History weaves a continual story of the rise of empires and their subsequent fall, under pressure of growing resistance to their writ by peoples and countries held in their grip.
This is simply because regardless of language, culture or religion the need to be respected, free, independent, and to live with dignity is universal and unquenchable, and as such long recognized as human rights.
Empire, by definition, represents the denial of those rights, and as such have always been a source of conflict.
Something that all empires have in common is that when challenged they deploy not only military force and intimidation in response, but also a narrative painting themselves as the side whose rights are being violated, with those resisting depicted as a threat to peace, security, and the natural order of things.
What US and Western ideologues such as Mr. Carter and his colleagues – chief among them the notorious neocon Victoria Nuland – cannot get their heads round is that the cause they serve so faithfully and passionately – US supremacy – is ignoble, unworthy, and unjust.
More significantly, it is a cause and a reality that has underpinned a world of chaos and conflict, involving the destruction of nations, societies, and cultures, responsible for the suffering of tens of millions of human beings at the same time.
Afghanistan is a failed state. Iraq is a failed state. Libya is a failed state. The global South in its entirety has seen its natural economic, social, and political development retarded over decades, reduced to a subordinate role as repository of the natural and human resources required to feed the hyper and unsustainable consumption of the United States.
Challenging this state of affairs, struggling to end the injustice it describes, is not a case of “saber rattling,” as Mr. Carter claims, it is an absolute necessity in order to stem the deepening instability and proliferation of terrorism caused by the determined attempt of US hawks and neocons to exploit the terrorist atrocity of 9/11 to reshape the world in their own image by force.
In a recent speech riddled with half-truths, untruths, and downright lies, the most offensive part is where the US Defense Secretary tries to conflate the threat posed by ISIL with Russia and China. “Terror elements like ISIL, of course, stand entirely opposed to our values. But other challenges are more complicated, and given their size and capabilities, potentially more damaging,” he said.
ISIL, also known as ISIS and Islamic State, is a product of US policy in the Middle East since 2003, when along with its UK ally it unleashed a disastrous war on Iraq, subverting international law and the United Nations in the process. The end result of this war and subsequent occupation was the destruction of Iraq and the destabilization of the entire region. It was out of this destabilization that ISIL emerged.
Worse, US efforts to meet the threat of the medieval butchery and barbarism of ISIL over the past year and more have been self evidently ineffective and insincere, driven as Washington has been by efforts to effect regime change in Syria. Those efforts have only succeeded in prolonging the most brutal conflict the world has seen in decades, pushing Syria perilously close to the abyss, while precipitating the worst refugee crisis since the end of the Second World War.
Russia’s intervention in the Syrian conflict, on the side of the country’s legitimate and sovereign government, has done more to hurt ISIL in a month than the US and its allies managed in over a year. It is therefore a gross insult to infer that Russia and ISIL belong in the same breath. In fact, it is an outrageous lie that demands retraction.
Moving on, when Mr. Ashton claims that, “In Europe, Russia has been violating sovereignty in Ukraine and Georgia,” he is clearly suffering from an acute case of cognitive dissonance. In other words the spectacles through which he understands the world need to be changed for a pair that will afford him a clear view and understanding rather than a distorted one.
In 2008 a Washington puppet named Mikhail Saakashvili was Georgia’s president. Supported in his efforts by the US, Saakashvili was intent on confrontation with Russia, using the pretext of unrest in South Ossetia to engage in military action against its civilian population, during which Russian peacekeepers were killed.
Georgia under his leadership was being used as a US cat’s paw, angling to be admitted into NATO as its government engaged in the most base and crude anti Russian propaganda in an effort to win the Empire’s approval. Russia was well within its rights to meet the growing threat posed by Saakashvili’s aggression in order to return stability and security to its border and its people living there.
Likewise when it comes to Ukraine, where that country’s legitimate government was toppled by a coup involving neo-fascists and ultra-nationalists at the beginning of 2014, openly supported by US officials and politicians such as the previously mentioned Victoria Nuland and Senator John McCain.
Russia in this instance was not the aggressor but rather acted to stem the aggression that subsequently poured east from Kiev under a government whose writ millions of Ukrainians refused to accept. Ethnic Russians living in Eastern Ukraine and in Crimea immediately came under threat from forces intent on their submission, threatening Russia’s security at the same time.
Would Mr. Carter and his colleagues accept such a scenario on the border with Mexico or Canada? Would they stand by and do nothing while a democratically elected government is forcibly removed by an armed mob, imperiling the lives of millions of civilians looking to it for protection?
No, the world described by the US Defense Secretary, and by his State Department colleague, Victoria Nuland, is a fantasy world akin to one of the cowboy movies that Hollywood used to churn out one after the other. Unfortunately for them, however, Russia and China are not the Indians depicted in those movies, the bad guys intent on challenging the “international order.”
For what they describe as international order is in truth US domination. What they call stability is in reality submission to Washington. And what they describe as a threat to peace is in fact resistance to the chaos wrought after a decade of the US and its allies rampaging around the globe like a juggernaut of destruction.
Russia and China do not seek supremacy or domination. They seek instead partnership, cooperation, and parity in a world that demands and will accept nothing less.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT. Nor do they necessarily represent those of Human Wrongs Watch.
**Painting of a Vaquero in action roping cattle during 1830s Spanish California.| Source: The Old West- “The Cowboys” | Author: Time Life Books | public domain | Wikimedia Commons