Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Not Funny, But it’s Still Hard Not to Laugh: How Can the US Accuse Russia of Violating International Law?

Dave Lindorff
March 3, 2014
What Russia has done, in sending troops into Crimea, is in fact a minor action in terms of international law compared to what the US has done just over the past two decades alone. It’s not as though Ukraine was a functioning nation, after all. Its elected government had just been violently overthrown, and its president hounded out of the country by demonstrations that had included the storming of the presidential palace, and the armed occupation of the parliament building. Under such circumstances, for Russia to have stood idly by while its own Russian nationals as well as ethnic Russians in Crimea, a majority Russian region that until 1954 was a part of Russia, just across the border, were threatened by what is essentially a mob-run government based in Kiev, would have been irresponsible. Moreover, the autonomous regional government in Crimea had actually apparently sought Russian protection from the central “government” in Ukraine.

Of course there’s also the matter of the US role — overt and covert — in helping to fund and organize the mobs who ousted the elected government of Ukraine. That too was a violation of international law. For years now, the US has, through its National Endowment for Democracy, US AID, and other government and quasi-government bodies, been funneling money to anti-government groups in Ukraine (as it did also in Egypt and Russia itself, and as it is doing now in Venezuela and other countries whose leaders it opposes). The leaked tape of the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt discussing how to staff the new government of Ukraine after the anticipated collapse of the elected government shows how deeply the US was involved in the undermining of the government of Ukraine. Again, this interference in another country’s political system is a horrendous violation of international law.

Just as the same kind of interference and subversion of the elected government of President Nicolás Maduro is in Venezuela, where the US decries government police actions against the street demonstrations by middle class citizens of that country, even as the US has been helping to finance those demonstrations. As I wrote earlier, there is also the hypocrisy of the US criticizing police actions against demonstrators by governments like Maduro’s, while here at home, the US has been increasingly behaving like a banana republic in crushing virtually all domestic dissent. Just look at the brutal federally-coordinated crushing, in cities across the US, of the 2011 Occupy Movement. And look, too, at the federal government’s largely successful efforts to destroy the very right to publicly protest — most recently featuring a Supreme Court ruling saying it is illegal for anti-drone-war activists to protest outside of Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, even on the side of public roads.

The US, at this point, after eight years of the Bush/Cheney administration and five years of the Obama administration, has forfeited any right to criticize any country over violations of international law, or even to criticize tyrannical regimes over their repression of their own citizens. The sad truth is that the US no longer has any moral or legal standing at all in the world. It stands these days fully exposed as a naked aggressor and trampler of international law globally and as a police state at home.
Read the whole article here.
Comment: And yet again Putin makes Obama look like the political putz he is. 


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