2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine (Part 2)

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I don’t want to be too whataboutist in the face of what has proved a straight attempt at conquest and even genocide. But if the reasons here are invading a sovereign state without a mandate, not agreeing to respect international laws, and being increasingly fascist of late…well, it might help for certain countries to build up a little more moral high ground first. :frowning:

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there’s no “first” in politics or international relations

everything happens at the same time

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Ok, so maybe let me explain a little why I think this matters here. First I will note the USSR was always part of the UN, and it was important that it was. Not because it was a good country that respected its neighbors, but because there needed to be that venue to work with them and mediate disputes. The problem is that Russia has stopped respecting it. Plainly for international law to work countries need to care about what the UN says.

And as far as that goes, I think it makes a huge difference whether Russia is punished because imperialism is wrong or because imperialism is reserved for America. Because there was a huge breach of international law just twenty years ago, when the US decided to invade Iraq on a phone pretext without needing UN approval. Which, you know, killed thousands and destabilized the entire region, but of course nobody has ever been held to account, and if anyone ever tries that’s a reason to invade the Netherlands too.

I know that seems like a while ago but it’s not and it plainly matters to other countries. First, of course, Russia. That’s not to claim at all NATO somehow made him invade Ukraine…that’s nonsense. But I do think it’s notable that they’ve modeled all their pretexts after it. Of course we can invade Ossetia on our own, those are the rules now, you said so.

And it seems like other countries do listen. At least my understanding is a good number of them outside NATO haven’t been that interested in embargoing Russia in part because really, it doesn’t seem that different to them. Empires gonna empire, apparently, and why should they care about this one instead of the other?

So while I genuinely want Russia to be stopped, I worry that would make kicking them out of the UN look like it selectively enforces international law on behalf of the US. And that wouldn’t restore its prestige and international law at all – it would ruin it. I mean, why would Russia or China or Iran or Brazil or anyone agree to follow a “rules-based” system if it looks like that’s just America calling the shots?

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… maybe nine months of this is all people can take

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A better solution would be to just abolish the permanent seats on the Security Council and the veto power that goes with them.

Not just for Russia, but for all five countries with permanent seats. The rest of the world has put up with that bullshit long enough.

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News that surprises nobody

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5h ago07.06 GMT

Surviving in besieged Bakhmut ‘becoming harder and harder’

Residents of the besieged eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut are living in dire conditions, with civilians killed and wounded daily, the deputy mayor said as fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces raged around the city.

“With every day it’s becoming harder and harder to survive in this city,” Reuters reported Oleksandr Marchenko as saying from inside an empty government building as mortar fire boomed nearby.

He said more than 120 civilians have been killed in Bakhmut since Russia’s invasion in February.

There are districts where we don’t know the exact number of people killed because active fighting is ongoing there or the settlements are temporarily occupied [by Russian forces].

Ukrainian troops were “firmly holding the frontline”, Marchenko said, while describing a deteriorating humanitarian situation facing the city, where the population has fallen from its pre-war level of about 80,000 to as low as 12,000 today.

Bakhmut has been an important target for Russia’s military in its slow advance through eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, one of the territories the Kremlin claims to have annexed.

Kyiv’s military has said the area is the site of some of the heaviest fighting with Russian forces. Marchenko said Russia’s troops were “trying to storm the city from several directions”.

Bakhmut has been without electricity, gas and running water for nearly two months. The coming winter would be most difficult for the elderly and infirm, Marchenko said.

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(Yahoo reprint)

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The easily overlooked part (and part of why the USA is not really a good motor for reform) is the part about “yes, this will apply to us as well”. Because as we saw with other international bodies like the International Criminal Court, the USA wants others to be held accountable, but not Team USA.

And that is something the USSR and afterwards Russia have always been able to exploit. They know how American politicians don’t have any room to make concessions, so they can play chicken all day long.

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Countries do not get the veto because they are somehow deserving but because they are those who can (or could at the time) plausibly defy a resolution. The veto exists to protect the UN, not the country.

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I hadn’t thought of it like this. But this makes a great deal of sense.

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The purpose may be such, but the effect is that the UN has very little power to do anything about anything, especially since so many countries that do not have permanent seats will invariably have a backer that does. Israel and Iran are just as untouchable as the US and Russia, while even North Korea gets a pass.

The failure of the UN to enforce anything resembling international law makes the world more dangerous, and all because enforcement action is swiftly vetoed, leaving other international organizations or blocs to pull up the slack. And those organizations and blocs are often even more at the beck and call of the US.

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So, respectability politics it is then? :unamused:

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Lazy Russian graphic designers have similarly honoured Victory Day with Nazis and Bonnie and Clyde.

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