The UN Security Council should now reintroduce its draft resolution to punish Zimbabwe's autocratic leader Robert Mugabe, and 11 of his henchmen, that Russia helped defeat on the grounds that it "infringed on Zimbabwe's sovereignty."
Why? Because Russia has invaded Georgia, a sovereign nation, which now renders the key foundation of its argument against the Zimbabwe resolution, moot.
At the height of the debate over imposing sanctions on Mugabe, Russia - with the help of China - led an onslaught against Britain, the U.S. and France for attempting to interfere in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe, a sovereign country. Watching Russia as it now stomps on little Georgia, with utter military and diplomatic arrogance, one is led to brand Russians as a bunch of hypocrites. They support sovereignty only when it serves their selfish interests.
Now, Russia is in Georgia proper, effectively rendering null and void its argument that a country's sovereignty is inviolable as long as such country doesn't threaten regional peace and stability. Russian troops are not only in the disputed provinces of South Ossetia and Abhakazia, but in Georgia proper, according to UN accounts.
Russia is even demanding that Georgia's democratically-elected president, Mikheil Saakashvili, resign, in total disregard of the fact that only Georgians bear the right to determine who governs them. Russia, of course, is unhappy that Georgia practices western democracy. Georgia doesn't muzzle the press, jail opposition politicians or sponsor killings of opponents. All this is Russia's diet. It wants its neighbors to savor it by force.
It's this same disrespect of the core tenets of democracy that helped Russia refuse to clamp down on Mugabe. How could Russia have asked Mugabe to stop doing what it does on regular basis?
Unless Russians are hypocrites, they ought to be vigorously lobbying for the reintroduction of the Mugabe resolution. After all, it's nowhere close to what Russians are doing in Georgia.
Russians, through their misguided military adventures in Georgia, are demonstrating it's OK to invade another country, even when the UN, to which Russia is a permanent member, forbids doing so. Let's have Russia aid any country that wants to depose Mugabe.
If Russia doesn't subscribe to this line of reasoning, it should agree with those of us who argue that its ongoing military actions in Georgia are criminal. They are heinous acts by a country that purports to be a responsible member of the international community.
The draft resolution on Mugabe was nowhere near calling for military action against Zimbabwe, but Russia still went ahead to scuttle it because Russia doesn't believe in people's right to govern themselves.
By invading Georgia, Russia has essentially trashed the inviolability of a sovereign country's borders. To Russia, the UN's article on sovereignty is meaningless and not worth honoring. It's a tragedy that the UN seems helpless because Russia, as a permanent member of the Security Council, would readily veto any resolution that condemns its actions in Georgia.
Russia will continue to use its leverage as a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council to stifle efforts to build democracy in Georgia and other former Soviet Union states. Countries such as Zimbabwe, Burma and Sudan will continue riding roughshod on their citizens because they know there's a bird of the same feather at the UN who can protect them called Russia.
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