The Scary Not-So-Winding Street from Iraq to Ukraine

March 19 marks the twentieth anniversary of the US and British invasion of Iraq. This seminal occasion within the quick historical past of the twenty first century not solely continues to plague Iraqi society to at the present time, however it additionally looms giant over the present disaster in Ukraine, making it inconceivable for many of the International South to see the battle in Ukraine by the identical prism as US and Western politicians.

Whereas the US was in a position to strong-arm 49 international locations, together with many within the International South, to affix its “coalition of the prepared” to help invading the sovereign nation of Iraq, solely the U.Ok., Australia, Denmark and Poland really contributed troops to the invasion pressure, and the previous 20 years of disastrous interventions have taught many countries to not hitch their wagons to the faltering US empire. 

Right now, nations within the International South have overwhelmingly refused US entreaties to ship weapons to Ukraine and are reluctant to adjust to Western sanctions on Russia. As a substitute, they’re urgently calling for diplomacy to finish the battle earlier than it escalates right into a full-scale battle between Russia and the USA, with the existential hazard of a world-ending nuclear battle.

Neoconservative Concepts of Regime-Change

The architects of the US invasion of Iraq had been the neoconservative founders of the Mission for a New American Century (PNAC), who believed that the USA might use the unchallenged navy superiority that it achieved on the finish of the Chilly Conflict to perpetuate American international energy into the twenty first century. 

The invasion of Iraq would display US “full spectrum dominance” to the world, based mostly on what the late Senator Edward Kennedy condemned as “a name for twenty first century American imperialism that no different nation can or ought to settle for.”  

Kennedy was proper, and the neocons had been completely mistaken. US navy aggression succeeded in overthrowing Saddam Hussein, however it did not impose a steady new order, leaving solely chaos, loss of life and violence in its wake. The identical was true of US interventions in Afghanistan, Libya and different international locations. 

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For the remainder of the world, the peaceable financial rise of China and the International South has created another path for financial improvement that’s changing the US neocolonial mannequin. Whereas the USA has squandered its unipolar second on trillion-dollar navy spending, unlawful wars and militarism, different international locations are quietly constructing a extra peaceable, multipolar world.      

And but, paradoxically, there may be one nation the place the neocons’ “regime-change” technique succeeded, and the place they doggedly cling to energy: the USA itself. At the same time as many of the world recoiled in horror on the outcomes of US aggression, the neocons consolidated their management over US international coverage, infecting and poisoning Democratic and Republican administrations alike with their exceptionalist snake oil.

Company politicians and media prefer to airbrush out the neocons’ takeover and persevering with domination of US international coverage, however the neocons are hidden in plain sight within the higher echelons of the US State Division, the Nationwide Safety Council, the White Home, Congress and influential corporate-funded assume tanks.

PNAC co-founder Robert Kagan is a senior fellow on the Brookings Establishment and was a key supporter of Hillary Clinton. President Joe Biden appointed Kagan’s spouse, Victoria Nuland, a former international coverage adviser to Dick Cheney, as his Below Secretary of State for Political Affairs, the fourth most senior place within the State Division. That was after she performed the lead US position within the 2014 coup in Ukraine, which brought on its nationwide disintegration, the return of Crimea to Russia and a civil battle in Donbas that killed at the very least 14,000 folks.

Nuland’s nominal boss, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, was the employees director of the Senate International Relations Committee in 2002, throughout its debates over the approaching US assault on Iraq. Blinken helped the committee chairman, Senator Joe Biden, choreograph hearings that assured the committee’s help for the battle, excluding any witnesses who didn’t absolutely help the neocons’ battle plan.

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Biden Administration Persists with Neoconservative Insurance policies

It isn’t clear who is basically calling the international coverage photographs in Biden’s administration because it barrels towards World Conflict III with Russia and provokes battle with China, using roughshod over Biden’s marketing campaign promise to “elevate diplomacy as the first software of our international engagement.” Nuland seems to have affect far past her rank within the shaping of US (and thus Ukrainian) battle coverage.

What is evident is that many of the world has seen by the lies and hypocrisy of US international coverage, and that the USA is lastly reaping the results of its actions within the refusal of the International South to maintain dancing to the tune of the American pied piper.

On the UN Common Meeting in September 2022, the leaders of 66 international locations, representing a majority of the world’s inhabitants, pleaded for diplomacy and peace in Ukraine. And but Western leaders nonetheless ignore their pleas, claiming a monopoly on ethical management that they decisively misplaced on March 19, 2003, when the USA and the UK tore up the UN Constitution and invaded Iraq. 

In a panel dialogue on “Defending the UN Constitution and the Guidelines-Based mostly Worldwide Order” on the latest Munich Safety Convention, three of the panelists–from Brazil, Colombia and Namibia–explicitly rejected Western calls for for his or her international locations to interrupt off relations with Russia, and as a substitute spoke out for peace in Ukraine.

Brazilian International Minister Mauro Vieira referred to as on all of the opponents to “construct the opportunity of an answer. We can’t carry on speaking solely of battle.” Vice President Francia Márquez of Colombia elaborated, “We don’t wish to go on discussing who would be the winner or the loser of a battle. We’re all losers and, ultimately, it’s humankind that loses all the things.”

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila of Namibia summed up the views of International South leaders and their folks: “Our focus is on fixing the issue…not on shifting blame,” she mentioned. “We’re selling a peaceable decision of that battle, in order that your entire world and all of the sources of the world will be centered on bettering the circumstances of individuals around the globe as a substitute of being spent on buying weapons, killing folks, and truly creating hostilities.”

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So how do the American neocons and their European vassals reply to those eminently smart and highly regarded leaders from the International South? In a daunting, warlike speech, European Union international coverage chief Josep Borrell informed the Munich convention that the best way for the West to “rebuild belief and cooperation with many within the so-called International South” is to “debunk… this false narrative… of a double customary.”

However the double customary between the West’s responses to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and many years of Western aggression will not be a false narrative. In earlier articles, we’ve documented how the USA and its allies dropped greater than 337,000 bombs and missiles on different international locations between 2001 and 2020. That’s a median of 46 per day, day in time out, for 20 years. 

The US file simply matches, or arguably far outstrips, the illegality and brutality of Russia’s crimes in Ukraine. But the US by no means faces financial sanctions from the worldwide neighborhood. It has by no means been compelled to pay battle reparations to its victims. It provides weapons to the aggressors as a substitute of to the victims of aggression in Palestine, Yemen and elsewhere. And US leaders—together with Invoice Clinton, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden—have by no means been prosecuted for the worldwide crime of aggression, battle crimes or crimes in opposition to humanity.

As we mark the twentieth anniversary of the devastating Iraq invasion, allow us to be a part of with International South leaders and nearly all of our neighbors around the globe, not solely in calling for speedy peace negotiations to finish the brutal Ukraine battle, but in addition in constructing a real rules-based worldwide order, the place the identical guidelines—and the identical penalties and punishments for breaking these guidelines—apply to all nations, together with our personal.

The views expressed on this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially replicate Honest Observer’s editorial coverage.