Yay freethinkers! (2)
In matters of foreign affairs, if you have the nerve to mention the "mistakes" made by our side, (and not only the crimes of our enemies), then the blended word whataboutism will be used against you. ("whataboutism" was added to the dictionary in October 2021.)
In philosophy, whataboutism is known as "tu quoque," pointing out hypocrisy. I've yet to meet a person who doesn't become defensive when their hypocrisy, or their side’s hypocrisy, is pointed out.
When Michael Corleone, in Godfather II, said, "Senator, we are all part of the same hypocrisy," he eloquently, I would even say artistically, used whataboutism to neutralize any sense of moral superiority Senator Geary felt he had over him. Michael understood that his hypocrisy served his interests, and his family’s and that the same hypocrisy served the senator's interests. The hypocrisy the U.S. uses to serve and protect its interests is the same hypocrisy Russia, Turkey, China, U.K.—all nations—use to serve and protect their interests.
As to why Canada didn’t sanction the U.S. when it invaded Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya et al.; it’s in Canada’s best interest to take a hypocritical stance of not showing disapproval of its southern neighbour's wrongdoings and sometimes going as far as supporting the U.S.’s wrongdoings.
Whataboutism was coined during the postwar years when American-Russian relations were rather tense, and the following back-and-forth occurred:
The Soviet Union would commit a crime, according to the West. Washington would call them on it. The Kremlin would then point out that the U.S. was also committing heinous acts. These accusations would contain the phrase "What about …" and point out America's Jim Crow laws, which until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 weren't entirely extinct, the U.S.'s bombing sprees, or any other embarrassing facts about the West. The U.S., and its western allies, began responding to the Russian critique by labelling it "Whataboutism." American intellectuals would later use the term "moral equivalence."
Whataboutism in action a few years back: Obama laments about Putin's 2014 invasion and seizure of Crimea. In response, Putin mentions Kosovo and the Scottish Independence Referendum.
Russia's crimes are well known, as are Western (-- e.g., Apartheid, Israeli–Palestinian conflict, Turkish-Kurdish conflict, systemic racism, U.S.-led war in Iraq, human rights violations against immigrants & indigenous people, Guantánamo Bay, coups to the south, etc). Conveniently, mainstream scholars have never pointed out that all nations are amoral and capable of committing great evil. How about you? Do you use "about-ism" or bury your head in the sands of my-country-right-or-wrong?