Feb 22, 2022
MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan argued in a monologue Monday night that the United States would have "more credibility" to condemn the recent actions of Russia in Ukraine if it wasn't currently supporting illegal occupations by its allies around the world--and if it didn't have its own long record of carrying out brazenly unlawful invasions of sovereign countries.
"I'd just like us to be consistent in our approach to illegal invasions and occupations."
To make his case, Hasan pointed to a number of prominent examples around the world, including Israel's ongoing and brutal occupation of the Palestinian territories, which has been maintained over a period of decades with the crucial military and political backing of the U.S. government.
In 2016, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution deeming Israeli settlement activity in the Palestinian territories a "flagrant violation under international law." The U.S. abstained.
"Israel has occupied the West Bank and Gaza since 1967," Hasan noted in his segment. "According to the United Nations, that was also the same year Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria, effectively annexing it with a 1981 law. During his presidency, Donald Trump controversially recognized the Golan Heights as part of Israel."
"In many of these disputes," Hasan observed, "the occupying nation is an ally of the United States, with the U.S. doing very little if anything to condemn such occupations. And in the cases of the Western Sahara and the Golan Heights, we've even given the occupiers a pass."
"Oh, and let's not forget our own illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq," Hasan continued, pointing to a 2003 U.S.-led war that President Joe Biden--then a senator--vocally supported and voted for.
Watch the full segment:
Addressing potential criticism that he is engaging in "whataboutism" by simply highlighting U.S. foreign policy disasters in the midst of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Hasan said he is "not trying to excuse or justify Russia's behavior."
"On the contrary, it is outrageous and illegal for Russia to try and seize territory from a sovereign neighbor," he added. "I'd just like us to be consistent in our approach to illegal invasions and occupations. Imagine how much more credibility we'd have to condemn and act against Russia in Ukraine if we didn't turn a blind eye to our allies doing the same."
Terrell Jermaine Starr, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center and a senior reporter at The Root, was among those voicing agreement with Hasan's analysis in response to the Monday night segment, which came hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the deployment of troops to two breakaway territories in eastern Ukraine.
"I share his views that America is morally inconsistent and that does undermine when the U.S. does engage in situations like what's happening now," Starr wrote in a Twitter post.
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