Sunday, 09 March 2014 06:28

Is Russia Guilty Of Violating International Law By Sending Troops To Crimea?

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The one good thing about America is the recognition that Americans like their Yoruba counterpart “do not sleep with their heads pointing in the same direction”. Where 5 Yorubas are gathered to debate any issue of interest to them, you could have as many as 7 or 8 opinions.  By the same token, where 5 or more Americans are gathered, you could have as many as 10 to 12 opinions or more because America   by their national temperament and disposition do not criminalize dissent like many totalitarian countries like Russia. Freedom of speech or expression is not just a mere slogan in America, it is what makes America so unique and special for purposes of any argument.

That said, Hypocrisy is a common trait in America because America does not appear to completely subscribe to the notion of “what is good for the goose should be good for the gander”. It is so because   America has arrogated to herself the right or the prerogative to criticize others for doing precisely the same thing they are doing. America has broken their own rules so many times without wanting any other country to tell them they are wrong. America wants to believe she should be able to get away with anything as the only super power and the only country who can more or less invite a thief to come steal while at the same time reserving the right to be the one to call for the arrest of the same thief. They love to gloat about being the only country in the world who can do what they do forgetting that America does not have a monopoly of wisdom. It’s a great country without any doubt but she also exudes in some apparent contradictions and self-righteous hypocrisy.

I see Obama’s indictment of Vladimir Putin for meddling in the affairs of Ukraine, one of Russia’s former Republics and for breaking international Law by sending his troops to the Crimea region as fitting that stereotype. The Ukrainians rather than trooping to the streets in a huge demonstration designed to   force their elected President to abdicate or resign, had a choice to wait till the next election to vote out their President just like Americans would normally have done. With encouragement from America and her Western allies, the Ukrainians had trooped to the streets and would not leave until they forced their President to take a hike of face instant death. Americans who don’t see anything wrong in the Ukrainians driving away their elected President   have refused to grant the same concessions to the Crimeans who say they no longer wish to be part of Ukraine.

They evidently sought help from President Putin who was more than happy   to oblige because Crimea has for more than 300 years belonged to Russia before Nikita Khrushchev arbitrarily   gave the place away to Ukraine even though more than 60 to 70% of the Crimean population have always identified with   Russia and they have never liked the idea of their being joined to Ukraine. They all speak Russian and they are not as crazy about the West and America as their brothers and sisters in Ukraine.

The KGB operative, Vladimir Putin is now pointing out to America and her allies that the current Government in Ukraine is as illegitimate as the new Government he is trying to legitimize in Crimea. He wants America to know that   if he is wrong to do what he is doing in Crimea, America has to be wrong for backing   the current Administration in Ukraine.  My position is that America and her allies are wrong to criticize Putin for his invasion of Crimea. Military solution is therefore out of the question for America who is just about ending a protracted war in Iraq and Afghanistan and was on the verge of entering another war with Iran, Syria and North Korea. How many wars can America fight? A diplomatic solution is by far the preferred option for both America and Russia because there is plenty of blame to go around as two wrongs don’t make a right.

 I predicted   in my article titled, “The GOP is doing more harm to America than Vladimir Putin” that Russia has every reason to want to hold on to Crimea. The whole development is not Rocket Science. What goes around comes around. America cannot justify or rationalize Ukrainian illegality while at the same time condemning the Russian illegality in Crimea.

The legality of violating International Law often depends on which country is committing the illegality. It is not a violation if the country is the ally of America. It is illegality only when the violation is committed by a country   which is not favored by America and her allies. I recall the tiny but powerful State of Israel making a similar incursions to Lebanon some years ago, with America standing shoulder to shoulder with the State of Israel which I call “America in the Middle East” I recall the same State of Israel in her famous Entebbe Raid, flying dare devil paratroopers to Uganda under cover of darkness to go release the Israeli hostage that foolish Idi Amin Dada was holding at the Entebbe Airport. America and her allies never accused Israel of violating International Law by entering Uganda without any authorization. I recall President Jimmy Carter sending troops to Teheran to go release American hostages by force if necessary. America did not talk of violating International Law at the time.

I recall George Herbert Walker Bush the Senior flying US Marines to Panama to go capture  President Noriega and to bring him back to America to stand trial and be jailed for many years. America did not talk about violating International Law at the time in reference to poor Panama. But when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, a former province of Iraq, hell broke loose. Saddam Hussein had to be flushed out of Kuwait for violating International Law.

The great Ronald Reagan once invaded tiny and helpless Grenada just because he could. He was not condemned for breaking International Law. He the same Reagan   invaded Gadhafi‘s Libya and nearly killed the man. He was not accused of violating International Law. John F. Kennedy in the Bay of Pigs Fiasco was reacting to Nikita Khrushchev putting some Nuclear weapons in Cuba. America viewed the move as a major security threat to America and was ready to take on Russia by fire and by force. J.F.K did not waste time ordering a naval blockade of Cuba or if Khrushchev did not blink and disassemble his weapons of war from Cuba which is less than 2 hours away by air from Miami. JFK was not going to tolerate the development for one minute. Nobody accused him of violating international Law. America would tell the world they don’t have to take orders from the UN if the strategic interest of America is threatened. By any country, they are going to war if necessary without the approval of the UN Security Council. It was that simple America does not think that Russia ought to be concerned that a country so close to her borders is so much in a hurry to become a member of NATO and the European Union which does not include Russia. Putin has every reason to be concerned just like JFK was terribly concerned when Russia moved her Nuclear arsenal within a striking distance of Miami. Which powerful nation would tolerate that? That is a legitimate question to ask.

I recall at one point that the Nigerian Government invaded and captured Bakasi Peninsula from the Cameroons because majority of the people living in the Bakasi creeks were mostly Nigerians. The Cameroons went to the International Court of Justice at The Hague backed by France and much of the West who claim that Nigeria has violated international Law. America took a different position when Far away Britain claimed the Falkland Islands in Argentina because they claim the majority of the people who live there were British farmers. Late Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, a   good friend and political soul mate of Ronald   Reagan led the move. America supported Thatcher and supplied her with everything she needed to defeat Argentina. America never said a word about violating International Law.

I have cited these few examples to show the double standard displayed by America and her allies on this issue. I cannot, however, see America going to a war with Russia over Ukraine or Crimea. Yes, America could freeze the assets of Russia in America and the West. She could declare economic sanctions against Russia. There is very little America can do beyond that. Because Russia is not Iran, Iraq, Libya or Lebanon. If Russia would not budge, America and her allies in Europe and NATO would have no choice than to withdraw their economic sanctions and to pursue the diplomatic option which will mean that   Russia has to be made to feel it is getting something in return for her efforts in Crimea.

 If the Referendum scheduled for March 16 goes forward and if it confirms that Crimea does not want to return to Ukraine, nobody can force her to capitulate under the Democratic precept and the Rule of Law that America and her allies  subscribe to. That is the bottom line.

Those who accuse Russia and Putin of being on the wrong side of history on Crimea had better think again. America and her western allies have left   open the door for Putin and Russia to laugh last and to laugh best  on the Ukrainian stalemate. If I were Putin, I would do exactly what he is doing. He is a strong leader but that does not make Obama a weak President like the Republicans are arguing. Barack Obama in a way is a victim of the American hypocrisy that has always been there long before Obama became President. I still trust in Obama to get most of what America wanted Russia to do. Whoever pays the Piper calls the tune. Obama can use the World Bank and the IMF to get Putin’s attention but not by war for sure.

I rest my case

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