Exposed: the double standards of U.S. rhetoric

The U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney spent last week touring the Caucasus and criticising what he called Russian “aggression” towards Georgia. But some of the accusations leveled against Russia sound very similar to those

Dick Cheney denounced what he termed Russia’s war against Georgia. American political commentator Pat Buchanan pointed out that, while the Georgian conflict lasted five days, “We bombed Serbia for 78 days when it had not attacked us for the province of Kosovo.”

Cheney also warned that Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia could set a precedent.

“We know that if one country is allowed to unilaterally redraw the borders of another, it will happen and it will happen again,” the Vice President said.

Just over six months ago, Russia expressed similar concerns – but then it was about recognising the independence of Kosovo.

“We think to support the unilateral independence of Kosovo is wrong both from the moral and legal points of view,” Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in February 2008.

In spite of Russia's warnings, the Serbian province's unilateral declaration of independence was supported and recognized by the U.S. and more than 40 other countries.

Western politicians and media criticised Russia for what they called the invasion of a sovereign country. Again, terminology that would not be entirely out of place in a debate about the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, which Russia opposed.

The irony was not lost on American comedian Jon Stewart, who took George Bush's condemnation of Russia to pieces. “You can't just overthrow a government, occupy a capital, knock over their statues…!” Stewart said with mock indignation on the Daily Show as he showed footage of the United States’ invasion of Iraq.

As the U.S. continues to attack Russia rhetorically, its inherent double standards are becoming ever more obvious.

In the words of Russia's U.N. ambassador Vitaly Churkin, “the United States invented the term 'regime change', not Russia.”