Bad policies have a way of coming back to bite you. Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin is claiming a right to intervene forcefully in Ukraine as part of a right to protect:
Putin said what had happened in Ukraine was an “anti-constitutional coup and armed seizure of power,” and insisted that ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is the legitimate leader of the nation.
He also insisted that if Russian-speaking citizens in the east of Ukraine ask for Russia’s help, Russia has the right “to take all measures to protect the rights of those people.”
The parliament in Ukraine is “partly legitimate,” he said, but the country’s acting President is not.
He also insisted that the forces that had seized control of the Crimean Peninsula, whose faces have been covered and whose uniforms were without identifying insignia, were not Russian regulars.
Putin said that there had been no need for the use of Russia’s military so far, with not a shot fired, and that any use of military force would be the last resort. He repeatedly cast any such intervention as a humanitarian mission.
Military action, he said, would be “completely legitimate” because it was at the request of Yanukovych and in line with Russia’s duty to protect people with historic ties to Russia, both cultural and economic.
“Firstly, we have a request of the legitimate President Yanukovych to protect the welfare of the local population. We have neo-Nazis and Nazis and anti-Semites in parts of Ukraine, including Kiev,” Putin said.
Putin also took note of the double standard being applied by Western, particularly American, officials.
The notion of Westphalian states with sovereign powers within their own borders may be old-fashioned and obsolete but its replacements are being used to justify war everywhere on slim pretexts.