GT Voice: Double standards on Russian oil show ugliness of US policy
Published: Jun 22, 2022 10:38 PM
File Photo: CFP

File Photo: CFP

At a White House press briefing on Tuesday, John Kirby, US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communication, suggested that China's purchase of Russian oil is "another example of a growing collaboration between China and Russia with respect to Ukraine." However, when asked about India's purchase of Russian energy, he replied, "There are sovereign decisions," while stressing that India is a "very key strategic partner in the Indo-Pacific region."

The hypocrisy and double standards of the US cannot be clearer. Such remarks laid bare the US' complete disregard for other countries' sovereignty and norms of international relations and its selfishness that its own geopolitical goals must come first at all times and at all costs. The US avoids criticizing India over the latter's energy trade with Russia because Washington thinks India can serve its interests in the Indo-Pacific region, while painting China's normal trade with Russia as collusion because China is a perceived strategic competitor. Such is the ugliness of the US' foreign policy these days. 

But whatever the US' attitude is, it has no right to judge - let alone make decisions for - other countries, including China and India, over their trade ties with Russia or any other country. Washington's unilateral sanctions against Russia are not international law. Regardless of how the US and some of its allies promote them, the sanctions have not been approved by the UN or accepted by the broader international community.

Even some US allies in Europe that have joined in the sanctions have continued to purchase crude from Russia, although EU leaders have agreed to ban the majority of Russia oil imports. Last week, European oil refineries took 1.84 million barrels a day of crude from Russia, the third consecutive weekly increase, according to Bloomberg.

As for China and India, two of the world's most populous countries and fastest-growing developing nations, their decisions to continue energy trade with Russia is not only a sovereign right but is also based on the needs of their domestic social and economic development. Amid sky-rocketing global oil prices, it is only reasonable that China and India purchase fairly priced Russia oil. In this sense, regardless of the geopolitical lines drawn by the US to divide countries into friends and foes, many countries, including China, India and other emerging market economies, have common interests in safeguarding global trade against political disruptions. 

That is precisely why the broader international community has rejected or refused to join in Washington's unilateral sanctions against Russia. It is why an increasing number of emerging market economies have been eyeing on faire, safer global trade payment systems that are independent from the US dollar-dominated system as the US recklessly abuses its dominance. 

That is also why the BRICS summit has attracted so much attention, as many countries and businesses are pinning high hopes for the grouping of major emerging economies to come up with a better solution. What brings the BRICS countries together is the common development need to pursue a balanced approach in the current global economic order.

In China, economic development is the top task. But the US has long regarded China's development as a threat, constantly imposing sanctions on Chinese businesses and products with the aim of containing China's development. Since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the US has been making up lies to undermine China-Russia economic and trade ties - to put pressure on both countries regarded by Washington as its adversaries. But that has failed to disrupt China-Russia trade. 

In terms of energy trade with Russia, India has also been pursuing an independent approach. Despite Western pressure over its energy trade with Russia, India has imported discounted Russian oil and tried to set up a bilateral payment and settlement system for its trade with Russia. 

There is no denying that there are differences among BRICS countries, but that doesn't prevent them from strengthening cooperation and making substantial progress in  trade and investment. It is an inevitable trend that common development need will always push developing countries to jointly address the problems facing them in the international economic order. And BRCIS can and should play a leading role in this trend.