Western policy and moral posturing poses a danger to Russia
Prof Geoffrey Roberts shares the text of his letter published as lead letter in the FT on 24 September under the headline "Western policy and moral posturing poses a danger to Russia".
Martin Wolf’s enunciation in his column on Russia that “the western position is based on two simple principles: first, a country is entitled to make its own choices; second, borders may not be changed by force” (September 17) is missing a critical qualification: “as long as its suits the west”.
Without this proviso it is impossible to comprehend the practice of western foreign policy as opposed to its rhetoric and propaganda. In 1962 the United States brought the world to the brink of nuclear war because it did not approve of the Cuban government’s decision to invite the Soviet Union to place missiles on its territory. Today Iran faces isolation and sanctions to thwart its ambitions to become a nuclear power like the Israeli, Pakistani and Indian allies of the west. In Libya and Syria western states have intervened and interfered with results that are so woeful as to require no comment. Borders are sacrosanct, but not those of the former Yugoslavia or Serbia, which has been dismembered by the western-sponsored secession of Kosovo.
Yet when Russia acts to protect what it sees as its interests and security in Ukraine it is deemed by Wolf to be a menace and the greatest challenge facing the United States. He even trots out the hoary old chestnut of Putin’s statement that the collapse of the USSR was a major geopolitical disaster, without quoting the Russian President’s rider that anyone who thinks the Soviet Union can be recreated needs their head examined.
Is it any wonder that Russia views the west’s moral posturing in international politics as not just hypocritical and self-serving but dangerous?
Professor Geoffrey Roberts B.Sc (Econ), DPSE, PhD, FRHistS
School of History
University College Cork, Ireland
Stalin’s General: The Life of Georgy Zhukov – winner of the Society for Military History Distinguished Book Award for Biography