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Monday, June 6, 2011

International Law? Is it Really a Law? ~ By Scott K. Noble

Obama-Bush Doctrine
Is there really any difference between Bush and Obama Foreign Policy?
            International law? Is it really a law? In the United States, there are those who argue that there is some intrinsic anti-American agenda within the international community. When looking at issues such as capital punishment, it is easy for one to see that the scale is not always weighed evenly with regard to the United States. The United Nations comes down hard on the United States in regards to capital punishment. International humanitarian law prohibits capital punishment, however both the United States and Saudi Arabia both practice it. The difference is in how it is done. The U.S. has certain states that allow it and this was at the direction of that states elected officials.  These officials were elected by that states voters and it can be argued that they had a voice in if, when and how it would be carried out. In Saudi Arabia on the other hand, an absolute monarchy decides who will be executed by way of public beheadings.
            As we look at what happened in Yugoslavia and see the UN response, one can begin to see that there is not an equal interpretation of what is humane. There is good reason for frustration with regard to the Serbian post-Cold War advances in Bosnia. Territorial sovereignty is a very important part of a nation’s independence. It is true that the Serbs and other groups in the region ignored various rules of international law prohibiting violation of territorial sovereignty. Feeling powerless, the United Nations, NATO and the United States did virtually nothing to intervene. The reason for this was, democracy and capitalism were not yet established there and they felt it was not in their best interest to become involved. To say that Serbia was not established as a nation because of a lack of monetary policy or a Democratic driven political system, is a bit unfair and ethnocentric.
            When looking at the Bosnian situation, it is easy to see why skeptics view the situation as proof of lack of teeth in international law. The main issue that seems to surround the idea of international law is state sovereignty. In order to embrace the idea of international law, one must be at least somewhat sympathetic to the ideas of Woodrow Wilson and the League of Nations back in 1919. Yugoslavia became a socialist regime during 1919 and was very much a product of Woodrow Wilson's League of Nation's. This would later become known to the world as the United Nations. It seems ironic that a system of international law that brought Yugoslavia into existence was the same system that bombed Serbian positions in Yugoslavia. To fully be in support of international law, one must have a more progressive political persuasion. There was no international outcry as a result of an embargo launched against the former Yugoslavia. The fact that bombs were raining on Serbian positions in Bosnia supports the idea that perhaps international law is not really a law. Perhaps it was more of an avenue to pursue strategic objectives of the more powerful countries within the United Nations. Was bombing Bosnia an expedient event politically for the Clinton administration?
            International law appears more a guideline than anything else. If international law was ever to become the supreme law of the world, there would be no state sovereignty. The stronger countries would enslave the weaker ones. One must also be somewhat sympathetic to progressivism as a political ideology. Along the political landscape there are different views with regard to what words like independence, liberty, justice and life mean. International law seems to be a lot about humanitarian ideology, but whose ideas would be pontificated? Are the goals of the international community driven by multinational corporate interests such as natural oil resources or water? What does the international community think when a poor country has its electrical grid taken over by a multinational corporation? Capitalism and democracy are concepts that appear central to this question, but issues of state sovereignty can be compromised by these two concepts more than most people realize or are willing to admit. When looking at the issue of whether or not international law is indeed real law, war profiteering and the military-industrial complex must come into play to have an intelligent discussion.
            President Eisenhower warned Americans of the serious threat posed to our liberties whose interests were connected to the war profiteers. There is good reason to believe that political interests were at the center of decisions made by the United Nations, NATO and the United States. Russian reaction to the American influenced aggression against their ally was not a shining example of international humanity. If international law is imminent, then United States politics should not overshadow it. This goes for Europe as well. In the eyes of the world, the United States and Europe are acting out of their economic, political and social interests.
            If international law is ever to be taken seriously as true law, there has to be the interests of the global community at its core. Environment, the seas, state sovereignty and humanitarian goals should be at the forefront, but not at the cost of the people that populate the earth. Poverty and homelessness continue to plague the world community as does the political, economic and social agendas of Europe and the United States. These countries continue to be in control of the vast majority of economic resources. These powerful countries continue to push their influence onto those who have the real natural resources, which are of great interest and are needed to back the money that is created out of thin air. It is important to keep the consumerism and consumption going in these Keynesian bubbles. Deficit spending knows no boundaries.
            One assumption made is that our system of democracy and capitalism are superior to other political and economic systems. In order for us as Americans to push our ideas on other countries, we must first prove that are systems are superior. Our form of capitalism is questionable at best. Crony capitalism is not the envy of underdeveloped Third World nations. It is not even the envy of more industrialized nations. While socialism has its drawbacks so does capitalism. Pure capitalism would probably be the best economic system to be implemented in countries throughout the world. That would mean that multinational corporations would have to deal with true competition and not be able to form cartels that would bail out bad decision-making.
            One important component of international law is the law of war. The United States should not be the policeman of the world. We can’t afford it and it's not our job even if we could. Noninterventionist policy is sometimes misinterpreted for isolationism. This could not be further from the truth. Isolationism would mean that you are not being actively engaged in what is going on in the world. A noninterventionist philosophy would take shape in the ways of presenting your selves as an integral part of the world economy and well being of its inhabitants. The idea of national defense would be more focused on securing one's own country rather than having bases all over the world trying to secure others.
            Democracy has its flaws as well. Two wolves and a sheep deciding what is for dinner is not the best way to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In a republic, laws are built on our Constitution. The law protects unpopular speech and your right to dissent. A republic is not consistent with the United Nations.
            Do we really want international law? There is a thought out there that begs the question of whose law will be implemented, how it will be implemented and will oppression occur because of it?  It is not clear what the goal of international law really is and whom it will benefit. At the very least, the reason behind it is vague. If the goal of in law is to rid the world of poverty, hunger, homelessness, unjust, inhumane activity, then the current United Nations has a long way to go. The current system of international law serves to benefit multinational corporations and central banking systems throughout the world.

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