How the Cold War and now the War in Ukraine have Justified Abuse of Human Rights, Inhumane Sanctions, and Abuse of Power

Working hard to put pressure on countries from around the world to take a stand against Russia in relation to its military operation in Ukraine, the US government and its Western allies schedule two UNGA public votes just months apart, the most recent was just days before the one year anniversary of the start of the conflict. In both sessions, more countries from Africa voted against the resolution or abstained than from any other continent. Commentators and analysts attribute this neutrality to the role played by Russia and China most recently shoring up African economies. That may partly true. The more determinant factor that influence African leaders’ decision is the historical one: Africa’s lack of economic development was the outcome of Western colonialism (plunder of natural resources) which was motivated by racism (Apartheid systems), for which Western countries did not legally acknowledge and did not practically take full responsibility. If the West wants to have a “normal” relation with the African people, they must start there; not think in terms of handouts and bribery.

In the past, the US government and its allies justified their support to colonial, apartheid regimes in Africa, and their placement of self-determination movements and figures, like the ANC and Nelson Mandela, by the “cold War” conditions. They care for countering communism more than they cared for human rights.

Today, the US administration and its Western allies are operating with the same mentality: Countering Russia and China comes before respect for human rights and comes before remediation for past crimes and abuses.

These self-interested approaches are short-sighted, bigoted, and offensive to the people who were subjected to hundreds of years of Darwinian colonialism.



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