The renewal and increase of the American and European “sanctions” against Russia, and the threat of new “sanctions” against Iran, a weapon long used by them against any nation that does not obey their diktats, from Cuba, to China, from Zimbabwe to Venezuela, is yet another slap across the face of the Russian and Iranian peoples. False hopes raised in some quarters that the American vassal states in Europe would act independently and favour more cooperation with Russia and Iran have once again been shown to be so much wishful thinking, based on a false assessment of the extent of the unhappiness in some business sectors with the effect of the “sanctions” on European economies.
It is no doubt correct that various sectors of those economies are suffering due to this economic warfare but the Washington regime and its dependent regimes in Europe are casting for bigger fish and are willing to tolerate certain inconveniences. The bigger fish is, of course, total control of the resources of Russia and Iran and of all Eurasia. They hope to achieve this by undermining the governments of the targeted countries and replacing them with completely docile puppets so they can exploit those resources, as they will. But if that does not work, the plans for war are drawn up and, as all can see, are steadily being put into effect.
The Americans are engaging in a “fight and talk” strategy, appearing from time to time to be open to cooperation but always using negotiations to set up the next stage of aggression. They have done this with Russia multiple times, and succeeded in forcing Iran to surrender some of its sovereignty regarding its civilian nuclear development in return for a promised lifting of this state of economic war. But Iran is learning, as Russia, and as Cuba, so well know, that the Americans can never be trusted and they always have an aggressive agenda beneath their platitudes.
With respect to Russia, every domain has been used to inflict pressure on the nation from the western snub of the Moscow Victory Parade, in a fit of pique because the Red Army won the Second World War in Europe, to the smearing of Russia and its athletes in the lead up to the Football World Cup, to the continual personal insults directed at President Putin, to the shoot down of a Russian jet bomber, and the murder of its pilot by Turkey and the American approval of this crime, to the latest farce of CIA-MI6 linked groups like Amnesty International and the Syrian Observatory making claims that Russia is using cluster bombs in Syria against civilians. Russia denies it and the US has been forced to admit it has no evidence to support these stories but the hypocrisy is stunning since NATO used cluster bombs and all sots of banned weapons in the thousands when they attacked Yugoslavia and during their other wars around the world. Their client state Israel has used them and there are reports of Saudi Arabia using them in Yemen.
That the Russian government can remain as outwardly calm, professional and diplomatic as it does is remarkable considering that the sanctions put in place are designed to try to cripple key sectors of the Russian economy.
The expressed reason for continuing and increasing the economic aggression against Russia is that the Minsk Agreements will not be fully implemented by the end of the year. But it is the Kiev junta in Ukraine and their EU and US counterparts that have refused to implement key provisions of those Agreements, not Russia which has bent over backwards to make them work. Of course there are no corresponding sanctions against the Kiev regime for its continual warfare on its own people, its destruction of democracy and free political debate in Ukraine, its easy tolerance of openly fascist groups and para-militaries while suppressing the Communist Party,its refusal to comply with the terms it agreed to at Minsk. No. Only Russia is hit.
Of course, the Minsk issue is just an excuse. This is revealed by the American threat that unless Crimea is returned to the control of the Kiev regime, the “sanctions” will not be withdrawn. Since they know this will never happen, this means the “sanctions” will be permanent. This shows that the real objective is to find any reason whatever to continue the west’s economic aggression against Russia in order to achieve the greater strategic objective.
The same logic applies to Iran. No matter how much it bends its principles in order to avoid war, it will never be enough so long as Iran tries to act as an independent country. The economic warfare will continue for as long as the Americans have the power to wage it. In the case of Cuba it has been 55 years.
The excuse will vary with the time and circumstance but the strategy will remain. This is war, illegal and immoral, against an entire people, for the private gains of the elites in the west whose only concern is to make profit at the expense of everyone else.
I have used the word “sanction” in parentheses because the word, “sanction,” means the provision of rewards for obedience, along with punishment for disobedience, to a law. There are other meanings for the word but they all define the same condition-obedience to a master by his vassal, to a monarch by his subject, to a warden by his prisoner. The condition necessarily implies that the person applying the sanction is legally in a superior position to the person being sanctioned, that he has the right to apply the sanction and that there exists a system of laws in which the use of sanctions is permitted and agreed upon.
This is the definition yet every day we hear of the “sanctions” imposed on Russia and Iran or Cuban and Venezuela for reasons that everyone knows are false, based on authority that does not exist, based on laws that have never been created, and by national governments that have only arrogance to support their grand presumption; that their nations are superior to others, that there is no equality or sovereignty of peoples, that their diktats are orders that must be obeyed by those who inferior to them.
Since the economic restrictions on banking, finance and trade set up against Russia and Iran by the United States and its subject states in the NATO alliance do not comply with the definition of sanctions, we have to use the correct term in describing these restrictions. There is only one word, and that word is, war and, since this form of warfare is not permitted by international law as found in the United Nations Charter they are economic war crimes, economic aggression for which a reckoning will one day have to be paid, one way or another.
It is in Chapter VII, Article 41 of the Charter that the power to completely or partially interrupt economic relations exists and only the Security Council can use that power. Nowhere else does this power exist.
Once again the issue comes back to the word war. It is clear that the attempted economic strangulation of Russia and Iran is an attempt to “punish” them for supposed crimes concerning the defence of their strategic positions and their sovereignty. It is also a strategy meant to weaken both nations, as forces of resistance to NATO aggression generally. The United Nations has been completely bypassed and, in effect, might as well not exist.
Once a war has started it can only proceed to its logical end. Since the economic war on Russia has not brought about Russia’s capitulation in its defence of the peoples of Crimea, the Donbass, and Syria, there can be little doubt that the economic aggression will escalate until logic requires open war and the risk of nuclear annihilation. Turkey, acting as the cats paw for Washington, has already attacked Russian forces in Syria. Russia responded with restraint to this act of war, limiting its response to the economic domain, a legitimate expression of its right to defend itself. But the economic warfare conducted by the west is unprovoked, a violation of international law, imperialistic in nature and is clearly without limits.
President Putin in several of his speeches has called for nations to adhere to international law and for the need to re-establish international law. He is right but it remains to be seen what form a new international system of law would take and how it could be implemented. During the Soviet period one could talk of “international law” but though there existed generally agreed upon principles of law, a set of desiderata, its existence outside of power politics is difficult to see. The empty shell that international law really was fell apart quickly after the fall of the Berlin wall and all we have left are fine parchments, high sounding words and genuine but frustrated hopes.
Law reflects the economic, social and political structure of the society that creates it and we can see that international law, in a world in chaos, has become the law of the gangster, the pirate, the bandit, and their lairs are Washington, London and Brussels.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and he is known for a number of high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.