Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Will the US never learn?
The world is once again facing a situation in which (mainly) the United States is threatening to take military action against another country. Let’s be clear, here. This is a matter for the entire world not just the US. The US has no right to set itself up as the sole judge, jury and executioner when it comes to world affairs. There is, of course, talk of ‘surgical strikes’ etc. etc. There are commitments to avoid the mistakes of the past. Well, the first mistake of the past to avoid is that of unilaterally launching military strikes. Does anyone believe that such an action will be as straightforward as is claimed? Does anyone believe that it will achieve the alleged objectives? Does anyone believe that such an action would not have unintended and unpleasant consequences?
I’ve no doubt that I will be shouted down here as being naive. And I can also only claim to have a very limited understanding of International Law. But it seems to me that if the Assad regime has used chemical weapons in this civil war, then it is in violation of International Law. If there is, indeed, strong evidence that Assad is guilty of this crime, then, instead of the first response being to launch a military strike, let the first action be to charge this man accordingly and haul his ass (or arse for Aussies and Brits) to the Hague. Of course, it may not be possible to actually arrest him; of course it may never be possible to actually bring him to trial. So let’s try him in absentia. Let’s at least consider the legal options first!
What seems to be happening at the moment is that the threat of military action by the US is already doing more harm than good. It is forcing millions more people across the borders of Syria into neighbouring countries than the civil war itself. It is generating posturing and threats from the Syrian regime and its allies. It is giving rise of talk of a ‘third world war’.
President Obama, you do not get to decide the fate of this world. Stop your blustering and posturing. Take legal (rather than illegal) action.