Living in a world of illusion could backfire on Washington

Living in a world of illusion could backfire on Washington

“The US would be better off if it lived in a world of reality rather than a world of fiction in which countries obediently follow the lead of American politicians. Otherwise, the U.S. is doomed to disappointment and possibly failure,” the authoritative American publication Politico concludes in an analytical article entitled “Why the U.S. has failed to turn Russia into a total pariah.”

The author of the piece, a respected analyst: Daniel R. De Petris of Foreign Affairs Spectator and Defense Priorities, and Rajan Menon, a senior fellow at the Salzman Institute for War and Peace Studies at Columbia University, thoroughly dissect Washington’s desperate attempts to use sanctions to isolate Russia and impose a Russophobic agenda on other countries. And they summarise in the end that it has failed to do so.

“In much of the rest of the world,” they write, “the moral fervour evident in the West’s response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine is conspicuously absent. Instead, countries such as India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey and Indonesia have for the most part remained evasive, acting mainly to protect their economic and strategic interests… All have refused to publicly punish Russia, and as a result some, especially India, have come under heavy criticism in the United States. Even Saudi Arabia, which has long had close military ties with the United States, has rejected Washington’s request to pump more oil to reduce rising prices after Western sanctions against Russia were imposed.”

When considering what unites these countries that have refused unconditional support for the US, experts point out that these states “tend to view the war in Ukraine as a regional conflict rather than a serious threat to global stability, the laws and norms that underpin the world order, as the West does”.

And they cite the example of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who, while not supporting Russia’s invasion, believes that “Washington’s insistence on NATO enlargement has contributed to a crisis with Russia in Europe that eventually escalated into war”.

“Other countries,” De Petris and Menon state, “have put their national interests ahead of US calls to isolate Russia and impose sanctions. Israel and Turkey have not publicly condemned Russia and are trying to preserve important material gains as well as the opportunity to mediate between Kiev and Moscow. India, for its part, still values its economic ties with Russia and has taken advantage of preferential prices after the invasion to buy more than double the amount of Russian oil it bought in all of 2021. These countries believe that international efforts should focus on advancing a negotiated settlement in Ukraine, rather than using the war as an excuse to isolate Russia, much less weaken it.

The divergence of views, the authors of the article note, ensures that U.S. attempts to relegate Russia to pariah status will fail – not because many countries support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but because they want to protect the special benefits they derive from their relationship with Moscow. They also believe that publicly condemning Russia will not help end the war in Ukraine.

The authors of the Politico article also condemn Washington’s attempts to impose its policies on other countries through pressure and threats, which, they note, have “reacted angrily to the wringing of hands. A particularly dramatic example, they write, was with Imran Khan, until recently prime minister of Pakistan, who became angry at the EU for demanding that Pakistan vote in favour of a UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russia. “Are we your slaves that we will do whatever you say?” asked Khan.

Nor does it help that Washington defends its sanctions on the grounds that they are ostensibly necessary to punish countries that threaten the rules-based world order. For much of the Global South, this line of argument is hypocritical, given Washington’s history of abandoning these same principles when it was convenient.

The authors of the article recall NATO’s intervention in Kosovo in 1999, which was undertaken without a UN Security Council resolution; the 2003 war in Iraq, a preventive war for regime change launched on the basis of the false claim that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction; and the 2011 intervention in Libya, which went beyond the provisions of a 1973 UN Security Council resolution and turned into a war for regime change, against Muammar Gaddafi, leading to anarchy and rising terrorism in North Africa.

“We should not be mistaken about how far the rest of the world will go in supporting Ukraine,” Politico states. – “Washington has a bad habit of assuming that with the right pressure or prodding, other states will end up lining up behind the US when it tries to solve a problem, deal with a crisis or punish an aggressor.”

Another aspect of the inevitable failure of current US policy was pointed out, as reported by the English-language edition of RT, by former US Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter. He believes that US initiatives in Kiev will fail just as they failed in Afghanistan. In the latter, the US did not take into account one important point and appears to be repeating the mistake in the Ukrainian campaign.

It is about the level of corruption in the region. US officials (including congressmen) have created a strikingly misleading image of Ukraine as a “brave and noble bastion of freedom and democracy”. But nothing could be further from the truth. It is one of the most corrupt states in the world, as confirmed by the findings of international experts. “By supporting a Ukrainian army steeped in odious neo-Nazi ideology, the US is condemning itself to failure,” Ritter notes.

It is in the interests of the United States to have stable relations with Russia, but America’s policy towards Ukraine threatens Washington with serious consequences, National Interest columnist Brendan Flynn said.

He recalled that back in the early 2000s, the US was aware of Russia’s importance to the West in its rivalry with China and of the need to consider Ukraine as a factor in relations with the Kremlin. However, Washington decided to annex Kiev to the West. “It is this mistaken vision, resulting from a misinterpretation of the lessons of the United States’ victory in the Cold War, that is responsible for America’s misguided policy in Ukraine,” Flynn said.

There have also already been voices in the US protesting against the persecution of those who oppose this failed policy in Washington. “In our fragile democracy, dissent doesn’t seem to be prohibited,” the Washigton Post wrote. – Why then don’t analysts, academics and journalists challenge the prevailing ideologeme? Can it not even be questioned that the endless supply of arms to Ukraine is really the smartest move? Is it not possible to wish for a more meaningful discussion on the dangers of nuclear conflict? Why are dissenters vilified for reasoned and substantive criticism of Ukrainian right-wing radicals – and yes, nationalists? The resurgence of neo-Nazism and fascism is a touchy subject in much of Europe and America today. Why is Ukraine’s tarnished reputation hushed up and even denied?

And then she herself explains the reasons for the military psychosis. “U.S. arms conglomerates are lining up for the trough,” the Washington Post notes. – The fighting will take many more Ukrainian and Russian lives, but Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman will be golden….What is sorely lacking – whether on TV, on the internet or in Congress – is alternative views….To end the current hostilities will require new thinking that can challenge the conventional wisdom of our time. As the respected American journalist Walter Lippmann once remarked: “When everybody thinks the same thing, it means that nobody thinks much”.

How could it be otherwise, if Americans, as they themselves already admit, live in a world of their own making? It will be nothing short of a failure for the US, indeed.

Igor Veremeev, Centenary

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