‘Voluntary’ International Law and the Paris Agreement

16 Jan

 

Now that the celebrations by the diplomats have ended, it is time to take a hard look at what was and was not accomplished by the Paris Agreement. No one can deny that it was impressive to obtain agreement from all 195 participating countries, an outcome many doubted. A further achievement was the acceptance of the scientific consensus that global warming was an unprecedentedly severe global challenge that needed to be addressed with a sense of urgency and commitment by the world as a whole. Further, it was important that the agreement set forth in its text the ambitious goal of 1.5C degrees as the prudent ceiling for tolerable warming, while seeking to avoid an increase of 2C degrees, even while being aware that this latter would still result in serious additional harm but would be far less likely to be catastrophic than if emissions are allowed to increase without a global cap.

 

Worrisome Concerns

 Closer examination reveals several worrisome concerns. It is widely understood that international law is often ineffective because it lacks adequate means of enforcement when it prescribes behavior that obligates the parties. That is, international law is inherently weak because unable to enforce what is agreed to, but Paris carried this weakness further, by raising serious question as to whether anything at all had even been agreed. The Paris Agreement went to great lengths to avoid obligating the parties, making compliance with pledged reductions in carbon emissions an unmistakably voluntary undertaking. This is the core cause for doubt about what was agreed upon, raising the haunting question as to what emerged from Paris is even worth the paper upon which it is written. Only time will tell.

 

Prior to the Paris Agreement there were two models of an agreement process to address climate change. Both of these are now viewed as failures. There was the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 in which a mandatory treaty framework was negotiated resting on a sharply delineated division between developed countries that were required to make enumerated reductions in carbon emissions and the rest of the world that was under no obligation because their right to unrestricted development was affirmed. Then there was the Copenhagen Accord contrived on an ad hoc basis in 2009 mainly at the behest of the United States, a loose agreement reflecting American post-Kyoto concerns that the only viable international response to the threat of global warming was by way of obtaining a series of unverified voluntary pledges from national governments.

 

It is evident that in its central endeavor the Paris Agreement seeks to improve upon the Copenhagen model while rejecting the Kyoto model. In effect, the stability of an obligatory framework has been exchanged for the benefits of an inclusive arrangement that involves all countries, that is, weak on substance, strong on participation. What makes Paris seem a success whereas Copenhagen was written off as a dismal failure is partly atmospherics, or put more concretely, the skillful French management of the proceedings so as to create an impression of genuine collaboration and transparency. Also helpful was the American adoption of a low profile, operating behind the scenes, exerting the kinds of influence that did not create the sort of resentment that so badly marred the Copenhagen outcome.

 

This repudiation of the Kyoto approach is disturbing in some respects, but understandable, and even laudable, in others. Kyoto, although legally authoritative, only managed to gain the participation of states accounting for 12% of total emissions. This tradeoff between the two agreement models parallels the experience of the League of Nations that respected the sovereign equality of states, contrasting with the United Nations that privileges the five states that prevailed in World War II. The more idealistic League was a total failure because several crucial states, including the United States, refused to join, while the UN, although disappointing in relation to its war prevention record, has managed throughout its entire existence to achieve near universal participation. Even alienated and isolated states have valued the benefits of their UN membership and refrained over the decades from opting out of the UN. This experience supports the significant generalization that international lawmaking often does better when it is procedurally ambitious than when it tries to override and constrain sovereign discretion to act in areas perceived as matters of vital national interest by leading states. In the climate change context this choice can be further rationalized by an acknowledgement that the US Congress has the capacity to block any legally binding agreement, and without the United States as a participant the whole effort is wasted. It should be appreciated that the US Congress may be the only governmental site of influence in the world where a majority of its members reject the scientific consensus on climate change and gives aid and comfort to the deniers.

 

Can International Law Effective When Adherence is Voluntary?

 Although this voluntariness is problematic, it may not doom the Paris Agreement. Some non-obligatory international norms have produced important results, managing to obtain voluntary compliance, and even exceeding the original expectations of their supporters. Among many examples in international law, upholding the diplomatic immunity of ambassadors is a clear example of where the norm is unenforceable yet diplomats from small countries have almost always received the same protection over the centuries as those from the largest and most powerful countries. Why? It better serves the interests of the powerful to sustain a reliable framework of diplomatic interaction than to diminish the status of diplomats from weak states. From a different domain of international concern, we can point to rules of the road on the ocean designed to promote maritime safety. International law tends to be effective whenever compliance is more or less automatic. This can happen either because there is no significant incentive to violate what has been agreed upon or there are reciprocal gains achieved by maintaining reliable standards.

 

There are additional settings where international law is effective. One of the most prominent instances, although controversial, is the selective implementation of international norms prohibiting the acquisition of nuclear weapons. The United States acts as a geopolitical enforcer, and has been relatively successful in preventing those governments that it distrusts or opposes from acquiring the weaponry. The nonproliferation regime is defective from a rule of law perspective to the extent it is not applied equally to all non-nuclear states. Israel’s secret acquisition of nuclear weapons has been overlooked, while Iran’a nuclear program has received unprecedented scrutiny with a commitment to enforce nonproliferation by recourse to war if necessary. Beyond this the NPT regime became negotiable in 1968 only because the nuclear weapons states formally committed themselves to seek in good faith nuclear disarmament. Their failure to do so should have undermined the treaty from an international law point of view, but so far this refusal of compliance has been rhetorically noticed by non-nuclear states, but without producing a challenge to the agreement itself.

 

Paris Vulnerabilities

 

Part of the reason to be skeptical about the Paris Agreement is that the United States is unable to play the role of being a credible enforcer, and this means that there is no robust informal extra-legal pressure to comply. This weakness of the Paris arrangement is accentuated by several other factors:

            –the challenge of global warming is truly global in scope, yet the agreement reflects the aggregation of national interests. Its voluntary nature reflects the ethos of the lowest common denominator. International society can often cooperate to solve transnational problems, but it falters when the problem is truly global, especially as here where the various states have vastly different policy priorities, material circumstances, and divergent perceptions as to how fairly to apportion national responsibility for emission reductions and financial transfers;

            –many governments are constrained by mass poverty and low levels of development and seem likely to give priority to jobs and economic growth if facing economic pressures, making them also susceptible to manipulation by the private sector and international financial pressures;

            –the Paris Agreement seems particularly vulnerable to ‘the free rider problem,’ creating incentives for states to make minimum contributions while benefitting from the contributions of others; this is especially true in the climate change context since the problems are not correlated with international boundaries and the causal connections between emissions and harm are notoriously difficult to establish. This means that a state will benefit from systemic responses even if it fails to do its agreed part, while being only marginally protected by its own emission curbs;

            –often the success of a negotiated complex agreement is a result of diplomatic leadership, which has been a role that the United States Government has played in the period since 1945. The elaborate treaty establishing the public order of the oceans, one of the great success stories of international law, came about only after a decade of negotiations that were shaped by American leverage, persuading groups of states to accept concessions in exchange for benefits. For instance, the territorial sea off the coast of countries was expanded, and an exclusive economic zone was established, in exchange for preserving the freedom of the high seas for naval vessels. Because of the unevenness of national circumstances in relation to climate change the need for this kind of leadership would undoubtedly have led to a more robust agreement. This was politically impossible because the US Congress is opposed to any US national commitment with respect to climate change that results in any economic burden or commitment relating to energy policy, and the Executive Branch, despite its acceptance of the scientific consensus as to the severity of the climate change challenge, could not ignore this weakness of domestic support without suffering a humiliating rebuff as happened after Kyoto that seems more damaging to regulatory efforts than giving up an insistence on binding legal obligations;

            –without enforcement or even an obligation to comply, there are some circumstances where ‘naming and shaming’ create pressures can induce a fairly high level of compliance. The Paris Agreement by emphasizing the transparency of commitment, the monitoring of pledge fulfillment, and the reset opportunities given at five-year intervals would seem to create a situation where naming and shaming could partially compensate for the absence of formal compliance mechanisms. Unfortunately, governments of sovereign states are normally very reluctant to criticize each other in public space, absent hostile relations. The UN also refrains except in extreme cases from voicing criticism of the behavior of its members that names and shames.

 

The Waiting Game

 

Against this background, it becomes evident that the Paris Agreement should neither be celebrated nor rejected. It is a process that is only scheduled to go into effect in 2020, with an assessment period of five years, meaning that there will be no official audit as to the adequacy of the pledging approach until 2025. Even should the pledges on record be upheld, which seems unlikely, the trajectory relating to climate change points toward an increase in global warming by over 3C by the end of the century, far above the 1.5C recommended by experts, and exceeding the 2C degree ceiling that the Paris Agreement sets forth as a goal. This gap needs to be made visible to the peoples of the world, and steps taken to raise pledging expectations to a level of problem-solving credibility.

 

There are two perspectives that are each useful in evaluating the Paris Agreement. First, there is the problem-solving perspective that views the essential issue as adjusting energy policies to global warming prospects through cuts in carbon emissions and increased reliance on renewable forms of energy. The discussion above, as well as the inter-governmental text emerging from Paris, viewed climate change as a problem to be solved, with success or failure measured by reference to the rising of global mean average temperatures throughout the planet.

 

Secondly, there is the climate justice perspective that focuses on the fairness of the negotiated arrangement from the distribution of burdens and benefits, and by reference to those who are most vulnerable to global warming. Those most vulnerable are societies and regions that seem likely to become hotter than the average or have low-lying, heavily populated coastlines and lack the financial resources and technical knowhow to prevent and react in ways that minimize the damage. It is also the case that the 350 million indigenous peoples were unrepresented in Paris, and for various reasons are particularly exposed to the harmful effects of climate change. Issues related to pre-2020 ambition involving financing and control of emissions are also mentioned in the Preamble. Also Finally, Paris did not make any serious effort to represent, worry about, and take account of the rights of future generations.

 

Due to pressures mounted by the governments of vulnerable states and by the civil society groups, climate justice concerns were not totally ignored, being enumerated as a laundry list in the Preamble. These concerns focusing on human rights are not addressed in the operational provisions that are the heart of the Paris undertaking. Their relevance is, however, acknowledged in the Preamble to the Paris Agreement. Normally, the language of the Preamble of an international agreement is window-dressing, without substantive relevance. Here it is different. NGOs can invoke the language of the Preamble to hold governments accountable.

 

In the end, the fate of the planet will be decided by people, and not by governments. It is only by populist mechanisms of mobilization that the human and global interest will be articulated and protected. Governments can cooperate to promote common or overlapping shared interests, but where these national interests are so diverse and often contradictory, the aggregation of national interests is not capable of generating an agreement that adequately serves the human and global interest. This limitation of state-centric world order is magnified in relation to climate change because of the numerous disconnects between the locus of emissions and the locus of harm; only a globally constituted framing of the climate change challenge could produce an outcome that was satisfactory from both problem-solving and climate justice perspectives, and this will never be achieved by way of a Paris style meeting.

 

A responsible and equitable response to climate change after Paris depends on militant civil society activism that builds a transnational movement that both monitors the harms and the behavior of governments, but also focuses attention on the root causes of global warming: the capitalist drive for consumption, the militarist drive for dominance, and modernist drive toward

Technological solutions. Beyond this what is at stake is the recovery of the humane wisdom and spiritual consciousness of indigenous peoples that survival and happiness depended on respect for the natural surroundings. Of course, we should not romanticize the pre-modern or demonize the modern. What we need and should seek is a moral epistemology that reconnects knowledge with human values configured so as to achieve justice, sustainability, and the pleasures of ‘a good life’ (community, material needs, humane governance, spiritual alertness, opportunity and enlightenment). Such is the knowledge background needed to launch the revolution of our time.

 

41 Responses to “‘Voluntary’ International Law and the Paris Agreement”

  1. rehmat1 January 16, 2016 at 9:39 am #

    Dr. Falk, the Western industrial nations and China led by United States, are world’s largest environmental polluters, which makes the ‘Paris agreement’ as much a joke as UnSC several resolutions on Palestine and Kashmir.

    Anyone, who is interested in addressing the ‘climate change’ issues – I highly recommend Dr. Ibrahim Abdul-Matin’s book, “GreenDeen”.

    http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/01/ecology-and-islam-review-of-abdul-matins-green-deen-2010/

  2. Rosemary Tylka January 16, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

    Dearest Richard,

    Many thanks for having penned this article, which helped me to better understand the myriad of diverse observations and conclusions on the Paris Conference. In short, you did my homework for me.

    I have taken a backseat on climate change, but have recently decided that it is time to get my head out of the sand, particularly after having read Naomi Klein’s book, and noticing that she was like me before, until “circumstances”, like the future of the world for her child, pushed her into doing the background research. (She really is excellent, in every way.)

    I am preparing a P-11 for UNFCCC, although I swore that I would never work (formally) again when I walked out of the door of UNHCR four years ago. Enough was enough! But then I saw that the next UNFCCC COP 22 will be held in Marrakech from 7-18 November, and they will most surely need a hand from a native English speaker, with over 40 years of conference servicing skills, who just so happens to be “local staff”, thus not costing too much. This odd thought about working again, albeit only very temporarily, only crossed my mind when I accompanied the Bangladeshi Minister of Information in November to a conference here on “Media in Africa”, which was partially sponsored by, oddly enough, the OIC. My “experienced eyes” look at every single detail of conference organization, and the dearth of English-speaking support staff was really quite shameful. As an small example, headsets for translations were handed out only in exchange for passports. (Who in the world would steal headsets at a conference?) This alone, at a ministerial-level conference, was really bizarre. Anyway, had I not been with Hasanul, he would have been unable to communicate who he was, so that he could retrieve his passport, because NOBODY spoke English. Totally ridiculous. His ambassador was with him doing the usual “babysitting” job to Ministers, but that served no purpose either, because Monir does not speak a word of either French or Arabic.

    By next November, I will be 66 years old, far too old to be hired by the UN, but I will see if the UNFCCC might use “an old bag”, in some capacity, for a few weeks. After all, I am a whiz at “Credentials Committees”, doing the protocol for speakers’ lists, providing advice about “where to shop”, and “just putting out fires – for easily bruised egos” in general, ALL greatly needed at any kind of international conference, which are so often frequented by “prima donnas”. (In my draft covering note, I have written that in the event that I am considered too old to work, then perhaps they might have a need for my personal driver, Hassan, who speaks three languages easily, is respectful, and always comes on time. It would do him a lot of good, both financially and for his self-esteem, to drive a few “dignitaries” around for a few days in a fancy car, rather than having to deal with my “odd whims” – and my Moroccan-made DACIA!)

    A few stories to make you laugh, from my long years of experience.

    When I lived in Paris, and thought that I had “moved up” from being the “Social Secretary to the Ambassador of Pakistan” to becoming a “fancy typist” at UNESCO, I used to host a wine-and-cheese party in my small apartment every month. (My apartment was really very small, and I had to move most of the furniture into the hallways so that there was enough room for guests.) There were NEVER enough males compared to females, so I used to get out the “blue diplomatic book”, and whenever I saw that a male diplomat was not married, I called them, told them that I was having a party, needed to have a few more males, and that thus they were invited. In actual fact, I met lots of wonderful people this way. A surprising number actually accepted my invitations and then later became friends. (Once I invited the Ambassador of Burundi, who accepted, and said that this was the first informal invitation that he had received since he had been posted to Paris. I (with my low language skills) told him “Mr. Ambassador, Your French is really very fluent, and he replied “Well, we in Burundi are always fluent in French ­ and in Kirundi”. At the time, I found this very funny at the time.)

    At one of my monthly “wine-and-cheese” events, I suddenly found myself with three ambassadors as guests, none of whom I had actually ever met before in person, so I called my old boss, the Ambassador of Pakistan, and said “Tariq, YOU SIMPLY HAVE TO COME, to keep the level up, and to support me in my madness”. He complained bitterly, and said that he had ALREADY COME to three of my “events”, and that he was not available for this one, “because his Minister of Foreign Affairs was in town”. I said: “Well, just bring him along. He must be tired of watching you playing polo.” And so he did. RESULT: The Minister “disappeared” – for two entire days – with my upstairs neighbor, Sandra, a “top model” for Chanel from Bahia, whom I first thought was a Portugese cleaning lady, when she did not have her make-up on. Then Tariq said “NOW JUST LOOK AT THE DISASTER THAT YOU HAVE CAUSED ME?? I MANAGED TO LOSE MY MINISTER IN PARIS!!” I said, “Well, would you rather have spent your weekend playing polo ­ or taking your Minister shopping on the Champs Elysées?”

    I once made a terrible mistake in protocol for the speaker’s list at UNHCR, and, although I actually did know better, at 02:00 a.m., firming up the documents for the next day and being very tired, I listed the Ambassador of the EU before the Ambassador of The African Union. This mistake went to the overnight printing service, and there was hell to pay the next morning. A Counsellor for the African Union Delegation, from Ethiopia, screamed at me saying “Don’t you know anything about protocol?”. I apologized profusely, but he told me that I was “shamefully incompetent, and that HIS AMBASSADOR would be highly offended”. I went to see the Chairman of the meeting to inform him that I had made a mistake, and that there would probably be consequences in the plenary session. He asked me if I wished that he speak with the Ambassador, but I said that since I had made the error myself, that I would apologize, and if this did not work, then he would have to help me.

    I did not know that the Ambassador of the AU was Sudanese, but as soon as he sat behind the flag of the AU, I went to speak with him. In my very best Egyptian Arabic, I said “Oh esteemed and generous ambassador. I am very sorry for my mistake. I am more stupid than a donkey, and to punish me, I invite you to rip out my eyes!” RESULT: The Ambassador burst out laughing, said that my mistake was “of no importance whatsoever”, and then he invited me to have dinner with him that evening, which I, most regrettably could not accept, having to work until 02:00 again. Then I sent a note to the Chairman of the meeting, telling him that “I had fixed the problem”, and he sent me back a note that said “I know! I have NEVER BEFORE seen such “total mirth” coming from an ambassador in any meeting that I have ever chaired before. I sincerely hoped that His Excellency would not die laughing under my gavel. By the way, JUST EXACTLY WHAT DID YOU SAY TO HIM BY WAY OF AN APOLOGY??” I said, “Oh, just a lot of rubbish that I learned in Egypt!”

    Thus I figure that I might be “useful”, in some capacity, to the upcoming UNFCCC conference in Marrakech.

    Giant hug, Rosemary

    P.S. This evening, I went to one of those evenings of “opera”, direct from the Met (Bizet’s “Les pêcheurs de perles”), which are now shown in cinemas around the world. There I sat next to a former Moroccan ambassador to Italy and his Italian wife, both animal lovers, who said that they would be happy to attend any of my upcoming events to raise money for Helga’s 200 animals, and to bring lots of their friends along. I think that this is called “killing two birds with one stone” – both my desperate need of cultural activities, and bringing in new people to help Helga.

    De : Global Justice in the 21st Century Répondre à : Global Justice in the 21st Century Date : samedi 16 janvier 2016 16:56 À : Rosemary Tylka Objet : [New post] Reflections on the Paris Climate Change Agreement

    WordPress.com Richard Falk posted: ” Now that the celebrations by the diplomats have ended, it is time to take a hard look at what was and was not accomplished by the Paris Agreement. No one can deny that it was impressive to obtain agreement from all 195 participating countries, a”

  3. ray032 January 17, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

    Whatever terminology one chooses to use, Global Warming or Climate Change, the current environmental crisis was foretold 2000 years ago before environmental science came into being.

    And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which has power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
    Revelation 16:8-9

    REVELATION: GLOBAL WARMING – FACT OR FICTION? TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES?
    July 11, 2012
    http://ray032.com/2012/07/11/revelation-global-warming-fact-or-fiction-truth-or-consequences/

    • Kata Fisher January 17, 2016 at 4:44 pm #

      .

      • ray032 January 17, 2016 at 7:54 pm #

        🙂

      • Kata Fisher January 17, 2016 at 9:07 pm #

        It’s nuclear warming, globally. We do not know how much longer.

      • ray032 January 18, 2016 at 8:02 am #

        The Truth is, Kata, I did write, ‘unless nuclear holocaust comes 1st” and deleted the line, in re-arranging the 1st paragraph..

      • Kata Fisher January 18, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

        Ray,

        It is without a doubt that we can agree and, without a doubt, agree that it is “nuclear warming, globally” and “global warming” is all other warming – an insufficient term to actually understand and address “nuclear warming.”

        Warming is diverse.

        By the way, I looked at the Revelation 16 in the Context of the writings of Matthew, and it is so, so clear what things are and what will be.

        Humans can choose how harsh and unbearable judgement of God will be. I would say that level of scorching of the future is relevant right now. In addition to that – we do not know how fast nuclear warming effects – can it be something that just pops the protective ozone’s of the earth in a twinkle of an eye – when reaches a certain point?

        Humans can be very, very evil and be very, very dumb – we do not know anything, but I am sure that devil himself knows a lot – God and his Heavenly Hosts knows much more. (The Scripture told us so).

        It is best to clean everything up, as soon as possible and as much as possible.

        Its useless to run rat-cycling games with satanic seals and in wicked spirits that blaspheme God and His Holy Spirit. Humanity can’t do that – is just impossible for mere humans.

  4. Rabbi Ira Youdovin January 18, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

    Prof. Falk’s reference to the disparate ways in which the world community regards Israel’s and Iran’s nuclear aspirations warrants clarification. It’s certainly true that “Israel’s secret acquisition of nuclear weapons has been overlooked, while Iran’s nuclear program has received unprecedented scrutiny with a commitment to enforce nonproliferation by recourse to war if necessary.” But one must ask why this is.

    Iran is a belligerent state. It finances and arms irredentist groups throughout the Middle East, and supports terrorism in distant venues such as Buenos Aires. It’s currently embroiled in an increasingly violent struggle for regional hegemony with Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The fear with Iran is not only that it might use a nuclear weapon against one of these competitors, or against Israel, which it has openly threatened; but that weapons could fall into the hands of clients such as Hamas or Hizbollah.

    Israel, in sharp contradistinction, began acquiring nuclear capability nearly a half century ago, when it was still a young state surrounded by hostile neighbors who possessed vast numerical superiority and threatened to “drive the Jews into the sea.” The sole purpose of nuclear weapons would be as a deterrent. And in fact, Israel has never used it for any other purpose.

    A key to understanding this disparity is that Israel’s Arab/Muslim neighbors have quietly accepted the situation while these same states have loudly protested Iran’s getting The Bomb.

    (n.b. I’m aware that this comment does not address the main theme of Prof. Falk’s post. But referencing Iran-Israel was his decision, which warrants a clarification.)

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Gene Schulman January 19, 2016 at 12:47 am #

      Ira,

      There you go again. I won’t try to explain Prof. Falk’s raising the Iran/israel bomb issue, except that he was probably comparing it to the problems of solving the global warming issue. However, your description of the causes of struggle in the ME is more than egregious. And to accuse Iran of being a belligerent state in the face of its history, while exonerating Israel in the face of its own history of aggression is more than ignorant. Recent proof of the duplicity of the US and Israel is the lifting of sanctions against Iran, only to have them replaced when the American naval personnel were released to safety.

      • Gene Schulman January 19, 2016 at 4:38 am #

        PS –

        The New York Times’s Double Standard on Iran’s Nuclear Program

      • Gene Schulman January 19, 2016 at 4:44 am #

        Sorry to take up so much space. The link didn’t take. Here’s the whole article.

        Just the Facts Blog
        The New York Times’s Double Standard on Iran’s Nuclear Program
        Posted: 18 Jan 2016 06:28 PM PST
        As the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified over the weekend that Iran has completed the measures necessary to comply with the nuclear deal reached last July with the P5+1 governments, the New York Times Editorial Board proclaimed “the world is now safer for this.” They lauded the deal as a “testament to patient diplomacy” and President Barack Obama’s “visionary determination to pursue a negotiated solution to the nuclear threat.”

        The Editorial Board takes for granted that Iran presents a threat. Iran has always maintained it has never intended to build nuclear weapons, and that it’s nuclear program was strictly meant to use nuclear technology as a source of energy production. In fact, in 1957 the United States government itself provided Iran with its first nuclear reactor while the country was ruled by U.S. ally – and murderous dictator – Shah Reza Pahlavi. Iran would later sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1968 and ratify it two years later.

        Several years ago Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared that “(w)e believe that nuclear weapons (in the world) must be obliterated, and we do not intend to make nuclear weapons.” Previously he had said making nuclear weapons was a “sin.”

        But regardless of their professed intentions, the New York Times is skeptical the Iranian government can be trusted. They claim that there still exist “daunting challenges ahead” as the other parties to the agreement need to ensure “the deal is strictly adhered to.” The New York Times’s skepticism is unsurprising. While the Times certainly will not repeat George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” language, they internalize the same ideological framework.

        Is the Times’s skepticism warranted by the Iranian government’s record? That would be hard to argue, as the revolutionary regime in power since 1979 has never invaded another country. Unstated and assumed to be self-evident is the idea that Iran is dangerous and unable to be trusted because it is not aligned with Washington. Rather, it exercises its own independent foreign policy outside of American control.

        If there were not a double standard in play, the Times would treat the United States government with the same skepticism as Iran. After all, the United States, which possesses at least 7,200 nuclear warheads, is the only country in history to have used nuclear weapons – twice, against a country seeking for months to negotiate a conditional surrender.

        Unlike Iran, the United States is not complying with the NPT. As a state already in possession of nuclear weapons, the United States has a responsibility under its treaty obligations to pursue disarmament. The Times itself detailed the U.S. government’s own modernization of its nuclear weapons in a front-page article on January 11.

        The article by William J. Broad and David E. Sanger notes that Obama promised to work towards nuclear disarmament early in his presidency, saying he would “reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy.”

        However, the $1 trillion plan that later emerged called for the modernization of current nuclear weapons by redesigning and improving them. The Times quotes a critical report developed by two former national security officials as saying Obama’s plan could be seen “as violating the administration’s pledge not to develop or deploy” new nuclear weapons. Neither the report nor the Times questions whether this is also a violation of the government’s obligations under the NPT.

        The Times shows a graphic depiction of the enhancements, including a steerable fins, a navigation system and safety features. “The result is a bomb that can make more accurate nuclear strikes and a warhead whose destructive power can be adjusted to minimize collateral damage and radioactive fallout,” the caption reads. This may make them “more tempting to use,” according to critics.

        The title of the article, “As U.S. Modernizes Nuclear Weapons, ‘Smaller’ Leaves Some Uneasy,” is evidence that the debate around the Obama administration’s plan is seen as a matter of strategy and cost efficiency, rather than as a violation of international law and a threat to peace. The people left “uneasy” are all close to the national security establishment. Their concerns don’t have to do with the program’s contravention of the U.S. government’s responsibilities under the NPT. The debate is merely one of philosophical differences between policy makers.

        Despite Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement (their continued compliance with the NPT is not even mentioned), the Times Editorial Board states that this doesn’t mean they “should not be subject to criticism or new sanctions for violation of other United Nations resolutions or American laws.” Indeed, they had previously called the Obama administration’s plans to impose new sanctions for Iran’s ballistic missile tests “wise.”

        Aside from the dubious position that the U.S. government should unilaterally impose sanctions related to UN resolutions, they claim that Iran should be subject to the extraterritorial application of American laws. Under international law, no state is bound to respect the domestic laws of another state. The U.S. Supreme Court declared “the laws of no nation can justly extend beyond its own territories except so far as regards its own citizens. They can have no force to control the sovereignty or rights of any other nation within its own jurisdiction.”

        The Times does not call for any legal or economic repercussions against the United States. The U.S. government’s $1 trillion program to upgrade its nuclear weapons is not in any way presented as a grave threat that affects the rest of the world. They don’t demand controls by outside powers the U.S. must strictly adhere to, as they do for Iran. Their framing of the story and absence of any editorial condemnation makes it clear the paper views the actions of the U.S. government as unquestionably beyond reproach.

        The paper’s calls for the strict enforcement of the nuclear deal and application of new sanctions on the Iranian government are not grounded in any moral or legal principles. They are a reflection of the Times’s acceptance of the U.S. government’s patronizing doctrine that threats to peace only emanate from countries outside of American control, who must be dealt with using coercion and punishment that the U.S. itself is always exempt from.

      • Kata Fisher January 19, 2016 at 6:27 am #

        A Note:

        Iran deal can be reconstructed to meet current/future needs. The world is changing, fast. Iran does not want to be stuck with nuclearism on their own, neither should Israel. In this point in time, it would be insanity if nations agree to continue in their own nuclear programs when thy have better alternatives – they have to get out of individual programs and transform them into one international program. There are just too many risks to individual nuclear pursuits, and nations will hardly be sufficient in their approaches to achieving what the world needs in right now and in the future. They are distracted from reality. Nations need to attend to reality.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin January 19, 2016 at 11:18 am #

        No, Gene, there YOU go again. You’re a troll. You troll this blog looking for people who take issue with Prof. Falk and attack them with insults and defamation, most often distorting or ignoring what they actually wrote. Let’s look at your comment. (Italics are your words; roman type are mine.)

        GS “I won’t try to explain Prof. Falk’s raising the Iran/israel bomb issue, except that he was probably comparing it to the problems of solving the global warming issue.”

        IY You don’t have to explain. Prof. Falk makes clear his intention to illustrate that voluntary international law can be ineffective when it is not applied equally. (I note that in my comment.) Fair enough. But selecting the nuclear issue from among the many other examples available affords him an opportunity to take a gratuitous swipe and Israel and the United States, as he has done in the past. This opens a new thread for discussion.

        IY “However, your description of the causes of struggle in the ME is more than egregious”.

        Please show me where I “describe the causes of the struggle in the ME.” I don’t. Besides, what is “more than egregious?” Should we call it EGREGIOUS PLUS.

        GS “And to accuse Iran of being a belligerent state in the face of its history, while exonerating Israel in the face of its own history of aggression is more than ignorant.”

        IY Which history? The coup d’etat that deposed Mosaddegh, in which the CIA played a major role, happened in 1953. Iran’s war with Iraq ended in 1988. Meanwhile, Iran has compiled a record of fostering terrorism recorded not only by Israel and the United States, but by UN agencies, including the Security Council, the EU and most of the other middle eastern states. Are you suggesting that Iran is entitled to support international terrorism because it was mugged by the CIA more than six decades ago? Or do you believe that Iran’s bad reputation is a frame-up fabricated by Israel and the US. I ask this with a straight face because you are on the record as holding Israel responsible for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and just about every other problem on the face of the earth. Heck, your colleague rehmat 1 characterizes the Pope as “Israel’s poodle”, and believes that the Saudi royal family is Jewish. In these environs, anything is possible.

        I don’t “exonerate Israel.” I try to explain the disparity in the way the international community views Iran and Israel. If you want to take issue with me, please take issue with what I actually wrote.

        “…more than ignorant.” IGNORANT PLUS?! More to the point, please don’t call me ignorant. I’ve been active in the field of Middle East politics for a long time. I’m well read on the subject. I’ll gladly put up my Middle East knowledge bank against yours any time. In my experience, the person who calls an opponent ignorant is most often covering up his/her lack of knowledge and understanding. If that isn’t you, try engaging me and others on this blog with data not put-downs.

        GS “Recent proof of the duplicity of the US and Israel is the lifting of sanctions against Iran, only to have them replaced when the American naval personnel were released to safety.”

        IY “I don’t want to end this by appearing to be dismissive, but I honestly don’t understand what you’re trying to say. The sanctions are still lifted. And besides, Israel has imposed no sanctions on Iran.

      • Gene Schulman January 19, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

        I won’t take the time to respond to your usual twisting of facts, Ira. Just let the following from Foreign Policy Magazine straighten you out on the sanctions issue:

        Known as “Implementation Day,” the milestone means that the International Atomic Energy Agency was able to certify that Iran had reduced its stockpile of enriched uranium by 98 percent and its number of centrifuges by two-thirds. With eased sanctions, Iran should have access to frozen assets, ranging from $55 billion to $100 billion in value.

        A day after sanctions were peeled back, Iran released five U.S. detainees and the United States released seven jailed Iranians, in a swap that was not tied directly to the nuclear negotiations, but that was discussed parallel to and was accelerated by them. Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian was among those released by Iran.

        U.S. sanctions on Iran connected to human rights issues, funding for extremist groups, and non-nuclear weapons remain in place. One day after Implementation Day, the United States levied new sanctions tied to Iran’s ballistic missile program.

        Yup. The US levied new sanctions.

    • rehmat1 January 19, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

      Good old rabbi – Did you ever read Iran’s history without your ‘Made in Israel’ eye-glasses?

      If you had, you wouldn’t made such a stupid and hateful statement about Iran. Don’t you know your Book of Esther is built around Iran, a civilization that has existed for the last 10,000 years? Can you prove that your ancestors didn’t live in Khazaria and Europe instead of in Babylonian slavery?

      The Zionist entity was built by European Jewish terrorists over the blood, graves and land of native Muslim, Christian and Jewish Palestinians. Since 1948, these terrorists under a new name IOF have attacked and plundered all their neighboring countries. Contrary to that, Iran has not attacked a single of its neighbors during the last 150 years.

      Ponder on these historic facts next time you go to synagogue or listen to pastor John Hagee.

      Shalom.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin January 20, 2016 at 5:39 am #

        rehmat,

        You’ll have to explain how citing UN Security Council and EU statements condemning Iran constitutes seeing the world through “Made in Israel” eye glasses, or makes for a “stupid and hateful statement about Iran.” You have a “one size fits all” retort to criticism of anything Muslim which you launch with no regard for the particulars of the situation.

        Yes, I know the Bible and Jewish-Persian/Iranian history; obviously better than you do. The biblical Book of Esther tells of a plot—hatched by the Persian prime minister (Haman) and approved by the king (Ahashuerus)—to kill the Jews. In contemporary terminology, that’s genocide. The plot is foiled by a Jewish commoner (Mordecai), with the help of his niece (Esther) who is married to the king (who doesn’t know that she’s Jewish). The Jews then take bloody revenge on Haman and his family.

        To put it mildly, if you’re looking for a text that illustrates a history of good relations between Persian/Iranians and Jews, this is not that text. However, many contemporary scholars believe that the Book of Esther is fiction, a bit of popular ancient Jewish folklore that made its way into the canon. There is nothing in Persian documents that corroborates the existence of a King Ahashuerus or his prime minister Haman. However, verifiable Persian history tells a story of positive Persian-Jewish relations. In 585 BCE, King Nebuchadnezer of Babylonia conquered Judea and sent a substantial portion of its inhabitants into Babylonian exile. Approximately a half century later, King Cyrus of Persia conquered Babylonia and sent to Jews home. To this day, Jews celebrate Cyrus as a great hero. Parents name their sons Cyrus in his honor.

        Over the millennia, Jews have enjoyed security and prosperity in Persia/Iran. Israel, from the moment of its creation in 1948, enjoyed strong and mutually beneficial relations with Iran. That began to change in 1979, with Ayatollah Khomeini and his successors defaming Jews as “sons of pigs and monkeys”, sponsoring conventions of Holocaust deniers and denouncing Israel as the “Little Satan”(America is the “Big Satan”) that should be removed from the face of the earth.

        My critique is not of Iran and certainly not of the Iranian people, but of the policies of its current government and the mullahs who hold the real power.

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Kata Fisher January 20, 2016 at 6:54 am #

        A Note:

        What was done with the Shah Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (Iran’s monarch) seems to be irrevocable quit of blood? Sins of the West just add on, and on.

        They cannot be helped – they cannot repent of their works – as long as they are in fellowship with satanic seals and are in Blasphemy of God’s Spirit.

        They want to do what they want to do – we cannot help them. They ware devil directed to appoint rule of devil directed.

        However, a situation in Iran is at change. As soon as nuclearism can be safely managed – the world can move on.

        Unless, all involved want to continual in all their past evils of those who are in satanic seals and are in Blasphemy of God’s Spirit.

        When John F. Kennedy was killed – he obviously did not want to be in fellowship with those who are in satanic seals and are in Blasphemy of God’s Spirit. He understood what Nazi are, and he understood treason. Was that a problem? Obviously.

      • rehmat1 January 20, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

        You prove my point again rabbi. How many times UNSC and US General Assembly condemned the Zionist entity’s neoNazi policies that America had to use its veto power 39 times to shield it illegitimate child? No UNSC veto power came to Iran’s rescue.

        Think about that and excuse me for not wasting rest of your Netanyahu’s rants since the 1990s: IRAN IS ABOUT TO GET A NUCLEAR BOMB NEXT YEAR!!

      • Kata Fisher January 20, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

        You write:

        “Think about that and excuse me for not wasting rest of your Netanyahu’s rants since the 1990s: IRAN IS ABOUT TO GET A NUCLEAR BOMB NEXT YEAR!!”

        Netanyahu’s rants are the result of loose nuts and bolts of his head – or thing that he may be stashing around themselves! You said that he is a habitual lier! I am sure that he could be..

        Irani are ecclesiastical people – Israeli are stushing up eccalisticaly illigal things very well – this far?

        Israel will nuke themselves before they get nuked by Iran (hilariously, I mean this not – not hilarious because I can’t even laugh) – just how many nuclear accidents on the public grounds there were – just this far? There were some bad accidents. Humans are very, very without much concience – but a lot of satanic-genius(m).

        SO, for Israeli – it must be their hauling, and hauling along with of their illegitimate? Look and see that it must be so.

        Its best then that they nicely pack all things of the whoring items and return it back to rightful owners- otherwise they can continue in their satanic-genius(m) as long they wish to do and they can so.

  5. Kata Fisher January 18, 2016 at 2:31 pm #

    A Note:

    As long as Arabs want to hold on to their Ecclesiastically illegal items – such as nuclearism – Israel can’t give up their stockpiles/nuclearism to Russia and US, with other Ecclesiastical neutral nations.

    Both Russia and the US are Ecclesiastical neutral nations when comes to holding on to those items, – but with all of their attentions with other Ecclesiastical neutral nations to do away with nuclear evil. This evil – which will have to be transfigured into the research and development (international research and development because we know in this point in time that some of the nations love to be self-serving and greedy), and that research and development that will actually have to do away with the waste, to reverse nuclear items, and if possible to develop safer and more efficient energy.

    I understand this: nuclear waste into the weapon wasting – is actually satanic science. It can not continue.

    In addition to that, burn out gases are not understood.

    “Is there global warming – or is there none of the global warming” (this is nonsence) – no one knows for sure – but things are not quite right.

    • rehmat1 January 20, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

      A Note: This the very reason, Israel-UK Jewish author Gilad Atzmon wants Iran to get a nuclear bomb ASAP to keep Christian Zionist/Jews warmongers like you away from Iranian borders.

      Shalom.

      http://rehmat1.com/2013/09/15/gilad-atzmon-iran-must-have-nuclear-deterrent/

      • Kata Fisher January 20, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

        A Note:
        Gilad Atzmon is in the stone age. He must be kidding.
        Shalom.

  6. ray032 January 19, 2016 at 9:51 am #

    Night of the Living Dead, Climate Change-Style
    How to Stop the Fossil Fuel Industry From Wrecking Our World

    Something similar is happening right now with the fossil fuel industry. Even as the global warming crisis makes it clear that coal, natural gas, and oil are yesterday’s energy, the momentum of two centuries of fossil fuel development means new projects keep emerging in a zombie-like fashion.

    In fact, the climactic fight at the end of the fossil fuel era is already underway, even if it’s happening almost in secret. That’s because so much of the action isn’t taking place in big, headline-grabbing climate change settings like the recent conference of 195 nations in Paris; it’s taking place in hearing rooms and farmers’ fields across this continent (and other continents, too). Local activists are making desperate stands to stop new fossil fuel projects, while the giant energy companies are making equally desperate attempts to build while they still can. Though such conflicts and protests are mostly too small and local to attract national media attention, the outcome of these thousands of fights will do much to determine whether we emerge from this century with a habitable planet. In fact, far more than any set of paper promises by politicians, they really are the battle for the future………………………………………………………………………..

    http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176092/tomgram%3A_bill_mckibben%2C_the_real_zombie_apocalypse/

  7. rehmat1 January 19, 2016 at 3:14 pm #

    No one can explain environment issues better than what the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: EARTH IS A MOSQUE.

    http://rehmat1.com/2016/01/17/islam-earth-is-a-mosque/

    • Kata Fisher January 20, 2016 at 10:49 am #

      I know that I had similar video, before this –
      I just feel that we all need to look at this – one more time:

      • Kata Fisher January 20, 2016 at 10:58 am #

        This one is important, as well:

      • Kata Fisher January 21, 2016 at 9:13 am #

        Professor Falk:

        I did not post that second video about How Tee Party Is Splitting.
        I postes video that explains Islamic Republic and Islamic state instead.

        There was change to the content. I am not sure how and why – but I do not like it.

        This is the video that I placed here on January 20, 2016 at 10:58 am

    • Kata Fisher January 20, 2016 at 11:10 am #

      This is wat I understand:

      What was done to Shah Pahlavi is / was a grave harm.

      Iran has to get out of the nuclear program as soon as possible – new program needs to be, and sanctions need to be lifted – as soon as program is drafted and signed / agreed upon – if possible.

      It is not compatible with Islam Faith current one – therefore, there is trouble about it.

      • Kata Fisher January 20, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

        Also, this is important:

        He is right! – Saudi Arabia is panicking, and I understand that they – Saudi Arabia have already used nuclear war-heads in the Middle East. Why are they panicking – why can’t they be accountable to themselves and the Middle East?

        http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/20/world/iran-amanpour-javad-zarif/index.html

  8. Kata Fisher January 19, 2016 at 7:21 pm #

    Professor Falk,

    I just understood this:

    “goal of 1.5C degrees as the prudent ceiling for tolerable warming, while seeking to avoid an increase of 2C degrees”

    It just cuts trough my spirit – I do not like it.
    I have extremely bad feeling about it.
    When I re-read it – it has hit me like a cold ice – just grouse cold feeling and now accompanied with belly eche.
    I just understood it – it is very, very bad that increase.

    Can things be rushed with all meetings and conferences. Every week, month lost is irreversibly lost.

  9. Rabbi Ira Youdovin January 20, 2016 at 6:06 am #

    There you go again, Gene, accusing me of “twisting the facts” without citing examples to illustrate your accusations. Some folks on this blog may enjoy this brand of verbal blood sport. But less prejudiced readers will conclude that you really have nothing to say.

    I never criticized your reference to new sanctions. What I said is that I didn’t understand your point. Now that you’ve explained it, I do understand and can respond.

    The document signed by Iran and the P5+1 refers only to Iran’s nuclear development program. It does not include issues such as Iranian missile development (the vehicles that would deliver a bomb to its target) and Iranian human rights violations. It`s reported that the P5+1 wanted to include missile development, but the Iranians resisted.

    The US (and other states) maintain a sanctions regime that responds to these issues. It has been clearly and consistently stated that these will continue regardless of Iran’s compliance or non-compliance with the nuclear agreement.

    America’s imposition of new sanctions in response to Iran’s accelerated missile development was not duplicitous. Rather, it was an application of previously announced policy.

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

  10. Rabbi Ira Youdovin January 20, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

    rehmat,

    UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions are based on reports filed by its Human Rights Council whose Special Rapporteur for the Israeli Occupied Territories is mandated to report Israeli violations only, thus insuring that these reports will be biased. The US vetoes respond to this blatant violation of universally accepted due process.

    Why nobody stepped up to defend Iran is something you might ponder, unless you believe that permanent UNSEC members like China and Russia are under the thumb of the Worldwide Zionist Conspiracy.

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

  11. Laurie Knightly January 21, 2016 at 5:35 pm #

    It’s good that the Paris meeting took place as it contributes to awareness and commitment. There is not much optimism, however, that it will be possible to achieve the goals.

    On the level of individuals, there is still considerable scepticism as to the reasons – not the rise in temperature but the causal connections. It’s odd that the pollution aspect is not stressed – very visible in China and breathing problems rampant, so one could not go wrong trying to achieve cleaner air. We are shown desert areas, however, that once had aquatic life, fire coming out of snow peaks, and told that earth masses blew apart and formed the continents we now inhabit – plus always earthquakes etc.. The earth appears to have run hot and cold. The inner regions of the earth are flaming hot and we keep peeling off the crust. A leader like Al Gore did not help with his annual energy bill of $33,000 – a very inconvenient truth. Not a commendable example. Also, fossil fuels must be finite and the sun/wind have a better long range prognosis. Weaker nations have little reason to trust the rich and powerful ones as they do not do what they expect of others – like the NPT.

    Other issues mentioned here were concerning lack of references to religion in Israel’s Declaration of Independence. There are words in the document like their spiritual, religious and political ideals of freedom, justice, and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel. Sounds like religion. There is also mention of religious freedom – probably to appease Christians. It’s well known that Zionism became religious in concept although originally secular. To suggest that religion is not a factor in the Jewish conquest of Palestine is ……..

    Iran ‘wiping Israel off the map’ has been described as ‘the rumor of the century’. One general was quoted as say that If ATTACKED BY ISRAEL, they would do something like that but more often the remark is ridiculed and it was a surprise to to see it appear once again here. Palestine was actually wiped off the map in 1947. That’s the real map injustice. Putting Palestine back on the map is the worry of Israel and supporters. The hasbara needs some updating. Something above the gossip/hearsay level.

    Plus, the UN High Commissioner, Navi Pillay called for an investigation concerning protection of civilians in bombing raids AND the rocket attacks of Hamas. Incidentally, Hamas was not formed till 40 years after the creation of Israel and was originally seen as a counterweight to PLO, PA, etc. Israel preferred weaker dissenting factions but the group grew too strong for control.

    Ira made mention of his support for a Palestinian state. Where was this state to be located?

    • Fred Skolnik January 21, 2016 at 11:21 pm #

      “The Imam [Khomeini] set long-term goals for the day the occupying Zionist regime is no longer in the region. The formula for this move must be discussed in the government.”
      Hassan Rouhani
      President of Iran

      “The issue of Palestine is an Islamic issue. The Islamic world must come together to destroy the false Israeli regime….If this happens, nothing will be left of Israel.”
      Ayatollah Mohammed Ali Movahedi-Kermani
      Tehran’s interim Friday Imam

      “The only way to subdue the enemies is by refusing to compromise on the goals of the resistance and to remain strong; the future of criminal nations such as the Zionists will be erased from the history books.”
      Hojatoleslam Mohammad Hassan Akhtari
      Hizbullah Operations Liaison, Former Ambassador to Syria

      “If once the destruction and demise of occupying Israel was an impossible and unattainable dream, today thanks to the historic and intelligent actions of Imam Khomeini, it has become possible and is actually in the process of occurring.”
      Iranian Ministry of Defense statement

      “The day will come when the Islamic people in the region will destroy Israel and save the world from this Zionist base.”
      Hojateleslam Alireza Panahian
      Advisor to Office of the Supreme Leader in Universities

      “The destruction of Israel is the idea of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and is one of the pillars of the Iranian Islamic regime. We cannot claim that we have no intention of going to war with Israel!”
      Ahmad Alamolhoda
      Member of the Assembly of Experts

      And on the lead vehicle of a line of trucks transporting Shahab-3 missiles, a banner reading in Persian, “Esraail baayad az beyn beravad,” which means “Israel should cease to exist.” (I’m just cutting and pasting, Laurie, so since you obviously understand the Persian language and follow Iranian deliberations, maybe you have a better translation.)

      And so on and do forth in a hundred different contexts. It is one thing to talk about going to war, which may or not be understandable or even justifiable, and it is another thing to talk about annihilating other countries, which not even the Nazis did vis-à-vis France, England, Holland, etc., etc.

      It is also a little presumptuous to make categorical statements about how people think in foreign countries whose language you don’t understand. I am talking about Israel as well as Iran. Trying to squeeze religion out of Israel’s Declaration of Independence is pretty desperate.

      “ERETZ-ISRAEL was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books” and “based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel” are not statements of religious faith and do not turn the Zionists into Orthodox believers, which they of course were not.

      For your information, this is what a religious document sounds like (the Hamas Charter): “Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Quran its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the cause of Allah its most sublime belief.”

      And of course the Jews did not “conquer” Palestine. They defended their country against the massive Arab invasion in 1948 and in 1967 occupied the West Bank after Jordan’s acts of war in precisely the same way as the Allies occupied Germany after Germany’s acts of war.

  12. Kata Fisher January 21, 2016 at 6:13 pm #

    A Note: I see procrastination in a new light, and I will tell you about that. procrastination can equal inability – and inability can be non-important things

  13. Kata Fisher June 15, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

    Dear Professor Falk, I am getting stressed out about Nuclear warming. I started to think on it – and already I do not feel good about it. ( A note): there is extreme urgency / emergency (almost) to the management of different types of warnings.

    • Richard Falk June 16, 2016 at 4:51 am #

      You are right to be deeply concerned. The human species is exceedingly vulnerable to mistakes
      and crimes associated with nuclear weapons and the impacts of climate change. We can only begin
      to imagine someone like the Orlando killer occupying a position of political power. If you look
      around the world it would seem that several leaders of important countries have sociopathic profiles.
      This should keep us all awake at nights!

      • Gene Schulman June 17, 2016 at 9:49 am #

        Yes, especially those, actual and potential, in the USA.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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