Hypocrisy in the West


Sasha Mordovets

Photo courtesy of CNN.com.

I don’t agree with everything regarding the Russian annexation of Crimea. In fact, I believe it was actually most beneficial to Crimea to be usurped back into Russia for both economic and social reasons. Economically because Russia already supplies so much aid and fiscal livelihood to Ukraine, especially Crimea, and socially because the vast majority of Crimea identifies with Russia on a cultural level. They speak Russian, and many see the Soviet days as having been their golden age. These factors in mind, I would argue that Crimea is much better off and much more stable as part of Putin’s empire.

But I do understand and don’t neglect the merit of the opposition as well. Russia’s occupation of Crimea was not legal, it infringed on Ukraine’s sovereignty as a whole, violated some international laws, made out Putin to be a power hungry leader (soft-authoritarian style), conjured up notions of the Soviet past, and angered a whole lot of Western nations. But what I don’t quite seem to understand is the Western nations’ superiority complex and condescension of Russia.

The United States along with other Western countries have been really harsh on Russia which is interesting considering that they have imposed some of the worst conditions conceivable by way of occupation and intervention.

Let’s take a nice little walk through history, shall we? Ok, I mean we may as well begin with Afghanistan. To say the United States cheated Afghanistan over would be a gross understatement. We put the Taliban in control of the country, we caused increased socioeconomic cleavages, and we demoralized the people by way of our occupation. The United States took that country and bashed its head on the ground. And, when a cracked skull wasn’t enough, we kept banging it until there was internal bleeding. In other words we beat a dead horse – repeatedly.

We can go back even further and talk about Iran just for kicks and giggles. After instating a Shah who was essentially a western puppet with a secret police that oppressed many and making him incredibly rich while much of the country was living in gross poverty, the Iranian people went into revolutionary mode and led to the installation of Sharia law under a theocratic ruler. A system of governance that has led to the increased oppression of marginalized individuals – especially women.

But why confine the Western messes to the Middle East? We could always talk about our imperialism – a favorite topic, no? The late nineteenth century was plagued by sentiments of Western superiority and the entitlement of European nations. We could look even more specifically at the genocide imposed by King Leopold II in the Belgian Congo.

I think what bothers me is this immediate jump to shaming Russia. I understand the importance of not “letting things slide,” but I think that if Western countries want to stare down their nose at Russia, they must be wary not to neglect their own pasts – if they do, those noses will grow so long, looking down it will become near impossible.