The European Union and United States have been targeting Russia with economic sanctions. On 17 March 2014, the EU imposed the first travel bans and asset freezes against Russian and Ukrainian officials following Russia’s annexation of Crimea as there was “absence of de-escalatory steps by the Russian Federation”. Here is a write-up which elucidates the Russian viewpoint on this most crucial international issue of contemporary times.
The word, “sanction” in English means the provision of rewards for obedience, along with punishment for disobedience, to a law. There are other meanings for the word but they all define the same condition — obedience to a master by his vassal, to a monarch by his subject, to a warden by his prisoner. The condition necessarily implies that the person applying the sanction is legally in a superior position to the person being sanctioned, that he has the right to apply the sanction and that there exists a system of laws in which the use of sanctions is permitted and agreed upon.
This is the definition yet every day we hear of the “sanctions” imposed on Russia for reasons that everyone knows are false, based on authority that does not exist, based on laws that have never been created, and by national governments that have only arrogance to support their grand presumption; that their nations are superior to others, that there is no equality or sovereignty of peoples, that their diktats are orders that must be obeyed by those ‘inferior’ to them.
Since the economic restrictions on banking, finance and trade setup against Russia by the United States and its subject states in the Nato alliance do not comply with the definition of sanctions, we have to use the correct term in describing these restrictions. There is only one word, and that word is, war and, since this form of warfare is not permitted by international law as found in the United Nations Charter, they are economic war crimes for which a reckoning will one day have to be paid, one way or another.
It is in Chapter VII, Article 41 of the Charter that the power to completely or partially interrupt economic relations exists and only the UN Security Council can use that power. Nowhere else does exist this power. Since the UNSC has not made any decision imposing economic sanctions on Russia — obviously it cannot; because the Russian and Chinese governments at least would veto such a move — no economic sanctions imposed on the country are legitimate.
Once again the issue comes back to the word war. It’s clear that the attempted economic strangulation of Russia is an attempt to “punish” it for the ‘so-called’ crimes concerning the defence of its strategic position and the peoples of eastern Ukraine. It is also a strategy meant to weaken Russia as a nation, and as a force of resistance to Nato aggression generally. The United Nations has been completely bypassed.
But this has been obvious for some time. The same disappearance happened during the Vietnam War, the Malvinas War in 1982, the American invasion of tiny Grenada in 1983, the US contra war on Nicaragua after that, the continuous wars in Africa and the Middle East, the Nato onslaught against Yugoslavia in 1999, the American-led invasion and destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya and the Nato-supported war against Syria. The Americans, with their allies in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have now created the ISIS mercenary forces which have been inserted into central Mesopotamia strategically situated between Syria and Iran to be used against Syria and Iran and its Hezbolllah allies. Everyone knows that this is the game, and this is a part of the ongoing series of wars that Pope Francis correctly called the Third World War.
All of the above-mentioned wars were undertaken in violation of international law and the promises each Nato nation made when it signed the United Nations Charter. These nations do not care about “law” — and they never did. They care only about money and profit for their real masters, the masters of finance and industrial capital and the only “law” they recognize is countervailing force.
There is no doubt that the Nato nations consider themselves at war with Russia. This war began as soon as the Berlin Wall went down and has gone through several phases, from the Yeltsin-assisted looting and destruction of the Russian economy built up with such great effort in the Soviet years, to the subjection of the east European nations to Nato, either through forced agreements or, as we saw in the case of brave Yugoslavia, its bombardment and total destruction as a state, after the Red Army was ordered to abandon its positions in eastern Europe.
So where is this present economic war against Russia leading? German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has recently spoken of further travel restrictions on Russian citizens — making Russians prisoners in their own country.
Speculation can suggest answers but once a war has started, it can only proceed to its logical end. Since the economic war on Russia has not brought about Russia’s capitulation in its defence of the people of Crimea and the Donbass there can little doubt that the economic war will escalate until Nato’s logic requires open war and the risk of nuclear annihilation.
President Putin in several of his speeches has called for nations to adhere to international law and for the need to re-establish international law. He is right but it remains to be seen what form a new international system of law would take and how it could be implemented. During the Soviet period, one could talk of “international law” but though there existed generally agreed upon principles of law, a set of desiderata, its existence outside of power politics is difficult to see. The empty shell, that the international law really was, fell apart quickly after the fall of the Berlin Wall and all we have left are fine parchments, high sounding words and genuine but frustrated hopes. Law reflects the economic, social and political structure of the society that creates it and we can see that international law, in a world in chaos, has become the law of the gangster, the pirate, and the bandit.
The system of international law created after the Second World War never worked on a fundamental level because there was no agreed democratic world political structure; only two opposing military blocs representing two opposed economic systems. While they balanced each other, there was some semblance of order or “law” but as we know, in reality, international law could not prevent or stop any of the many wars that have swept the world.
A new system of international law must be constructed in which each nation and people have rights and obligations enforceable by just and fair mechanisms agreed on by all. But to accomplish this, there must be a revolution in the world political structure, and this cannot come about unless all nations are willing participants. Outside the Nato alliance, the nations of the world have expressed the same desire as has President Putin.
But a changed world political structure on which real international law can be founded and in which it can function is a condition that does not exist and cannot exist unless the aggression of the Nato powers is negated and this, in turn, can take place only through the dismantling of the Nato alliance. The question then becomes how this is to be achieved and the answer to that lies in the peoples of the Nato nations realising that their future lies in the principles set out in the United Nations Charter: that the Nato alliance is not for their benefit but for the benefit of the elites who profit from its existence.
Instead of defence, it brings them war. Instead of prosperity, it brings them bankruptcy. Instead of bringing solutions to their common problems, it brings them nothing but a descent into the abyss. The peoples of the Nato nations must be won over to and demand a policy of the peaceful cooperation of peoples and the abandonment of aggressive military alliances. Failure risks global war.
Across the world we have seen this campaign growing from Latin America to China as people realise the benefits of a multi-polar world and see their leaders stand up and say to the masters of war, “No more.”
President Putin made a bold attempt in his Valdai speech, addressing the peoples of the Nato nations directly, over the heads of their leaders, following up Russia’s effective reaction against the Nato “sanctions” that have caused dismay in the European capitals, and calling for collective security, based on fairness and the interests of each side. He also said that the system of global collective security now lies in ruins. Yet, the fact is: it never arose from the ruins of the cities destroyed in World War II in the first place. It was an illusion created with mirrors and now the mirrors are smashed and there is nothing left. Instead, the foundation of a real system of international law must be considered.
Courtesy: New Eastern Outlook