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.


Anonymous said...

" It’s sad to see so many journalists in America and Britain fail to challenge..."

That's it! That's the saddest thing of all - no, not quite! Maybe the saddest thing is that the public don't seem to care. When the tv news can show a clip of Bush saying (loosely): " the 21st century countries don't invade other countries anymore..." and then cut back to a presenter who can keep a straight face, it just says: " we're lying and you can't do anything about it, or you're too dumb to care..."

I'd like to hope that maybe it's just got so blatant that no-one will believe a word they say anymore, but a perusal of some of the arguments on the Comment Is Free or New Statesman sites, supposedly a slightly educated lot, gives the lie to that - I know there are a lot of paid propagandists on these sites, but not all, surely! Unfortunately, most people just don't have the time to check out alternative sources of info, and do the research necessary to establish which are trustworthy and coherent, but the saddest thing of all is that many supposedly skeptical and wiser 'leftists' still seem to take the position that' if they don't know / haven't got round to reading up on/ can't be bothered checking out some subject, then the default position is that the MSM story is the facts - check out left discussions on Yugoslavia or Rwanda (yes, still)!

What hope for us? It could make you turn to apocalyptic evangelism.

I know you know all that, but I just wanted to share it with you.

Anonymous said...

What an article.
Thats an excellent piece Neil.

Anonymous said...

What an article.
And since the Georgian defence minister is an Israeli, how would it be if a Russian was appointed to lead the Mexican army?
Excellent piece Neil.

Roland Hulme said...

Add Russia and China to the hypocrisy championship and I think you've got a fair competition.

olching said...

Neil, Denis MacShane has written yet more anti-Russian shite; this time on CiF. It adds to the countless anti-Russian propaganda that has been oozing out of western media outlets over the last two weeks. It's nauseating.

Yet more crap.

neil craig said...

"Do they honestly think that different standards should apply to the US and Britain for everyone else?"

We all tend to feel that way a bit about our own causes. That is why law is more important than justice, even between nations.

ian said...

Hi Neil. Found this online today.I havent as yet seen any responce to this by NATO.


Washington's Hypocrisy

By Dmitry Rogozin, Russia`s Ambassador to NATO

18/08/08 'IHT' -- The U.S. administration is trying to stick the label of 'bad guy' on Russia for exceeding the peacekeeping mandate and using 'disproportionate force' in the peace-enforcement operation in Georgia.

Maybe our American friends have gone blind and deaf at the same time. Mikheil Saakashvili, the president of Georgia, is known as a tough nationalist who didn't hide his intentions of forcing Ossetians and Abkhazians to live in his country.

We were hoping that the U.S. administration, which had displayed so much kindness and touching care for the Georgian leader, would be able to save him from the maniacal desire to deal with the small and disobedient peoples of the Caucasus.

But a terrible thing happened. The dog bit its master. Saakashvili gave an order to wipe Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, from the face of earth.

The Georgian air force and artillery struck the sleeping town at midnight. More than 1,500 civilians perished in the very first hours of the shelling. At the same time, Georgian special forces shot 10 Russian peacekeepers who didn't expect such a betrayal from their Georgian colleagues.

The Kremlin attempted to reach Saakashvili, who was hiding, by phone. All this time the Russian Joint Staff forbid the surviving peacekeepers to open return fire. Finally our patience was exhausted. The Russian forces came to help Tskhinvali and its civilian population.

In reply to the insulting criticism by President Bush that Russia used 'disproportionate force,' I'd like to cite some legal grounds for our response. Can shooting peacekeepers and the mass extermination of a civilian population - mainly Russian citizens - be regarded as hostile action against a state? Is it ground enough to use armed force in self-defense and to safeguard the security of these citizens?

Tbilisi concealed the scope of the humanitarian catastrophe in South Ossetia. Saakashvili' s constant lies about the true state of affairs in Georgia were attempts to lay the fault at somebody else's door.

The Russian response is entirely justified and is consistent with both international law and the humanitarian goals of the peacekeeping operation conducted in South Ossetia. I will try to explain.

The Georgian aggression against South Ossetia, which came as a straightforward, wide-scale attack on the Russian peacekeeping contingent - Russian armed forces legally based on the territory of Georgia - should be classified as an armed attack on the Russian Federation, giving grounds to fulfill the right to self-defense - the right of every state according to Article 51 of the UN Charter.

As for the defense of our citizens outside the country, the use of force to defend one's compatriots is traditionally regarded as a form of self-defense. Countries such as the United States, Britain, France and Israel have at numerous times resorted to the use of armed force to defend their citizens outside national borders.

Such incidents include the armed operation of Belgian paratroopers in 1965 to defend 2,000 foreigners in Zaire; the U.S. military intervention in Grenada in 1983 under the pretext of protecting thousands of American nationals, who found themselves in danger due to a coup d'ĂȘtat in this island state; the sending of American troops to Panama in 1989 to defend, among others, American nationals.

We also have to keep in mind the present-day military interventions by the U.S. and its allies in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan. By the way, the last three cases are examples of tough American interventions when its own citizens did not need direct protection. But in spite of those countries' massive civilian losses at the hands of American soldiers, no one blamed Washington for a 'disproportionate use of force.'

Of course, the history of international relations is full of abuses committed under the pretext of defending citizens.

In order to draw a clear line between lawful and unlawful use of force, one can single out a number of objective criteria: first, the existence of a real threat to life or systematic and violations of human rights; second, the absence of other, peaceful means of resolving the conflict; third, a humanitarian aim for an armed operation; and four, proportionality - i.e., limitation on the time and means of rescue.

Russia's actions were in full compliance with these criteria. In conducting its military action, Russian troops also strictly observed the requirements of international humanitarian law. The Russian military did not subject civil objects and civilians on the territory of Georgia to deliberate attacks.

It is hard to believe that in such a situation any other country would have remained idle. Let me quote two statements:

One: 'We are against cruelty. We are against ethnic cleansing. A right to come back home should be guaranteed to the refugees. We all agree that murders, property destruction, annihilation of culture and religion are not to be tolerated. That is what we are fighting against. Bombardments of the aggressor will be mercilessly intensified. '

Two: 'We appeal to all free countries to join us but our actions are not determined by others. I will defend the freedom and security of my citizens, whatever actions are needed for it. Our special forces have seized airports and bridges... air forces and missiles have struck essential targets.'

Who do you think is the author of these words? Medvedev? Putin? No. The first quote belongs to Bill Clinton, talking about NATO operation against Yugoslavia. The author of the second quote is the current resident of the White House, talking about the U.S. intervention in Iraq.

Does that mean that the United States and NATO can use brute force where they want to, and Russia has to abstain from it even if it has to look at thousands of its own citizens being shot? If it's not hypocrisy, then what IS hypocrisy?

Dmitry Rogozin is Russia's ambassador to NATO.

Neil Clark said...

jock: great post.
dan: many thanks.
roland: can you give some examples of Russian hypocrisy over this issue?
olching: isn't it amazing how Denis Matyjaszek has time to write all these anti-Russian propaganda pieces as well as be an MP? He's supposed to serve the constituents of Rotherham, not US empire building.
neil- good point. international law is of paramount importance- which is why the neocons hate it so much.
ian: many thanks for the piece.

Anonymous said...

Examples of Russian government hypocrisy I am afraid are evident in Ambassador Rogzin's article.

One such South Ossetians and Abkhazians do live in Georgia (whether they want to or not)- and Russia regularly articulates the non-negotiable nature of national sovereignty (in relation to Chechnya, Kosovo, Sudan and Zimbabwe for example. Mr Rogzin is at it all the time)! It is apparently legitimate to use force to prevent Chechyans living 'outside Russia' but not for Georgians to use force to prevent South Ossetians/Abkazhians living outside Georgia.

Hypocrisy maybe the price one pays for navigating a complex world but, please, do not suggest that 'they' (the people you do not like for varied reasons: neocons under the bed in this case) are guilty and the 'we' (the people you like, presumably no neocons under the bed) are innocent!

I happen to think that the use of violence is always illegitimate but then I believe in many improbable and idealistic things...

Gibepregiba said...

Mr. Clark don't you feel sometimes like Don Quixote?

I cant still believe, but yet, here is another example how is majority of human population (even intellectual one) stupid. They just keep swallowing that Retard-Bush's and Nancy Pansy-Sarkozy's shits.