Big reality gap in phony rhetoric on Ukraine from militaristic US
6 March 2014
IT IS profoundly phony for the US Secretary of State to lecture Russia during press conferences about invading another country on phony pretexts.
What John Kerry was preaching deserves to be juxtaposed against what the US is practicing.
“This … act of aggression … is really 19th-century behaviour in the 21st century,” Kerry said.
Well, we do not need to wind the clock back too far to see similar behaviour by the US. Rather than de-escalating and demilitarising the multiplying wars within Syria, the US decided to aid and abet the Free Syrian Army with $250 million worth of “nonlethal” aid. There was no guarantee this aid would not fall into the hands of foreign invaders, mercenaries and jihadists. And, indeed, in December the US was forced to temporarily suspend the shipments after the Islamic Front seized a range of US-supplied equipment, along with weapons, from warehouses.
“You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests,” Kerry intoned. Yet in 2003, the US led the invasion of Iraq on the phony, as it rapidly turned out, pretext of weapons of mass destruction, without the sanction of the United Nations Security Council. That was not in the 19th century, but the 21st century. The promises of democracy and liberation have been replaced by the reality of war and instability with no end in sight. US oil companies have bled Iraq of its oil reserves by setting up shop in Basra, while Iraq has bled over half a million citizens from war-relation deaths. So who was asserting their own interests?
“The people of Ukraine are fighting for democracy, they’re fighting for freedom,” Kerry went on.
So were the people of Syria in their unarmed uprising in Dar’aa three years ago. But when many countries began to “assert their interests” by funneling weapons to both the army and the rebels, the aspirations of the Syrian citizens were hijacked by foreign agendas. Hence words like democracy and freedom ring hollow given the recent US intrusions There are now sarcastic bumper stickers in the Middle East that threaten: “Be nice to Americans. Or we’ll bring democracy to your country.”
Kerry again: “If (the Russians) have legitimate concerns … there are plenty of ways to deal with that without invading the country … We call on Russia to engage with the government of Ukraine … this is a time for diplomacy … not to see this escalate into a military confrontation.”
Why is this universal principle selectively applied? The Syrian National Council and their foreign sponsors were never encouraged to “engage” with the Syrian Government, or hand in their weapons during the November 2011 amnesty, or trust the “general conference for national reconciliation”. Rather than pursuing “plenty of ways” towards dialogue about legitimate concerns, the rebels proliferated and became default allies with invaders such as al-Qa’ida. The “time for diplomacy” was repeatedly squandered by all parties which inevitably saw the crisis “escalate into a military confrontation”.
Even in Australia, Prime Minister Tony Abbott toed the same line that “Russia should back off … people of the Ukraine ought to be able to determine their future themselves.” But where was this posturing and principle when Australia recently chaired the UNSC, when the people of Syria sought a civil and political solution, rather than a summit of sponsors?
Before Kerry and his 21st-century allies next meet the press, perhaps they ought to meet the mirror and take an honest look at how dishonest they sound.
Joseph Wakim is a freelance writer, founder of the Australian Arabic Council and former Multicultural Affairs Commissioner.