The West and the EU, which have violated international law numerous times, must decide whether the same rules exist for all before preaching them to others, former Austrian FM Karin Kneissl said.
A re-evaluation of its approach towards international law – and the double standards it practices regarding it – is long overdue for the West, Kneissl told RT Deutsch. While the West is quick to condemn any ‘violations’ wherever it feels necessary, it turns a blind eye to its own – like the 2003 invasion of Iraq or the Kosovo war.
There were many times when international law was violated, if I may say so, on the part of the EU, on the part of the West.
She believes the Crimea issue, which is a major obstacle on the path of mending Russia-EU ties, is one example of the West’s selective approach to international law. The West was quick to condemn the reunification of the peninsula with Russia, branding it an ‘annexation’ and preaching high morals – while ignoring its own moves regarding Kosovo. Moscow maintains that all due procedure was in place, and the people of Crimea decided to rejoin Russia during the 2014 referendum, while firmly refusing to discuss its territorial integrity with anybody.
We should not try to find individual violations of international law, we need to decide: either we are all interested in international law and abide by the rules of this game, or if we do not adhere to it, the situation could become explosive.
The selective approach to international law has not only harmed relations between the West and the rest of the world, but has taken a toll on itself as well. The recent remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron on the “brain death” of NATO called into question the purpose of the bloc – but he was not the first to do so.
“I remember it very well when at that time, during spring 2003, the rift within NATO was very tangible,” Kneissl said, recalling France’s and Germany’s opposition towards the looming invasion of Iraq.
That confusion within the alliance over its own purpose and goals persists, and the situation is even more dangerous than the outright demise of the bloc.
“We’re witnessing a paralysis of sorts. And the brain death, in my opinion, is worse than regular death, since if someone’s brain has died, someone else must decide whether it’s the time to switch off life support.”
The West – and the EU in particular – should drop its confrontational approach to the rest of the world and seek partnership instead, Kneissl believes. Naturally, this means the EU should build equal and friendly relations with Russia – an idea that has been repeatedly expressed by at least some European politicians.
“I welcome real politics – and the real politics is defined by geography,” Kneissl said. “I believe we should get rid of the confrontational approach in favor of an equality-based one. We should seek not the opportunities to antagonize, but to cooperate. I believe many in Europe would support that.”
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