official says the Islamic Republic and the six major world powers (P5+1) will proceed with their multifaceted talks to eventually achieve “positive and constructive” results.” It also supported former UN chief Kofi Annan’s mediation mission in Syria and blames the US for its breakdown.

Iran says it believes only diplomacy can solve the problem and has already accused Israel of “faking intelligence” to justify an attack.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reports that Iranian-American author Hooman Majid says sanctions are “turning into a form of collective punishment” against people in Iran. He blames some U.S. media outlets, more than the Administration, as pushing for war.

“…. the administration is not trying to prepare the public for war and is not manipulating the media, which is actually the ironic thing because in some ways they’re trying to step back a bit … it’s the media this time that has just jumped on this idea that we’re going to go to war.

And I certainly think there’s an influence from the Israeli media and the Israeli propaganda machine, which is very powerful and permeates the American media all the time. I think there is a concerted effort on (their) part to prepare people, particularly Americans, that it’s a righteous war.”

One international obligation the public needs most is for all sides and especially the media to start telling the truth. That may be harder to achieve than to get governments to act in to uphold their “international obligations, whatever they are.

(full text).

(News Dissector Danny Schechter blogs at Newsdissector.net. His latest books are Occupy: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street, and Blogothon (Cosimo Books). He hosts a show on ProgressiveRadioNetwork (PRN.fm) This essay first appeared on PressTV. Comments here).

Links:

Refugees: Picking the Grapes or Getting Swept Up, on Zcommunicazions, by Chris Jones, August 11, 2012;

A Supersized Problem: America’s Losing Battle Against Soft Drinks, by Ullrich Fichtner, August 10, 2012  (see Photo-Gallery);

Female couple becomes Taiwan’s first same-sex Buddhist newlyweds, on Raw Story, by AFP, August 11, 2012.

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