What Rule-Based International Order?

Simon Waxman in the Boston Review:

In announcing that Russia would intensify its eight of years aggression against Ukraine in the interests of “denazification” and protecting oppressed Russian speakers (read: pro-Moscow separatists), Vladimir Putin has offered the thinnest pretext for cross-border war since the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. And yet, the official position of the United States is that Russia is undermining a rule-based global order that supposedly has prevailed since the close of World War II.

Of course, Putin’s true goal is not humanitarian. It has more to do with suppressing a democracy in Russia’s sphere of influence—a democracy whose mere presence makes his own tyranny the more obvious and distasteful at home. The invasion of Ukraine must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. But we cannot at the same time ignore the duplicity of the United States and its allies, not least because that duplicity is a key element of Putin’s propaganda. Putin lies about many things, but he is right when he says that the West holds Russia to standards to which it doesn’t itself abide—a grievance that Russians appear widely to share and that imbues his own unjust and illegal war with a patina of legitimacy.

More here.