Just imagine if the democratically-elected government of Canada had been toppled in a Russian-financed coup, in which far-right extremists and neo-Nazis played a prominent role.
That the new unelected 'government' in Ottawa cancelled the law giving the French language official status, appointed a billionaire oligarch to run Quebec and signed an association agreement with a Russian-led trade bloc.
If Russia had spent $5 billion on regime change in Canada and then a leading Canadian energy firm had appointed to its board of directors the son of a top Russian government politician.
If the Syrian government had hosted a meeting in Damascus of the 'Friends of Britain'- a group of countries who supported the violent overthrow of David Cameron's government.
That the Syrian government and its allies gave the anti-government ‘rebels’ in Britain millions of pounds and other support, and failed to condemn ‘rebel’ groups when they killed British civilians and bombed schools, hospitals and universities.
That the Syrian Foreign Minister dismissed next year’s scheduled general election in the UK as a ‘parody of democracy’ and said that Cameron must stand down before any elections are held.
If in 2003, Russia and its closest allies had launched a full-scale military invasion of an oil-rich country in the Middle East, having claimed that that country possessed WMDs which threatened the world and that afterwards no WMDs were ever found.
That up to 1 million people had been killed in the bloodshed that followed the invasion and that the country was still in turmoil over 10 years later.
That Russian companies had come in to benefit from the reconstruction and rebuilding work following the 'regime change'.
If the pro-Russian journalists who had faithfully parroted the claims that the Middle Eastern country that Russia had invaded in 2003 had WMDs did not apologise afterwards or show any contrition despite the enormous death toll; but instead carried on in their well-paid jobs to propagandize more illegal wars and ’interventions’ against other independent countries, and attacked those honest journalists who didn't peddle the war lies.
If over forty people protesting against the central government had been burnt to death by pro-government extremists in Venezuela.
That the Venezuelan government had launched a military offensive against people protesting for greater autonomy/federalization following visits by the head of the Russian SVR and Dmitry Medvedev to Caracas.
If last August over six hundred people protesting in camps against the government in Minsk in Belarus had been massacred by armed forces. That this spring, the courts in Belarus had handed out death sentences to over 600 supporters of opposition parties.
If Russia had spent the years following the end of the old 'Cold War' surrounding the US with military bases and pushing for Canada and Mexico to join a Russian military alliance. That earlier this month Russia carried out major military exercises in Mexico.
If we had heard leaked telephone calls between a high ranking official from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Russian Ambassador in Canada in which they discussed who should/shouldn't be in the Canadian government. That their approved candidate subsequently became the new, unelected Prime Minister following a Russian-financed 'regime change'.
That the high ranking Russian official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said : ‘Fxxx the EU’.
If the Syrian air force had bombed a weapons depot in Israel and also bombed convoys which security officials said were carrying weapons to anti-government forces in Syria.
If leading Russian politicians attended anti-austerity street protests in western Europe, handed out cookies to those protesting, and supported the protestors’ calls for the governments to step down.
Imagining what would happen if any of the above events occurred, and comparing it to what has happened in reality is highly instructive as it shows us what is wrong with the world today.
Actions have been taken by the US and its allies which would be considered totally outrageous if carried out by other countries. All we have to do is to switch the names of the countries concerned to see the double standards.
If Russia had attacked an oil-rich Middle Eastern nation in 2003, and pro-Russian journalists peddled the same sort of deceitful pro-war, WMD propaganda that neocons and faux-leftists did in the west when the US invaded Iraq, then we can be sure that Russia would have been regarded as an international pariah, and the journalists who acted as cheerleaders for the illegal invasion would be discredited for the rest of their lives. But the US is not subject to sanctions or treated as an outcast, its President in 2003, George W. Bush and his close ally Tony Blair, have yet to stand trial for war crimes, and the media 'pundits' who supported the invasion of Iraq are still in place and now pushing for a new Cold war against Russia and new military 'intervention' against Syria.
If Russia had spent $5bn on toppling the democratically-elected government of either Canada or Mexico, and installed a pro-Russian junta in its place, we can be sure that within hours, a full scale military invasion by the US would have taken place, in order to remove the new 'government' from power. Western television news channels and elite pundits would be enthusiastically supporting the US action - declaring it to be a 'response to Russian aggression' and saying it was totally justified. But when the regime changing was done by the US in Ukraine, and a pro-US junta installed in power in Kiev, it’s a very different story. The same people who would cry ‘foul’ at the top of their voices if Russia engineered a coup in Canada or Mexico, celebrate the unlawful toppling of the legitimate government of Ukraine.
We already know how the US would respond, if another country sought to put nuclear weapons close to its territory – in 1962 the world came to the brink of war in the Cuban missile crisis. But while a third world war would undoubtedly be threatened again if Russian forces held military exercises in Mexico, it’s not considered provocative for NATO to hold military exercises in Estonia.
If the governments of Belarus and Venezuela had responded as brutally towards anti-government protesters as the Egyptian military regime did last August, or sent in the tanks and used heavy weaponry against their own people as the western-backed Kiev junta has, then we can be sure that the great 'humanitarians' of the faux-left would be screeching not just for punitive sanctions but for air strikes too and for Presidents Lukashenko and Maduro to be carted off to The Hague.
We all know too what would have followed if it had been the Syrian air force that had bombed a weapons depot and convoys in Israel and not the other way round. Why do we tolerate such brazen hypocrisy?
There is no legal or moral basis for saying that the US and its allies should be able to do things, which if done by other countries, would be condemned as wrong and punished with the imposition of sanctions and/or military attack or invasion. International law and the principles of non-interference in other nations should apply equally to all: regardless of the country's political system or form of government. The British government has no more right to interfere in the internal affairs of Syria than the Syrian government has to interfere in the internal affairs of Great Britain. The US has no more right to 'regime change' in countries bordering Russia, than Russia has to 'regime change' in countries bordering the US.
We need a new international order based on the equality of all sovereign nations: a new "World of Equals", as envisaged by this year's Belgrade Forum, whose declaration can be read here. If we can imagine that and work to put it in place by exposing current western hypocrisy and double standards whenever they occur then the world would be a much safer place.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.