Periods of Upheaval

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/MOSCOW | | russische-foederationindienbrasiliensuedafrika

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/MOSCOW (Own report) - The EU and the USA are having little success in inducing friendly nations to join their sanctions against Russia. Following a visit by the EU's Foreign Policy Representative, Federica Mogherini, Ankara announced, Monday, Turkey will not support these measures, but rather continue its cooperation with Moscow. In India, as well, one hears in the lead-up to Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit - which begins today - that cooperation will be continued, because of common interests, for example to defuse Cold War-like tensions. India, along with other countries previously particularly close to the West - such as South Africa and Brazil - have a differentiated view of the Ukrainian conflict, a view, which does not exclude the West's role. For example, in the Indian debate, "the argument that Russia had re-drawn internationally recognized borders in Europe," is not taken seriously - after all, the West had done the same in destroying Yugoslavia, according to a report by the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation. A Norwegian think tank notes that Brazilian foreign policy makers are no longer inclined to remain silent on western countries' human rights violations, while loudly criticizing those of others. Observers find that the world "order" under western domination is beginning to crumble.

Without Success

The EU and the USA are pressuring friendly nations to join their sanctions against Russia - without success. During her working meetings with heads of the Turkish government last Monday, the EU's Foreign Policy Representative, Federica Mogherini futilely sought to convince Ankara to change course in its policy toward Moscow. Turkish government circles were quoted saying that Turkey will continue to cooperate with Russia. One of the reasons Brussels is so anxious to induce Ankara to join their sanctions, is Russia's President Vladimir Putin's announcement last week, to scrap the "South Stream" pipeline project to the EU, with the gas previously earmarked for the EU now being piped to Turkey - a hard blow for Berlin and Brussels. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[1]) Last Friday, India also explicitly announced its refusal to join the sanctions. In preparation for President Obama's visit to India, in January, Washington has particularly been applying pressure. New Delhi and Moscow have a "similarity in views on important global issues, including on the threats of terrorism, ... the need to defuse Cold War-like tensions that are increasingly manifesting themselves in global relations," declared a high-ranking official in the Ministry of External Affairs, according to whom, India and Russia would spell out a "joint vision of their relationship for the next 10 years" during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which begins today.[2]

Double Standards

A current publication of the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation provides indications of why India refuses to join western sanctions against Russia. According to this document, "most security policy experts in India ... consider the western justifications for sanctions to be inconsistent."[3] Western "support for regime change in the Arab World" - referring particularly to NATO intervention in Libya and the support for Syrian insurgents - begs the question as to the basis for the West's criticism of Russia's activities in Ukraine. The same must apply to western countries' "imposition of democracy with military force" - referring, for example, to the war on Iraq. In India, the argument that Russia redrew internationally recognized borders in Europe" is "viewed critically, in light, for example, of the Yugoslavian conflicts," according to the Adenauer Foundation, politely circumscribing Indian criticism of western double standards, which, as is known, had redrawn the borders of Yugoslavia in a war of aggression.

Ignorance

In India it is also inconceivable why the EU had not coordinated its "eastern partnership" with Russia, whose interests were being strongly jeopardized, reports the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. "From the Indian perspective, this had been a strategic mistake," particularly when Russia's president since 2007 had "repeatedly" criticized the "non-consideration of the interests" of his country, "without anyone in the West having paid serious attention." Moscow's reaction "to developments in Ukraine," following years of having important Russian interests ignored, was "to be expected." "Europe's prejudicial attitude toward Russia - as seen from the Indian perspective - is also difficult to understand," according to the paper, "because Russia hardly represents a threat to the transatlantic alliance." Should the West really feel threatened, it, "as the Indians see it, could have done more toward convergence and a reconciliation process with Russia" - in a peaceful way.[4]

Propaganda

Last summer, a summary of the Ukraine debate in South Africa, noted similar critical views toward the West. This is surprising, it was noted, because South Africa actually is strictly opposed to redrawing borders and, therefore, many in the West had expected South Africa to protest Russia's incorporation of Crimea, according to a "Policy Brief" of the Nowegian Peacebuilding Resource Center.[5] However, over the past few years, Pretoria has strongly condemned Western interventions, for example, in Iraq and Libya, and consistently taken a stand against US and EU interventions for "regime change" under the guise of "democracy promotion." Therefore, no necessity was seen in supporting the West's moves against Russia. The brief further notes that South African civil society organizations point out that it was the West, who first violated the principle of non-interference, by its support for the Maidan protests. Besides, there is massive criticism of western mainstream media outlets and the South African media's reliance on these sources for their reporting. Western reporting is often denounced as "propaganda."

The Greatest Threat

From Brazil, reports are similar. In May the "Policy Brief" of the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Center reported that in Brazil, one is reminded of "the West’s highly selective support of demonstrations and coup d’états in other countries."[6] For example, Brazilians recall that "despite its principled rhetoric" the West wasted no time in recognizing illegitimate putsch regimes - in Venezuela (2002), in Honduras (2009), and in Egypt (2013) and "actively support repressive governments when they used force against protest movements, e.g. in Bahrain." Brazilian observers ask, why did nobody propose excluding the U.S. from the G-8 in 2003 when it violated international law by invading Iraq? Why is Iran an "international pariah," while Israel’s nuclear weapons are quietly tolerated? Why are systematic human rights abuses and a lack of democratic legitimacy "in countries supportive of the U.S. acceptable, but not in others?" "Commentators in Brazil have argued that these inconsistencies and double standards are in their totality far more damaging to international order than any Russian policy," according to the Norwegian "Policy Brief." "If asked which country was the greatest threat to international stability, most Brazilian foreign policymakers and observers would not name Russia, Iran and North Korea, but the US."

Struggle over the Order

"It increasingly appears that the Western dominated post-Cold War era is over," judged the prominent Tokyo-based magazine, "The Diplomat," last spring. "But as of yet, no new order exists to replace it."[7] The current EU and NATO aggressions are attempts to salvage the old "order" or initiate another to their design. Their extraordinary aggressiveness can be explained by their fear of losing their old familiar hegemony.

[1] See The Scrapped Pipeline Project.
[2] India will not back sanctions against Russia. timesofindia.indiatimes.com 07.12.2014.
[3], [4] Lars Peter Schmidt, Kanwal Sibal: Indien. In: Russlands Annexion der Krim. Eine Auswahl internationaler Wahrnehmungen und Auswirkungen. Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung 2014.
[5] Elizabeth Sidiropoulos: South Africa's response to the Ukrainian crisis. Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre Policy Brief, June 2014.
[6] Oliver Stuenkel: Why Brazil has not criticised Russia over Crimea. Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre Policy Brief, May 2014.
[7] Zachary Keck: Why Did BRICS Back Russia on Crimea? thediplomat.com 31.03.2014.