Thursday, May 04, 2006

Back to the rhetoric of the "evil empire"?

(Preparing for a new "Coalition of the Willing")

Russia uses its large resources of fossile fuels to blackmail other countries, and the country is suffering big democratic setbacks, Vice president Cheney said Thursday in a meeting with Baltic leaders.

He further criticized the country of putting limitations on human rights.

When one considers how the USA is treating prisoners in Guantánamo and in the CIA and army detention centres in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Eastern Europe, this criticism sounds rather hollow.

It is certainly relevant to blame Russia for not living up to human rights obligations, but it is hypocritical when the USA's own record in the area is taken into consideration, not only in regard to the treatment of detainees, but also in the area of economic and social rights, where the treatment of minorities and immigrant groups does not live up to UN standards.

So why the Vice's criticism? There seems to be no doubt that you have to look somewhere else for an explanation. The US is putting pressure on Russia up to the negotiations in the UN Security Council on the Iranian nuclear programme. It has not pleased Washington that China and Russia have taken a somewhat independent stance when it comes to agreeing on possible sanction or the military option. It might inspire the "freedom fries" eating French and other parts of Old Europe to get naughty again.
And it leaves the USA with the choice to go alone with a "coalition of willing", or not doing anything at all, - and that would be intolerable for a hard-liner like Cheney.


Blogger Sophia said...

The Vice needs ennemies and big ennemies wherever he goes because only this will give money to Halliburton and some kickbacks for him. It is obvious that his loyalty is elsewhere, not in the inetrest of america and the American people. So he is like savage beast going after a prey with hisown smell as orientation, just instinct, no analysis, no reason. Did you read Victorino's last post ? It is on the bestiality of neo-cons.

5:56 AM  
Anonymous Constant opposition said...

Cheney is definitely not my type of a favourite politician but this time he's right. Whatever ugly things the USA is doing in Guantanamo etc., it's still lightyears ahead of Russia as what comes to democracy and civic freedoms. In fact, it's positive that there are politicians today that criticize Russia in contrast to KGB puppies such as Putin's best friends Schröder and Berlusconi who prefer hushing Russia's tremendous human rights problems. And it's far preferable that the US Government can criticize its allies than the option of keeping their mouths shut as they do with paradises on earth in the type of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

BTW, Cosmic Duck, you surely have an opinion on the ongoing Swedish-Israeli diplomatic row on the Hamas visa decision? Would be interesting to read that here.


6:37 AM  
Anonymous cosmicduck said...


I do not agree with you. Considering the size of the American GDP pr capita, you would consider the US a state that should have attained a high level of modernity, thus attaining also a level of civility in its dealing with the humanitarian problems of the world. This does not seem to be the case. Hence it is necessary to point out the arbitrariness and callous policies of the neo-cons in Washington and their unilateralist approach to world politics. Each one of us has an obligation to take a stand on the side of human righteousness.

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Constant opposition said...

Sure, the current US Government is partly a bunch of semi-idiots in my opinion. However, they're still a far better bunch than Putin and all his former KGB mates in Russia, and despite what we think about the current US Government, the country itself has a far better human rights record than Russia. And it's an undisputable that current Russia is not what the country should have become after the Cold War. Just think about the concentration of power, corruption, lack of transparency, efforts to destroy the civic society and NGOs, killing their own citizens in Chechnya, discrimination of minorities, dozens of officially racist-motivated murders every year, semi-independent judiciary, ever growing role of security services etc. This must be criticized.

The US is anyway always criticized. If they rightfully criticize Russia, they're called hypocrites (which they to an extent are). If they don't criticize Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan etc., they're called hypocrites because they pack with such countries.

All in all, if I could choose between two theoretical alternatives, the US or Russia as the sole superpower, I'd head for the former. And I think it's far better than we have the US as the sole superpower than two superpowers, the US and the USSR, as the USSR was one of the most horrific countries ever in this planet. How would you choose among these alternatives?


8:25 AM  
Anonymous Cosmic Duck said...

I would probably also opt for the US. But that is partly because I'm lazy, and I would appreciate the higher standard of living.

You have to try to make a judgment where you distance yourself from material advantage. The US is living beyond its means. We would all of us like a high material standard of living, but the ecosystem and the available resources cannot yield such a surplus for all citizens in the world, - at least not without some kind of planning and equality in distribution.

Russia and the US are outcomes of historical processes. I do not think Putin's Russia is an ideal society - far from it. And I wouldn't like living there. But I have to come to terms with the fact that historical processes have resulted in such societies. And in that situation we have to accept that we live in a world where we are dependent on each other. The US don't accept this term, only in the unilateralist way in the neo-cons' interpretation, and that is unacceptable to the rest of us. In a world where justice reigns the remaining superpower must accept that multilateral systems of decision making take over. It's for the international community to decide what to do about the Iranian issue, - not the international community manipulated by the Americans. In that sense, Russia and China are countervailing powers, and that's the reason why I welcome what they're doing, - not out of any particular predilection for Putin and the transgressions of human rights taking place in Russia.

8:58 AM  

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