While the Biden administration has condemned the Russian invasion of a sovereign, independent Ukraine, it has refused to similarly recognize or support Western Sahara, which has been occupied by Morocco since 1975. Human rights groups have documented brutal suppression of pro-independence activists and the Indigenous population, known as Sahrawis. The disparity between U.S. treatment of the two countries reveals Western hypocrisy and discrimination when it comes to countries that are not white, Christian, and European, says Stephen Zunes, professor of politics and international studies at the University of San Francisco. He adds that U.S. policy on Western Sahara emboldens Putin’s claims on Ukraine, as it shows the U.S. lacks principled opposition to illegal territorial expansion. “When Biden says that Russia has no right to unilaterally change international boundaries, that countries cannot expand their territory by force, he’s certainly correct. But he seems to think it’s OK if you’re a U.S. ally like Morocco.”
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