The Tribute Vice Pays

If you disapprove of President Trump’s disregarding of international norms, the necessary implication is that you disapprove of U. S. foreign policy over the period of the half century. At New Republic John Glaser outlines the U. S.’s routine ignoring of international law and standards:

The pundits, practitioners, and politicians that make up the foreign policy establishment have rarely respected the non-interventionist principles at the core of the United Nations, an institution exemplifying the liberal rules-based international order that the United States helped establish following World War II. Article 2(4) of the UN Charter says “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state…” According to the Charter, which American post-war planners helped write, the use of force is illegal and illegitimate unless at least one of two prerequisites are met: first, that force is used in self-defense; second, that the UN Security Council authorizes it.

This prohibition against war is not some trivial aspiration. Non-intervention is the centerpiece of international law and the United Nations has repeatedly sought to underline its significance. In 1965, the General Assembly declared “No state or group of states has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any state.” Again in 1970, it unanimously reaffirmed the illegality of “armed intervention and all other forms of interference or attempted threats.” In 1981, the General Assembly further specified that the Charter’s “principle of non-intervention and non-interference” prohibited “any … form of intervention and interference, overt or covert, directed at another State or group of States, or any act of military, political or economic interference in the internal affairs of another State.”

The United States is currently engaged in active military hostilities in at least seven countries, namely Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Niger. That tally doesn’t include drone strikes in Pakistan, combat operations in Kenya, Cameroon, and Central African Republic, or other interventions of unknown magnitude. The true number might be closer to 14 countries. The White House is also explicitly threatening U.S. military action to change the regime in Venezuela and against Iran for a host of spurious reasons. Not one of these cases meets the prerequisites for legal military intervention (a plausible self-defense case can be made for the war in Afghanistan, but it expired a long time ago).

It includes Trump but it’s not limited to Trump. It includes Republicans but it’s not limited to Republicans. These norms have been violated by every U. S. president over the period of the last 60 years.

I’m wary of entering into treaties but that’s because I don’t think we should sign a treaty which we have no intention of honoring. I think that’s not only a violation of important norms but against U. S. interests.

3 comments… add one
  • bob sykes Link

    Trump ran on a platform of nonintervention and withdrawal from our all-too-many wars. But it is clear that the Deep State/Cabal turned him. They even forced him to repudiate his deal with Kim. It would be of some interest to know how the Deep State/Cabal turned him. I should not be surprised if they threatened to kill him and his family. Certainly, the attempt of the DOJ, CIA, FBI et al. to overturn the 2016 election using all sorts of fraud, including knowingly submitting perjured, fabricated documents to the FISA court, indicates the depth of the Deep State/Cabal’s depravity.

    The humiliated Obama a few times, too, most spectacularly when they forced him to repudiate his first deconfliction agreement with the Russians. That lead to Lavrov’s famous statement that the US was incapable of negotiating. In the end, however, Obama did prevent a wider war in Syria by backing away from his Red Line.

    Eisenhower is probably the last President to any control over Defense, State or the intelligence agencies. I am reconsidering the assassination of JFK, MLK, and RFK, as well as the attempts on Ford and Reagan.

  • Gray Shambler Link

    I don’t know it’s necessary to threaten or kill presidents. They are surrounded by intelligence types whose job it is to forecast danger and worst case scenarios.. At first common sense says “nonsense”, but after reflection, can we really afford to be unprepared? Perhaps the best defense is a good offense. Maybe the Russians really do plan world dominance with a nuclear blitzkrieg. Probably not, but if our missiles aren’t set in eastern Europe, what will stop them?
    Now I’m prepared to take that chance, but I’m not the President.

  • steve Link

    “Trump ran on a platform of nonintervention and withdrawal from our all-too-many wars. But it is clear that the Deep State/Cabal turned him.”

    Trump ran on many different platforms. Not all of them were non-interventionist. If he were truly non-interventionist you would have expected him to surround himself with people who would help him achieve that goal. Instead he got John Bolton. The take home message is that Trump doesn’t really know what he wants or how to achieve it.


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