September 11, 2008
Towards a Second Cold War?
By NOAM CHOMSKY
Aghast at the atrocities committed by US forces invading the Philippines, and the rhetorical flights about liberation and noble intent that routinely accompany crimes of state, Mark Twain threw up his hands at his inability to wield his formidable weapon of satire. The immediate object of his frustration was the renowned General Funston. Ã¢â‚¬Å“No satire of Funston could reach perfection,Ã¢â‚¬Â Twain lamented, Ã¢â‚¬Å“because Funston occupies that summit himself… [he is] satire incarnated.Ã¢â‚¬Â
It is a thought that often comes to mind, again in August 2008 during the Georgia-Ossetia-Russia war. George Bush, Condoleezza Rica and other dignitaries solemnly invoked the sanctity of the United Nations, warning that Russia could be excluded from international institutions Ã¢â‚¬Å“by taking actions in Georgia that are inconsistent withÃ¢â‚¬Â their principles. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations must be rigorously honored, they intoned Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Ã¢â‚¬Å“all nations,Ã¢â‚¬Â that is, apart from those that the US chooses to attack: Iraq, Serbia, perhaps Iran, and a list of others too long and familiar to mention.
The junior partner joined in as well. British foreign secretary David Miliband accused Russia of engaging in Ã¢â‚¬Å“19th century forms of diplomacyÃ¢â‚¬Â by invading a sovereign state, something Britain would never contemplate today. That Ã¢â‚¬Å“is simply not the way that international relations can be run in the 21st century,Ã¢â‚¬Â he added, echoing the decider-in-chief, who said that invasion of Ã¢â‚¬Å“a sovereign neighboring stateÃ¢â‚¬Â¦is unacceptable in the 21st century.Ã¢â‚¬Â Mexico and Canada therefore need not fear further invasions and annexation of much of their territory, because the US now only invades states that are not on its borders, though no such constraint holds for its clients, as Lebanon learned once again in 2006.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The moral of this story is even more enlightening,Ã¢â‚¬Â Serge Halimi writes in Le Monde Diplomatique and CounterPunch newsletter, Ã¢â‚¬Å“when, to defend his country’s borders, the charming pro-American Saakashvili repatriates some of the 2,000 soldiers he had sent to invade Iraq,Ã¢â‚¬Â one of the largest contingents apart from the two warrior states.