In other words, the view that the current Russian invasion is somehow unique in its aggressiveness requires a complete rewriting of history and a willingness to ignore the reality of the US’s invasion of Iraq in 2003. If an aggressive power’s veto in the UN was perfectly fine in 2003, why is it suddenly not acceptable now? The reality, of course, is that the United States is powerful enough to invade whatever country it wants and still get away with it. A second-rate power like Russia can’t do the same, even when it basically mimics the acts of the United States.
Nonetheless, Washington continues to have the audacity to portray itself as a white knight that stands for a “rules-based” international order—an order supposedly built around respect for national sovereignty and multilateral enforcement of international law. But, it has become abundantly clear that these alleged rules mean nothing at all when the United States wishes to invade countries in preemptive and elective wars. For those who don’t wear the American selective-memory goggles, it is not clear that the US should be in a leadership position in a rules-based order that it is so obviously willing to flout.