Hypocrisy in effect

Kerry on Russia: “You just don’t” invade another country “on a completely trumped up pretext”

We should not have done the Kosovo Air War. They should not have done the Iraq invasion.
Now the U.S. cannot really claim that Russia is doing anything unusual, even through they violate the sovereignty of another country and a multinational treaty. At least not without being completely hypocritical.

Violated the Charter of the United Nations repeatedly (Panama 1989, Iraq 2002, Yugoslavia 1999)
Violated the North Atlantic Treaty repeatedly (same)
Invaded countries repeatedly (Panama 1989, Iraq 2002)
Did not bring any responsible individuals to justice for these violations

Many EU members:
Violated the Charter of the United Nations (Yugoslavia 1999; UK and Poland also Iraq 2002)
Violated the North Atlantic Treaty repeatedly (same)
(UK and Poland: Invaded a country (Iraq 2002))
Did not bring any responsible individuals to justice for these violations

Violated the Charter of the United Nations repeatedly (Georgia 2006, Ukraine 2014 apparently)
Violated the Budapest Memorandums repeatedly
Invaded a country (Georgia 2006)
Did not bring any responsible individuals to justice for these violations

I don't need to talk with someone who has a Russian perspective to see that the Obama administration's line is hypocritical. It's the same old story again; 'we' do what we want, rules apply only to others. Grow up.

P.S.: The lists are not meant to be comprehensive, nor do they include domestic behaviour. I think they prove the point that the West and the U.S. in particular don't own the moral high ground without being comprehensive. Putin could even invoke the Grenada excuse for an invasion.


  1. "Invaded countries repeatedly (Panama 1989, Iraq 2002)
    Did not bring any responsible individuals to justice for these violations"
    This is simply wrong.

    Norriega, Milosivich and Sadam Hussein were both brought to justice. There are many others.



    1. No, you're mistaken. The line was about the violations mentioned; and said violations were violations of treaties and aggressions committed by other people than those you mentioned.

      But I guess you knew that and made an incorrect reply intentionally in order to show that you stick with the official portrayal of these conflicts.

    2. Not to be flip, but you are seriously unqualified to make assertions about my "intent."

      The party line may be unpalatable for you because it conflicts with your internally consistent logic, but the failure to accept contrary opinions (including legal opinion) is your issue. In the end all international law is by accord; and in spite of claims to the contrary, there is no “world government” or “world court” that derives its power from anything remotely resembling the consent of the world’s population. *Every* country on this planet conducts a number of “illegal” activities such as espionage, while denying they do so. As in all cases, totalitarian regimes will use whatever tools at hand (including the law) to their purposes, but no people have been liberated from without the threat, or use of force. In the end, people are complete fools if they let others use the “law” to visit harm upon them.

      In Panama the U.S. had a *treaty* under which it retained the right to defend the Panama Canal; the presence of Cuban forces in the fuel farms supporting bases at Rodman and Howard is one of several incidents (including the completely unprovoked shooting of a US marine officer, and the abduction, rape, and torture of American dependents) that provoked the invasion. Removal of Noriega was wildly popular with most Panamanians (I lived there for years before and again after the invasion).

      In Iraq, the U.S. and Iraq had a cease fire - a temporary cessation of hostilities following the First Gulf War (which was conducted under U.N. Security Council resolutions); not a permanent peace. In enforcing the UN no fly zone the U.S. dropped more bombs than during the war. From a legal stand point, the U.S. had every right to resume combat operations in light of ongoing Iraqi massacres of civilian, noncompliance with UNSCOM, attempts to re-acquire ballistic missiles, firing of SAMs against U.S. aircraft, etc. The wisdom of the 2003 invasion, particularly the poor decisions made during the occupation, is certainly up for debate; but the legality of the conflict is quite sound, as was the overwhelming approval of most Iraqis to being rid of Saddam Hussein.

      By the way, when are you going to discuss the German role in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia rather than trying to foist all fault upon the USA for that war?


    3. I didn't make assertions; I explicitly wrote "I guess". Right now I'm not surprised you failed to appreciate the difference, though.

      The examples mentioned in the blog text are actually solid. It's a violation of the Charter of the United Nations if a country takes violent action against another without UNSC approval, that's basic Charter content. North Atlantic Treaty requires to respect the Charter, so there are the treaty violations.
      There's no way around the fact that the word "invaded" fits to what happened to Iraq 2003 and Panama 1989.

      Now to your assertions:
      I did not imply a world government or consent. I was making statements about treaty/charter violations and invasions, which are rather easily determined.

      Not *every* country commits crimes, if in doubt look up Nauru. Yes, claiming "every" one of way more than a hundred is inherently a bad idea.

      "people have been liberated from without the threat, or use of force" actually, look up how Apartheid ended.

      A handful of Cuban people in Panama outside the Panama Canal Zone are no aggressors against the Panama Canal Zone, so your attempted justification for '89 is bullocks. Domestic actions don't matter either, for the topic was about comparing the behaviour of states towards others. And you don't really doubt that Putin can easily claim and make up stories about domestic bad actions in Ukraine, right? And the low approval ratings of the U.S. government couldn't justify an invasion from abroad, or do you think so?

      The Iraq ceasefire belonged to the war of 1991 which was legalized by a UNSC resolution approving freeing Kuwait by force. This goal was achieved in 1991, so the approval for violence against Iraq had gone away and thus it doesn't matter whether Iraq violated a ceasefire or not; there was no IL legal basis for an invasion in 2003.

      I actually discussed the German role in the Kosovo Air War repeatedly, including in this blog text by writing "We should not have done the Kosovo Air War." and "Many EU members".
      But German is not of special interest because the blog text compares Russian actions to Western actions.

    4. "so your attempted justification for '89 is bullocks."

      You meant to say "bollocks". But everything else you wrote is wrong, so maybe that is a more appropriate word for you to use.

    5. Anon.

      The world is as SO imagines it: If the USA takes any military action it is wrong regardless of treaty, let alone the actual situation on the ground.

      Of course the EU is loath to ask the *bad* Americans to withdraw their troops from Europe.

      All this rubbish about collective defense is wonderful as long as the EU can rely upon US tankers, airlift, ordinance, and of course blood to actually provide the preponderance of the effort.


    6. “I actually discussed the German role in the Kosovo Air War repeatedly, including in this blog text by writing "We should not have done the Kosovo Air War." and "Many EU members".

      You call out every country by name *except* Germany.

      A bit more balanced text should have read “[Germany] should not have done [participated in] the Kosovo Air War."


    7. Huh, where do I even mention the classic European interventionist country, France?

      And sorry, but I as the author have the right to choose my own words. You got no say on this, and "we" is not wrong since it's exactly what I meant.

    8. Forgot to add: there's a reason why I didn't mention the 1991 Iraq War, and this reason means that your idea of how I 'imagine' the world is wrong.
      You just seem to wish (imagine) that I'm an unhinged, unbalanced guy who can easily be dismissed as writing nonsense, and you probably do so because you're not that good at addressing head on the facts brought forward.

    9. You just seem to wish (imagine) that I'm an unhinged, unbalanced guy who can easily be dismissed as writing nonsense, and you probably do so because you're not that good at addressing head on the facts brought forward.
      Wrong again.

      I came to this website to read about defense analysis; your work on IFVs for example was excellent.

      Sadly, you are intolerant of competing views; worse you carry a grudge when none is offered.


    10. Disagreement isn't the same as intolerance. You can read your comments here, right?

      Granted; the hardware stuff is in part a lure to promote the pro-peace content. http://tinyurl.com/o33x6rt

  2. The funny thing is our leaders actually believe their own bullshit.

    This is where a return to 19th century conceptions of power politics would be useful. Great powers should conclude formal treaties with each other delineating spheres of influence in order to prevent minor conflicts in the periphery from escalating into major wars.

    The UN and other international organizations need to be reformed to recognize this. It's just as stupid for it to be illegal for Russia to intervene in the Ukraine as it is for it to be illegal for America to intervene in Panama (Iraq is a different story). International law that doesn't reflect international reality is doomed to fail, and fail badly (e.g. the League of Nations).

    Great powers for their part of course also need to restrain themselves, and the USA has been doing very badly at this.

  3. The NATO is annoyed because Putin did his blatant violation of treaty waay faster than NATO etiquette prescribes! For instance he didn't even start pretending to get the UN to sanction the troops! Barbarian!

  4. Don't forget NATO's adventure in Libya, and countless other coups and interventions in Asia, Africa and Latin America by the beacon of freedom and democracy.

    1. Libya was done with a UNSC resolution.

      And as mentioned; the list doesn't need to be complete for the desired effect.

    2. Libya was done by perverting UNSC resolution. At least this is what Russian diplomats say on the subject (they abstained on the vote). They, and the rest of the world weren't impressed to say the least. Since when is it's NATO's mission statement to bomb a North African country? I thought NATO was all about defending its members? It's my opinion that NATO needs to change its ways or even disband entirely for they have been subverted.

  5. This is not about the USA and Russia, this is about Europe* and Russia.

    U.S. national interests diverged from those of Europe at the end of the cold war - the USA can resign from NATO pack up its troops and go home, thank you.

    However, the “European Union” and all its institutions stand for nothing if Europeans are unwilling to take real action to undo military expansion within Europe.

    Le toca.

    1. I have difficulties understanding why so many people are so much into interventions that they cannot see how (collective) self-defence and deterrence are huge achievements in themselves.
      The EU stands for its own security and peace - the security and peace of much of the continent that's one of the notorious hot spots of military history.
      That's far from "nothing".

    2. The EU stands for its own security and peace …
      That's far from "nothing".

      No, the EU is *nothing*, because there is no *European will* to actually fight for anything.

      True collective defense is indeed note worthy, but that is not what the EU/NATO have become. The backbone of NATO has always been the U.S. military. Libya showed how incompetent, unprepared, and unwilling European nations are to conduct military action. In the 21st century it is the USA that is shackled to the feckless EU corpse.

      So while the EU countries congratulate themselves on treaties and high courts; Putin is already calculating his next move, confident that there will be no significant reaction from the west. The real fun will be when the Russians come to the aid of the Serbs and roll through Kosovo. Maybe Brussels will issue a strongly worded démarche! It sure worked with Bashar Assad!


    3. There is no will to fight because nobody attacks us. There would be will to fight once some power attacked us.
      The world learned to accept that European great powers waging war against each other in Europe is no good idea, so nobody attacks us.
      Great, mission accomplished.

      Same with or half-hearted military actions, especially the ones in which we cooperate with the U.S. (which is quite often to European governments more about fostering partnership than about dealing with some distant issue).
      Nobody is really provoking Europe into going into wartime mode. We're just pushing something around with a little finger. Look at the air power contributions to the Libya bombings; mere fractions of the respective air forces.

      You're one of the 'Europe can't fight its way out of a wet paper bag' crowd, I get that. But it's a rather naive and superficial position.
      It's like judging the fighting power of a heavyweight pro boxer by observing his reaction to an annoying flea.
      You're more impressed by the other guy in the room who's equipped with electrocution tennis racket, mosquito net, insect poison spray et cetera and runs around cussing loudly about fleas. I'm not.

    4. There is no will to fight because nobody attacks us…


      The first bit is laughable, but raises an interesting point: if Europeans are so secure, why don’t the EU powers disband NATO and ask the USA to withdraw its troops?