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   Source: The London Times 21 August 1997
   Translation: unknown

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    In the Computer Age we still live by the law of the Stone Age: the
man with the bigger club is  right.  But we pretend this isn't  so. We
don't notice or even suspect it -- why, surely our morality progresses
together with our  civilisation. Professional politicians,  meanwhile,
have deftly covered certain vices with a civilised veneer.
    In the 20th century we have enriched ourselves with innovations in
the field  of hypocrisy.   We find  ever more  ingenious ways to apply
double (triple? quadruple?) standards.
    The bloody Yugoslav tragedy has unfolded before our eyes (and   is
it over  yet?).  To  be sure,  blame for  it lies  with the  Communist
coterie of  Josip Broz  Tito, which  imposed an  arbitrary pattern  of
internal borders upon the  country, trampling on ethnic  common sense,
and even relocating ethnic masses by force.  Yet blame lies also  with
the venerable  community pf  Western leaders,  who --  with an angelic
naivete -- took those false borders seriously, and then hastened at  a
moment's notice,  in a  day or  two, to  recognise the independence of
several breakaway republics whose political formation they  apparently
found to  be advantageous.   It was  these leaders,  then, who  nudged
Yugoslavia  toward  many  gruelling  years  of  civil  war;  and their
position, declared as neutral, was by no means such.
    Yugoslavia, with  its seven  estranged peoples,  was told  to fall
apart  as soon  as possible.   But Bosnia,  with  its  three estranged
peoples and vivid memories of Hitlerite Croatians slaughtering up to a
million Serbs, had  to remain united  at all costs  -- the  particular
insistence  of  the United  States  Government.  Who  can  explain the
disparity of such an approach?
    Another  example:  the Trans-Dnestr  Republic  and  Abkhazia  were
deemed illegitimate  simply because  they were  "self-prociaimed". But
which  of the  CIS countries  was not  "self-proclaimed'?  Kazakhstan?
Ukraine?  They  were immediately  and  unconditionally  recognised  as
legitimate, even democratic (and the "Ukrainian Popular  Self-Defence"
Brownshirts continue to march about freely, torches and  all). Did not
the United States also "self-proclaim" their independence?  Meanwhile,
the Kurds  are not  allowed even  to self-proclaim.  When they are not
being squashed by Iraq, with  the tacit consent of the  United States,
then they are being smashed by Nato  member Turkey even on non-Turkish
territory,  while  the  whole  civilised  world  looks  on  with utter
indifference. Are the Kurds a "superfluous nation" on this earth?
    Or take the Crimea and the port city of Sevastopol. Any sober mind
on either side would at least agree that the Crimean question is  very
complex, whereas Ukraine's claim to Sevastopol has no  legal base. Yet
the US  State Department,  choosing not  to trouble  itself  with  the
history of the matter,  has continued to assert   authoritatively, for
six  years  running,   that  both  the   Crimea  and  Sevastopol   are
unequivocally the  property of  Ukraine, end  of discussion.  Would it
presume to  speak so  categorically on,  say, the  future of  Northern
Ireland?
    Still another accomplishment of political hypocrisy is apparent in
the  way  in  which  we  conduct  "war  crimes  tribunals".  Wars, for
thousands of  years, have  always been  aggravated on  both  sides  by
crimes and injustices.  In hopes that a just reason might prevail,  in
order to make sense of war and to punish evil passions and evil deeds,
Russia proposed The Hague Convention of 1899.
    Yet no sooner  did the first  war crimes trial  take place --  the
Nazis at  Nuremberg --  than we  saw, elevated  high upon the  judges'
bench, the unblemished administrators of a justice system that  during
those same years handed over to torture, execution and untimely  death
tens of millions of innocent lives in its own country.
    And if we continue to differentiate between the always  inevitable
deaths  of  soldiers  at  war and  the  mass  killings  of undoubtedly
peaceful citizens, then by  what name shall we  call those  who, in  a
matter of minutes, burnt to death 140,000 civilians at  Hiroshimaalone
-- justifying the act with  the astounding words, "to  save  the lives
of  our  soldiers"?   That  President  and  his  entourage  were never
subjected to trial,  and they are  remembered as worthy   victors. And
how shall we name those who, with victory fully in hand, dispatched  a
two-day wave of fighter bombers to reduce to ashes  beautiful Dresden,
a civilian city  teeming with refugees?   The death toll  was  not far
below Hiroshima, and two orders of magnitude greater than at Coventry.
The Coventry bombing, however, was  condemned in trial, while the  Air
Marshal who directed  the bombing of  Dresden was not  only spared the
brand of  "war criminal",  but towers  over the  British capital  in a
monument, as a national hero.
    In an age marked by such a flourishing of jurisprudence, we  ought
to see clearly that a well-considered international law is a law which
justly punishes  criminals irrespective  -- irrespective  -- of  their
side's victory or defeat.  No such law has  yet been created, found  a
firm footing, or been universally recognised.  It follows, then,  that
The Hague tribunal still lacks sufficient legal authority with respect
to its  accused and  might on  occasion lack  impartiality. If so, its
verdicts would constitute reprisal, not justice.  For all the numerous
corpses  of  civilians  uncovered  in  Bosnia,  from  all  the warring
parties, no  suspects seem  to have  been found  from the  safeguarded
Muslim side.  Finally we  might mention  this remarkable  tactic:  The
Hague tribunal now  hands down indictments  in secret, not  announcing
them publicly. Somewhere, the accused  is summoned on a civil  matter,
and immediately captured -- a method beyond even the Inquisition, more
worthy of barbarians, circa 3,000 BC.
    Perusing  the  world  map,  we  find  many  examples  of   today's
hypocritical double  standard.  Here  is but  one more.   In the  Euro
-  American  expanse, all  sorts  of integration  and  partnership are
cultivated and  nurtured, stretching  over lands  on the  periphery of
this space, like Ukraine, willing, even to incorporate faraway Central
Asia.   At the  same time,  all sorts  of political  interference  and
economic pressure are vigilantly applied  in order to derail the  very
plan of a rapprochement between Belarus and Russia.
    And what of  Nato expansion?  Which,  by the way,  adds allies who
surely  will remain  apathetic and  useless vis-a-vis  the  Alliance's
global,  non-European aims.   It is  either the  traditional Cold  War
hypnosis, impairing one's ability to see the powerlessness of  Russia,
beset by internal  troubles.  Or, on  the contrary, it  is extreme far
- sightedness on the part  of Nato's leaders.  Should the  high-tariff
strangling  of  Russian exports  (except  for coercivelycheap  natural
resource exports) prove insufficient:  should the implacable diktat of
Russian internal policy (bundled with loans that only enfeeble)  prove
insufficient   as  well;   there  will   now  be,   in  reserve;   the
"neutralisation" of Russia into a comatose state.
    I have  not the  means to  guess whether  Russia's current leaders
understand this:  Most likely they  do not:  witness their own  clumsy
participation  in that  elegant new  phenomenon of  the  "peacekeeping
forces"  in Bosnia  or Tajikistan;  or their  confused, lost  policies
regarding the CIS  countries, or their  doomed attempts to  hold on to
Chechnya,  with  reckless  disregard  for  the  human  cost;  witness,
finally, their blind inability to find a reasonable and just  solution
to the controversy over the Kuril Islands.
    They see themselves  at the helm  of the ship  of Russian history,
but they are not.  They do not direct the course of events.
    As for those who do,  their plans to establish a  "final worldwide
security" are ephemeral as well.  Given human nature we ought never to
attain such security.  It would be futile, at the very least, to march
towards  this  goal  armed  with  hypocrisy  and  scheming  short-term
calculations, as practised  by a revolving  door of, officials  and by
the powerful  financial circles  that back  them, Nor  can security be
bought with any new technical "superinvention" -- for no secret lasts.
    Only  if  the  creative  and  active  forces  of  mankind dedicate
themselves to  finding gradual  and effective  restraints against  the
evil  facets   of  human   nature  to  an   elevation   of  our  moral
consciousness -- only then will a faint, distant hope exist. To embark
upon this path, and  to walk it,  requires a penitent,  pure heart and
the wisdom and willingiress  to place constraints  on one's own  side,
to limit oneself even before limiting others. But today that path only
elicits an ironic chuckle, if not open ridicule.
    If so, don't bother calling for "world security".

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