The Guardian • Issue #2082

Halifax International Security Forum: a thieves’ kitchen

US President Joe Biden.

US President Joe Biden had an op-ed in the Washington Post at the same time as the Forum. He returned to a well-used theme that the USA was the world’s “essential nation.” Photo: manhhai – flickr.com (CC BY 2.0)

The Halifax International Security Forum has just completed its annual summit in Nova Scotia. It describes itself as a forum and network for international government and military officials, academics, and entrepreneurs on global security issues. Canadian media call it the ‘Davos of international security.’ More than 300 delegates from 70 countries attended.

Agenda items included: ‘Making the world safe again: victory in Ukraine,’ ‘Ancient antisemitism arrives again’ which offered advice on the best way of promoting genocide in Palestine, ‘NATO in Asia or NATO to Asia’, ‘Hide your power, bide your time: China eyes Taiwan’, ‘A message to the CRINKS’, and ‘O say can’t you see? The indispensable role of the exceptional superpower.’ This shows where the thinking of this forum leads.

The reference to ‘CRINKS’ is something of an imperialist in-joke. It refers to China, Russia, Iran and North Korea and is used in a catchy little Forum topic, ‘Never Mind the BRICS here’s the CRINKs.’ It runs the line that these states are an ‘axis of evil.’ This noxious tag has been revitalised with the candidacy of Republican Nikki Hayley who is even more gung-ho in her hatred of these countries than Trump or Biden. 

The homage paid in the conference to the USA as an ‘exceptional superpower’ indicates the degree of subservience and acquiescence to the USA among its allies.

US President Joe Biden had an op-ed in the Washington Post at the same time as the Forum. He returned to a well-used theme that the USA was the world’s “essential nation.” He reassured his readers that other nations could always rely on the US, and that “if we walk away from the challenges of today, the risk of conflict could spread, and the costs to address them will only rise. We will not let that happen.”

These comments were not the words of a politician preparing to hoodwink an electorate in the run-up to election season. They reflect a very deep seated and disturbing reality that infuses the very psyche of America and all political leaders. It is rooted in the concept of American exceptionalism; a belief that the USA was, is and will remain the global leader. It is a view that sees the country having a God-given right to rule. All presidents, Republican and Democrat alike make the same exceptionalist claim and what is worse, believe it!

The Halifax Forum, claims it promotes ‘international security.’ It is, rather, a thieves’ kitchen of  war-mongers, imperialists, and capitalist hawks who have yet to recognise that they are very much on the wrong side of history. Their master, the USA, has the power to destroy but no longer the capacity or the wit to build.

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