The law of the jungle

Western hypocrisy over the Russian invasion of Ukraine
by
July 2022, no. 444

The law of the jungle

Western hypocrisy over the Russian invasion of Ukraine
by
July 2022, no. 444
(photograph by Maskalin/Alamy)
(photograph by Maskalin/Alamy)

Russia’s full-throttle invasion of Ukraine is so shocking because it is such a brazen assault on the post-1945 world order. Reminiscent of the age of empire, this is no border skirmish but an attempt to extinguish and cannibalise an independent neighbouring country.

War was first outlawed as an instrument of foreign policy by the Kellogg–Briand Pact of 1928, but it failed to stem the fascist and militarist aggression that consumed the globe during World War II. A more comprehensive ban was placed at the heart of the United Nations Charter in 1945, with the exception of national self-defence. This was backed by enforcement powers of the UN Security Council, which were lacking in its predecessor, the League of Nations Council. All the great powers were also included in the UN tent, unlike the League, where powerful non-member states ran amok, including fascist Germany and Italy, militarist Japan, and the communist Soviet Union.

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Comments (3)

  • As an American living in Australia, I too have been painfully aware that the credibility of Western nations was compromised by the illegal invasion of Iraq. I am glad to see this article. Perhaps some readers of ABR would also be interested in these reports from Ukrainian writers:
    https://lareviewofbooks.org/short-takes/conversations-with-ukrainian-writers-at-war/?mc_cid=704d73e8fa&mc_eid=b3867ca3f3
    Posted by David Mason
    04 July 2022
  • Just wondering where Ben Saul got his numbers from in his comment about Australia’s ‘illegal, racist detention of tens of thousands of refugees’ warranting mention. I am in full agreement with him about Australia’s atrocious refugee detention record, particularly over the last twenty-five years, but I wasn’t aware that ‘tens of thousands’ of refugees had been so detained! I knew the numbers were in the thousands, but didn’t know they’d reached into the ‘tens of thousands’! Much worse than I realised.
    Posted by Leslie Rosenblatt
    02 July 2022
  • Wow, what an extraordinary piece. We need to shift the public narrative from notions of goodies versus baddies to a focus on the activities of powerful nations that are more or less bad players and all of which are flouting the rules. It begins at home no doubt.
    Posted by Patrick Hockey
    01 July 2022

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