Monday, March 08, 2010

The Left's Slaivsh Devotion to the UN and the ICJ

JusticeThe Best Defense? | Foreign Affairs This is a lament that the world doesn't always follow the lead of the UN and International Court of Justice. But it includes a statement of why that is the case.
[T]he ICJ has continued to support and craft rules that effectively protect terrorists, proliferators, and irresponsible states. In 1986, for example, the ICJ rejected El Salvador's claim to self-defense against Nicaragua, which was aiding rebels seeking to undermine the elected Salvadoran government. By doing so, the ICJ effectively denied El Salvador the right to cooperate with the United States in an exercise of collective self-defense. In 2004, the ICJ found that Israel's right of self-defense did not apply to protecting itself against attacks on its population (including suicide bombings) by nonstate actors. This meant that Israel could not legally build a fence or take other self-defense measures on any territory beyond its internationally accepted borders. Similarly, the next year, the court ruled that Uganda had no right to self-defense against rebels attacking it from the Democratic Republic of the Congo because the attackers had not been sent by the Congolese government, even though that government had failed to stop them, as international law requires. These decisions--along with the ICJ's refusal to treat as precedents those uses of force that the international community has widely accepted as just, such as NATO's intervention in Kosovo--have undermined, rather than enhanced, the objectives of the UN Charter.
But should we give up on an organization the protects terrorists?
No, not according to Professor Sofaer, George P. Shultz Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy and National Security Affairs at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Instead we should keep deferring to this broken body.
Disregarding international law would free all states to act as they please when the goal should be to encourage them to act in ways that advance universally accepted objectives.
What exactly those "universally accepted objectives" are, he does not say.

He doesn't cover the Islamic-fascists drive to exterminate all governments not based on Sharia, for example. They want to exterminate democracy, destroy individual rights, (especially of women) and in general overturn Western Civilization. How are you going to encourage them to give up on that? Without using cruise missiles that is? What common cause do we have with terrorists, Professor?

The professor talks about a lot of things. One of them being "peacekeeping" missions undertaken under the authority of the UN Security Council. But I can't find three examples where such a force kept the peace - aside from a few times when the US, NATO or Australia were committed to the task and the UN jumped on the bandwagon.

In some cases the UN peacekeepers become part of the problem. Sex-for-food scandals plague peacekeeping efforts all over the globe. They don't get half the press Oil-for-food got. (UN Peacekeepers extorting sex from underage girls and women in exchange for enough food to survive.)

Then of course there is Srebrenica, in which the UN Peacekeeping forces abandoned their role as defenders and offered material support to the people committing genocide.

Not satisfied with taking sides in Srebrenica, the UN Peacekeepers gave logistical support to the Congo government troops who were engaged in the massacre of civilians.

The prevention of genocide. Peacekeeping. The prevention of nuclear proliferation. The International Rule of Law. These are all things that the UN would like us to believe they stand for. Yet they fail again and again to do anything positive and often end creating more suffering than they prevent.

The ICJ instead of seeking justice and attacking international terrorists does (almost) everything in its power to keep terrorists safe.
One possible reaction to international law's failure to deal effectively with current threats would be to treat it as irrelevant
This is the first half of a statement that the Professor says might be one way to respond to this continuous failure. Of course he is trying to short circuit any condemnation of the UN, or any reaction that might weaken the international regime.

But the UN can't be viewed as irrelevant when it is part of the problem. Harboring of terrorists should be against international law, but the ICJ hasn't set things up that way. Peacekeepers should be an aid to the local communities in which they operate, instead, in almost every instance that they are deployed, they become tormentors of the locals. The UN peacekeepers should do everything they can to stop genocide, but instead they offer logistical support to those committing atrocities. These issues don't tend to make me view the UN as irrelevant, instead they make me view the UN as criminal.

Is national interest the only way for nations to gauge what they will and won't do? I do know that any government that doesn't act in its own self-defense, won't be around for long.

The UN is perfect for the Left. They love to talk, and think talking will solve everything. They forget that before you enter into any negotiation, you should determine your best alternative to a negotiated settlement. And they forget the lessons of history. People love to talk, if they think it will keep you from acting. Hitler kept the West talking after they invaded Bulgaria, and kept on talking right up until they invaded Poland. Or have you never read Chamberlain's "Peace in our time" speech? The one where he told everyone of go home and have a good sleep, since he was still talking to (and making treaties with) the Germans, which meant everything was right with the world.

It would be bad enough if the UN and the International Court of Justice had degenerated into a debating society with no impact, if they had become irrelevant, but the UN and the ICJ do have an impact; it is just not a positive one.

(Note: I get access to Foreign Affairs and all its articles, via my public library. You may be able to as well, if you want to read the article on which this post is based.)

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