Listen to a reading of this article:

Australian whistleblower David McBride just made the following statement on Twitter:

“I’ve been asked if I think the invasion of Ukraine is illegal.

My answer is: If we don’t hold our own leaders to account, we can’t hold other leaders to account.

If the law is not applied consistently, it is not the law.

It is simply an excuse we use to target our enemies.

We will pay a heavy price for our hubris of 2003 in the future.

We didn’t just fail to punish Bush and Blair: we rewarded them. We re-elected them. We knighted them.

If you want to see Putin in his true light imagine him landing a jet and then saying ‘Mission Accomplished’.”

As far as I can tell this point is logically unassailable. International law is a meaningless concept when it only applies to people the US power alliance doesn’t like. This point is driven home by the life of McBride himself, whose own government responded to his publicizing suppressed information about war crimes committed by Australian forces in Afghanistan by charging him as a criminal.

Neither George W Bush nor Tony Blair are in prison cells at The Hague where international law says they ought to be. Bush is still painting away from the comfort of his home, issuing proclamations comparing Putin to Hitler and platforming arguments for more interventionism in Ukraine. Blair is still merily warmongering his charred little heart out, saying NATO should not rule out directly attacking Russian forces in what amounts to a call for a thermonuclear world war.

They are free as birds, singing their same old demonic songs from the rooftops.

When you point out this obvious plot hole in discussions about the legality of Vladimir Putin’s invasion you’ll often get accused of “whataboutism”, which is a noise that empire loyalists like to make when you have just highlighted damning evidence that their government’s behaviors entirely invalidate their position on an issue. This is not a “whataboutism”; it’s a direct accusation that is completely devastating to the argument being made, because there really is no counter-argument.

The Iraq invasion bypassed the laws and protocols for military action laid out in the founding charter of the United Nations. The current US military occupation of Syria violates international law. International law only exists to the extent to which the nations of the world are willing and able to enforce it, and because of the US empire’s military power — and more importantly because of its narrative control power — this means international law is only ever enforced with the approval of that empire.

This is why the people indicted and detained by the International Criminal Court (ICC) are always from weaker nations — overwhelmingly African — while the USA can get away with actually sanctioning ICC personnel if they so much as talk about investigating American war crimes and suffer no consequences for it whatsoever. It is also why in 2002 the Bush administration instituted what became known as the “Hague Invasion Act“, saying military force will be used to liberate any US or US-allied military personnel from any ICC attempt to prosecute them for war crimes. It is also why Noam Chomsky famously said that if the Nuremberg laws had continued to be applied with fairness and consistency, then every post-WWII U.S. president would have been hanged.

This is also why former US National Security Advisor John Bolton once said that the US war machine is “dealing in the anarchic environment internationally where different rules apply,” which “does require actions that in a normal business environment in the United States we would find unprofessional.”

Bolton would certainly know. In his bloodthirsty push to manufacture consent for the Iraq invasion he spearheaded the removal of the director-general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), a crucial institution for the enforcement of international law, using measures which included threatening the director-general’s children. The OPCW is now subject to the dictates of the US government, as evidenced by the organisation’s coverup of a 2018 false flag incident in Syria which resulted in airstrikes by the US, UK and France during Bolton’s tenure as a senior Trump advisor.

The US continually works to subvert international law enforcement institutions to advance its own interests. When the US was seeking UN authorization for the Gulf War in 1991, Yemen dared to vote against it, after which a member of the US delegation told Yemen’s ambassador, “That’s the most expensive vote you ever cast.” Yemen lost not just 70 million dollars in US foreign aid but also a valuable labor contract with Saudi Arabia, and a million Yemeni immigrants were sent home by America’s Gulf state allies.

Simple observation of who is subject to international law enforcement and who is not makes it clear that the very concept of international law is now functionally nothing more than a narrative construct that’s used to bludgeon and undermine governments who disobey the US-centralized empire. That’s why in the lead-up to this confrontation with Russia we saw a push among empire managers to swap out the term “international law” with “rules-based international order”, which can mean anything and is entirely up to the interpretation of the world’s dominant power structure.

It is entirely possible that we may see Putin ousted and brought before a war crimes tribunal one day, but that won’t make it valid. You can argue with logical consistency that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is wrong and will have disastrous consequences far beyond the bloodshed it has already inflicted, but what you can’t do with any logical consistency whatsoever is claim that it is illegal. Because there is no authentically enforced framework for such a concept to apply.

As US law professor Dale Carpenter has said, “If citizens cannot trust that laws will be enforced in an evenhanded and honest fashion, they cannot be said to live under the rule of law. Instead, they live under the rule of men corrupted by the law.” This is all the more true of laws which would exist between nations.

You don’t get to make international law meaningless and then claim that an invasion is “illegal”. That’s not a legitimate thing to do. As long as we are living in a Wild West environment created by a murderous globe-spanning empire which benefits from it, claims about the legality of foreign invasions are just empty sounds.


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83 responses to “International Law Is A Meaningless Concept When It Only Applies To US Enemies”

  1. Paul Rackemann Avatar
    Paul Rackemann

    Caitlin, I think even the concept of “law” itself is getting to be pretty meaningless. As I understand it, the secret agencies now have acknowledged immunity from the laws in English-speaking countries. (I realise that they always did break laws in practice, but I think that at one time they had to make sure that they weren’t caught.)

  2. Halliburton Co. is leaving Russia. How punishing is that!

  3. “AND THE WINNERS ARE—Easily the most profiteering First Family in American history, the Bushes have consistently benefited from George W. Bush’s war on terrorism and from the invasion of Iraq, as revealed in regulatory filings, business reports and company press releases.”

  4. Frank Thompson Avatar
    Frank Thompson

    Until George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, John Bolton, etc. are imprisoned in the Hague for their many crimes against humanity in promoting and executing the invasion of Iraq, the government of the USA does not have clean hands in the assertion of any so-called “war crimes.” The whole war is a crime against humanity.

    On the other hand, Russia does not have any standing to assert it is justified in its push to reduce Ukrainian cities to rubble, to announce safe evacuation corridors and them murder the civilians attempting to flee under the assurance of safe passage.

    Complete horror show. Send them all to the Hague and imprison the psychopaths for the rest of their lives.

    1. you have any proof that Russia is announcing safe evacution corriders and then murdering the people who use them? or that it is pushing to reduce Ukrainian cities to rubble. cause that just reads like straight up propaganda.

      1. Frank Thompson Avatar
        Frank Thompson

        Twitter, with pictures. Can I personally attest to the destruction? No, I am not there. But there appears to be credible reporting. If there is a massive conspiracy to report falsely about military operations in Ukraine, with no counter-reports leaking, then evidence to the contrary will be considered.

        And, if the reports being widely shared now are false, then it would not be “straight up propaganda,” it would be false reporting. There is a distinction. The effective propaganda is often based on misinterpreting true statements.

  5. The New York Times, somewhat surprisingly, has a piece today on attitudes to events in Ukraine around the world that don’t cast the West as the goodies and Russia as evil.
    ‘In Some Parts of the World, the War in Ukraine Seems Justified’
    or (same, without paywall)
    A few rather random snippets:
    Interviews with dozens of people in those countries — from Vietnam to Afghanistan to South Africa to China — reveal that while many are disturbed by the war and the loss of innocent lives, some are sympathetic to Russia’s justifications for its invasion of Ukraine, and do not accept the good versus evil scenario presented by the United States and Europe.

    Their views are shaped by factors such as their countries’ deep and historic ties to Russia and the history of interventions and atrocities perpetrated by some Western countries.
    “The U.S. invaded Iraq and no one made the same noise as people are doing against Putin,” said Eni Aquino, 52, a sports commentator from Goiânia in midwestern Brazil.
    Some in India are critical of the United States for fighting wars overseas. “Wherever they’ve gone, they’ve left it in a mess,” said Naresh Chand, a retired lieutenant general in the Indian Army who trained in Russia and Ukraine.
    Nazir Hussani, 34, said he thinks the West will only widen the scope of the war in Ukraine by sending weapons there. And, he said, he doesn’t trust the Americans because of their history in Afghanistan, which they invaded in 2001.
    Dr. Lucky Muange, who lives in Kiambu County, several miles north of Nairobi, said NATO and Western nations had little right to vilify Mr. Putin when they have in the past invaded and occupied poor countries, or interfered to topple their governments.
    Zamani Msimango, also 28 and a software developer, likened the current situation to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, when the United States threatened to invade Cuba after the Soviet Union placed nuclear-armed missiles there. “But somehow now they act like they don’t understand, when they themselves are pushing closer and closer to Russia, what that’s going to lead to,” Mr. Msimango said.

  6. “We are meeting in a complicate period as our Armed Forces are conducting a special military operation in Ukraine and Donbass. I would like to remind you that at the beginning, on the morning of February 24, I publicly announced the reasons for and the main goal of Russia’s actions. It is to help our people in Donbass, who have been subjected to real genocide for nearly eight years in the most barbarous ways, that is, through blockade, large-scale punitive operations, terrorist attacks and constant artillery raids. Their only guilt was that they demanded basic human rights: to live according to their forefathers’ laws and traditions, to speak their native language, and to bring up their children as they want.
    During these years, the Kiev authorities have ignored and sabotaged the implementation of the Minsk Package of Measures for a peaceful settlement of the crisis and ultimately late last year openly refused to implement it.
    They also started to implement plans to join NATO. Moreover, the Kiev authorities also announced their intention to have nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles. This was a real threat. With foreign technical support, the pro-Nazi Kiev regime would have obtained weapons of mass destruction in the foreseeable future and, of course, would have targeted them against Russia.
    There was a network of dozens of laboratories in Ukraine, where military biological programmes were conducted under the guidance and with the financial support of the Pentagon, including experiments with coronavirus strains, anthrax, cholera, African swine fever and other deadly diseases. Frantic attempts are being made to conceal traces of these secret programmes. However, we have grounds to assume that components of biological weapons were being created in direct proximity to Russia on the territory of Ukraine.
    Our numerous warnings that such developments posed a direct threat to the security of Russia were rejected with open and cynical arrogance by Ukraine and its US and NATO patrons.
    In other words, all our diplomatic efforts were fully in vain. We have been left with no peaceful alternative to settle the problems that developed through no fault of ours. In this situation, we were forced to begin this special military operation…
    … It was no longer possible to tolerate this outrageous attitude towards the people of Donbass. To put an end to this genocide, Russia recognized the people’s republics of Donbass and signed treaties of friendship and mutual aid with them. Based on these treaties, the republics appealed to Russia for military aid in rebuffing the aggression. We rendered this aid because we simply could not do otherwise. We had no right to act otherwise.
    I would like to emphasise this point and draw your attention to it: if our troops had acted only within the people’s republics and helped them liberate their territory, it would not have been a final solution, it would not have led to peace and would not have ultimately removed the threat – to our country, this time to Russia. On the contrary, a new frontline would have been extended around Donbass and its borders, and shelling and provocations would have continued. In other words, this armed conflict would have continued indefinitely. It would have been fuelled by the revanchist hysteria of the Kiev regime, as NATO deployed its military infrastructure faster and more aggressively. In this case, we would have been faced with the fact that the attack, the offensive weapons of the alliance were already at our borders.
    I will repeat – we had no alternative for self-defence, for ensuring Russia’s security, to this special military operation. We will reach the goals we set. We will certainly ensure the security of Russia and our people and will never allow Ukraine to be a bridgehead for aggressive actions against our country.
    We remain ready to discuss matters of fundamental importance to Russia’s future during the talks. This includes Ukraine’s status as a neutral country, and demilitarisation and denazification. Our country has done everything it could to organise and hold these talks realising that it is important to use every opportunity to save people and their lives….”

    1. Frank Thompson Avatar
      Frank Thompson

      Of course those assertions justify war against civilian population centers, hospitals and schools throughout Ukraine. How could anyone believe otherwise? /s

      1. the Azov Battalion certainly agrees with you that their war against civilian populations centers, hospitals and schools is justified to, as they put it, kill all the semites who control the untermenschen.

    2. “ if our troops had acted only within the people’s republics and helped them liberate their territory, it would not have been a final solution”
      But of course KGB Lt.Col. Comrade Putin, detailed to his friends the StaSi in East Berlin, could never have guessed the implication of The Final Solution discussed in Wannsee in Berlin. Why else would he use the phrase “final solution?”

      1. “…it would not have led to peace and would not have ultimately removed the threat – to our country, this time to Russia. On the contrary, a new frontline would have been extended around Donbass and its borders, and shelling and provocations would have continued. In other words, this armed conflict would have continued indefinitely. It would have been fuelled by the revanchist hysteria of the Kiev regime, as NATO deployed its military infrastructure faster and more aggressively. In this case, we would have been faced with the fact that the attack, the offensive weapons of the alliance were already at our borders.”

        1. Don’t spread shit on a cracker and call it Marmite. It’s just warmed-over Gleiwitz. A defensive strike?
          “I will provide a propagandistic casus belli. Its credibility doesn’t matter. The victor will not be asked whether he told the truth”.
          Neither party confined their attack to the region being defended. When you run 500. past the “zone of defense” you risk the suggestion that your casus belli is a lie. Thought we covered this in “just war” class.

  7. Ms. Johnstone,

    Thank you for writing this important essay. You have stated the governing principles very well. I am glad to see that you mention the use of the intentionally deceptive term “Rules-Based International Order” by the U.S. The meaning of that fancy sounding name is that, according to the U.S., the rest of the world must follow its orders, without regard to international law or any other guiding principles of law or morality. By adopting that view, the U.S. has explicitly rejected international law. It is a rogue state without any principles of fairness or decency.

    I am frustrated by some comments made by genuine journalists (which, of course, excludes the mainstream media) and scholars which condemn Russia for its Special Operation in Ukraine. Perhaps Russia would have fared better in the propaganda war if it had called its operation a “Responsibility To Protect” operation or “Humanitarian Intervention”, names employed by the U.S. for some of its illegal invasions of countries which posed no threat whatsoever to it – Syria, Libya, etc. I have great respect for some of those legitimate and honest writers who have condemned Russia for its operation, e.g. Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges. However, to say that Russia’s operation violates international law does not answer the one critical question which must be answered before reaching a conclusion in the matter. That question is – what options did Russia have under the circumstances?

    We must remember and honestly acknowledge the circumstances which preceded Russia’s operation, summarized as follows:

    1. In February, 2014, the U.S. orchestrated and effected a violent coup which overthrew the democratically elected government of Ukraine. The U.S. then installed its puppet government. Since that time, the U.S. has been the de facto government of Ukraine and has made all major policy decisions for that Country. This process is known in Washington as “spreading democracy”. It does this a lot when some government fails to follow U.S. orders.

    2. A large number of Ukrainian citizens were not pleased to have their democratically elected government overthrown and a new government chosen for them by the U.S. They decided to not recognize this illegitimate government. As a result of the division of loyalties stirred up by the U.S. coup, the people in Crimea voted to withdraw from Ukraine and become a part of Russia, to which Russia agreed. Other Ukrainians in the Donbass voted to become independent of Ukraine but were not made a part of Russia.
    These actions greatly displeased the Hegemon.

    3. The U.S./Ukrainian government decided to deal with the dissenters in the Donbass by attacking them with heavy weaponry. This assault did not go well at first because the majority of the Ukrainian military forces refused to kill their fellow Ukrainians. The U.S./Ukrainian government solved that problem by utilizing the numerous neo-Nazis who were on hand and were eager to kill the mostly ethnic Russians in the Donbass. Over the next eight years approximately 14,000 Ukrainians were killed by this operation, most of them civilians. As far as I know, there was not one tear shed or one word of sympathy expressed by the people in the U.S. for even one of the Ukrainian citizens murdered in the Donbass.

    4. During the eight years following its 2014 coup, the U.S. armed and trained its neo-Nazis who were serving it so well in the war in the Donbass, as well as Ukrainian military regular troops. In that process, the U.S. did a good job of indoctrinating the troops into its way of thinking, thereby somewhat weakening the resolve of even the regulars (as opposed to the Nazis and other far right elements) to not kill other Ukrainians. The slaughter of civilians in the Donbass continued.

    5. During this same eight-year period, Russia tried in every conceivable way to resolve the mess made by the U.S. coup by diplomacy and agreement. Two agreements were made (the “Minsk Agreements”) which would have resolved the matter. However, the U.S./Ukrainian government refused to implement the agreements. Russia appealed to the U.N. for help but received none. The U.S. steadfastly refused to negotiate in good faith to resolve the issues, including Russia’s legitimate and urgent security concerns.

    6. Russia’s legitimate and urgent security concerns must be taken into account. No valid understanding of the current issues can be understood without doing so. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO had foolishly and provocatively expanded farther and farther to the east to the point that Russia was greatly threatened by NATO countries surrounding it. The goal of the U.S. was to make Ukraine into a client state, arm it to the teeth, including missiles which could reach Russia in three minutes or so, and to ultimately effect regime-change in Russia. The hyper aggression of the U.S. toward Russia was open and obvious.

    7. In December, 2021, Russia presented detailed proposals to NATO and the U.S. for the peaceful resolution of the ongoing attacks by the U.S./Ukrainian government against the Ukrainians in the Donbass and Russia’s legitimate security concerns. The proposals were rejected out of hand, followed by a refusal to negotiate in good faith with Russia. Russia had made it clear that in that event, it had no option but to take matters into its own hands. The U.S. in fact wanted a proxy war with Russia, in which Ukraine would be used as its catspaw. It got it.

    I fail to see that Russia had any option other than to force the neutralization of Ukraine. Otherwise, it was perfectly clear that the U.S. was going to use Ukraine as a de facto military base and further encroach on and intimidate Russia. I would welcome Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges or anyone else to tell me another option available to Russia. The invocation of international law did not do Russia any good. This is particularly so because in this case Russia was dealing with an outlaw state which has not only rejected international law, but has a long history of conducting illegal wars of aggression and dealing in bad faith with other nations.

    1. What cause remains today for war rather than diplomacy? The conditions have changed. Will Russia press on for a Final Solution through war?

      1. Russia has not been the aggressor. She has done what was necessary to defend herself from the incessant U.S. aggression against her. If the U.S. continues its foolish path, Russia will continue to defend herself. The damn fools in Washington appear to be willing to risk a nuclear war in order to continue its quest to rule the world. The majority of the people are too ignorant to understand what is happening and believe the lies generated by the great lie machine.

        1. That’s not an answer. What cause remains today for war rather than diplomacy? Is the People’s Marketplace in Lviv the last obstacle to a cease-fire? The Marketplace is 1200 km from Donetsk. Still too threatening? Prague is twice as far. Would Prague make Putin feel safe? Would a second Anschluss bring Russia to negotiate? What ends the war today? The Russian leaders are too old and have too much Soviet doctrine in their heads. “Surrender or die!” say the comrade ghosts in the Kremlin. Why should young soldiers die from the whispers of the cursed dead? Yezhov stalks the Kremlin. Banish him! End the war today!

          1. Russia has clearly stated its very reasonable conditions: 1. guarantees of security from further encroachment by the U.S. and NATO; and 2. restoration of neutrality of Ukraine (which existed prior to the U.S. coup in 2014). These conditions were contained in the Minsk Agreements which the U.S./Ukrainian government agreed to, then breached. They were again clearly stated in the proposed settlement agreements presented by Russia in December, 2021. The U.S. has consistently falsely claimed that Russia’s goal is to “capture” Ukraine and make it a part of Russia. Russia has made it perfectly clear that that is not the case. It is the U.S., not Russia, which is prolonging this war. The U.S. wants to prolong the war in order to drain Russia’s resources and continue to spread falsehoods about how “evil” Russia is. It is the same war mongering we have been witnessing throughout this Century. The merchants of death are very happy about it.

            1. So stop shooting. NATO’s off the table since the shooting began. What are the definitions of “neutrality” that suffice. Those are talky-talk things, not artillery things. What remains to stop the shooting?

              1. The U.S. refuses to grant the security guarantees rightly demanded by Russia. Had the U.S. abided by the Minsk Agreements, including the cessation of the mass murder of Ukrainians in the Donbass, the matter would have been settled. She same with the agreements proposed by Russia in December, 2021. As you surely must know, NATO membership is only a part of the legitimate Russian concerns. You are trying to creat argument out of thin air.

                1. No, Russia has been given concessions and refuses to stop attacks. An invader who does that is not defending itself. After 2 weeks, Russia is today the aggressor who will not stop the invasion.

                  1. So the Empire Of Lies says.

        2. This “Indent on Reply” makes everything squashed. Anyhow…So the Minsk Agreements blew up to smithereens because nobody followed them and nobody could make anybody follow them. FAIL! But as they say, if at first you don’t succeed, engage in total war. NO! What cause remains today for war rather than diplomacy? The conditions have changed. NATO is off the table. Lujansk and Donetsk are encircled with a snuggly blanket of Russian Army. What cause remains today for war rather than diplomacy? STOP SHOOTING!

    2. Quite right.

  8. Kindergarten is where my nation must make its stand, if it wishes to survive, for if we continue our Benjamin Button march to Nursery School, we will surely be defeated by the Russians, who are learning to play one dimensional chess at the first grade level. Madam Vice President and Madam Speaker of the House, we must not allow, for a two-grade gap!
    Madam Speaker, you may not be a military strategist, but you are two heartbeats away from becoming Leader of the Free World, and if you wish to win some of that illusive freedom over the skies of Ukraine, then I would suggest you need to learn how missiles work, and there are several thousand individuals inside the Beltway Complex who I’m quite sure are required by law to teach this to you step by step, should be so inclined, as to inquire.
    Or you could watch a YouTube video, if you are not so inclined, which might explain to you the “school of thought that thinks the anti-aircraft missiles and the rest are a very important way,” is a school which both the Russian Federation and the United States of America believes is absolutely paramount to winning any modern military engagment that involves flying thingies.
    Here’s one, on the Russian S-400, a thingie that shoots missiles upwards, and at the moment the best selling weapons’ system on the planet, and perhaps its most ubiquitous. Brought to you by warnerd extraordinaire Covart Cabal.
    This is freshman college level stuff in our country (3rd grade level in others), so put your glass down and put your thinking cap on. If this vid proves too much for you, I can kick it down a notch. There are dozens of videos available on YouTube on “anti-aircraft missiles and the rest,” aimed at informing people of all ages and grade-levels on how this war stuff works down to, you guessed it …

  9. Is an international law that applies to the US the same as the rest of us get? If Assange was available I could ask him….
    Is Israel a legitimate nation? For that matter, is Australia? 200 or so years ago we all came from somewhere else, except for those that pre-date 200 years – I could get Irish citizenship if I wanted based on my Granny. Was Vietnam a ‘wall to wall’ war crime? After all, ‘we’ did go there with the sole intention of killing Vietnamese no matter what name they were called.
    Afghanistan – yep.. once again ‘we’ as in ‘west’ went there to kill Afghans… and Australia DID recognise the Taliban as the legitimate government once the USSR had left. So, to be precise, ‘we’ went to war with the Afghans, without the courtesy of declaring ‘war’. Therefore, technically, we didn’t commit any war crimes… except for some chaps that got carried away. “Give that man a medal – a big one”. Isn’t it a fact of nature that the pack turns on the weak and the maimed and disabled? Having a prosthetic leg is just asking for it.
    If I believed in the power of prayer I would pray for Justice. Fuck the law!

  10. The US has broken its own law of war in every “engagement” since 1945. US law states that war is declared by Congress, not at the whim of the executive branch. Every conflict since distances the US from any claim to international morality. To cross into a sovereign country with the instruments of war having belligerent intent is an attack. There is no just cause for unilateral attack.

    1. you mean like a judgement at Nuremberg?
      the Russian cause remains defending a vital national interest. remember who is most responsible for this war.

      1. You mean, who crossed into a sovereign country with instruments of war and belligerent intent? I KNOW this answer..but let’s stop shooting.

  11. Here is the link with Biden speaking. Probably it will not run in aligned NATO countries. which banned posting. it. If you have a VPN try to connect through Russia or any non aligned NATO alley.

  12. Pay attention to Joe Biden addressing THE CRISIS IN KOSOVO. Sounds familiar?





    OF THE





    MAY 6 AND JUNE 24, 1998


    Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Relations

    Available via the World Wide Web:


    WASHINGTON : 1998


    JESSE HELMS, North Carolina, Chairman
    RICHARD G. LUGAR, Indiana JOSEPH R. BIDEN, Jr., Delaware
    CHUCK HAGEL, Nebraska CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut
    GORDON H. SMITH, Oregon JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts
    CRAIG THOMAS, Wyoming CHARLES S. ROBB, Virginia
    ROD GRAMS, Minnesota RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin
    BILL FRIST, Tennessee PAUL D. WELLSTONE, Minnesota
    James W. Nance, Staff Director
    Edwin K. Hall, Minority Staff Director



    GORDON H. SMITH, Oregon, Chairman
    RICHARD. G LUGAR, Indiana JOSEPH R. BIDEN, Jr., Delaware
    JOHN ASHCROFT, Missouri PAUL D. WELLSTONE, Minnesota
    CHUCK HAGEL, Nebraska PAUL S. SARBANES, Maryland
    CRAIG THOMAS, Wyoming CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut

    Senator Smith. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. I would invite
    you to talk with me privately, Senator Biden I am sure would
    also appreciate it, privately if necessary, as to whether or
    not there is a Christmas warning, if it is in effect, the
    policy of this Government, and what we are going to do about
    it. Senator Biden.
    Senator Biden. Thank you very much. It is good to see you
    here. I think the last time I saw you we were in Bosnia
    together, and you have done a great job, you really have.
    I was saying to the chairman, it is ironic that a witness
    would spend more time talking about Bosnia than this subject,
    because Bosnia is easier to deal with now than the other
    subject. That is progress.
    I want you to understand–and I am being a bit facetious,
    but it is interesting that in a bizarre way, that what are in
    my view part of Milosevic’s tactic and strategy relates to the
    success we are having in Bosnia, but that is another question.
    Let me speak to Bosnia for a second, then get to Kosovo.
    You have personally, and the administration has generally,
    and I have specifically been pushing in every way we could in
    Bosnia to give nonnationalists of any stripe or denomination an
    equal chance of footing and opportunity to participate in the
    social and political and cultural life of a country still one
    entity, although it is divided into the Republic of Srpska and
    the Federation.
    I read with interest and some dismay–and I know this is
    not totally your all,by any stretch of the imagination–RFERL
    May 6 broadcast today, “A spokesman for the OSCE, which is
    supervising the September general elections, said in Syria that
    only the new parliament will be able to change the rules for
    the election of the three-member joint presidency, RFERL South
    Slavic Service reported.
    “Several NGO’s and representatives of nonnationalist
    parties have suggested that the OSCE change the rules now so
    that each of the three is elected at large, and not just by one
    ethnic constituency. Recent polls suggest that such changes
    would sweep the current three members of the presidency from
    office and replace them with nonnationalists.”
    Why is that not a good idea?
    Ambassador Gelbard. I actually think it is a very good
    idea. We have, of course, striven to try to support multiparty
    democracy inside Bosnia between the entities inside the
    entities. The great irony right now, as you know, Senator, is
    that in the Republika Srpska we have a multiethnic coalition
    that is governing, led by Prime Minister Dodik.
    When I last met with him in Banjaluka, in fact, in the face
    of the threats that they have been receiving to try, as I
    mentioned in my statement, because of Belgrade’s pressure to
    reform his coalition into what they call a Government of Serb
    unity, he has maintained firmness, and he has a significant
    group of Bosniak members of his coalition as well as Croats.
    We are continuing, through NGO’s, particularly the National
    Democratic Institute, to help train political parties, and I
    have got to say, of course, Prime Minister Dodik’s party was
    one of the ones, as well as President Plavsic’s party, that
    have received campaign help, and we are going to continue to do
    that among all the various groups.
    One of the really interesting pieces of good news I have
    seen is that there are multiethnic coalitions coalescing now in
    the Federation as well as in Republika Srpska leading toward
    the September election. We want to support that, and I have
    been very pleased that High Representative Westendorp has been
    actively supporting this, too.
    Senator Biden. Well, that is a great answer, but a
    Ambassador Gelbard. I was going to get to that.
    Senator Biden. I agree with everything you said, but—-
    Ambassador Gelbard. Obviously, because this is today’s
    news, I have not seen this, but I will be in Brussels tomorrow.
    I am sure the OSCE people will be there. I am going to be
    seeing Carlos Westendorp, and this is a subject I would like to
    raise with him.
    Senator Biden. I guess the question I have, Mr. Ambassador,
    I do not expect you to answer it now, but maybe you can answer
    it for the record, and that is, is there a legal impediment to
    having at-large elections rather than the way they are now
    slated for the presidency?
    There is, and I see your staff shaking his head there is.
    Ambassador Gelbard. Yes. As I thought, it is in Dayton they
    would be elected that way, and I think it is built into the
    constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina, so it would, I think,
    require some kinds of significant parliamentary reaction, but
    what I will do is research this and get you an answer for the
    Senator Biden. Maybe your staff behind you, who seems to
    know the answer, can before he leaves come up and tell me, and
    I am not being facetious, because I am not sure. I do not know
    the answer to the question. I should know it. I do not know the
    answer to the question.
    But if there is any way, it would seem to me what an
    incredible positive signal it would send if the polling data is
    correct, that the body politic, including all–including
    Bosniaks, Croats, Serbs, all, a majority believed that, and
    that is a question I do not know the answer to. I am just
    reading you this one clip from the radio broadcast.
    It seems to me that would be certainly very strong evidence
    that your evidence are taking some root here if that was a
    consensus view of the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I do not
    know that it is. All I am reading you is this. So I would like
    to at some point return to that. I mean, after the hearing,
    return to that issue with you all, if I may.
    You also said that it is the administration’s position that
    we are opposed to an independent Kosovo, yet you indicated that
    the idea of everything being on the table, including
    independence–and I assume that’s what it means–in upcoming
    negotiations, in any negotiations, was basically a good thing.
    Is that correct?
    Ambassador Gelbard. Well, I think that is the essence of
    any negotiation, but what there cannot be–what there has been
    so far on the part of Belgrade has been preconditions
    established before they are willing to sit down at the table.
    Once people sit down at the table, obviously they can argue any
    position they want, but we cannot accept, we reject totally the
    idea that there would be any preconditions on either side
    before they sit down and start negotiating.
    Senator Biden. We are about to hear from a very
    distinguished former Congressperson, and a person who is at his
    present status is a spokesperson for Albanians in the diaspora,
    Albanian-Americans here, ostensibly others as well, and one of
    the things that I am going to ask him is what I would like to
    ask you now.
    There is a letter I received, and it asserts the following:
    The national question, which calls for the liberation of
    occupied Albanian lands, national identity, and self-
    determination. Now, that sounds to me like a Greater Albania.
    If we start off with this as an assertion, that these are
    occupied Albanian lands, I am not sure where all this goes.
    Actually, I am fairly sure where it all goes.
    But have you had much contact, or has the administration
    had much contact with Albanians in Kosovo in terms of a sense
    of what their agenda is?
    Now, obviously, I take no back seat to anyone in terms of
    my speaking out and calling for the use of force against the
    atrocities of Milosevic. I have said to his face and I say
    again I think he is a war criminal. I have not the slightest
    bit of empathy, sympathy, or any positive–I see no social
    redeeming value to the man, and that is me, and I make no bones
    about it.
    But–but, I think Kosovo is a very different circumstance
    than Bosnia, very different circumstance, and so one of the
    things that I would like to know is, what is your assessment of
    the size, the capabilities, the resources, the organization of
    the UCK, and does the administration view it as the legitimate
    political bargaining unit, or does it view it as a terrorist
    organization, or what do you think of its political leaders?
    Do we have a formal position relative to–as opposed to–as
    opposed to the Democratic League for Kosovo?
    Ambassador Gelbard. First, we do not accept the idea of
    Greater Albania. We respect the territorial integrity, as I
    said earlier, of Yugoslavia, just as we do Albania and
    The elected leaders of Albania have said that they oppose
    independence for Kosovo, too, and they support the territorial
    integrity of Yugoslavia.
    We work with Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, with other democratically
    oriented Kosovar Albanian leaders, we have a wide range of
    contacts, including me, with people in Kosovo. I go there
    frequently. We have an embassy presence there through a USIA
    cultural center, and have had for quite some time, and there
    are people from the embassy who visit Pristina and other parts
    of Kosovo constantly, and I mean constantly.
    We feel that Dr. Rugova, as the person who has been elected
    by about 85 percent of the Kosovar Albanian population, is the
    legitimate representative of the Kosovar Albanian people. He
    has put together an advisory group of 15 people who represent a
    wide range of opinion. They do not necessarily–first they are
    not all part of his party and, second, they do not necessarily
    share his ideological beliefs, but they represent a good,
    strong cross-section of views within Kosovo.
    From that, he has formed a negotiating team which he says
    are prepared to negotiate with a team that President Milosevic
    Senator Biden. Is the UCK represented on that negotiating
    Ambassador Gelbard. Not that I am aware of, unless there
    are people who have affiliations other than those which I
    believe they have.
    Senator Biden. To state the obvious, I mean, it is fairly
    transparent, my concern here, and that is, is the good doctor
    able, does he have the legitimacy—-
    Ambassador Gelbard. Well, he does—-
    Senator Biden.[continuing]. to negotiate or is this Kosovo
    Liberation Army, has that essentially usurped—-
    Ambassador Gelbard. Senator, what has happened is, this
    group, which was very small and had a very small base of
    support, has now achieved significantly greater status within
    Kosovo and worldwide because the Yugoslav Government has
    handled this in the worst way imaginable.
    Everything we know about counterinsurgency theory,
    doctrine, policy, goes 180 degrees in the opposite direction
    from the way they have been handling this, whether it is
    militarily, politically economically, socially. The Government
    has played right into the hands of the UCK, and I have to
    wonder, in my pessimistic moods, whether there is some kind of
    intrinsic alliance between the two sides of wanting to polarize
    the situation and wanting to weaken the moderate leadership of
    Dr. Rugova and others inside Kosovo.
    But as a result of what has happened, particularly since
    February, I do believe that the UCK has received dramatically
    greater support both inside Kosovo and outside. We have seen a
    huge increase, in terms of people, weapons, and money flowing
    in, and the problem now is to create circumstances where we can
    have a serious, legitimate negotiation between the two sides to
    try to resolve this with urgency to achieve a serious political
    Senator Biden. Well, I, speaking only for myself–the
    chairman may have a different view. We have not discussed this.
    But as one who you know probably was the most consistent voice
    the last 5 years for us to intervene in Bosnia, I want to say
    to anybody who is listening if the UCK thinks that the move for
    independence is likely to find support here in the Congress I
    think they are making a tragic mistake, a tragic mistake.
    I may be wrong, but I think that to reinforce the point you
    made, that it seems like this is an unholy alliance to enhance
    the prospect that we do not do anything, that they cannot gain
    a consensus here in the Congress to support the administration
    efforts, because nobody I know of is talking about the
    independence of Kosovo as a separate entity, as part of a
    Greater Albania, and I just think that–again, I speak only for
    myself, but I think there is going to be a tragic strategic and
    tactical miscalculation to think that there would be any help.
    The one thing that is likely to allow those who do not even
    want to be involved anywhere in the Balkans to be able to say
    that this is a civil war of independence, and you will find
    everybody walk away here–I think. I could be dead wrong.
    Ambassador Gelbard. If I could just add a point to that, we
    also worry about the imitation effect this would have in
    Macedonia, too.
    Senator Biden. That is why everyone would walk away.
    Ambassador Gelbard. Twenty-three percent of the population
    in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are also ethnic
    Albanians, and there are some, including in the United States,
    who envision the idea of cutting off part of Macedonia along
    with Kosovo to create this kind of new country.
    This is a recipe for real regional instability.
    Senator Biden. Woodrow Wilson is dead, and his idea was not
    so hot in the first place.
    I just think–I really get a sinking sense, as this goes
    on, that the more people like me and the chairman and you and
    the President and others who speak up about the atrocities that
    are being waged by Milosevic in Belgrade, the more we may be–
    and there is no alternative but to speak out against that, so I
    am not suggesting that be silenced.
    But I think some people are reading the wrong message from
    that, that that means that we believe that there should be an
    independent State of Kosovo, or some changed statutes as it
    relates to sovereignty within Yugoslavia, and it seems to–I
    just hope that message is not one that–I think it would be a
    misreading of our revulsion of Milosevic and his policies to
    conclude that those of us, speaking again for me, that I think
    that means there should be an independent State of Kosovo.
    I do think autonomy–I do think the status,
    predisintegration of the greater Yugoslavia, is important, and
    I do think we should participate in providing a fora, or at
    least indirectly through the Contact Group of bringing about a
    change in the behavior on the part of Belgrade, but I again
    suggest the one thing that will probably curtail any consensus
    on that effort would be if, in fact, the statement that I read
    was viewed as the policy, a national question which calls for
    the liberation of occupied Albanian lands, national identity,
    and self-determination.
    I do not have any further questions.
    Senator Smith. Thank you, Senator Biden.

  13. Drowned – now dried up.

    At the beginning of February 2022, I was in line with the MSM conclusion that Russia would be guilty of a crime if it attacked Ukraine. I was also in line with what Caitlin writes here. Now in mid-March it looks different. I’m pretty sure my opinions in February were due to drowning in the massive tide of MSM.

    Let’s assume there is an international law that says “to attack another nation” is a crime. I take for granted it is not a crime if that other nation fight back.

    Is Russia braking the law? Not if Russia is the nation under attack and USA/NATO the attacking part. Lets have a look.

    When it comes to attacking other nations USA/NATO has a sad history. They do the attacks in the traditional way with their own troops. Or they do the attacks by paying for, arm and give the “go-order” to other nations or groups (proxy-war). Traditional or proxy, – the results in Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria or Yemen shows that these nations were destroyed. There is nothing defensive with NATO.

    With the NATOs so called “open-door-policy” towards Ukraine (2008), help for the anti-Russian coup there (2014), economic support, arming and giving the go-order to intensified shelling of Donetsk with its Russian speaking people (early 2022) the proxy-war is up going.

    The question asked in MSM is: Why did not Russia negotiate in stead of going to war in Ukraine?

    To me it seems they had no choice. The Russians were checkmated with the earlier mentioned NATO decision in 2008. Look at the USA response in 1962 to Russian nuclear weapon on Cuba. President Kennedy was ready to risk an atomic war to get those missiles away from US-borders. Why? Because with those missiles the US would have left it to Soviets to decide whether freedom should live or die. To take away freedom is what an attack is about. Missiles in communist Cuba or in NATO-member Ukraine is the same. It’s the death for freedom for the US as for Russia.

    After I have dried up from the MSM-tide it all looks different. Russia is under attack. It has the right to stand up and defend itself where it has any hope of success.

  14. I’m an old USMC veteran of Vietnam. I keep hearing people say “Fuck Putin!” and then I tell them that saying “Fuck Putin” doesn’t help anymore than saying “Fuck Ho Chi Minh” if we are trying to get out of this stupid situation without a nuclear exchange between the US and Russia. People think that I’m an idiot.

    1. “People think that I’m an idiot.”
      Not everyone. There are a dwindling number of sane people left, and you are one of them.

    2. many people think I’m a Russian agent, i have to be, pointing out the utter hypocrisy of the US, only a Russian agent would do that.
      the show trials have already started (Assange etc.) but I think there will be a lot more. this unprecedented (in scope and intensity) ad campaign has worked the public up like I’ve never seen before.

  15. Just keep on exposing it. What else can you do? A clear picture of where we are actually at, and the best state of the art map we can manage helps us to navigate the corrupt farce we are living in and through.

    1. We’re not allowed to know where we’re actually at. Incredible but true. What is most amazing and very saddening, however, is that there are so many suckers out there — people who believe that they’re getting truth from the media, even when they know from their daily lives that they’re not. They have been lied to for decades, and still they believe.

      1. Ana,

        Please connect with me. You have my email.
        I’m concerned about you.

  16. Biden’s proposal to send more weapons to Ukraine violates several US laws, actually. The Hague Convention, adopted as US law in 1907, expressly forbids arming belligerents. It is no more than a comforting fable that there are such things as humane “rules of war.” There is only one rule in war and that is to win the war. “War is cruelty; you cannot refine it” was famously General Sherman’s reply to the arrogant elite of Atlanta when the war they started came home in its fury to their city.
    In the century between the end of the U.S. Civil War and the escalation of the US invasion of Vietnam, 1865 – 1965, more rules and international agreements on the conduct of war were put in place than in all the previous centuries. The Hague Convention, the Geneva Convention, and all the others, were largely concerned with the protection of non-combatants in war zones. Yet the reality is that at least one hundred million civilians were deliberately targeted and killed the past century of ceaseless warfare.
    “War crime” is an empty pejorative term, generally employed in nationalist propaganda to demonize the conduct of an economic rival. War itself is the crime. The use of violence to settle disputes is forbidden to individuals – hence the hysterical reaction to the so-called “terrorists” who usurp this state prerogative for private goals – but there are no effective means available to compel nations to cease waging war – except by waging war on them.

    1. I listened to a lecture about the beginning of nationalism, and the professor said that nationalism in France allowed Napoleon to recruit 800,000 troops to attack other dynastic monarchies. Then the Emperors had to appeal to nationalism in their own countries to fight Napoleon.
      Ultimately, she said, nationalism is based on a narrative that is not even true. But it is very effective at raising people to fight wars.

  17. Guillermo Calvo Mahé Avatar
    Guillermo Calvo Mahé

    As a former lecturer in international law, international organizations and international affairs, I have to acknowledge the sad accuracy of Ms. Caitlin’s conclusion. Any system of law based on impunity for some is not a system of law, it is only what Hobbes described as the state of nature, a chaotically savage semi-system based solely on power with justice not even an afterthought. And that is the system that the British and now the United States have imposed on the world for centuries, made possible in large part through utter disdain for the truth and abject dedication to hypocrisy.

    1. We are aspiring to what is unheard of for nations, but what is common sense for groups of thinking individuals. “Face” in Asian cultures is having an honorable reputation, being reliably righteous. It exists in some form in all cultures.
      It exists for nations now, too, even though they deny it. Russia has lost face in the world by invading a smaller and weaker neighbor in a way that is careless of human life. America has completely lost face in the last fifty years. The world is coming to insist that governments behave in a manner of decency. That is the power Zelensky has; he has no other. I hope his voice rings across America like Reverend King’s did – to call on the sinners to repent from wickedness. It was that call, not the comforting of the victims, that got him shot. Americans should listen to King, and turn America toward righteousness and away from bullying and cruelty. We are at the Pettis Bridge, but we stand on the side of wickedness and wrong.

      1. Holy Cow, the best comment ever! Comparing Zelenski to Dr. King. You know it ain’t so.

        1. No, one asked America to repent from wickedness. One did not.

  18. If the United States violates the United Nations Charter, manipulates the UN, refuses to recognize the ICC etc., that doesn’t mean that those institutions themselves or international law in general should be condemned. They are not enforcement agencies but set valuable standards for acceptable international behaviour.

    The illegal action of scofflaw states should by all means be denounced but international law itself should be defended and reinforced. It’s the only globally agreed guideline we have.

  19. Rules Based International Order is really Calvinball (Calvin and Hobbes), where the U.S. plays the role of Calvin.

    1. Excellent analogy. For those unfamiliar with calvinball. Calvin makes the rules and can change them whenever it suits him without notice.

  20. Oooohh – the WORLD Court tells Russia to STOP !

    Where was the World Court when IRAQ – LIBYA – SYRIA and AFGHANISTAN were getting destroyed ??

    This is another example of the corrupt- justice ‘less’ – Rothschilds owned – western world that we have been living in for the last 250 since the Rothschilds took control of the MONEY and the MEDIA !

    Rothschilds bought Reuters in the 1800s’ !

    They own everything – the $US – the EURO – EVERYTHING !

    They corrupted everything !

    Obviously they own the UN and the World Court as well !

    Just finish them off Vlad – NO mercy !

    Rothschilds are responsible for slaughtering up to 100 million Russians in just over 100 years !

    They financed the Bolsheviks who seized the Russian government in 1917 and up to 70 million Russians were slaughtered in the following 7 years !

    The financed WW2 and another 27 million Russians died !

    Payback has been a long time coming – it has now ARRIVED !

    1. You sound like a kook, maybe Rothschild implanted a crazy device in your brain.

    2. The Rothschilds own own everything – EVERYTHING?
      Including Russia, China, Cuba, Caitlin and yourself?
      If not, you may be exaggerating a tad.

  21. CJ hit ’em with the logic! & she is far more correct than 1st glance would suggest. The u.s. is this way at multiple levels. For example, the politicians aren’t “leaders”, they don’t call the shots. They are bought & paid, assiduously serve corporate power. Giving up the butt to the highest bidder is prostitution. Thus the nation-state actually has no sovereignty. Their talk about borders & walls let freely pass any & all but one object: labour. Thus it is a population containment zone the exact same as employers separating employees is meant to stop unionizing workers. The political boundaries are a mirage. Right here & now i can order on this phone & object will come from the world through post to my door- even so-called “illicit substances”, trafficked organs & children. All their concepts & claims are farcical cotton candy mirage lies. Their hypocrisy is so epic, so monumental that uncle scam, the united snakes is invalid!!! Listen up alphabet security suite: might does not make right. It only makes right now…& everyone is sick of your shit!! signed, born & raised & disgusted & your time is gonna come uncle satan

  22. The empire couldn’t even beat Venezuela, I don’t think Russia is worried.

  23. Yes. Yes. All of that.
    I am so heartsick at the lies and theft being carried out under our nose by the very people we should trust, I don’t know how much longer it is tolerable. But what to do?
    We in Australia have an election in May. Rise up fellow Aussies … kick these puppets to the kerb.
    Bring in a coalition of fresh faces with big ideas.
    Throw off the yoke of allegiance to criminal enterprises.
    Take the plunge.
    If we don’t, we are lost.

    1. Bahaha..!! Elections!! Facebook has already said they are deciding who will win, Meta is “educating” all concerned about ‘fake news’ and said they will make sure no-one sees it.

      So the chance of anyone who is not ‘looked upon in favourable light’ getting power is zilch! It will be a replay of the same tired old dogs licking their masters in the USA.

      The best idea I’ve seen so far is to not vote for anyone who has been in power before, get entirely new faces in, but sadly its not who you vote for that counts, its who counts the votes that counts.

      1. If voting could change anything, they would have banned it long ago. Money is what makes the world go round. However the Romans had this ominous phrase that the Capitol (where the rich and corrupt lawmakers used to sit) is next to the Tarpeian Rock (where criminals were precipitated to their deaths :o)

  24. Good scribbling

  25. International law cannot exist if there is a bullying keeping a pig eye in the international court.
    International law cannot exist if about every couple decades there is a new normal.
    in the past international law could not exist in a time where the colonialism policies urged the necessity to reintroduce mass slavery from Africa into the new. world.
    In the past international law. could not exist when the introduction of a specialized labor class and wages slowly replace not without protests and rivers of blood the existence of slaves.
    International law and democracy cannot coexist in a world. where. secret agencies, secret societies and corporations have a special forum called by the name of corruption surrounded by special privileges to dodge the system.
    International law cannot coexist in a world of lies.
    Perhaps the last thing to be emancipated after civil rights, universal healthcare and freedom is to learn how to live and to coexist with the truth.

  26. George Cornell Avatar
    George Cornell

    Whataboutism is a term invented by hypocrites to attempt to protect other hypocrites from the consequences of their…. er .. hypocrisy. It’s use is a diagnostic sign of neuronal insufficiency and bad faith and it was expressly developed to smoke and mirror confrontation with fact..
    Good for you to call it out.

  27. The thinkers of the early days after Cromwell’s dictatorship came to understand that restraint of government was not about being nicely-nice. War and tyranny are parasites that shell out their host from the inside. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars hurt America too. The hoo-yah boys don’t get it. The Shitzkreig is hurting the Russian nation. International law is intended to prevent national suicide. Be a patriot and not a bully! Peace now!!

    1. It takes two to stop shooting and it seems like good manners that the ones who started the whole shebang by killing 14,000 people in the Donbass in eight years be the ones who call it a day.

      1. Yes, shame on them, but dead children might not remember that. More dead children is not a cure for dead children, is it now?

      2. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Mahatma Gandhi

  28. John Helmer does an excellent job of understanding what decision-tree led Russia to invade Ukraine to fight NATO expansion.


    The author of this article downplays the significance of Saudi oil being sold in Chinese Yuan/renminbi.

    Importantly, this non-dollar sales arrangement eliminates the foundation of the petro-dollar, which Nixon/Kissinger negotiated with Saudi Arabia after the US default from the Bretton Woods gold standard, after American gold was depleted to the point that it could not honor international demands for gold.

    In the past the American military has wrought death and destruction upon nations which have dared to sell oil for other currencies, countries such as Iraq and Libya. Iran has weathered American opprobrium for a long time now, and though under duress, has not capitulated.

    Iran is selling a lot of oil to the Chinese, but we don’t know the $US value of it.

    Saudi Arabia has poor relations with Iran, but can observe which way the wind is now blowing, and has good relations with Russia and China, the new guarantors of military and economic security in the changing “world order”.

    It is likely that the US will attack Saudi Arabia in some way for this, and China, in some way, but the options are much narrower now. All of the options for attacking Saudi Arabia and China will also degrade US military and-or financial power. The way the “American” decisions have been made recently makes me think that there is a cabal in power which is intentionally working against actual American national interests. It is possibly just hubris and very bad judgement, but it is rapidly degrading American status as a global power,while simultaneously setting up a particularly bad economic status for deeply indebted Americans after the fall of empire. How will America export enough to repay these vast debts when the dollar is no longer accepted at-face-value, but needs to be backed by valuable material exports like oil, wheat, soybeans and cotton? What will Americans eat, burn and wear?

    ​ “​War and oil is also the focus, along with the US dollar and sanctions, on the back of the headline that Saudi Arabia is in talks with China to sell oil for CNY. Obviously, this is a much larger deal than the $2.6 billion purported India-Russia oil deal floated Monday, and in line with present pace of escalation in this metacrisis. This time we are talking $56 billion in oil and related petro-chemical exports, and $27 billion in Saudi imports…”​

    1. “It is likely that the US will attack Saudi Arabia in some way for this,”

      America will switch sides in the Saudis/Yemen war without blinking. There are no morals in American power at all, its just whose toys they want to grab in the sandpit.

      They could toss a kinetic rod down from space to vapourise a Saudi oil depot and straight-faced claim it was the Yeminis, or Iran, or Russia, and the Western presstitutes would all cheers.

    2. I’m getting “404 We couldn’t find the content you’re looking for” with that ZeroHedge link.
      Pepe Escobar has a recent piece on much the same subject, wondering what on earth Russian gold was doing in places where the West could steal it, but also looking ahead optimistically to the end of dollar hegemony.
      How could the Central Bank’s Elvira Nabiulina and her team let half of foreign reserves and even gold be stored in Western banks and/or vaults? …
      Hudson was quite frank: “When I first heard the word ‘frozen,’ I thought that this meant that Russia was not going to expend its precious gold reserves on supporting the ruble, trying to fight against a Soros-style raid from the west. But now the word ‘frozen’ seems to have meant that Russia had sent it abroad, outside of its control.”

      “It looks like at least as of last June, all Russian gold was kept in Russia itself. At the same time, it would have been natural to have kept securities and bank deposits in the United States and Britain, because that is where most intervention in world foreign exchange markets occurs,” Hudson added.

      Essentially, it’s all still up in the air: “My first reading assumed that Russia must be doing something smart. If it was smart to move gold abroad, perhaps it was doing what other central banks do: ‘lend” it to speculators, for an interest payment or fee. Until Russia tells the world where its gold was put, and why, we can’t fathom it. Was it in the Bank of England – even after England confiscated Venezuela’s gold? Was it in the New York Fed – even after the Fed confiscated Afghanistan’s reserves?” …

      All the blather about “crashing Russian markets,” ending foreign investment, destroying the ruble, a “full trade embargo,” expelling Russia from “the community of nations,” and so forth – that’s for the zombified galleries. Iran has been dealing with the same thing for four decades, and survived.

      Historical poetic justice, as Lavrov intimated, now happens to rule that Russia and Iran are about to sign a very important agreement, which may likely be an equivalent of the Iran-China strategic partnership. The three main nodes of Eurasia integration are perfecting their interaction on the go, and sooner rather than later, may be utilizing a new, independent monetary and financial system.
      ‘Say hello to Russian gold and Chinese petroyuan
      The Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union and China just agreed to design the mechanism for an independent financial and monetary system that would bypass dollar transactions.’

  30. I agree that different standards seem to apply for different countries. But how do you in practice navigate in a world where “International Law is not applicable”?
    You need to take a stand about the Russian troops bombing the shit out of the Ukrainians. No matter what has happened in the past cannot justify what’s going on – 2 wrongs don’t make a right.

    1. Actually, when it comes to war, two wrongs do make a right in the eyes of the victor.

    2. you need to make a stand about the US threatening Russia too. Which it is also currently doing. Are you making that stand?

      1. That’s a related fallacy. “Both sides should receive equal punishment in any wrong.” By your argument, why not punish Ukraine as they must have done a bad thing that got them bombed? That’s pretzel law.

        1. If you think killing 14,000 civilians is not a bad thing, then I wonder what is… Ukraine should have indeed been punished long ago! For not respecting the Minsk agreements to start with. But what do you expect in the most corrupt country in Europe where the president of the United States himself participates in the corruption by deciding through duress who’s going to prosecute and having his own depraved son sit on the board of a business he knows nothing about just because… he’s his son and the media, which has been pushing the evidence-free (turned libellous) Russiagate for years without consequences is buying it all like it was Christmas? I’m asking you… And we ain’t even talking about what Pelosi and Kerry’s sons are doing there and if that has by any chance anything to do with their votes in Congress in a matter that hardly concerns US security and should therefore be left for the UN to arbitrate.

          1. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Mahatma Gandhi

        2. Ukraine has and still continues to do ‘bad things’. Just ask the civilians of Donbass.
          How can someone be so ignorant? Has your understanding of geo-politics come from your tik-tok ‘influencers’ ?

          1. Donbas and Lugansk are in Russian hands now. The war is today. Stop today’s war.

          2. Yavole I guess you’re right. Russia – NUKE THE UKE BABY! That gets you psyched, Ray? Sweet vengeance at a million-degree retaliation? It’s only fair, right Ray?

            1. Let’s teach the Soros-Nazi-Ukrano-Illuminati-Fascist killers by blowing up their illegal nuclear weapons facilities disguised as nuclear electrical power plants! With nukes! Let’s teach Brandon and NATO a lesson, eh? We’re so sane, right?

  31. When was the last time when a country preparing to invade another country suddenly got cold feet because they thought ‘hang on, we better not do this because it’s against the law’. I don’t think the thought of getting in trouble has any influence on these decisions. And when has international law ever influenced what the US does? Clearly, it’s a meaningless concept.

    1. There is only one law between countries. Might makes right.

  32. Klaus von Berlin Avatar
    Klaus von Berlin

    In Orwell’s fictional account,the general public is incapable of distinguishing the government’s official versions of history from reality due to direct censorship and manipulation of language Orwell linked the continuous war between world powers to the manipulation of reality;”When war is continuous there is no such thing as military necessity the most palpable facts can be denied or disregarded almost any perversion of thought can be safely practiced they can twist reality into whatever shape they choose.The Caesars and Pharaohs could not be so.

  33. Benjamin Smith Avatar
    Benjamin Smith

    We need Julian Assange for Australian PM with the great Caitlin Johnstone as Depty PM.
    The two would bring some real light to the darkness that is the corrupt world of Australian politics.

    Thanks once again Caitlin. Keep up the good fight. You are a hero to many and one of the few real journalists we have left.

  34. Inane question:

    When was it ever otherwise in a unipolar new world order powered with the backing of the U.S. MICC?

    “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

    ― Frederick Douglass

  35. YES. And you would think all those free thinking people living in democracies could hold their own politicians accountable, instead of chasing fantasies of evil tyrants in far away lands implanted into their minds … by their own politicians.
    Thank you Caitlin, now if we could somehow make what you said BINDING. Or at least as they say in memes, let it sink in.

  36. Terrific as always CJ. I don’t know if you’ve seen the ErrolMorris doc “FogOfWar”, or read JohnPerkins “ConfessionsOfAnEconomicHitman”, but this afternoon I blended the two into an explanation of how international development loans via IMF & WorldBank [McNamara’s gig after quantifying everything the US did/had in VietNam, including the humans] may have been used to control foreign countries, expand NATO, manipulate the UN and drive a neoliberal/neoconservative world order at everyone’s expense, including we Americans who would rather not notice what our government does today, summon up an outdated textbook company narrative simplified for adolescents, dismiss every criticism as unpatriotic and then sleep during the sermon on Sunday morning before an afternoon riding crack before the ass-grabbing game on TV or grip-blasting through target misses at the range.

    Subjects distracted from the responsibilities of citizenship are often the loudest cheerleaders for illusion.

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