How strong is a piece of paper? 2

Tsar Vladimir of Russia (whose  eyes may be small but at least they’re close together) has invaded Ukraine and taken the Crimean peninsula. It is an act of war. He defies “international law” and no one can do a thing about it. He ignores the romantic UN charter, the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 which discourages the use of force to settle international disputes, and the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 by which Ukraine agreed to surrender its nuclear weapons to Russia in exchange for a promise that Russia would not invade Ukraine – a promise confirmed by yet another treaty between the two countries in 1997.

Charters and treaties are pieces of paper. They are not armor or armament. Unless armament is brought to bear to enforce what they “guarantee”, they are useless.  At best they record intentions, an agreement convenient for a time. Intentions change, disagreement arises, and whoof! the paper with its signatures has gone with the wind.

Today the Tsar is getting hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper from people of the Crimea, their votes cast in a referendum on whether they want to be part of Russia or Ukraine. A majority will vote to be part of Russia. The Tsar knows this or he wouldn’t have ordered the referendum. His confidence in the outcome allows him to pay homage to paper as rulers do. If the almost impossible should happen and the vote go against him, he’ll keep his troops there anyway. The Crimea has been annexed to Russia and so it will stay, though blizzards of paper protesting the fact were to smother the land ten layers thick.

No document is proof against violation. Not even the Constitution of the United States, as the Obama administration proves daily.

Put not your trust in paper. Get your guns.

In praise of a cowboy nation 2

As so often we are in agreement over an important issue with Daniel Greenfield, who writes at Front Page on the international order – or disorder:

The international community looked into Putin’s eyes and blinked. Multilateralism has failed as badly as it did in the days of the League of Nations, but then again it never actually worked.

The international order that everyone pretends is a real force in world affairs is really the United States and a few partners doing all the work and letting the diplomats and bureaucrats of the world pretend that they matter.

Without America, the United Nations would be just as useless as the League of Nations. With America, the United Nations is only a deterrent when the United States puts its foot down and the rest of the world doesn’t get in the way.

It has become fashionable to denounce the United States as a rogue state. A military intervention, even with the backing of its Western allies, but outside the framework of the organizations of the international order, was deemed unilateralism and cowboy diplomacy. …

The multilateral system is helpless in the face of aggression. That is as true today as it was eighty years ago. International agreements are worthless without steel and lead behind them. The United Nations is incapable of acting when one of its more powerful members is the aggressor, the foreign policy experts of the left crank out editorials explaining why we can’t do anything and the Secretary of State explains that our weakness is really a strength.

Truth is, there is no such thing as “international law”  in the sense that there are laws within nations;  because no “international law”  can be enforced  – unless it is in the interest of the mightiest power to enforce it.

International law couldn’t stop Hitler. It couldn’t stop Japan. It took the United States to do that. The foreign policy experts will deny it, the editorials will decry it and the Common Core textbooks will refuse to print it; but it takes a rogue nation to stop a rogue state. …

The issue isn’t whether the United States should intervene in Ukraine, but whether it should have the option to do something more meaningful than draw faint red lines and threaten worthless sanctions. Every mob throwing things at soldiers and police isn’t necessarily composed of the good guys just because they have photogenic protesters and colorful flags.

Our instinct to automatically support the underdog is just another dangerous figment of the multilateral mindset.

The United States has unselectively adopted the human rights agenda of the internationalists and allowed our foreign affairs priorities to be curated by the diplomats of the left who know exactly whom to denounce and what not to do about it.

UN Ambassador Samantha Power, wearing a bitter frown, agonizing over the woes of the world, is the face of our senseless and useless diplomacy that forces us to play the moral scold without being able to back it up.

American foreign policy has become indistinguishable from the United Nations agenda and just as impotent, fixated on the recommendations of human rights committees instead of national interests, incapable of addressing historical alliances, and unable to build its responses around anything except the same Powerian empty shriek of self-righteous human rights outrage.

Obama’s America has turned a cold impartial face to its allies, aspiring instead to become the vessel of international organizations while assigning its morality to an international committee. American foreign policy is under international management and that transfers its decision process from D.C. to an international network of committees incapable of doing anything except generating worthless reports and denouncing Israel.

The United States was the ghost in the machine of the United Nations, but now that the United States is the United Nations, the United States has become the puppet of a puppet. …

The United States should have a strong military, not so that it can use it, but so that it won’t need to use it. Military budget cuts send the message that we won’t intervene in international conflicts which makes it more likely that our enemies will start conflicts and that some of those conflicts will drag us in anyway …

The United States should have clear commitments and agreements that it keeps, rather than randomly butting into every single conflict and human rights violation on the planet. Its leaders should decide whether they really are serious about Syria or Ukraine or any other place on earth that they issue press releases about and keep quiet about them if they are not. …

History isn’t made by nations defending international law, but acting on their own imperatives. Only a rogue nation that isn’t bound by the chains of multilateralism can take the unilateral action necessary to stop a rogue state.

American cowboy diplomacy is the only defense the world has against commissar diplomacy, cossack diplomacy and caliphate diplomacy.

‘Evil, be thou my good!’ 0

… as Satan says in Paradise Lost.

Satan’s HQ on earth is, as we all know, the United Nations. That hellish institution inverts all values. Now it wants criminals to be ‘protected’ as ‘victims’.

Joseph Klein writes at FrontPage:

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, told reporters at UN headquarters during his October 20th press briefing that criminal detainees are “vulnerable” people who need to be protected by a new UN treaty devoted just to the rights of detainees. He said that detainees deserved as much protection by the international community as children and the disabled do — which those groups already receive under the separate UN Conventions devoted just to them.

Presumably, terrorist suspect detainees would also be covered under this new treaty that Nowak is proposing. In fact, he reiterated his opinion – based, he said, on his experience as an international jurist – that the “victims” of rendition and detention are entitled to “adequate reparations”.

But that is not all. In response to my question whether the United Nations’ view of international law would trump a contrary decision by the highest court of a functioning democracy with an independent judiciary such as the United States, Nowak said that international law has “absolute priority.” His rationale was that a UN member state that voluntarily decides to sign and ratify a treaty is bound by the obligations of that treaty. …

In other words, he believes, along with much of the UN establishment, that neither the U.S. Senate nor our judiciary has the final say as to how the United States’ treaty obligations should be interpreted and administered if the United Nations has a different opinion! … In his view, the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court cannot be used to justify an action that is at variance with international law as interpreted by the relevant UN bodies.

Here is the problem. The United States cannot be forced into surrendering its own sovereignty to some global governance body unless we look the other way and let it happen. Even if our political leaders decided to enter into a treaty that started us down this slippery path, treaties can neither override nor amend the Constitution under the Constitution’s “Supremacy Clause.” As the Supreme Court concluded years ago, it would simply make no sense for a treaty, once in effect as a result of the exercise of the President’s and the Senate’s constitutional powers, to become the instrument for usurping the legal authority of the Constitution that established those powers in the first place.

Thus, the United States Constitution by definition trumps the United Nations Charter, and all other treaties we may enter into under the UN Charter or otherwise, as the governing instrument for the American people.

However, the danger to this constitutional protection for America’s self-governance lurks within our own judiciary. UN officials are filing so-called friend-of-court briefs with the Supreme Court on human rights issues and the Court is increasingly deferring to their views. …

For example … the former UN High Commissioner took it upon herself while in office to advise the Supreme Court that the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights required the Court to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals denying the detainees’ petition for habeas corpus and ensure a full habeas corpus proceeding … The Supreme Court listened to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. It incorporated her notion of international law into its decision interpreting what was required under the United States Constitution, over the legislation supported by the two elected branches of our government.

With President Barack Obama expected to increase the number of Supreme Court justices who believe that international and foreign law should be reflected in their interpretations of the U.S. Constitution, Mr. Nowak may get his way after all by default.

Posted under Commentary, Law, United Nations, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, October 24, 2009

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The law, sir, is an ass 4

A fascinating article from Caroline Glick.

WHEREAS UPON examination it is clear that the Obama administration is wrong in insinuating that Israel is in breach of its international legal commitments through its refusal to bar Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, the Obama administration’s own policy toward the Palestinians places it in clear breach of both binding international law and domestic US law.

On September 28, 2001, the UN Security Council passed binding Resolution 1373. Resolution 1373, which was initiated by the US government, and was passed by authority of Chapter VII, committed all UN member states to “refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts.” Resolution 1373 further required UN member states to “deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts or provide safe haven” to those that do.

In 1995, the US State Department acknowledged that Hamas fits the legal definition of a terrorist organization. Today, due to its policies toward Hamas, the Obama administration is in breach of both Resolution 1373 – that is, of international law – and of US domestic law barring the provision of support and financing to foreign terrorist organizations.

Posted under Israel, United States by on Saturday, June 27, 2009

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The dangerous pretensions of the International Criminal Court 0

 Daniel Hannan writes in the Telegraph:

A fearful blow has been struck against national sovereignty. The International Criminal Court has launched a prosecution against a head of state – a state, moreover, that has not signed the ICC treaty. International human rights apparatchiks are enjoying the warm glow of self-righteousness; but they have just made the world a darker and more dangerous place.

Don’t get me wrong: the man they have arraigned, Omar al-Bashir, is an unutterable swine. Having seized power in a military putsch, he has maintained himself in office by displacing and terrorising millions of his citizens. Some 300,000 Sudanese are estimated to have been killed in his civil wars and, while the government does not bear sole responsibility for each of those deaths, it must be reckoned the worst offender.

How, then, could I possibly object to bringing such a monster to trial? If the defunct Sudanese legal system can’t deal with him, shouldn’t someone else?

Well, maybe: but this will mean conquering Sudan. Bashir is the head of state, the supreme repository and exemplar of Sudanese sovereignty. Indicting him amounts to a declaration of war. Now there may well be an argument for military intervention in Sudan. Quite apart from having presided over the genocidal purges in Darfur, Bashir has given the rest of the world ample cross-border provocation. He turned his country into a base for terrorists of every stripe: the Ugandan child-kidnappers of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Carlos the Jackal, even Osama bin Laden. I’m not a big fan of invading other countries but, if we’re going to pick on one, Sudan is a pretty good candidate.

Except that the international community is emphatically not proposing an invasion. The prosecution is a narcissistic act, intended to make liberal internationalists feel superior and to bolster the ICC’s damaged reputation (its first case, against a Congolese militia leader, has just collapsed) rather than to ameliorate the lot of the Sudanese. Declaring war without meaning to wage it – which is what the indictment means – will simply deter the ghastly Khartoum regime from reaching any kind of accommodation with its opponents. Rather like an insistence on unconditional surrender, the prosecution will serve chiefly to make the autocrats more determined.

That’s the problem with these international law codes. By definition, the only countries on which they have any effect are democracies: tyrants simply ignore them. For the sake of being rude about Bashir – without any practical consequences – the ICC will substantively and genuinely diminish the sovereignty of free nations

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, July 16, 2008

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