Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter says:
- The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.
- The Security Council shall, when it deems necessary, call upon the parties to settle their dispute by such means.
- Should the parties to a dispute of the nature referred to in Article 33 fail to settle it by the means indicated in that Article, they shall refer it to the Security Council.
- If the Security Council deems that the continuance of the dispute is in fact likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, it shall decide whether to take action under Article 36 or to recommend such terms of settlement as it may consider appropriate.
The United States is a signatory to the UN Charter. In essence Chapter VI commits the signatories to eschewing the use of force against other nations without the express authorization of the Security Council.
Being a party to international accords means you don’t get to do whatever you want whenever you want to do it. The Charter has the power of law. An attack against another country without the authorization of the Security Council is a violation of U. S. law.
Further Article I, Section 8 of the U. S. Constitution reads in part:
The Congress shall have Power…] To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
which means that the president does not have the authority to attack another country without the express direction of the Congress. Emergency circumstances allow the president to wage war without such authorization under his powers as commander-in-chief.
Russia has an enormous nuclear arsenal—enough to destroy the United States many times over and enough to lay waste to the entire world. Russia is Syria’s primary ally and Russian forces are aiding the Syrian government in putting down the war against it.
We don’t know for certain who used chemical weapons in Douma or even whether chemical weapons were used. For example, it is possible that bombing by the Syrian government released chemical weapons that were being made or stored in the area bombed. There hasn’t been a thorough investigation and we just don’t know.
Attacking Syria was lawless, reckless, and stupid.