Critics charge that US history of cherry-picking international rules gives license for other powers to do the same
Published on Thursday, March 20, 2014 by Common Dreams – Jon Queally, staff writer
Eleven years ago this week, the U.S. decided to sidestep international law in its rush to invade the sovereign nation of Iraq. In doing so, charge critics, it has helped open a pandora’s box of imperial lawlessness that is now rearing its head in Ukraine.
Amid warnings that what’s taking place as Russia battles the U.S. and European nations over a new government in Kiev and Crimea’s vote to officially secede from Ukraine is the beginning of a new ‘Cold War,’ many observers have called out western hypocrisy when it comes to the White House and Downing Street pointing fingers at the Kremlin.
“In an era in which exceptionalism has become the norm, where the cavalier disregard of domestic and/or global objections is considered politically acceptable, and where powerful nations can exercise a free hand in determining the future of less powerful ones when strategic interests are involved.” —Randall Amster, Georgetown University
Taking that point further on Thursday, Randall Amster, director of the Program on Justice and Peace at Georgetown University, argues in a piece at Common Dreams that despite all the rhetoric, sanctions, and threats of further “punishment” coming from Washington, the missing analysis about Ukraine is how it represents a kind of “foreign policy blowback” resulting from “the US-led wars and interventions of recent years” in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Amster points out that by ignoring international law when it suited their own interests, the U.S. and U.K. set the stage for others (at least those with the requisite military and political might) to follow suit:
As many pointed out at the time, the invasion of Iraq in particular foretold a world wracked by disregard for international norms and defined by the mercenary pursuits of national self-interest. In setting a template for the policy engagements to follow, this archetype of adventurism ushered in an era in which exceptionalism has become the norm, where the cavalier disregard of domestic and/or global objections is considered politically acceptable, and where powerful nations can exercise a free hand in determining the future of less powerful ones when strategic interests are involved. It would be hard to conceive of a more pointed version of realpolitik, and the term is doubly poignant in light of the outcomes we are seeing today.