Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Russian tanks leave a military drill

Military hardware of the Russian army Western Military District tank army units loaded onto a troop train as it returns from recent drills to permanent deployment sites on February 18, 2022 (Photo: Russian Defence Ministry/TASS via Getty Images)

MSNBC Host: Disastrous Foreign Policy Leaves US With Less 'Credibility' to Condemn Russia

In a number of current cases around the world, Mehdi 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."

Jake Johnson

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.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Indignation as Michigan Judge Drops Flint Water Charges Against GOP Ex-Gov Snyder

"The people of Flint deserve justice—and it's unacceptable that the people responsible for Flint's water crisis aren't being held accountable," said Food & Water Watch in response to the development.

Brett Wilkins ·


70+ Lawmakers Tell Biden 'You Can and You Must' Provide Rail Workers Paid Sick Leave

"As president, you and your administration have a number of tools at your disposal to make sure rail workers are guaranteed paid sick leave," wrote the lawmakers.

Julia Conley ·


COP15 Biodiversity Summit Highlights 'Deadly' US Attitude Toward the World

"While others play by the rules, the most powerful nation refuses," writes George Monbiot. "If this country were a person, we'd call it a psychopath. As it is not a person, we should call it what it is: a rogue state."

Jessica Corbett ·


Final House Covid Panel Report Exposes 'Reckless' Trump Pandemic Response

The publication accuses top Trump officials of "failed stewardship" and a "persistent pattern of political interference" that undermined the nation's response to a pandemic that has killed more than a million people in the United States.

Brett Wilkins ·


As NYT Staffers Strike, Sanders Calls for 'New Ways to Empower' Workers Battling Industry Giants

"We need to rebuild and protect a diverse and truly independent press so that real journalists and media workers can do the critical jobs that they love, and that a functioning democracy requires," said the Vermont progressive.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo