Russia is bad. It is very, very bad because it wantonly violates the sacred Rules that ensure International Order. You see, the West has “cemented the rules-based world order” and Russia is just too stupid to understand them, according to the European Journal of International Law. The following was published in July 2021:
Following Vladimir Putin’s meeting with Joe Biden in Geneva last month, Mr. Lavrov signaled his discontent with the “warnings” uttered by US officials after the talks in Villa La Grange had ended. . . .
At these meetings, the West supposedly ‘cemented the rules-based world order concept’ as opposed to the universal principles of international law, with the UN Charter as its primary source. Russia’s main objection is the lack of clarity. Mr. Lavrov states that the West ‘shies away from spelling out the “rules” it purports to follow, just as it refrains from explaining why they are needed.’ Whoever acts against the will of the West is immediately, and without any evidence, accused of being a rule breaker, he writes. Particular scorn is reserved for the habit of the Western family to call itself ‘an anchor for democracy, peace and security.’
I feel compelled to help Mr. Putin and Mr. Lavrov understand these new rules in light of their self-professed confusion about the substance of those rules. Here goes:
Rule #1 — no domestic political opposition group of party has a right to protest an election or use force to change a government. But there are a few exceptions to this rule. If you are American colonists rebelling against Britain then protest and violence are okay as long as you are fighting for your own liberty. Ditto if you are a Russian organization that opposes Vladimir Putin. If you are Iranians rebelling against Mullahs, then that is a great thing. The United States policy is a bit flexible on this point. It is firmly opposed to domestic political opposition parties using protests and violence against a duly elected government unless the protests and violence are directed against Ukraine’s President Yanukovych in early 2014 or Vladimir Putin. Then it is okay.
Rule #2 — If Washington does not like the guy or gal in power in a foreign country, then it is okay to unleash a mob and kill a few folks in order to replace that leader. That is why it was “legal” for the United States to intervene in foreign countries and eliminate leaders like Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi and Manuel Noriega. The corollary to this rule is that the United States also has the right to foment a civil war in Syria, arm Islamic extremists and seize oil assets for itself. Somebody has to pay for these military adventures.
Rule #3 — It is strictly prohibited to interfere in the elections in foreign countries unless those countries happen to be Iraq, Venezuela, Greece, Ukraine, Pakistan, and Israel. The United States reserves the sole right to fund foreign opposition leaders as long as it serves the interests of Washington.
Rule #4 — No country may invade another country unless the leader of the invading country convinces his or her citizens that a national security interest is at stake. Once you invoke national security then you may invade Iraq (twice), Afghanistan, Syria, Vietnam, Panama, the Balkans, Somalia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Lebanon. If you are the United States you do not need the permission of the United Nations.
Are you familiar with the wristband, WWJD? (What Would Jesus Do?) I propose creating a new wrist band and presenting it as a gift to Vladimir Putin. The band reads, WWUSD. It means — What Would the United States Do? I think that will be a big help for Putin and Lavrov in navigating this new world order of Western cemented rules.
However, the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (aka PRIO) has some caveats for Russia:
Putin argues that NATO has broken its promise not to expand eastwards. But no binding promise was ever made. In any case, the decisive contribution of international law in this debate is that a state’s right of self-determination also includes Ukraine’s right to choose its own alliances.
As long as the Americans had their fingers crossed behind their backs, a promise does not count. Unless the Americans and Russians do a pinky finger shake and swear on providing cheap oil to the United States, no promise is valid.
Nor can Russia invoke the right of self-defence pursuant to Article 51 of the UN Charter as a defence against NATO expansion. No such right to preventive self-defence is recognized in international law.
Absolutely! Even though you see a foe building up its military force on your border and conducting military exercises, you cannot act to stop them until they actually attack you. The U.S. violated this principle during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It should have waited until the nuclear missiles were prepped and loaded.
Further, Russia claims that a genocide is being committed against Russians in eastern Ukraine. But genocide requires an intention to partially or completely eradicate an ethnic group, and this is obviously not the case.
Let me think. I seem to recall that the Bandera loving Ukrainian Government prohibited using the Russian language in the public sphere:
In April 2019, the Ukrainian parliament voted a new law, the law “On supporting the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the State language”. The law made the use of Ukrainian compulsory (totally or within quotas) in more than 30 spheres of public life, including public administration, electoral process, education, science, culture, media, economic and social life, health and care institutions, and activities of political parties. The law did not regulate private communication. Some exemptions were provided for the official languages of the European Union and for minority languages, with the exclusion of Russian, Belarusian and Yiddish.
Not only did Ukraine try to put the kibosh on the use of the Russian language, it bombarded civilian areas in the Donbas with artillery and rockets since 2014.
Moreover, even if a genocide had taken place, Russia would have no right under international law to conduct a so-called humanitarian intervention. Such interventions must be approved by the UN Security Council (“responsibility to protect”).
Only the UN Security Council can stop genocide. If it does not approve intervention then it must not be genocide. Got it? This is tricky logic and you have to be a particular kind of degenerate to grasp it.
Putin can also not use an invitation from the two breakaway republics to justify the invasion. A right to secede could only be relevant for these two regions in the event of extreme human-rights abuses by Ukraine, which is something we have not seen.
An absolute firm principle, set in stone, unless you are Kosovo. If Kosovo asks NATO to rescue it from Serbia then that prohibition is no longer valid. NATO intervention supersedes anything the UN Security Council decrees.
Basically, Russia just needs to shut the hell up, bend over and let the West have its way until the U.S. and NATO are satiated, and then sit quietly in a corner and cause no further trouble. What’s wrong with that?