Sanction Yourself: The West's Hypocrisy Over Russia
Joe Moncarz, March 2022
The uproar over Russia's invasion of Ukraine is once again exposing the hypocrisy and racism of the West. (Not that it was ever in doubt.) Now, I'm never in favor of war, and I'm not defending the Russian government's actions. It's just that I have a good memory and I can apply the concept of justice to everyone, and not just to certain groups of people that happen to look like me, have the same skin color, have the same love of cabbage, or have the same allergy to politicians.
But the response to Russia's invasion is curious. No one has batted an eye while Saudi Arabia has been bombing the hell out of Yemen – with U.S. funding support – killing more than 300,000 people since 2015. Where were the sanctions? No one gives a rat's ass about Palestinians, as Israel carries on its policy of slow genocide – again, with U.S. and European support – going on now for 80 years. Western governments were silent when the U.S., the U.K. and their allies invaded and destroyed Iraq – killing 2.4 million people. (Davies 2018) Or when they bombed Syria (including purposely bombing Syria's largest dam). Or that the Congo has been kept in a state of war, killing more than five million people in the last 25 years, so that the West can maintain access to rare earth metals for their gadgets. Or when they invaded Afghanistan. The U.S. bombed Afghanistan for twenty years, left it in ruins, and killed over 400,000 people.
Let's talk about Afghanistan for a moment. President Biden and the U.S. Government has just seized $7 billion dollars from the Afghan government, and the people of Afghanistan are now on the brink of starvation. 23 million people face hunger and malnutrition, while UNICEF warns that one million children will die this winter. The U.S. and the West doesn't give a shit. They're trying to teach the Taliban and the people of Afghanistan a lesson.
And speaking of teaching a lesson. The U.S. sanctions on Iraq killed 500,000 children. In a 1996 TV interview, Leslie Stahl asked U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright of the U.S. economic sanctions on Iraq: “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”
Albright replied, “I think this is a very hard choice. But the price–we think the price is worth it.”
The West loves economic sanctions, while everyone knows they don't work. (Licht 2015; Peksen 2019) They are a form of collective punishment on entire populations, causing hunger, malnutrition, disease, death, misery and suffering. Ah, the wonderful, wonderful West.
It should also be noted that the U.S. and European nations goaded Russia to invade Ukraine. Back in 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker promised to Russia that NATO would not expand “one inch” eastward of Germany. Yet over the ensuing thirty years, it's expanded over a thousand miles, right to the Russian border. Everyone knew the Ukraine entering NATO would not be tolerated. This is not excusing the invasion, merely highlighting that the U.S. and West created the conditions to make it likely. After all, would the U.S. tolerate Russian missiles in Mexico or Canada? Of course not. Would the French want Russian missiles in little, old Luxembourg? I mean, just look at the hissy fit the U.S. government threw when the Soviet Union placed missiles in Cuba in 1962. That's hypocrisy.
Furthermore, the U.S. backed a coup of the democratically-elected leader of the Ukraine in 2014. They have since been flooding weapons to the Ukraine government and right wing paramilitaries. The Ukraine military and right wing paramilitaries have been bombing the Russian-speaking parts of the Ukraine, killing more than 14,000 people since the 2014 coup. Never heard of that? That's your Western propaganda.
And finally, it wasn't the U.S. or England or France that won World War 2 and defeated Hitler. It was the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union lost more than 27 million people in the war. The U.S. was happy doing business with the Nazis and avoided entering the war as long as it could. American and European corporations were aiding the Nazis right up to the end. "Neutral" Swiss banks were funding and enabling the Nazis. The U.S. government knew of the death camps killing Jews as early as 1941 and never did a damn thing. Never heard of that? That's your Western propaganda.
Before you start accusing the Russians of war crimes, look at NATO.
NATO is no slouch when it comes to barbarism and war crimes, either. In 1999, NATO bombed Serbia for seventy-eight days straight, killing at least 2,500 people and injuring 12,500. They purposely bombed a Serbian television station, killing sixteen people. They damaged 25,000 homes, destroyed 470 kilometers of roads, and 600 kilometers of railway.
NATO bombed Libya nearly 10,000 times over seven months in 2011 in order to remove Qaddafi, who was calling out the West too often, and supporting resistance and revolutionary movements around the world. And his socialist redistribution policies financed by oil also made the West look bad, with extremely high literacy rates and among the highest life-expectancy in the world. He was a repressive dictator to be sure, but the West has no problems with dictators – as long as they “play ball” (Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, for example.) Qaddafi did not play ball. His worst move, which immediately precipitated the NATO bombing, was to move to nationalize its oil. There we go. Oil again. So NATO destroyed Libya's water infrastructure, for which the Libyan people are still paying the price today. Qaddafi's Great Man-Made River project was the world's largest immense irrigation scheme to open up more areas of the desert to agriculture. It provided 70% of the country's fresh water. NATO bombed it. NATO directly killed over 400 innocent people. But more important, NATO turned Libya into a failed state. According to the United Nations’ Human Development Index, which measures health, education, and income, Libya ranked number one in Africa in 2010. Today it is 105th in the world.
And that's just NATO, which pales in comparison to the war crimes committed under every single American president that ever lived. And its nothing compared to war crimes of the English (Ireland, India), the French (North Africa and Haiti), and the Belgians (the Congo). And all their “little” war crimes that they've been committing ever since in all the other little countries no one cares about.
But back to Ukraine and Russia.
Now the New Zealand government is considering sanctions on Russia. Did they care while the Ukraine government was bombing the Russian-speaking parts of the country? When did they ever consider sanctions against Israel for stealing Palestinian land? Or Saudi Arabia for bombing the shit out of Yemen? Or the U.S. - for everything?
Angry dockworkers in the U.K. are refusing to unload Russian oil from freighters. (Clinch 2022) Did they do the same with oil coming from the destruction of the Niger Delta? Do they refuse to unload Saudi Arabian oil?
You see, hypocrites. Perhaps it's that Ukrainians look like classic, Aryan Europeans: fair skin, blonde hair, blue eyes. If you don't look like that, the West clearly doesn't give a shit about you.
Actually, David Sakvarelidze, the former deputy prosecutor general of Ukraine, said exactly that in a recent interview, saying that “it’s very emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blonde hair being killed”. (Harvey 2022)
And CBS News senior foreign correspondent Charlie D’Agata underscored that racism when he said, “This isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades...This is a relatively civilized, relatively European — I have to choose those words carefully, too — city, where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it’s going to happen.” (Harvey 2022)
The West, racist as always.
So before condemning Russia, ask yourself, Do you react the same way when a non-white, non-European country is invaded?
The West should do the world a favor and sanction itself.
Clinch, Matt. (2022, March 6). “Angry dock workers in the UK are refusing to unload Russian oil due to Ukraine invasion.” MSN. Retrieved from https://www.msn.com/en-xl/europe/europe-top-stories/angry-dock-workers-in-the-uk-are-refusing-to-unload-russian-oil-due-to-ukraine-invasion/ar-AAUGnpM
Cohen, Abel. (2019, May 10). "Thank Russia for Winning World War II". Counterpunch. Retrieved from www.counterpunch.org/2019/05/10/thank-russia-for-winning-world-war-ii/
Davies, Nicholas J.S. (2018 March 23). “How Many Millions Have Been Killed in America’s Post-9/11 Wars?” Mint Press News. Retrieved from https://www.mintpressnews.com/iraq-and-beyond-how-many-millions-have-been-killed-in-american-wars/239468/
Harvey, Josephine. (2022, February 27). “CBS Journalist Apologizes For Saying Ukraine More 'Civilized' Than Iraq, Afghanistan” Huff Post. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/media-racism-ukraine-conflict-coverage_n_621c08ffe4b0d1388f16a3dc
Licht, Amanda. (2015). "Hazards or Hassles: The Effect of Sanctions on Leader Survival." Retrieved from www.cambridge.org/core/journals/political-science-research-and-methods/article/abs/hazards-or-hassles-the-effect-of-sanctions-on-leader-survival/72F569C142323FD3AF3A57015B008010
Mohyeldin, Ayman. (2022, March 6). “Ukraine's refugee crisis exposes a stark media bias.” MSNBC. Retrieved from https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/msnbc-opinion/russia-s-ukraine-invasion-exposes-stark-media-bias-n1290914
Peksen, Dursun. (2019). "Political Effectiveness, Negative Externalities, and the Ethics of Economic Sanctions." Retrieved from https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/ethics-and-international-affairs/article/abs/political-effectiveness-negative-externalities-and-the-ethics-of-economic-sanctions/6CA0DE1E1955F036ED94F9BBB75F2A3D
Wamsley, Laurel. (2022, March 3). “Race, culture and politics underpin how — or if — refugees are welcomed in Europe.” NPR. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2022/03/03/1084201542/ukraine-refugees-racism