The Occupation Olympics – conquest is the exhibition sport

Today at ReutersOpinion, I have a piece about how the Olympics is being used to cement Russia’s conquest of the Georgian region of Abkhzaia, with the acquiescence of the international community. The international community’s yawn over Russia’s occupation, de facto annexation and ethnic restructuring of the territory is particularly hard to understand given the position the EU and others prominently taken in recent years that international law requires countries to avoid even indirect or tacit acquiescence in such territorial changes.

Right after the 2008 war, Western nations threatened various diplomatic wrist-slaps for Kremlin’s conquest — suspending G8 membership and the like. None of those measures materialized. Indeed, in the Alice in Wonderland world of international diplomacy, Russia remains a member of the Middle East Peace Quartet, whose principle goal is ending what it sees as Israeli occupation. And instead of sanctions, Russia gets to host the Olympics, using newly conquered Abkhazia as a staging ground.

Moreover, the Russian proxy regime now engages in what the West regards as a major crime elsewhere — bringing settlers into the occupied territory to solidify the demographic balance against the few remaining Georgians.

As it happens, the Wall Street Journal also has a good op-ed today on the subject. My piece had been in Reuters’ hopper for a week – op-ed publication does not proceed with Olympic pace.

Eugene Kontorovich is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law, and an expert on constitutional and international law. He also writes and lectures frequently about the Arab-Israel conflict.

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Will Baude · February 5, 2014

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