Monday, August 18, 2008
Champions in Hypocrisy
Many congratulations to the brilliant sportsmen and women from Team GB who made it such a memorable weekend for Britain at the Olympics. Well, if British politicians were competing in Beijing, we all know what event they- and their US counter-parts would be excelling in. Here's my article on the glaring double standards of the British and US governments, from the Morning Star.
There are 28 sports in the Beijing Olympics. Hypocrisy isn’t one of them- but if it was- then the US and Britain would surely be battling it out for the gold medal. For when it comes to double standards, these two past-masters make everyone else look like also-rans. In the last few days, they’ve been in particularly sparkling form.
After just one day’s fighting between Georgian and Russian forces, the US and Britain were calling for an "immediate ceasefire".
Could this be the same US and Britain, who repeatedly rejected the widespread international calls for an immediate ceasefire during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict?
The US and Britain also say that they support Georgia’s "territorial integrity".
Could this be the same US and Britain who, by championing Kosovan separatism showed nothing but contempt for the ‘territorial integrity’ of Serbia?
In addition, the US has condemned Russia for what it calls its "dangerous and disproportionate" action against Georgia.
Yes, that’s right, the country which launched ‘Shock and Awe’ against a largely defenceless and impoverished Middle Eastern nation five years ago-on a wholly fabricated pretext-- accuses others of taking ‘dangerous and disproportionate action’. Chutzpah really isn‘t the word.
The US has also accused Russia of seeking "regime change" in Georgia. That’s rather like John McEnroe accusing another tennis player of being impolite to the umpire.
When it comes to seeking "regime change" the US are undisputed world champions- they’ve toppled regimes from Belgrade to Baghdad, from Tehran to Tblisi. The US is to regime changing what Casanova is to making love- no one has done it more often.
Of course, what underpins the US and British hypocrisy is a colossal arrogance. It’s an arrogance which seeks to extend NATO to the doorstep of Russia. Imagine if Russia was encouraging Mexico or Canada to join a Russian-led military alliance, and 1,000 Russian troops were engaged in exercises in Mexico as US troops were only last month in Georgia? Or if Russia announced it was to site a missile defence system in Jamaica- as the US has done in the Czech Republic and Poland?
It’s sad to see so many journalists in America and Britain fail to challenge the attitudes which underpin the blatant hypocrisy of their country’s foreign policies. Do they honestly think that different standards should apply to the US and Britain for everyone else?
The US and Britain claim to be keen supporters of democracy, but when the electorate don’t vote the ’right way’ whether it be in elections in Palestine or in Belarus, they call the vote invalid.
Ninety-nine percent of people in South Ossetia voted for independence from Georgia, but as far as US and Britain is concerned, the "territorial integrity of Georgia" should be maintained. In Kosovo though, a majority in favour of independence is enough to gain US and British support for secession. At the same time, the wishes of the Serbs in Republic Srpska to join up with Serbia have been ignored.
It seems that self-determination, like democracy, is a principle to only be selectively applied as far as these Olympic champions are concerned.
British Armed forces Minister Des Browne has called Russian military action in South Ossetia "deplorable". But the most "deplorable" thing of all is the breathtaking double standards of the United State and its most loyal poodle.