US Completely Invalidates All Of Its Own Arguments About Crimea

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

Well the worst Putin Puppet of all time is at it again, this time tweeting that the US must recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel despite the fact that the Israeli occupation of that Syrian land is illegal under international law.

“After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!”, Trump’s tweetreads.

Russian parliament member Oleg Morozov made a statement in response to Trump’s proclamation, saying that “Russia will never agree to recognize Israeli sovereignty in the Golan. Trump is damaging the international community and the Arab world”.

Trump’s tweet follows a report last week that his administration has deliberately softened the US government’s language concerning the Golan Heights in a way that is favorable to Israel, referring to the region as “Israeli-controlled” instead of “Israeli-occupied” as it had always previously been. This is just one more of the many, many ways in which the facts demonstrate a virulently anti-Russia posture by the Trump administration in the face of a funhouse mirror mass media narrative which claims the exact opposite, another of those facts being the administration’s sanctions and hawkish posturing over the Russian Federation’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.

“More red meat for Trump’s Evangelical base,” tweeted journalist Mark Ames in response to Trump’s tweet. “Doubt anyone will care about US hypocrisy since hypocrisy is what defines us — rewarding Israel’s armed seizure/colonization/annexation of Golan; yet punishing Russia’s Crimea annexation, which at least had local majority-Russian support.”

“How do the delusional @Maddow #Russiagate peddlers explain that ‘Putin puppet’ @realDonaldTrump still refuses to recognize Russian annexation of Crimea, but just did Netanyahu’s bidding and recognized illegal Israeli annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights?” asked Electric Intifada’s Ali Abunimah.

“Putin will use this as a pretext to justify Russia’s annexation of Crimea,” former US ambassador to Israel Martin S. Indyk told the New York Times. “The Israeli right will use it as a pretext for Israel’s annexation of the West Bank. It is a truly gratuitous move by Trump.”

“Twaddle,” tweeted the Global Policy Institute’s George Szamuely in response to Indyk’s NYT statement. “Putin doesn’t need any ‘pretext to justify’ anything. The return of Crimea to Russia took place 5 years ago, via a referendum in accordance with the constitution of Crimea. Putin won’t bring up the Golan because the two situations are so different.”

In an excellent article for Strategic Culture titled “US Duplicity over Golan Demolishes Posturing on Crimea” written prior to Trump’s statement, journalist Finian Cunningham breaks down the differences and similarities between Washington’s position on Crimea versus the Golan Heights, and explains how its current push to validate Israel’s annexation completely invalidates its own arguments about Crimea. I highly recommend checking out Cunningham’s article in its entirety for anyone who’s interested in this, as its arguments are largely unassailable, but here are some excerpts:

Israel has occupied the western part of the Golan since 1967 as a spoil from that war. In 1981, Tel Aviv formally annexed the Syrian territory. However, the UN Security Council in 1981, including the US, unanimously condemned the annexation as illegal. The resolution mandates Israel to return the land to Syria which has historical claim to the entire Golan. The area of 1,800 square kilometers is a strategic elevation overlooking the northern Jordan Valley.

If Washington confirms its recent indications of recognizing the Golan as officially part of Israel, the development would mark an egregious flouting of international law.

...

Claims by Washington and the European Union of “illegal annexation” of Crimea by Russia are the central basis for five years of economic sanctions imposed on Moscow. Those sanctions have contributed to ever-worsening tensions with Russia and the build-up of NATO forces along Russia’s borders.

Those claims are, however, highly contestable. The people of Crimea voted in a legally constituted referendum in March 2014 to secede from Ukraine and to join the Russian Federation. That referendum followed an illegal coup in Kiev in February 2014 backed by the US and Europe against a legally elected president, Viktor Yanukovych. Historically, Crimea has centuries of shared cultural heritage with Russia. Its erstwhile position within the state of Ukraine was arguably an anomaly of the Cold War and subsequent break-up of the Soviet Union.

In any case, there is scant comparison between the Golan Heights and Crimea, save, that is, for the latest hypocrisy in Washington. While Crimea and its people are arguably historically part of Russia, the Golan Heights are indisputably a sovereign part of Syria which was forcibly annexed by Israeli military occupation.

The discrepancy between the White House’s positions on Crimea and the Golan Heights can easily be explained by the nature of America’s overarching imperialist agenda. The US-centralized empire, of which Israel is an inseparable part, operates much like the creature in the 1958 movie The Blob: its goal is to absorb as many geostrategic territories into itself as possible, growing larger and stronger with every absorption. The Golan Heights is a resource rich region dominated by plutocratic interests and provides Israel with a third of its water supply, as well as a strategically valuable location for attacking and undermining the unabsorbed nation of Syria and its unabsorbed Iranian and Hezbollah allies.

Crimea, meanwhile, is another highly strategically important location, but its control shifted outside the blob of empire when its people chose Moscow over Kiev. The blob of empire is strengthened and enlarged with the addition of the Golan Heights, but weakened and shrunk with the loss of Crimea.

We see this dynamic playing out all over the globe. Bolsonaro’s election in Brazil was a huge victory for the blob, strengthening its ability to attack and absorb other unabsorbed nations like Venezuela. This is why John Bolton recently tweeted that “We’re proud to make Brazil a Major Non-NATO Ally, and look forward to working with them on Venezuela, Iran, and China. A great meeting with a strong new strategic partner!”, and why Bolsonaro refused to deny the possibility of Brazil aiding the US in military action against Venezuela during his press conference with the president the other day.

The tight network of US allies which functions as an empire on foreign policy is constantly attempting to expand roughly eastward and southward, and to undermine the interests of any government which presents an obstacle to that expansion. Many people have grown very rich by the exploitative and frequently violent nature of this expansion, in precisely the way colonialists and conquistadors grew very rich with the exploitative and frequently violent expansion of European power into the rest of the world hundreds of years ago. The alliance of secretive government agencies and thieving plutocrats has been ensuring a concurrent metastasizing of corporate and government power along the waves of that expansion, and it won’t stop until either the empire is overthrown, the world is completely absorbed, or these bastards get us all killed in a nuclear holocaust with their reckless imperialist aggression.

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