Washington has lost its ability to use force on the global stage without facing serious pushback, a senior diplomat said
Washington shouldn't expect the world to forget that it fabricated its justification for the 2003 Iraq invasion, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told RIA Novosti on Saturday.
The Russian diplomat made the remark on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the now-infamous speech by then-US Secretary of State Colin Powell at the United Nations Security Council, during which he presented alleged evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, including biological ones.
To support his case, Powell exhibited a tiny vial of white powder, which was supposed to represent anthrax, and told the council that the US had no other choice but to go to war. However, no weapons of mass destruction were ever found in Iraq.
Powell's UN stunt "has long become the epitome of hypocrisy and the conviction of the US ruling elite in its own impunity and its unchallenged right to arrogantly teach the rest of the world," Ryabkov stated. He added that it was also emblematic of Washington's willingness to "use force against an obviously weaker opponent in order to preserve its own global hegemony."
However, the diplomat suggested that - unlike in the 2000s and during the 1999 NATO bombing campaign of Yugoslavia - Washington could not get away with "international banditry" under current conditions.
"In the rapidly changing geopolitical landscape, the US is now objectively unable to resort to a use-of-force scenario every time it feels like it, without facing serious consequences," he noted, pointing to the "humiliating flight" of US troops from Afghanistan in 2021.
However, as Washington's "meddling" in the Ukraine conflict has shown, this setback has not stopped the US from embracing its old ways, the diplomat continued.
"The Americans will have to adjust to the new rails and get rid of the impunity syndrome that so clearly manifested itself during the [anthrax] vial scandal. The same applies to taking into account Russia and China, as well as other major international players that are shaping a more just multilateral world order," Ryabkov said.
The US should not cherish any hope that "the memories of what happened 20 years ago would be buried in the shifting sands of modern history," he concluded.