Friday, September 06, 2013

Today's wisps of the fog of war ...

"Obama seeks to violate United Nations Charter: Asks Congress's Blessing"


That's legal analyst Jack Balkin's summary of where we stand.

… the elephant in the room is that even if Congress authorizes Obama's strike on Syria, it will still be in violation of the United Nations Charter.  The war will still be illegal under international law.

Under the U.N. Charter, it is illegal for member states to attack each other because they claim another state is violating international law unless they are acting in self-defense or unless they are authorized to do so by a Security Council resolution. There is no such resolution with respect to Syria. The whole point of the Charter is to keep (for example) Russia from attacking (for example) Israel because Russia claims that Israel is violating international law.  What goes for Russia attacking Israel also goes for the United States attacking Syria.

This story is being under-reported in the press.  Imagine a New York Times headline that read:

Obama seeks to violate United Nations Charter: Asks Congress's Blessing.

But that is exactly what is happening.  Obama may say that he is just trying to enforce international norms, but he is doing it by violating article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter.  To invoke a metaphor from another war, he is destroying the village in order to save it.

Writing in favor of developing international mechanisms to keep the peace makes one a target of mockery. How naive!

But let's get serious here: what stands between the people of the planet and the war of all against all? Only such mechanisms of collective security as, haltingly, the people of the world have affirmed through their governments, most notably the United Nations Charter. When particular governments turn aggressive, or are led by monsters (even if with the approval of majorities of their own people), only the collective work and will of many neighbors can curb them.

When you live in the stomach of the worlds actual rogue empire, the United States, it is hard to imagine that "collective security" could be a real force. How could the Lilliputians tie down the giant Gulliver? Probably, right now, they can't. But as the giant bankrupts and exhausts itself, someday they must and they will.

9 comments:

Rain Trueax said...

The UN has lost a lot of credibility in the US. I don't think what they do or don't do tells anybody it was the right thing-- more it was politically expedient.

More to the point for Obama will be if the House votes no-- does he do it anyway? If he does, then I think impeachment will be happening sooner than later. The right has been itching to do it on any excuse. So he better factor that in to his imperial thinking... I just wish Congress had a reputation itself that the country could respect because right now it's all about Obama being Obama not whether they think it's the right thing to do-- or not. Liz Cheney spoke the tea party stance-- he's not a good leader hence won't vote for it even if it's the right thing. You can substitute black in for 'not a good' where it comes to a lot of them.

It's beginning to look to me like the wrong thing simply because I don't think they know for sure who used the Sarin and because other chemical weapons are still okayed by some cockamamie way of thinking so they can napalm/phosphorous/agent orange and it's legal. Say what!?!

If Obama does it, he fights this the rest of his presidency and loses more credibility than if he lets the Congress have the final say!

Either way it looks to me that the Syrian people lose

Ken Hoop said...

Krauthammer is opposed, but only because it doesn't go far enough, because Obama could have deposed Assad by now if he'd been prompt about it. I'm sure Hillary privately agrees-but so does Liz Cheney. All the above were concerned with- had the Iraq syndrome evaporated enough to quickly do Israel's dirty work?
All the rest is opportunism.

janinsanfran said...

Tina from Beirut, Lebanon comments: "The UN has lost credibility in the US" ... Is it because the Security Council along the decades has taken so many decisions critical of Israel and the US had to veto them? Look at how many times has the US vetoed UN resolutions between 1972 and 2002 and look at the resolutions vetoed --it is not only about Israel. List of US vetoes.

You can also take a look at what the Jewish Virtual Library has to say on the subject.

You can also google "US vetoes UN resolutions" and learn more about what your government has been doing on the international scene and then you might understand why the US has lost its credibility amongst the nations of the UN.

Rain Trueax said...

I don't think the US has lost credibility because it has supported Israel versus those who want to destroy it. I think it's a matter of money and power. There is always resentment of those who have power but the US has often nisused its power to benefit its corporate interests. You can see it over and over. Dragging Israel into this is ignoring the reality of the rest. There are those who want to blame the Jews for everything in the world. The US has plenty of places it has pretended to be righteous when it's really to benefit its own corporate interests without blaming Jews for everything. And what I said about the UN is its credibility in the US. Other nations can think what they will but just saying the people in the US will not consider the UN to be the ultimate decider of what is right. Who they appointed to various power positions. The ideal of a United Nations has a problem because it's always run by humans with all their foibles which is true of all nations, not just ours.

janinsanfran said...

"tina an Ayrab from and in Beirut, Lebanon" comments:
Should I have added to the history of the vetoes issue, that if the UN has no credibility amongst the people in the US it probably is because most people in the US have the imperialistic attitude of their government towards the rest of the world, and are known to be mostly ignorant of what goes on in the rest of the world and probably even choose to close their eyes on what their government does to the rest of the world?

But hey, because I pointed out to the unconditional support the US gives to Israel at the Security Council and that it has eroded its credibility, I am then antisemitic? So let's see, if I am to point out that the 'NYT' Cuts References to AIPAC in Syria Debate, will Greg Mitchell from The Nation also be called anti-semitic?

I wish to be surprised and learn that Rain Trueax has taken stands against the wars that Israel has launched against my country and were fully supported by the US and her own taxpayer money, and that she is actively supporting Palestinian rights.

Rain Trueax said...

Prepare to be surprised. I have criticized what Israel has done with the Palestinians, often doing things to provoke reactions, the illegal settlements, etc. I have said various places that we should not automatically support everything they do. I am not a Christian-- hence don't have the fear God will zap us if we don't lockstep support Israel. On the other hand, it is not due to Israel that we don't have much faith in the UN here. It comes out of things like appointing countries to human right committees who have done anything but support human rights (a few years back) and the feeling that the UN is as political as anything else. Even the left wing isn't enamored with the UN as it stands today and the right has no use for it at all.

The thing though with the US is we vote for leaders to represent us. I live in Oregon and feel pretty good about our senators (Wyden and Merkley) for their realistic view of what we should do overseas but when I voted for Obama, I didn't expect him to do as he's done. What was my alternative though-- Romney? McCain? We here often don't get the choices we'd like.

When I see what happens in other countries, I don't really see either side as perfect-- hence don't see the Palestinians as all innocent when they have sometimes supported terrorist bombings whatever the provocation. Terrorist bombings are always aimed at citizens. Yes it's the only power some think they have but it still seems always wrong to me.

As for the US history with interventions that have only served to benefit our corporate interests, certainly not that of the average citizen, I have voted as much as I could to keep us out of foreign wars including voting for McGovern back when it was Vietnam. It hasn't always worked obviously.

Rain Trueax said...

I should have said not all lefties where it comes to the UN. I am sure there are those who still have faith in it. Everybody wishes we had such an organization that could look at world issues and make a difference. A lot of us don't think it's how it has worked and that's the problem-- kinda like our governments so many times.

janinsanfran said...

Tina from Beirut, Lebanon:

Useless writing but nevertheless let me backtrack:
- Rain Trueax writes: The UN has lost a lot of credibility in the US
- I answer only that sentence of her comment by asking rhetorical questions to show how the US has lost its credibility in the Nations of the UN if one were to just look at the US veto at the Security Council.
- Since most of this vetos were taken to support Israel's policy, Rain Trueax practically expressed that my statement came out of antisemitism.
- I answered back hinting openly that Rain Trueax must be a supporter of Israel and thus didn't support neither the Palestinian cause nor took a stand against the numerous wars against Lebanon.
- Rain Trueax answered that she had "criticized what Israel has done with the Palestinians, often doing things to provoke reactions, the illegal settlements, etc." She didn't mention the Palestinian Right of Return, which is The statement to make if one has taken a stand against Zionism. She didn't mention Wars against Lebanon.

I don't know Rain Trueax and I have been answering her because I respect janinsanfran stands, and I enjoy following her blog from which I learn a lot and I wrongly assumed that her readers might be interested in the point of view of someone who is Lebanese and is living in Lebanon. I practically don't write comments on other blogs or any website. Of course, janinsanfran readers know nothing about me and my stands and my activism, I don't even write my last name when I comment. I know first hand how very few people amongst the ones I call "the good people of the US" took a stand against Israel in 1982 when it invaded my country with full support of the Reagan administration. It was mostly the US anti-Zionist Jews who moved against that war. I wasn't in 2006 in the US, and I wonder how many of the readers of this blog have been outraged by the US support to Israel's war and have written their Congress representative on the issue, or have demonstrated against an Israeli Consulate or Embassy? Not many, I guess.

Today, there is a war going on in Syria, please take a look at where is Lebanon compared to Syria. This war is financed by the US and allies of the US. We have already 1million Syrian refugees and 400,000 Palestinian refugees. We expect that in 2014 25% of the population in Lebanon would be made of refugees. So if we go back to the subject of the attack that the US is planning and that is supported by Israel and, according to many in the US is pushed by AIPAC, does any one of the readers of this blog think about what might happen to us in Lebanon?
I have felt anger then sadness by the way a person from Oregon reacts to what a person from Lebanon writes, in such war times from which the Oregon person is protected. How can I dare say a thing about the US not being credible! How can I mention the US support to Israel! I have been silly to have felt what I felt and to have answered back, because we defeated Israel without the help of any US citizen. And we will survive against the will of any and all Zionists be they in occupied Palestine or in the US. And I will not answer back Rain Trueax again because obviously she doesn't know what she is writing about when it comes to the US v/s the rest of the world. And I am ready to bet that if she didn't mention her support to Lebanon it is because she is from the generation who supported Jane Fonda in her stand against the Vietnam War and Fonda's support to the Israeli soldiers who had invaded my country in 1982, a support that was shockingly done inside the Lebanese borders. Most probably she represents the majority of the readers of this blog in case they can recall what was their reaction in June of 1982. I can't forget how the good people refused to react.

Although all in all my comments will not change anybody's mind on anything, nevertheless thank you janinsanfran for posting them for me since I can't post them myself.

Rain Trueax said...

I'm not going to try to reply to this. I've tried to say what I think. As was said, the conversation isn't going anywhere positive, and whether I am not communicating well or whatever, it's just how it sometimes is.

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