As I write this, the Russian armed forces are engaged in military operations in Ukraine to defend the Luhansk PR and Donbas PR and in the words of the Russian president to de-nazify the country. The launch of these operations has been met with condemnation by many world leaders and international bodies and has seen sanctions further imposed on Russia. There has been talk, albeit dampened by the recent statements by the US president, of US and/or NATO troops coming to the defence of Ukraine under article 4 (assisting an ally).
Now, I am no fan of war, I condemned the war in Iraq and I am opposed to aggression here, but I do not condemn this. I believe that negotiations are always better than bloodshed. I believe in the old Bolshevik policy of Land, Bread and Peace, even if it means a lop-sided treaty. I believed in the world governed by international law and global organisations such as the UN, but such a world of Land Bread and Peace died in ’92 and the international organisations and international law were buried in 2003 when the US invaded Iraq.
International law is dead, the US and her allies murdered it. NATO was the primary weapon with the US sometimes acting alone if it had to, as was the case in Panama (remember the US felt able to flout international law at that point as the USSR entered its terminal decline).
Nobody batted an eyelid when international law was broken by the Germans who unilaterally and illegally recognized Croatia (lighting the match on tinder and gas), and it was the US who, along with NATO, bombed the daylights out of Serbia and partitioned the country to create what is now Europe’s sex-slave, gun-running, drug-running terrorist enclave that is Kosovo.
I am not here to say what the Russians are doing is kosher, it is not. But what NATO did to Libya wasn’t kosher back then either. It was the largest war crime of the century, and that takes some doing, especially since they did Iraq 2.0. NATO’s actions in Libya were predicated on a lie; they lied when they said that there would be a simple no-fly-zone and instead acted as the air-force of the rebels. They lied when they said that Gaddafi’s troops were raping women; and they lied when they said that the rebels were peaceful when almost to a man they were led by and made up of jihadists who they knew and funnelled to sow destruction.
The US and NATO, in murdering and burying international law and decorum, used lies and subterfuge. Weapons of mass destruction, rape camps, one-sided ethnic cleansing, funding occupied territories, denials of conversations pertaining to spheres of influence are but a few of the lies and subterfuge we are fed.
Unfortunately, with international law dead there is no need for anyone to respect it. What Russia is doing is against the spirit of the dearly long departed, but it is built on truth — even if, and I do admit, truth doesn’t always hold up in a court of law.
Ukraine is and has, since 2014, been run by neo-nazis and other fascists, the names such as right-sector, slaboda, and the azov battalion are all about the country and make up the back bone of the Ukrainian front-line forces, police, home-guard, main legal political opposition (Russian sympathisers are outlawed), chief civil servants and high ranking judges.
Since 2014, Ukraine has, and not by coincidence, voted in the UN General Assembly against condemning the glorification and promotion of fascism, Nazism and other hateful ideologies and it is because it is run by those very same people.
An in-depth history lesson isn’t needed to know that along with Jews and communists, a special hatred was held by fascists towards Russians and other Slavs (West Ukranians don’t view themselves as Slavs, having been formerly a part of Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth and then Austria). Needless to say, some 26 million (low estimate) Soviet citizens were killed by the Nazi-fascist racist death cult. The grandchildren of those monsters are in office. They are committing crimes against ethnic Russians (outlawing the language, burning books, lynching people, chasing them out of town and into Russia).
What Russia is doing. I say again, is probably against the spirit of what used to be, but if international law were to be broken this seems as good a reason as any to break it. When you have international far-right volunteers coming to fight in Nazi battalions I think then it is okay to break international law (the UN, after all, was formed to destroy the Nazi war machine in case we forgot). The Russian actions, though probably illegal, are justified in that instance, the weight of evidence is more in this case than it has been in all NATO-backed wars.
For Caribbean readers, let’s give the situation context. Let us suppose that tomorrow we wake up to discover that an island in the Caribbean has been taken over by the ancestors of the slave owners and they have reinstituted race-based chattel slavery. Let us also suppose that they state openly that any black person they find will be enslaved, regardless of nationality, and that they would begin slaving voyages. Do I even need to ask how the collective region would respond?
When put in that context the Russian reaction makes perfect sense, even if the actions taken are against the spirit and letter of a thing that is dead anyway.
We really need to ask ourselves, why are we okay with calling out Russia’s action, so full of vim and vigour to condemn and even take economic action for this act, but we did nothing when Iraq was illegally invaded, when Syria remains partitioned and when Palestinians still can’t go home? Why does Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Kamina Johnson Smith have the energy to condemn this but not the US unilaterally sanctioning (read blockade) a quarter of the world’s population? Why do we now care about international law when we all saw the funeral live and in colour?
Is it because the ones breaking the dead law are not the ones carrying the economic bag? Is it because they don’t have Hollywood to make us forget the fact that no country has been more aggressive in this short century than the US?
I think the quick condemnation isn’t because of the sudden remembrance of international law, I think it is because they don’t want to be slapped by the US which, let’s be real, still has a 100,000 strong occupation force in Europe
A nation that has shown it will destroy allies to prove a point and remain on top — Japan — is now entering is fourth lost economic decade following the plaza accords.
Nobody likes hypocrisy, some consistency is needed. This is true of both humans and the world in general. International law is dead, it was murdered and we all said nothing. We must now live with our consequences. Putin, love him or loathe him, is no Hitler. His brother was killed in the Leningrad siege. To call him that is beyond an insult and in many public fora both had warned of what a future devoid of international law would look like and pushed for an inclusive security guarantee built on international law.
The US, starting with Bill Clinton who expanded NATO, to Biden who put javaline missiles with a flight time of five minutes to St Petersburg and everything in-between have burned the bridges.
We are now reaping what we sowed, the chickens are coming home to roost. NATOs bluff has been called, they will not defend Kiev, the Baltic nations now seriously question if any NATO member allay will defend them in the event they get invaded. The answer to that is no, all US military officials agree on that point.
We live in a different world, a world that has woken to the fact that the old rules are gone, they ceased to be a thing when we did nothing to stop NATO aggression in the first two decades of this century and new rules are being written before our eyes.
The main opposition in Russia, the only party that has consistently been a thorn in the side of Putin, has been the Russian Communist Party. They have been suppressed by Putin, victims of his right-wing nationalist and conservative world view and are no friends of United Russia Party, and even they see the woods for the trees. In their statement the Communist Party condemned Putin, but at the same time said that peace in Europe would not be achieved without the de-nazification of Ukraine, which can only be achieved by force of arms after Ukraine walked away from the Minsk agreement.
Russia, and Putin have not and do not — at least not the arm of the Russian elite that Putin represents — want a return to the USSR or even imperial Russia. They know those days are gone, but what they do demand, and with some justification, is that the invasion route of the last three wars that decimated Russia be neutral, especially not the plaything of a military organization which may claim to be defensive but has shown in its actions to be wholly offensive. Since 2000 when Putin came to office Russia has been asking, some would say begging, to be let into NATO, and each time it has been refused. Logic would state that if the Baltic nations — Poland, et all — have such issues with Russia then they should join NATO so as to help diffuse the tensions a la Turkey and Greece. But logic, at least peaceful logic, is not in the minds of a hegemon.
Then, as now, Russia won’t be let into NATO and dealt with like any normal superpower because to do so would mean the beginning of the end of American dominance in Europe. Geography states that Russia should be Europe’s best trade partner, just as geography states that the US should be Cuba’s largest trade partner. The fact that they are not, is not the fault of Cuba that has been living under years of illegal sanctions, nor is it the choice of Russia and big, bad Putin. At every turn, the US has sought to divide Europe and paint Russia as a demon, while surrounding Russia in an attempt to keep Europe subservient (see the Wolfowitz doctrine).
There is no going back. The past is a foreign land. They do things differently there. The rules of yesterday are no longer applicable. It will be messy and painful — creation is. The operation/war will be bloody, that is the logic of war, but the end result when the dust settles will be a clear recognition that the old world order is well and truly dead along with the international law it murdered, and a new world order with all its warts and foibles is being born. Thank goodness it practices and preaches anti-fascism.