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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

May The Rule Of Force Be With Us?

Early on in the War on Gaza, a Palestinian teen was kidnapped, killed, and burned. Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu correctly promised to bring those responsible to justice and then used his response to the killing in comparing Israel to those around it. He stated that Israel allows no room for murderers while its neighbors regard murderers as heros (click here). 

Now that was a long time ago in the beginning of the War against Gaza. That was in early July of 2014. Fastforward a whole month to now and we get a different picture of Netanyahu and Israel. Netanyahu is now asking for America's help in preventing Israel from facing war crimes charges before the ICC (the International Criminal Court). In fact, the Israeli government has not even decided if it will cooperate with a possible UN investigation into possible war crimes committed by Israel (click here). Why? Because according to Netanyahu, Israel doesn't commit war crimes, only Hamas does, and we've heard this from Western leaders before. For it was George W. Bush who said that the US doesn't use torture--he could have added that we use a thesaurus instead because he called the American treatment of enemy combatants  "enhanced interrogation." As for the assertion that Israel does not commit war crimes, we need to read how, a while back, Major General Doran Almog avoided being arrested in Heathrow Airport on war crime charges (click here).

Perhaps the 2003 invasion of Iraq is a vintage example of what we are seeing in the armed interventions being committed today. Then, President Bush's justification for the invasion included accusing Iraq of breaking of international law. At the same time, Bush's America refused to be accountable to international law. In fact, the US even applies economic pressure on countries that would support making America accountable before the ICC (click here and there). Despite our claims, we weren't submitting to the rule of law, we were following the rule of force.

Of course all of this exempting the powerful from playing by the same rules as everybody else has its start with the UN Security Council veto. This insures that permanent members of the Security Council can make null and void any of its pronouncements against  themselves and their friends. This is how Israel can thrive despite the number of UN resolutions it routinely breaks in maintaining the Occupation while other countries can be attacked or even invaded based on a single accusation made by one of the powerful ones.

So what we have today are America's invasions, its adventurism in Africa, the expansion of the Drone Wars, Russia's involvement with the Ukraine, and Israel's slaughter in Gaza, all with no legal repercussions ever taken. It is all a repeat of the American 2003 invasion of Iraq as well as other crimes committed before. This is despite the international resources we have to legally address war crimes committed by anyone. Instead, what we are left with is Thucydides. For it was Thucydides who, when writing about the Peloponnesian War, observed:
The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must 1

Perhaps, this is why Machiavelli is so widely read and respected. And since history shows that what Thucydides said has always been the case, why get upset? There are two reasons to protest the continuing of this time honored tradition. But the first reason depends on who is doing the protesting. 

A while back ago while attending a protest outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC, the speaker called the protesters, "people of conscience." Why did he use that name? It was because what we had in common was a conscience that overrode our loyalties to nationality, political groups, religion, and ethnicity. We had Jews, Christians, Muslims and Seculars who were protesting Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. We should note that the alternative to being a person of conscience is either submitting to tribalism or trying to escape to some fantasy island of our own making. 

See, we have only one immediate hope to stop today's global downward spiral. That hope is that enough people of conscience will emerge who will put a stop to the current insanity which has been embraced by most, if not all, of our leaders. We need Americans of conscience to stop America's foreign policies. We need Russians of conscience to stop what Putin is doing. We need Jews of conscience to stop Netanyahu in his tracks. And we need Muslims of conscience to not only stop ISIS, but to stop Hamas as well. We need people of conscience all over the world to stop fellow countrymen whose avarice and ambition drive them to abuse others. 

Why call what is going on today insanity? We have the West, for the sake of economic expansion, provoking a nuclear superpower in the Ukraine. On the other side, you have a delusional thug, Putin, who wants to return Russia to the glory days of when it rivaled the US and to prove his point, he is currently increasing the number of violations of American airspace with his bombers. Do either Obama or Putin understand what happens if there is a mishap here?

At the same time we have Netanyahu slaughtering over 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza over the kidnapping and brutal murder of 3 Israeli teens while claiming that the difference between his country and its neighbors is that his country follows the rule of law. Doesn't he know history? Doesn't he know that nobody stays on top for ever? And doesn't he know what paybacks are? 

Then we have ISIS in Syria and Iraq and if we are honest, we will admit that we had role in creating or sustaining this monster. We should note that its leader was incarcerated by American troops with the invasion of Iraq. We should also note that some of the support for ISIS is due to the oppression of Sunni Muslims by Iraq's Shiite government. Again, paybacks are not pleasant. And of course, this list of insanities is only a small partial list of what exists in our world.

And all of that brings us to our second reason: the inevitable proliferation of WMDs. And we could include with this proliferation the current destruction of the environment. It is the combination of world conflicts in which we have this inevitable proliferation with the current destruction of the environment that the current Doomsday clock has been set to 5 minutes before midnight by those at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (click here and there).

We don't have much time to put up with the insanity of those whom we have granted authority. And even if we did, we are sociopaths if we don't feel moved to stop the suffering of those who are bearing the brunt of the violence and attempts to dominate being exercised by our world leaders.

Those of us who are economically privileged can still choose to temporarily bury our heads in the sands of our prosperity and pursuit of pleasures. But the insanity of our leaders will either crash our world or that of our children.

So that's how the world is today. We are following yesteryear's delusions brought by greed and the desire to dominate with today's technological weaponry. Our advances in technology have far outpaced any moral progress we might attribute to ourselves. We have advanced in weaponry but we still lack self-control. Despite the abundance of compliments with which we shower ourselves, we follow the rule of force because we can. And we do all of this with a flare of self-righteousness and entitlement. 

So it is simple. If we don't change, we don't survive. If we don't change our desire to dominate and accumulate, we will destroy ourselves. And if we don't survive it will be because of the insanity of our leaders and the passivity of the rest.


References
1.    https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/melian.htm





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