As the US, EU and Britain huff and puff in barrel loads of clichés: “red lines” are “crossed”, “sovereignty and territorial integrity” has been “violated”, they stand “shoulder to shoulder” with their shoe-horned in fascist government in Ukraine, they are “resolute” against “Russian aggression”, and will not “stand idly by”, sanity seems in short supply.
US Secretary of State, John Kerry representing a country which makes Genghis Khan look like a wimp when it comes to illegal invasions, still retains the prize for jaw dropper of the decade: “You just don’t, in the 21st century, behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text”, he pontificated on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
On the thirteenth anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq and the total destruction of it’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity”, by America and Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron has scuttled off to Brussels for a meeting of European Union Ministers to agree a “robust response” to Russia – who has fired not a shot, invaded no one and threatened nothing except to respond that if sanctions were imposed on Russia they might consider a trading response. Fair enough, surely?
The government of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea called a referendum, distinctly disturbed by the threat by Kiev’s US proxy government that the Russian language was to have no status, and Jews and blacks would not be tolerated.
A fraction under 97% voted to cede to Russia, with a turnout of over 80% – an electoral enthusiasm of which Western governments could only dream.
As much of the main stream media and the usual politicians thundered of voting under pressure or even at gunpoint, one hundred and thirty five international observers from twenty three countries said, consistently, they saw no pressure of any sort, and they had “not registered any violations of voting rules.”(1)
President Putin also points out the double standards:
“Our Western partners created the Kosovo precedent with their own hands. In a situation absolutely the same as the one in Crimea they recognized Kosovo’s secession from Serbia legitimate while arguing that no permission from a country’s central authority for a unilateral declaration of independence is necessary.”
“It’s beyond double standards. It’s a kind of baffling, primitive and blatant cynicism. One can’t just twist things to fit interests, to call something white on one day and black on the next one.”
Clearly referring the threats and onslaughts on sovereign nations of recent years, he added, on being accused of violating international law: “Well, it’s good that they at least recalled that there is international law … Better late than never”, commenting with some validity, that his nation’s stance on Crimea was in no way similar.
And there is that ill used (by the usual suspects) “Responsibility to Protect”, defined as including: “crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and their incitement”, precisely what the bunch that has taken over the government in Kiev has threatened, with the Jewish community in Kiev feeling so besieged that: “Ukrainian Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman, called on Kiev’s Jews to leave the city and even the country if possible….”
The UN definition of Responsibility to Protect also stipulates that States have a responsibility to “encourage and assist” in fulfilling responsibility in protection of those threatened and at risk. Russia has arguably done as requested by its former State and neighbour and as laid out by the UN. Yes, of course there is self interest, with NATO encroaching ever closer and the country’s Black Sea Fleet based in Crimea and NATO countries, the US and UK planning military exercises with Ukraine – but Russia’s actions have been a model of peaceable, threat free strategy.
President Putin expressed the all admirably:
“Russia is an independent and active participant of international relations. Just like any nation it has national interests that must be taken into consideration and respected.”
“In the practical application of policies, our Western partners – the United States first and foremost – prefer to be guided not by international law, but by the right of strength. They believe in their exceptionalism, that they (can) decide on the fate of the world, that they are always right.”
Law was disregarded in Yugoslavia in 1999, bombed by NATO with no UN mandate, Afghanistan, Iraq. Perversion of the UN Resolution on Libya, which was for a no fly zone, not bombing the country in to submission – a tragic, shameful travesty with the horror of the murder of the country’s Leader, most of his family, over which Hillary Clinton laughed as she said: “We came, we saw, he died.” Clinton of course, has now called Putin “Hitler”.
The “coloured revolutions” in Europe and the Arab world were simply more of the same by other means, Putin stated, but in: “Ukraine the West crossed a red line”, with Russia’s wish for dialogue and compromise ignored.
The red line was in that: “The coup-imposed authorities in Kiev voiced their desire to join NATO, and such a move would pose an imminent threat to Russia.”(2.)
Meanwhile, escaped from the American asylum, Vice President Joe Biden said that the U.S. stands resolutely with Baltic States in support of the Ukrainian people against Russian aggression. “Russia cannot escape the fact that the world is changing and rejecting outright their behavior”, Biden said, after meeting Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite and Latvian President Andris Berzins. What aggression exactly?
However, as ever, the all is more complex:
“Current international law combines two contradictory principles: a government’s territorial integrity on the one hand, and a nation’s right to self-determination on the other, according Maxim Bratersky of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.”
The West recognized Kosovo’s independence from Serbia in 2008, based the principle of right to self-determination. “Kosovo is a mirror image of the current situation in Crimea”, says Bratersky:
“In sending troops into Kosovo, NATO did not allow the Serbs to intervene in the referendum. The UN did not give NATO’s forces a mandate to send troops into Kosovo.” He also points out that South Sudan ceded from Sudan in 2011 (with world leaders or their Ambassadors attending the celebrations.) East Timor became independent of Indonesia, both endorsed by the UN. Mutual agreement ruled, as with Crimea and the Russian Federation.
In 1997, the British returned Hong Kong to Chinese jurisdiction.
“But on the whole, the system of international law does not function. The side that has the most bayonets wins,” Bratersky states. “Kosovo is a vivid example of this.”(3)
In trade and energy supplies, Russia has a lot of bayonets and the coffers of the EU and US are woefully low.
David Cameron has grand plans to “celebrate” the centenary of the start of World War I this year, he still seems hell bent on “celebrating” it by starting World War III.
As this is finished, in response to the US placing travel bans on Russian politicians and public figures, rather than engaging in a diplomatic exchange of views, Russia has:
“announced sanctions against several advisers to President Obama as well as a number of lawmakers, including House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – retaliation after President Obama announced economic sanctions against Russia.
The sanctions ban Boehner, Reid, and Senators Mary Landrieu, Daniel Coats, Robert Menendez, John McCain, as well as Obama advisers Caroline Atkinson, Daniel Pfeiffer, and Benjamin Rhodes from entering Russia.”(4)
Someone please chuck that Obama Nobel Peace Prize into the Potomac.
See also: Russia, Crimea and the Mighty Wurlitzer: Countdown to War? Radio Show with Rick Rozoff, John Ryan and Felicity Arbuthnot