R2P

Karma sure is a bitch.

R2P. Responsibility to protect. It’s the fatuous excuse that US foreign policy elite have used for decades to justify their destruction of other countries. It has been a stock part of international discourse on interventions in the post–Cold War period, tied to the doctrine of protecting ethnic groups within a foreign country.

But now that Russia is invoking the concept to recognize the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk and deploying a peacekeeping mission to those areas, the US is bleating about “sovereignty”.

Predictably, Western corporate media has already gone totally berserk branding it as the much-awaited Russian “invasion” to destroy “democracy”.

Here’s Biden. “Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belonged to his neighbors? This is a flagrant violation of international law and it demands a firm response from the international community.”

I would be remiss if I neglected my senator–Mittens: “Putin’s Ukrainian invasion is the first time in 80 years that a great power has moved to conquer a sovereign nation.”

The hypocrisy is laughable. The US is the very last government on this entire planet who has any business talking about respecting the sovereignty of other nations. Has everyone forgotten about the invasion of Iraq? What about the present US occupation of Syria? After all, the Americans are still illegally occupying a section of Syrian territory and stealing their oil.

That’s some respect for sovereignty there.

Then there’s the historical precedent much closer to Russia. By formally recognizing the independent Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, Putin and his national security team are following the lead of how the US handled the break up of Yugoslavia into three separate republics. Essentially, Russia is borrowing from the West’s “humanitarian intervention” playbook and calling these “peacekeeping” forces.  NATO describes how its role as a “peace keeper” preceded the establishment of Kosovo. Moreover, in diplomatic discourse, this recognition can be likened to the precedent that the United States and its NATO allies set when they recognized the independence of Kosovo from Yugoslavia. The justification then was alleged genocidal intentions of the Serbs, the very same issue that Putin has raised with regard to Kiev’s intentions in Donbas.

The Russian president officially signed the decree recognizing the independence of two breakaway regions earlier on Monday. He has instructed the Russian Defense Ministry to send peacekeepers into the Donbass, while telling the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to establish diplomatic relations with both Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. For Russia, this is their “humanitarian intervention.” Putin probably appreciates the irony. Here’s the clincher, directly addressing imperial support for the killing of ethnic Russians in Donbass: “The main task of our decision [on recognizing independence] was to preserve and protect these lives. This is more important than all your threats.”

This is what R2P looks like from a Russian perspective. If NATO refuses to pressure Ukraine to implement Minsk, and refuses to offer any assurances on NATO membership and is going to sanction Russia anyway, then why not just recognize the breakaways independence and have them invite in Russian “peacekeepers”?

I really wish our political and media pundits would provide a little bit of history and context in their pronouncements. You can’t smash up up countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria Libya, Panama, etc. then whine about sovereignty and act all butt-hurt when other countries take actions to protect their security.

Who am I kidding? The Blob and US corporate media can lie with impunity, describe the US, NATO and Ukraine as pure as driven snow, while depicting Putin and Russia as the personification of evil, and Americans will nod in agreement.

The rest of the world, however, understands very well that now the rules have changed.

Update: It’s on. Russia has launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the goal of which Putin claims is not to occupy the country but to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” it.

The Russian invasion the corporate media has been shrieking about for months has finally happened. Of course a stopped clock is right twice a day too.

And, while right on the invasion, the corporate media is wrong or lying on the reasons why. For instance, they are trying to censor any talk about the known actions by NATO powers and Ukraine which experts have long warned would lead to this situation. You’re not allowed to talk about the known US/NATO/Ukraine actions which demonstrably led us to where we’re at. You’re only allowed to say Putin attacked Ukraine completely unprovoked, in a vacuum, solely because he is evil and hates freedom.

The propaganda in our country is brutally effective. Americans, especially liberals, have spent the last few years being persuaded to hate Russia through hatred of Trump and Russia-gate. Conservatives are just as persuadable. The usual approach is to sucker people into believing they are defending freedom, protecting democracy or destroying tyranny.

I witnessed it yesterday in a conversation with a normally rational and skeptical friend, who became heated and claimed that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was like so totally different than the US invasion of Iraq. It just was and there was nothing I could say.

So why did Russia finally invade?

I believe that Ukrainian President Zelensky’s comments at the Munich Security Conference in favor of acquiring nuclear weapons was one of the decisive factors, but the fact that Ukraine is already a de-facto member of NATO, while being pumped full of advanced weapons and military trainers, surely played a part in Putin’s decision.

Stay tuned.

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