15 mar 2022 06:45 am

The West has undermined international law in order to consolidate its position. He speaks of rule-based order. These include, for example, the responsibility to protect and the export of democracy. He is now feeling the consequences of this hollowing out.

by Gert Ewen Ungar

The current and last federal governments, together with the Western community of states, are committed to the rule-based order. Everyone has certainly heard of the term, but what is meant by it remains in the dark, because there is no precise definition of the term. Rules-based international order sounds good. It sounds like clear rules that everyone adheres to, it sounds like international law. But that’s not exactly it.

Rule-based international order means that in addition to written international law there are rules that are not fixed and not internationally coordinated. One of these rules is, for example, the responsibility to protect, the international responsibility to protect, which is only slowly being included in the canon of international law after it has been applied, although the justification remains problematic. After all, it is about interference in the internal affairs of another state. The UN Charter and the responsibility to protect are at odds with one another here.

The responsibility to protect thus represents the starting point for the undermining of international law pursued by the West. Because that is what the rule-based order is about – it is the sabotage and weakening of the structures established after the Second World War.

Of course, the underlying question is justified: What can the international community do when a state commits serious crimes against humanity and acts violently against its own people? The NATO countries found a military answer in the case of Yugoslavia – they bombed Belgrade because genocide was allegedly taking place there. The reason for testing the new rule was a lie. Nevertheless, the responsibility to protect made a career. It served to legitimize the invasion of Iraq, Syria and the aggression against Libya, among other things. Here, too, the reasons for the war were fictitious. It would actually be time to say goodbye to the undesirable development. Regardless, the responsibility to protect is an emerging international law.

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In addition, it will be expanded, because in the shadow of the really big project of the responsibility to protect, the idea also developed that one could promote democracy and civil society in other countries by exerting influence. As a rule, projects and organizations that oppose the government are funded and supported. This idea is the civil society extension of the responsibility to protect, which is primarily understood in military terms. The West influences other countries and molds them in its own image. That, too, is part of the rule-based order and is a violation of established international law.

In view of the current developments on the European continent, there is no question that this one-sided Western reinterpretation and expansion of international law towards a rule-based order prepared the ground for the development and escalation in Ukraine. The “rules-based order” damaged Europe’s security architecture. The EU and NATO expanded imperially, negotiated arms control treaties were unilaterally terminated by the USA, and foreign interference destabilized Ukraine. According to Victoria Nuland, who was responsible for Europe and Eurasia at the US State Department until 2017, civil society support for the coup against the elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych cost five billion dollars up to January 2014.

The talk of the rules-based order arose at a time when the USA was the only remaining world power and the western alliance dominated the world unchallenged. The Soviet Union had collapsed and failed to act as a corrective, and the rise of China was only just beginning to emerge. The Western power bloc seized the opportunity to realign the world order. The rule-based order serves to consolidate and expand Western power structures, because it is nothing more than a code for the law of the strongest. It is, of course, the West that alone makes the rules by which the world has to conform.

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine must also be analyzed against this background. Russia applies the rules-based order established by the West. Russia legitimizes its military action with the argument that the Ukrainian central government is carrying out genocide on the local population in the Donbass, from which a responsibility to protect the local population is derived. That was exactly the reasoning used by NATO, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and his Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer to legitimize the invasion of Yugoslavia and the bombing of Belgrade. They only differ in one point, because the Russian argument is backed by much harder facts. Incidentally, the fact that Chancellor Olaf Scholz, during his visit to Russia, brushed aside the accusation that a genocide was being committed in the Donbass with a laugh cost him a lot of sympathy points among the Russians.

Russia and Ukraine are negotiating, and it seems that the military part of the conflict is nearing its end. Even those untrained in the military can recognize the huge cauldrons formed by the Russian army. The Ukrainian army is lost. It would be time to respond to the Russian demands. These are clearly formulated: neutrality and demilitarization of Ukraine, recognition of Donbass independence and recognition of Crimea as belonging to Russia. If these conditions are met, the war is over. However, this would have serious repercussions on the global order, as it would make it clear that the West is no longer able to set rules. With the Ukraine, the hegemonic position of the West falls. The West therefore also has an interest in a further escalation.

The weakness of the West does not go unnoticed by the international community either. Because while the media gives the impression that there is a broad anti-Russian front, it is actually the case that numerous countries show solidarity with Russia, and many simply adopt a neutral stance. In addition to China, the countries showing solidarity also include Arab states and some countries in Central and South America.

Will Ukraine become a strategic success for Washington?

There is a vital interest in ending US and Western exceptionalism, which in fact comes across as the law of the jungle. To this end, Russia is fighting a battle in Ukraine, but work is also being done in other places to dismantle Western hegemony. The de-dollarization is progressing, work is being done on instruments with which the western sanctions regime can be circumvented and its effects mitigated. India is currently looking for ways to bypass the dollar in trade with Russia and is considering the Chinese yuan as a new anchor currency.

The processes in Ukraine should be placed in a larger context. The West is in decline. The rules-based order he prefers has led to the upheavals that made the Ukraine crisis possible in the first place: destabilization through interference in internal affairs up to and including a coup. In addition, the West itself provided the argument for the Russian invasion: the responsibility to protect.

With its renunciation of written international law, the West did not succeed in permanently consolidating its hegemony. On the contrary, this is the core of his erosion of power. The rules are being made more and more frequently and more and more clearly by others. This applies in particular to the European continent. The West is now getting a taste of the medicine it has happily given to others.

RT DE strives for a broad range of opinions. Guest posts and opinion pieces do not have to reflect the editor’s point of view.

more on the subject – Zelensky urges NATO to act

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RT DE strives for a broad range of opinions. Guest posts and opinion pieces do not have to reflect the editor’s point of view.

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