Western powers and their allies: Strategic partnerships or criminal associations?

Catherine Shakdam
Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen. A regular pundit on RT and other networks her work has appeared in major publications: MintPress, the Foreign Policy Journal, Mehr News and many others.Director of Programs at the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, Catherine is also the co-founder of Veritas Consulting. She is the author of Arabia’s Rising - Under The Banner Of The First Imam
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu © Dan Balilty / Pool
For all their political posing, Western powers continue to harbor questionable affiliations, counting among their partners war criminals and brutal dictators. At which point does one’s silence or chosen oversight constitute tacit cooperation?

A wise person once said: "Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are." If we are indeed defined by the company we keep, western powers have much explaining to do – especially when most of their allies would figure on the Who's Who of the International Criminal Court's Most Wanted list if not for some convenient legal and political redacting.

Beyond simple politics, there is no denying that Western capitals have perfected the art of selectivity to the point where they have managed to see in their enemies the faults they could not discern in their friends. Under Western political microscopes criminality has been defined by geography, political worth and financial solvency – oddities such as international laws carry little weight compared to absolute political pragmatism.

Only this week, one of America and Britain's most loyal partners in the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was left shamefaced as UK residents circulated a petition demanding his arrest for war crimes against Gaza during the 2014 summer offensive. Inspired by Damian Moran, the petition has already generated much media coverage due to the implications it carries for the UK government.

READ MORE: The messy US ‘strategy’ in Syria

Filed on the UK Parliament website, the petition, if signed by 100,000 people, would force government officials to open a public debate. This is clearly something politicians have been keen to avoid in view of Israel's litany of well -documented aggravated human rights violations and war crimes – notwithstanding Britain's own guilt in quietly standing by while thousands of unarmed civilians were marked for murder.

"Benjamin Netanyahu is to hold talks in London this September. Under international law he should be arrested for war crimes upon arrival in the UK for the massacre of over 2,000 civilians in 2014," reads the petition.

While it is likely that Moran's campaign will be buried and forgotten – or so the Establishment hopes – such efforts on the part of the public to expose western dealings, and hold officials accountable before the judiciary, are a sure sign of the growing dichotomy between the people and their leaders.

If the United States could still claim in the wake of World War II to be a power for good, a democratic lighthouse for aspiring modern civil states, its taste for political meddling and covert military dealings have turned this once-promising American idealism into the very despotic force it vowed to always oppose.

America's first brush with political imperialism would come in 1953 when then-US President Dwight Eisenhower engineered the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh because he had the temerity to challenge Britain's monopoly on Iranian oil. While London had been clever enough to play the Cold War card to secure Washington's cooperation, US officials were more than happy to oblige in the undermining of a democracy.

READ MORE: 45,000 demand Israel PM Netanyahu’s arrest for ‘war crimes’ during UK state visit

As a result of America's intervention, Iran spent the next two decades under the thumb of a tyrant – America's very own friend in Tehran: Mohammad Reza Shah. Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci would write of the Shah: "He is a highly dangerous megalomaniac because he combines the worst of the old and the worst of the new."

Interestingly, as Britain’s empire receded into the shadows, America rose to become the leading venture imperialist par excellence. Vladimir Lenin's predictions on the development of capitalism into neo-imperialism were proved absolutely correct.

In "Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism," Lenin advances the theory that modern-day imperialism has been fueled by rabid economic ambitions - capitalism, in contrast to other forms of colonialism: i.e. military expansionism.

As Phil Gasper explains: "Lenin's argument was that the rivalries and wars between capitalist powers were inherent in one of capitalism's basic features: the tendency for capital to become more centralized and concentrated – in other words, for the dominant capitalist firms to acquire monopoly or near-monopoly status in particular sectors of their national economy."

On its way down the moral ladder, and up on Neo-Imperial Avenue, western powers, Washington and London in the lead, have cultivated rather interesting friendships – several, one might venture, irreconcilable with “western values.”

Among those favored by the West once figured late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, late Libyan Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and the former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Those autocrats were of course quickly discarded as political dynamics shifted, opening the door to new friendships: Saudi King Salman, Egyptian President Abd El Sisi… the list goes on.

READ MORE: Netanyahu ‘urged European leaders to support’ resolution against Israel

In the eyes of the West, political stability takes precedence overall, no matter how violent the regime or criminal the means of repression – capitalism, after all, thrives in a controlled environment.

When Saudi King Abdullah died in January this year, US President Obama visited his successor, accompanied by a platoon of state officials, including the CIA director, who took great pains in declaring his undying admiration for the late king and offering his utmost support to the new monarch. The fact that King Salman has sent several dozen men to their deaths since his coronation, mostly for daring to exercise freedom of expression, raised not an eyebrow in Washington.

But if America is blind to its allies' “indiscretions," such courtesies are not extended to those rogue powers which have had the audacity of remaining independent. Russia, most of all, knows the bite of western hypocrisy.

Slammed for denouncing foreign political meddling in Syria, Moscow suffered sanctions for its partaking in the protection of Crimea against the rise of Ukraine’s far-right. While eyes remain closed as Israel fired at unarmed children on a beach in Gaza, Russia was called out for rising against fascism within its territories.

Welcome to Western Orwellianism!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.