Saturday 8 March 2014

The ironies of US foreign policy

Secretary of State John Kerry is reported to be a man with little humour so it does not surprise me that the manifest irony of what he recently announced completely escaped him. Here is what he said about Russia's intervention in the Crimea:

'You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests'

Errmmm, yes you do! The US has time and again proven that she does and gets away with it. The list of  countries invaded by the US (note: only invasions without UN mandate) is long. I remember vividly the reports on a small Caribbean island that had just freely and fairly elected a government which displeased the US. It is called Grenada and it only took the US a few weeks to find a ham fisted pretext, or shall we call it the pretext of all pretexts? Allegedly, Grenada had to be invaded because there were a couple of hundred students from the US on the island who felt threatened by the new government. It was never quite clear what the nature of the threat was (sit an exam? read a book?), yet the US did not just invade to repatriate her students from there but toppled the elected government too, just for good measure.

The next exhibit is of course Iraq, for which the likes of Kerry and Clinton (Hilary Rodham) bear direct responsibility since they voted for the war in Iraq on the even grander lie that Saddam Hussein would have weapons of mass destruction. Yes, those WMDs again. Naturally, Saddam never had any, but that did not concern Kerry much since he voted for the war and never apologised for this illegal adventure which cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. But never mind the collateral damage...

This does not complete the story of pretexts yet. The last exhibit is a tiny autonomous enclave in Serbia, called Kosovo. In 2008, the local commander of the Kosovoan Liberation Army declared the need for a referendum on the secession of Kosovo from Serbia. A sham referendum was held and Kosovo declared itself independent in violation of all international treaties that have ever been looked at by an incumbent of the US State Department. Yet, the US government promptly recognised the Serbian province and urged the European Union to open membership negotiations with Kosovo. Never mind, that the Kosovo government was composed of people for whom arrest warrants by the International Court of Justice (Den Haag) were pending for extortion, money laundering, and all the other niceties that people happen to do when they are part of a mafia.

So, where does this leave Ukraine and Russia? Well, not in too bad a place. I might misremember but I think there was a treaty signed by all parties in Ukraine that anticipated free and fair elections in December. If I recall correctly, there were even the foreign ministers and various representatives in the room from France, Germany, Poland and Russia. Twenty four hours later, the Western foreign ministers feigned ignorance and the legitimate Ukrainian government takes flight. What we are left with now is a medley crew of 'opposition leaders' that claim to be the Ukrainian government (some of them positively obnoxious people who can only be called Neo-Nazis, displaying openly SS insignia). Nothing strikes me as 'legitimate' about this government so unless everyone returns to the negotiating table, I cant see why Russia shouldn't cash in on the ironies of US policy and organise a referendum in the Crimea. It would only be a further exhibit in the long list of might over right.

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