September 10, 2013

DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE SHOULD BE A REQUIREMENT FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE UN ITSELF...:

The U.S. Ignores the U.N. Charter Because It's Broken : Obama should explain what should replace it. (Eric Posner, Sept. 9, 2013, Slate)

The deeper problem is that the rules and principles that serve America's interest conflict with the interests of China, Russia, and other countries. The rule of humanitarian intervention would authorize the use of military force against countries where mass atrocities occur--and whether or not you think the political persecution that routinely takes place in China and Russia count as "mass atrocities," both countries experience periodic bouts of political turmoil where mass atrocities really do occur. Even more so for their partners, such as North Korea and Sudan. A rule of humanitarian intervention would help delegitimize these repressive regimes. And the same is true for many other countries in the world, from Pakistan to Ethiopia to Venezuela. Even if China and Russia themselves do not fear an American invasion, they do fear American interventions that will lead either to broader instability or to more American dominance.

China and Russia thus very sensibly resist the establishment of an international norm that authorizes intervention in their own countries and the lands of their allies and not in the United States and (most of) its allies. They are content with the U.N. system, which enables them to oppose efforts to establish such a norm.

Meanwhile, here at home, for 30 years five presidents of both parties have disregarded the U.N. rules on the use of force. It seems fair to say that while the United States continues to use the language of law, its position is more a self-made doctrine of American exceptionalism, which lays out U.S. claims and expectations and does not make them reciprocal for other states (as "law" necessarily does). Something like the Monroe doctrine, but applied to both hemispheres. The Bush-Obama doctrine, as one might call it (though there are some variations between the presidents), extends throughout the world. It declares that dictatorships that stay in power through violence and threaten their neighbors must fear America's might, whatever the rest of the world might say.

This can last only as long as the United States can overwhelm other countries with its power. For a country often thought to be on the brink of decline, it's a bold stance to take.


...nevermind on the Security Council, which should have one permanent member from each continent: America, England, India, Australia, Brazil and Liberia.

Posted by at September 10, 2013 6:09 PM
  

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