Thursday, November 05, 2009

Comment on The Belmont Club
"Offensive defense"

The distinction between state and non-state actors is entirely pernicious. There is nothing gained by the indulging of the proliferation of non-state actors in the field of international relations and the coddling of a perception that a state or a population can escape responsibility for the actions of people who plan or conduct attacks from its territory. Nothing has proven superior to the Westphalian System in promoting lawful relations among people, regulating violence, and ensuring accountability.

The Red Cross serves a useful purpose. Technical organizations that largely predate the United Nations serve a useful purpose. Almost everything else that exists outside of the authority of the nation-state should be abolished in the international sphere.

If a state has a functional government, if it is competent and possesses the attributes of sovereignty, and if it wishes to retain good relations with the US then it will pursue those who threaten or commit acts of violence against either the United States or US persons. The later includes both human beings, citizens, nationals or lawful residents, and corporate bodies. Any territory that does not possess such a government should be placed under Trusteeship or a similar form of administration. If a nation is competent and refuses to cooperate then our argument is with that nation and not just with the offending party.

In 2001 we requested cooperation from the Taliban, who were the de facto government of Afghanistan. If they had cooperated then the War on Terror would have been a police action. The reasons to consider ourselves in a lawful state of war with Iraq before 2003 were even more numerous. We should recognize that since 1979 we have been in a state of war with regard to Iran.

The recent conceit that legal belligerency can only exist when authorized by the United Nations, which means when Russia and China agree, is a complete inversion of what the UN and the Security Council were meant to achieve. All that the UN Charter says is that when the Big Five Powers agree then that is a fact that no small powers can refute or resist. The UN has no binding legal presence separate from the combined will of the powers of the Security Council and every country has the right to defend itself.

We should yank Philip Alston's visa and make it clear that no agent of the UN has any standing to sit in judgement of the United States.

When I was a child Halloween meant going door to door collecting for UNICEF. Don’t see that anymore. My idea after 9-11 was to move the UN HQ to Governor’s Island in NY harbor. That would put almost it right in the shadow of the WTC site. The security benefits would be considerable too.

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