CHIP Editors Note: The Canadian Government abstained from voting on this resolution.
The UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution condemning Nazism, neo-Nazism and all forms of racism, and the U.S. and Ukraine voted against it, while a few countries, mainly US allies, abstained. The resolution was co-sponsored by Russia.
On December 16, the UN General Assembly passed its annual resolution on “Combating Glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” with 130 countries voting in favor and only two in opposition.
Out of a total 193 members countries, 51 countries including all members of the EU, Australia, New Zealand and Canada were among those who abstained from voting on the UN resolution asking members to eliminate all forms of racism and attempts to glorify Nazism. The resolution was passed with overwhelming support from the Third World countries.
The resolution on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices” that contribute to racism, xenophobia and intolerance was adopted, the Russian permanent mission to the UN announced on Thursday.
Sponsored by Russia and more than 30 other UN members, the resolution expresses concern about any form of glorifying Nazism, including putting up monuments and holding public parades honoring the Waffen SS – combat units within Nazi Germany’s military – or declaring them national liberation movements, among other things.
Russia has long taken issue with Ukraine and the three Baltic states – Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia – honoring individuals and organizations affiliated with Nazi Germany during the Second World War.
The resolution also urges member states to “eliminate all forms of racial discrimination by all appropriate means, including legislation,” and states that discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion or belief such as “neo-Nazism, Islamophobia, Christianophobia and antisemitism” harms not just the targeted groups but the society in general.
Russia has proposed a similar resolution since at least 2015, and the U.S. has voted against it every time.
Last year, U.S. envoy to the UN argued that a ban on glorifying Nazism would clash with the First Amendment protection of free speech in the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. has also accused Moscow of using the resolution to push “disinformation narratives” about neo-Nazism in the Baltic states and Ukraine.
The resolution demands the UN member countries to pass legislation to “eliminate all forms of racial discrimination” and condemn all attempts to glorify Nazism, xenophobia or neo-Nazism. It also demands the countries to condemn all attempts to revise the history of the Second World War.
The countries which abstained from voting cited possible limitations on freedom of speech, assembly and association. However, activist groups allege that the EU’s reluctance to vote in favor of the resolution indicates the rising influence of right-wing politics there. Several European countries have right-wing governments or strong right-wing opposition sympathetic to neo-Nazi groups.
The U.S. has alleged that the resolution is a result of Russian attempts to paint the opposition to its interventions in East and Central European countries as pro-Nazi groupings.
Ukraine’s ministry of foreign affairs also alleged a pro-Russian bias in the resolution as the reason for its vote against the resolution.
However, Russia sees the abstentions and the votes against the resolution as assertion of right-wing pro-Nazi forces in these countries.
Several human rights activists and left intellectuals have criticized the U.S. and the EU for failing to stand up against the rising threats of Nazism and racism in their own countries. The West’s hypocritical stance has also come under heavy attack from human rights groups which argue that the failure to vote in favor of elimination of all forms of racism and the rising threat of Nazism is a way to encourage such acts and groups.
Most of the Third World countries voted in favor of the resolution, reiterating their commitment to fighting the rising threat of Nazism and racism, which led to its adoption.
More on the UN resolution condemning Nazism
Protecting the Nazis: The Extraordinary Vote of Ukraine and the USA
By Craig Murray, craigmurray.org.uk, Dec. 21
This is verbatim from the official report of the UN General Assembly plenary of 16 December 2021:
The Assembly next took up the report on “Elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, containing two draft resolutions.
By a recorded vote of 130 in favour to 2 against (Ukraine, United States), with 49 abstentions, the Assembly then adopted draft resolution I, “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo‑Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.
By its terms, the Assembly expressed deep concern about the glorification of the Nazi movement, neo‑Nazism and former members of the Waffen SS organization, including by erecting monuments and memorials, holding public demonstrations in the name of the glorification of the Nazi past, the Nazi movement and neo‑Nazism, and declaring or attempting to declare such members and those who fought against the anti‑Hitler coalition, collaborated with the Nazi movement and committed war crimes and crimes against humanity “participants in national liberation movements”.
Further, the Assembly urged States to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination by all appropriate means, including through legislation, urging them to address new and emerging threats posed by the rise in terrorist attacks incited by racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance, or in the name of religion or belief. It would call on States to ensure that education systems develop the necessary content to provide accurate accounts of history, as well as promote tolerance and other international human rights principles. It likewise would condemn without reservation any denial of or attempt to deny the Holocaust, as well as any manifestation of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities on the basis of ethnic origin or religious belief.
In Ukraine, support for the Ukrainian nationalist divisions who fought alongside the Nazis has become, over the last eight years, the founding ideology of the modern post 2013 Ukrainian state (which is very different from the diverse Ukrainian state which briefly existed 1991-2013). The full resolution on nazism and racism passed by the General Assembly is lengthy, unnzaires but these provisions in particular were voted against by the United States and by the Ukraine:
6. Emphasizes the recommendation of the Special Rapporteur that “any commemorative celebration of the Nazi regime, its allies and related organizations, whether official or unofficial, should be prohibited by States”, also emphasizes that such manifestations do injustice to the memory of the countless victims of the Second World War and negatively influence children and young people, and stresses in this regard that it is important that States take measures, in accordance with international human rights law, to counteract any celebration of the Nazi SS organization and all its integral parts, including the Waffen SS;
7. Expresses concern about recurring attempts to desecrate or demolish monuments erected in remembrance of those who fought against Nazism during the Second World War, as well as to unlawfully exhume or remove the remains of such persons, and in this regard urges States to fully comply with their relevant obligations, inter alia, under article 34 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949;
10. Condemns without reservation any denial or attempt to deny the Holocaust;
11. Welcomes the call of the Special Rapporteur for the active preservation of those Holocaust sites that served as Nazi death camps, concentration and forced labour camps and prisons, as well as his encouragement of States to take measures, including legislative, law enforcement and educational measures, to put an end to all forms of Holocaust denial
As reported in the Times of Israel, hundreds took part in a demonstration in Kiev in May 2021, and others throughout Ukraine, in honour of a specific division of the SS. That is but one march and one division – glorification of its Nazi past is a mainstream part of Ukrainian political culture.
In 2018 a bipartisan letter by 50 US Congressmen condemned multiple events commemorating Nazi allies held in Ukraine with official Ukrainian government backing.
There are no two ways about it. The Ukrainian vote against the UN resolution against Nazism was motivated by sympathy for the ideology of historic, genocide active Nazis. It is as simple as that.
The United States claims that its vote against was motivated by concern for freedom of speech. We have the Explanation of Vote that the United States gave at the committee stage:
The United States Supreme Court has consistently affirmed the constitutional right to freedom of speech and the rights of peaceful assembly and association, including by avowed Nazis
That sounds good and noble. But consider this – why does the United States Government believe that avowed Nazis have freedom of speech, but that Julian Assange does not? You can have freedom of speech to advocate the murder of Jews and immigrants, but not to reveal US war crimes?
Why was the United States government targeting journalists in the invasion of Iraq? The United States believes in freedom of speech when it serves its imperial interests. It does not do so otherwise. This is the very worst kind of high sounding hypocrisy, in aid of defending the Nazis in Ukraine.
The second reason the United States gives is that Russia is making the whole thing up:
a document most notable for its thinly veiled attempts to legitimize Russian disinformation campaigns denigrating neighboring nations and promoting the distorted Soviet narrative of much of contemporary European history, using the cynical guise of halting Nazi glorification
The problem here is that it is very difficult to portray the Times of Israel or 50 bipartisan US congressmen as a Russian disinformation campaign. There is no historical doubt whatsoever of Ukrainian nationalist forces active support of Nazism and participation in genocide, not just of Jews and Roma but of Poles and religious minorities. There is no doubt whatsoever of the modern glorification in Ukraine of these evil people.
It is of course not just Ukraine. In Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania the record of collaboration with Nazis, of active participation in fighting for Nazis, and in active participation in genocide is extremely shaming. Throughout Eastern Europe there is a failure in these “victim nations” to look history squarely in the eye and to admit what happened – a failure the United States in actually promoting as “a campaign against Russian disinformation”.
I recommend to you the website www.defendinghistory.com, run by the admirable David Katz, which is a large and valuable resource on this website from a Lithuanian Jewish perspective that cannot remotely be dismissed as Russian or left wing propaganda. The front page currently features the December 2021 naming of a square in the capital after Lithuanian “freedom fighter” Juokas Luksa “Daumantas”, a man who commenced the massacre of Jews in Vilnius ahead of the arrival of German forces.
These are precisely the kind of commemorations the resolution is against. There has been a rash of destruction of Soviet war memorials and even war graves, and erection of commemorations, in various form, of Nazis throughout the Baltic states. That is what paras 6 and 7 of the resolution refer to, and there is no doubt whatsoever of the truth of these events. It is not “Russian disinformation”.
However the European Union, in support of its Baltic states members and their desire to forget or deny historical truth and to build a new national myth expunging their active role in the genocide of their Jewish and Roma populations, would not support the UN Resolution on Nazism. The EU countries abstained, as did the UK. The truth of course is that NATO intends to use the descendants of Eastern European racists against Russia much as Hitler did, at least in a cold war context.
You won’t find that in the Explanation of Vote.
Neocons bent on starting another disaster in Ukraine
By James Carden, Asia Times, Dec. 15, 2021
If anything, Washington’s neoconservatives have an unerring instinct for survival. Having brought about multiple disasters in the two decades since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, from the Iraq war to the twin debacles in Libya and Syria, the neocons seem to have perfected the art of failing up.
Harvard University’s Stephen Walt once quipped that “Being a Neocon Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry.” And in this regard, the story of the Kagan family is instructive.
Robert Kagan, a contributing columnist for The Washington Post, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and author of pseudo-histories such as The Jungle Grows Back, has for years been a leading advocate of American militarism.
His brother Frederick is a resident scholar at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute. Writing in The Hill on December 7, Frederick Kagan claimed that Russian control of Ukraine “would create an existential threat to Poland and even to Romania – one that could be met only by major deployments of US and European ground and air forces to what could become a new Iron Curtain.”
He and his wife Kimberly, who heads the Institute for the Study of War – another pro-war Washington think-tank – were close advisers to the disgraced general and former Central Intelligence Agency director David Petraeus. Indeed, both Frederick and his wife are frequently cited as the brains behind the surge strategy pursued by George W Bush’s administration in 2007-2008.
But the most powerful member of the Kagan clan is Victoria Nuland, who is the wife of Robert and is the US undersecretary of state for political affairs.
Under Barack Obama, Nuland served as the State Department spokeswoman, a position for which she was manifestly overqualified (and that becomes especially clear if one takes the qualifications of the current spokesman into consideration), before assuming the role of assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.
It was in this role that Nuland helped orchestrate the overthrow of a democratically elected president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, in February 2014 that led to a civil war in which more than 13,000 people have died, according to the United Nations.
Part of the reason the US is at grave risk of a war with Russia – and there is precious little debate about the policies that have brought us to this point – is that foreign policy in Washington is conducted by a virtually closed circle.
And that circle is dominated by people like the Kagans.
Washington’s legacy media organizations play their part in perpetuating these foreign policies as well by functioning as the permanent bureaucracy’s echo chamber. For proof, look no further than the Washington Post editorial page, which from the very start of the Ukraine crisis has been cavalierly dismissing calls for diplomacy and engagement and, instead, has been calling for outright war.
An example of this is the Washington Post view published on its editorial page on August 21, 2014:
“… It is tempting to look for a ceasefire or some kind of time out that would lead to a period of diplomatic negotiation. But what would a pause and diplomacy accomplish? Any negotiations that leave this blight festering in Ukraine must be avoided. The only acceptable solution is for [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s aggression to be reversed.”
As Jacob Heilbrunn, the editor of The National Interest, and I commented at the time, “Almost as bad as the callousness on display is the lack of candor. At no point did the [Washington] Post actually explain how it would propose to go about reversing Putin’s aggression.”
This remains the case even today. At no point do the armchair warriors braying for war with Russia over Ukraine discuss how such a “reversal” might be carried out, or, even more tellingly, what the odds might be of a successful outcome of a war between the US and Russia.
Not much has changed since the start of the Ukrainian crisis nearly eight years ago. Consider for a moment the testimony on “Update on US-Russia Policy” by Nuland made before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) on December 7.
“We don’t know whether Russian President Putin has made a decision to attack Ukraine or overthrow its government but we do know he is building the capacity to do so. Much of this comes right out of Putin’s 2014 playbook but this time, it is on a much larger and more lethal scale. So despite our uncertainty about exact intentions and timing, we must prepare for all contingencies, even as we push Russia to reverse course.”
Nuland went on to note that the US government has given $2.4 billion to Ukraine since 2014 “in security assistance,” which includes $450 million so far this year alone.
What, one wonders, has been the United States’ return on this massive investment?
SFRC chairman Bob Menendez seems to be under the impression that the Russians do not have the overwhelming military advantage on their own border. Likewise, Democratic Senator Ben Cardin intoned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would “require us [the US] to escalate.”
Republican Senator Todd Young, meanwhile, pressed Nuland on “what measures are being considered by the administration to counter Russian aggression,” while Democrat Jeanne Shaheen indicated that during her conversations with members of parliament from Estonia, they spoke about the importance of “European unity with respect to Ukraine.”
Also, the MPs from Estonia along with Poland and other Eastern European countries expressed anxiousness about “whether or not to station more troops in the Baltic nations,” Shaheen said.
The most astute comment of the day came from Republican Senator Ron Johnson, who was clearly proud that the committee had achieved a rare bipartisan agreement. He further emphasized that the US stands “united” in support of Ukraine and against Russia.
And Johnson was absolutely correct: The committee was completely united in its desire for conflict over Ukraine, with which the US has no treaty obligations whatsoever.
Indeed, both Nuland and the SFRC seem to see US national interests where none exist. More worrying still, they seem to possess a kind of blind faith in America’s ability, indeed duty, to shape outcomes of conflicts that are taking place thousands of miles from our shores through a combination of sanctions and military threats.
The SFRC hearing showed, if nothing else, that American foreign policy is held hostage by a venal, avaricious and, above all, reckless claque of elites: from the members of the SFRC to the high government officials who testify before them; from the staffers who brief them to the scholars and policy hands on whom the staffers rely; right down to the reporters and journalists who uncritically regurgitate what they are told by their “anonymous” administration sources.
As such, one of the most urgent questions before us is: How do Americans of good conscience finally break their stranglehold on power before it’s too late?
James W Carden is a writing fellow at Globetrotter and a former adviser to the US State Department. Previously, he was a contributing writer on foreign affairs at The Nation, and his work has also appeared in the Quincy Institute’s Responsible Statecraft, the American Conservative, Asia Times, and more.
Posted Dec. 23, 2021