Saturday, August 18, 2012

Russia Confronts Britain regarding Assange

Russia's Foreign Ministry has issued a statement today warning Britain against attacking the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, saying it was unthinkable for a nation to violate "the spirit and the letter" of the Vienna Convention, which makes diplomatic premises inviolable - This really is a fascinating situation on many levels, given the threat by members of the British government to use force to extricate Julian Assange from the Ecuadorean Embassy.

The first thing to notice is the role reversal involved given the cold war history between Great Britain and the United States on one side and Russia on the other in its former guise as the Soviet Union. It was the United States and allies that were considered the guardians of human rights and the protectors of international law. The western powers were those most involved in protecting the sanctity of the embassy against more despotic regimes. Granted, Russia is not the Soviet Union, but this is a situation that would cause uncomfortable feelings were politicians in Great Britain and the United States capable of feeling irony.

But there is more to this situation than this. The premise that the Russian officials are operating from is that they are actually warning their British counterparts against setting a precedent with undesirable results. Great Britain currently has residents that are claiming asylum, and a significant number of them are from Russia. The Russian government has asked for these people to be extradited, and the British government has refused.

If the British government breaches the sanctity of the Ecuadorian embassy, then the precedent set is that it is perfectly acceptable to use force to gain extradition of wanted fugitives from foreign lands. The Russian officials are saying "The British are saying it is acceptable to send troops in to foreign territory to apprehend people claiming asylum. The British has people claiming asylum in their territory. We have troops we can send to apprehend them."

What would the members of Parliament say if the Russians were willing to follow through on that threat to the final conclusion? Would they protest that this is somehow different? Actually, that does seem somewhat likely, as it appears the mindset of the United States Imperium is that international law is there to protect the Imperium and to punish those who resist.

If a third world war does break out, Britain and Russia would be on opposite sides making this a very dangerous game of brinkmanship. It will also encourage more countries from Latin America and South America to side against the United States Imperium. Venezuela is already opposed, and the residents of Columbia are being heavily punished for supplying a product that people in the United States are eager to purchase.

The only way this can end well is if the British government backs down. It would be an embarrassment to the United States, and the emperor has an image that needs to be maintained. This is a no-win situation for the western powers, unless one is willing to say that victory comes from being willing to descend to any level to get what one wants. Or perhaps the Russian officials, in making these veiled threats, are not intending to follow through.

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