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Mar 12 2014

Rice the Latest Foreign Policy Hypocrite

Former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice joins the long list of current and former officials showing breathtaking but predictably hypocritical positions on Russia’s invasion of Crimea and other activities in the Ukraine.

The immediate concern must be to show Russia that further moves will not be tolerated and that Ukraine’s territorial integrity is sacrosanct. Diplomatic isolation, asset freezes and travel bans against oligarchs are appropriate. The announcement of air defense exercises with the Baltic states and the movement of a U.S. destroyer to the Black Sea bolster our allies, as does economic help for Ukraine’s embattled leaders, who must put aside their internal divisions and govern their country.

Funny how the territorial integrity of Iraq wasn’t “sacrosanct” in 2003 when Rice was pushing for an invasion of that country as Bush’s National Security Adviser. And can you imagine how she would have reacted if other countries had responded to that invasion with “diplomatic isolation, asset freezes and travel bans”? Of course, we’re too powerful and wealthy for other countries to have done anything serious of that nature, but isn’t that exactly the reason why we should stop pretending that we think territorial integrity and sovereignty are “sacrosanct”? We don’t. We never have.

We should also STFU about democracy, human rights and “international norms.” Our government doesn’t give a damn about those things. We will gladly destroy a democracy (Mohammad Mossadegh, anyone?) and put a brutal thug in power to violate human rights in the most horrifying ways imaginable if it will keep the price of gas a bit cheaper or give us another place to dump toxic waste outside of our own country. And after 8 years of torture and another 5 years of refusing to bring the torturers to justice, the rest of the world can only roll their eyes when we blather on about human rights.

14 comments

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  1. 1
    colnago80

    And where was Rice during the Russian invasion of Georgia? Don’t recall that any of these actions were taken then.

  2. 2
    Synfandel

    We will gladly destroy a democracy (Mohammad Mossadegh, anyone?) and put a brutal thug in power to violate human rights in the most horrifying ways imaginable…

    Or Jacobo Árbenz in Guatemala, or Salvador Allende in Chile, or João Goulart in Brazil, or Isabel Perón in Argentina.

  3. 3
    Nemo

    Actually, I recall the Bush administration being very concerned with Iraq’s territorial integrity — they said they wouldn’t break it up, and wouldn’t create a Kurdistan, or independent Sunni/Shiite states, etc. “Territorial integrity” doesn’t mean “you shouldn’t invade other countries”; it only means “you shouldn’t carve off bits of countries (like Crimea from Ukraine)”. In this view, national borders are sacrosanct — even if they’re of recent vintage, arbitrary, and don’t coincide with the wishes of an area’s inhabitants.

  4. 4
    Synfandel

    @3 Nemo wrote:

    …it only means “you shouldn’t carve off bits of countries (like Crimea from Ukraine)”.

    So, invading Crimea would be okay as long as Putin also conquered the rest of Ukraine, keeping it whole, the way the Coalition of the Drilling kept Iraq whole. Now I understand.

  5. 5
    d.c.wilson

    Latest? Rice has been a foreign policy hypocrite for over 14 years now.

  6. 6
    David C Brayton

    I don’t view the 2003 invasion of Iraq as similar to the 2014 invasion of the Ukraine. At least it was a coalition of several countries that went into Iraq after the UN issued certain declarations after debate amongst the members..

    Putin’s action’s in Crimea are similar to those of Iraq invading Kuwait in 1998. Iraq made the pretext that Kuwait was always theirs and they wanted it back. So, they took it. Putin is essentially making the same argument about Crimea (and Ukraine). And I don’t see him developing a coalition of others or consulting the UN.

    I’m not saying that the 2003 Iraq war was justified or that America actually somehow considers borders sacrosanct.

    The the criticism or Rice’s arguments isn’t very strong.

  7. 7
    Michael Heath

    I too fail to conclude there’s an analog between our invasion of Iraq and Russia’s actions toward the Ukraine.

    However, I also haven’t seen any arguments that should have the U.S. hyperventilating in regards to Russia and the Ukraine. Especially when you consider how most of Eastern Europe is now solidly with the West.

  8. 8
    Raging Bee

    Funny how the territorial integrity of Iraq wasn’t “sacrosanct” in 2003…

    What’s somewhat less funny is how people like you can’t even hear Ukraine mentioned without immediately changing the subject to someone else’s hypocricy. Okay, Rice was wrong about a different policy in a different part of the world while serving a different President — how does that make her wrong today? And how much more consistently right do YOU have to be to deserve any more attention than Rice? Where’s the line here, and by what metric do you draw it?

    I asked these questions before, and you didn’t have an answer: did antisemitism in the US and UK mean we should never have done anything about Nazi Germany? Did racism in the US mean we should never have taken any kind of stand against apartheid in South Africa? And just how perfect does America have to get before, in your eyes, we have any right to take a stand against a bigoted gay-bashing backward fascist thug who’s using conquest to cover for his dismal failures at home?

    This is, what, the third post in which you’ve mentioned Ukraine, only to concentrate on bashing everyone who advocates doing anything about it? This really looks like someone desperately avoiding a subject he can’t bring himself to face, and looking for any excuse to shout down and ignore everyone who says anything he doesn’t want to hear.

    We should also STFU about democracy, human rights and “international norms.” Our government doesn’t give a damn about those things.

    This is nothing more than the standard libertarian anti-government dodge: “Gummint did bad things in the past, therefore we should never try to get gummint to do anything good.” It’s nothing but a dis-empowering escapist load of horseshit. And it sure as hell doesn’t do any good for democracy, human rights and international norms. It’s nothing more than an automatic reactionary argument against any attempt to change anything for the better.

  9. 9
    colnago80

    Re Raging Bee @ #8

    Fair enough. Now what do you think the US and Nato should do about Ukraine? Let’s remember that the Ukraine (as it was known before the 1990s breakup of the former Soviet Union) was a part of Russia for hundreds of years, as was the Crimea. The 1854 Crimean War between Russia on the one hand and Britain and France on the other hand is a case in point (The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Charge of the Heavy Brigade anyone?).

  10. 10
    Raging Bee

    PS: I’m really not sure I see the “hypocricy” here. Rice supported intervention against a brutal dictator in the past, and she’s supporting some sort of intervention against another brutal dictator now.

    Also, where does she actually advocate military attacks against Russian forces? All she’s advocated here is (for better or worse) the same sanctions and “diplomatic isolation” nearly everyone else is advocating. So why single out Rice here?

    Seriously, where’s the “hypocricy,” exactly?

  11. 11
    Raging Bee

    colnago: IDEALLY, it would be really fantastic if someone could hand Putin a stunning military defeat — that would sink his credibility and discredit nearly all of the regressive bigoted policies that have done his country so much harm; and it would embolden his opponents and advocates of democracy in Russia. Unfortunately, NO ONE is currently in any position to do that, least of all Ukraine, who have long promised not to do anything to kick Russian forces out of Crimea. So Crimea is pretty surely lost — but that only means we’ll likely have to face Putin down somewhere else; so in addition to strong sanctions of the type mentioned by Rice, Obama and others (which will require real sacrifices from the US and Europe), there will need to be a serious military buildup in Europe, with the stated aim of protecting former SSRs from further Russian incursions.

  12. 12
    colnago80

    Re Raging Bee @ #11

    there will need to be a serious military buildup in Europe, with the stated aim of protecting former SSRs from further Russian incursions.

    As a part of this strategy, would you consider encouraging Germany to develop a nuclear weapons capability? I don’t think that would go over well with her neighbors based on history; in addition, given the strong anti-nuclear sentiment in Germany, as reflected by Chancellor Merkel, I don’t think that’s on. It would seem that, in the absence of such a capability, Germany would be very reluctant to take part in a conventional military confrontation with Russia, unless directly threatened.

    By the way, as I have stated in a previous post by Brayton, I don’t think that Putin really wants to reintegrate Ukraine back into Russia. What he really wants is to keep it in the Russian orbit and prevent it from joining NATO or the EU, in addition to maintaining the Russian naval base at Sevastopol.

  13. 13
    Raging Bee

    As a part of this strategy, would you consider encouraging Germany to develop a nuclear weapons capability?

    Nuclear weapons are fucking useless; so no.

    I don’t think that Putin really wants to reintegrate Ukraine back into Russia.

    That may be true; but a) conquerors can easily change their minds, especially if their neighbors get really pissed at their aggression; and b) policies of war, conquest and imperialism can take on momentum and life of their own, regardless of what the guy who started it originally intended. If taking Crimea gives Putin a big enough boost at home, with little immediate cost to the country, then he may find himself with a groundswell of support for more of the same. He who rides a tiger cannot dismount.

  14. 14
    Raging Bee

    PS: …especially after he’s fed the tiger catnip to distract it from its troubles.

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