Qatar’s foreign minister made a statement recently that I found interesting:
“They have no right to impose such measures against a country,” said Thani, adding that if the “blockading” nations are not held accountable for their “illegal” actions toward Qatar, it would set an unhealthy precedent for smaller countries elsewhere [bold mine-DL].
“This is a high risk for world order, not just for Qatar [bold mine-DL],” said the foreign minister, who said his country was caught in “a baseless conflict” fueled by “disinformation.” That includes what he suggested was the initial spur for the crisis: A hack of Qatari state media, now pinned by U.S. investigators on the UAE, which planted false quotes attributed to the Qatari emir that helped trigger the spat with other Persian Gulf states.
This is naturally a self-serving statement by the minister, but it is instructive in that no one else in Washington talks about the crisis this way. We have heard a lot from foreign policy pundits and analysts about the perceived unraveling of “world order” or the “rules-based order” in recent years, but there has been none of this talk as far as the war on Yemen or the Qatar crisis are concerned. If a different bloc of states ganged up on one of their neighbors and tried to bully it into changing its foreign policy, we would be hearing that this shows how dangerous and disordered the world is becoming without U.S. “leadership.” Because the Qatar crisis is partly a product of U.S. “leadership” and because the members of the bloc are all U.S. clients, we don’t hear anything about the danger to the international order or the rules that supposedly govern it.
Yemen is a much more appalling example. If a different military coalition spent two years wrecking and starving a poor country and caused the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet, there would be no end to the laments for the breakdown of the “rules-based order” and the condemnations of the coalition’s unwarranted aggression. As it happens, most defenders of this concept either have nothing to say about what is being done to Yemen and some openly support the campaign. Because it is a U.S.-backed war waged by our clients, it isn’t held to the same–or indeed any–standard that many cheerleaders for the “rules-based order” apply elsewhere. The point here isn’t just that there is a glaring double standard at work in these cases, though there certainly is one. The point is that they are part of a pattern that shows how indifferent to and contemptuous of the so-called “rules-based order” the U.S. and its clients are when it suits them.