The Economist is the high priest of Anglo-Saxon hypocrisy – it preaches afree market for all, but backed “socialism for the banks” when the City needed a bailout. It is no more consistent on world politics – international law for all, except for Britain and the USA. In response to the recent article written by Stop the War Convenor Lindsey German (10 things to remember about the crisis in Ukraine and Crimea), an Economist blogger identified only as “JC”, decided to “Fisk” Stop the War (Britain and Ukraine: Fisking Stop the War). It was quite revealing. Here are ten things JC got wrong:“Neither Mr Cameron nor Mr Kerry ‘invaded’ Afghanistan or Iraq,” JC begins. No, but Britain and the USA did – and it was an invasion, noquotation marks are necessary. The Iraq war, like the Yugoslav one in 1999, was undertaken clearly in violation of international law, against countries making no threats to the USA or Britain, and without any UN sanction. The Economist may take a view that these bloody violations of international law are acceptable, while Putin’s so-far bloodless occupation of the Crimea is an outrage, but not many outside the snug circles of the Anglosphere elite will be found to agree. If the magazine genuinely wants a law-based world with all disputes resolved through negotiation and the United Nations, then it cannot continue to make exceptions for the likes ofBush and Blair – at least not if it wants to be taken seriously.
JC’s description of Yeltsin as a “modernising” premier (he was in fact President not premier) is perhaps the most absurd contention. Under the stewardship of the inebriated Yeltsin, Russia’s economy shrank by half, its state assets were handed over to the emerging oligarchy in a corrupt privatisation process, no functioning party-political system was created and in the end Yeltsin could only be persuaded to leave office under cover of an amnesty for himself and his family for his venal crimes. His foreign policy choices also stored up immense trouble for his successors, as is being seen today. If this is modernisation, it sure makes the case for tradition.