EU referendum disgraces come home to roost over Crimea
Russia is a nasty neo-imperial dictatorship. The EU is a stupid, anti-democratic neo-imperial mess. You don't have to be Vladimir Putin to laugh out loud at EU leaders decrying the referendum in Crimea this weekend
It's like some dystopian fantasy-nightmare, except it's real. You've got Britain, bravely pushing its foreign policy through a democracy-hating EU (so David Cameron and the Foreign Office can say how much better off we are when we work with our "European Partners").
You've got a former senior member of the pro-Soviet Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Catherine Ashton, spouting forth as EU foreign policy supremo from Brussels.
And guess what? Vladimir Putin doesn't take them seriously! Well. Who'd have thought it?
The truth is that years of anti-democratic behaviour by the EU are now coming home to roost over Ukraine and Crimea. It isn't Kremlin propaganda that the Irish were forced to vote again (twice) after turning in referendum results that Brussels didn't like.
It isn't a piece of Russian deception that France and the Netherlands rejected the European Constitution, only for Brussels to rename it the Lisbon Treaty and proceed anyway.
Those referendums were conducted according to the absolute gold standard. And the EU trashed them. So what was British Foreign Secretary William Hague hoping to achieve when, on Friday, he chided Russia because this weekend's referendum in Crimea might not live up to "standards"?
He's probably right. But does he think the Russians didn't notice what Europe really thinks and does about referendums and democratic standards?
So long as Britain is a member of the EU, Hague has got to expect to be laughed at for that. I don't like what Putin et al are doing any more than Hague does.
But he's building his castle on sand. Catherine Ashton indeed. It makes you want to weep...with laughter...
James Halling is an expert in political economy attached to a major Washington D.C. think tank. He writes under a pen name
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