Susan Rice as UN ambassador?

So says ABC news. A good appointment? I don't know. Enthusiasts say that the appointment of a close advisor of President-elect Obama shows that the United States will finally take the UN seriously. She is a "progressive" after all, or so they say. Do they know what Rice thinks of the UN Charter? About the unilateral use of military force? Read here:

History demonstrates that there is one language Khartoum understands: the credible threat or use of force....

After swift diplomatic consultations, the United States should press for a U.N. resolution that issues Sudan an ultimatum: accept unconditional deployment of the U.N. force within one week or face military consequences....

The United States, preferably with NATO involvement and African political support, would strike Sudanese airfields, aircraft and other military assets. It could blockade Port Sudan, through which Sudan's oil exports flow. Then U.N. troops would deploy — by force, if necessary, with U.S. and NATO backing.

If the United States fails to gain U.N. support, we should act without it. Impossible? No, the United States acted without U.N. blessing in 1999 in Kosovo to confront a lesser humanitarian crisis (perhaps 10,000 killed) and a more formidable adversary....

Others will insist that, without the consent of the United Nations or a relevant regional body, we would be breaking international law. Perhaps, but the Security Council recently codified a new international norm prescribing "the responsibility to protect." It commits U.N. members to decisive action, including enforcement, when peaceful measures fail to halt genocide or crimes against humanity.

Not "perhaps." And not with NATO involvement or African political support. Sound familiar? Let the next adventure begin.

Milhouse (www):
Good gawd. So what, exactly, was her objection to the invasion of Iraq? Or didn't she object?
11.25.2008 11:31pm
Milhouse, as I understood, she objected to Iraq on policy grounds -- not on international law grounds.

Of course, she knows full well that China will not permit such a thing in the UNSC -- hence her secondary appeal to NATO. That's fine by me at any rate ...
11.25.2008 11:37pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
I worked with Rice on a couple of things when she was at State and was very favorably impressed, though her politics are not my own. She was sharp, on top of the issues at question, and a pleasure to work with. I think she'd do fine (and we would do fine by her) at UN.
11.25.2008 11:47pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I recall when, too late, the Clinton administration was starting to pretend to do something about Rwanda.
Genl. Shali had a presser in which he showed how the US was calling in its forces from all over the world. There was an airhead at Entebbe of earlier notoriety, engineeers and Seabees prepared to drive a road from Mombasa if nothing else would suit the logistical needs, and, all in all, quite an undertaking. And that was just the loggy guys getting beans and bullets inland.
Doesn't this moron know that amateurs talk tactics and professionals talk logistics?
And, once you've blown up the various places the Sudanese biggies are hiding, what next? The ganjaweed like doing this stuff. It's fun. In fact, it might even impress them as some kind of religious duty. What are you going to do if the chaos and anarchy and massacres don't stop?
This will all be good until some white US soldier shoots a black Sudanese. Then the left will be howling. The problem will be like that of an insurgency. Everybody's a civilian once the photographer has kicked the AK out of of the camera's field of view.
This is going to take major forces for a long time with what are jokingly called "robust" ROE, which means calling to higher for permission to defend yourself. Actually killing bad guys in the act is not going to be permitted. (See the thread on piracy.)

I heard an idea which might work, better and cheaper. Provide huge numbers of revolvers chambered for .45 ACP. Good round, simple weapon, inadequate for offense, but capable of costing an attacking force. Once the attacking forces find that doing their dirt is going to cost them, they may take up other work. When we decide it's over, we quit supplying the .45 ACP which is an American round. Since nobody will be paying for it, no other manufacturer will gear up to provide it. All the weapons become useless.

Sounds about as useful as starting a land war in Africa. Which we aren't supposed to do. Something like that.
11.25.2008 11:51pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
You know, when George Bush appointed Bolton as U.N. Ambassador, I made the exact same point, that Bolton's close ties to Bush showed that he was taking the U.N. seriously. Nobody bought it back then. Hopefully, President Obama will treat the U.N. with all the respect it deserves... i.e., almost none.
11.25.2008 11:58pm
I see no reason the US has to lead the way on this one. The Sudanese government doesn't possess a world-class military - let the Germans and the French muddle through this one. After years of criticism for Iraq, I'd like to see how a humanitarian war is properly fought.
11.26.2008 12:28am
MlR (mail):
The answer is that they will use U.N. processes to impliment their domestic program, particularly when they can't get it done openly through the U.S. system - and they'll ignore the the U.N. whenever it gets in their way.
11.26.2008 12:32am
James968 (mail):
China will probably veto any FINAL Ultimatum to Sudan.
11.26.2008 1:06am
I gather from the comments that anyone who supports one intervention should be expected to support all possible interventions, and anyone who opposes one intervention must necessarily oppose all possible interventions. Otherwise, you're a big fat hypocrite!
11.26.2008 1:13am
David Matthews (mail):
Well, at least Darfur has some oil, although not nearly as much as Iraq.
11.26.2008 1:14am
EPosner (mail):
See! They are all just as bad as me! Just you watch!

[finishes off bottle of rye; head tilts back as eyes close and bottle rolls to the floor]
11.26.2008 2:48am
Frater Plotter:
And, once you've blown up the various places the Sudanese biggies are hiding, what next? The ganjaweed like doing this stuff.
They're called Janjaweed.

Ganja weed is something very different.
11.26.2008 4:26am
LM (mail):

They're called Janjaweed.

Ganja weed is something very different.

Richard is confused about many things, but I doubt that's among them.
11.26.2008 6:18am
Yet another sign that the use of force policies of the Bush administration are not destined for moth balls. Obama again, and again, talks about preemption and humanitarian interventions. Matter of fact - please do correct if you can exhibit evidence to the contrary - I don't recall Obama saying the Iraq war was illegal. I heard a lot of "wrong," "bad policy," "horrible execution," but I don't remember per se hearing "illegal war."

In other words, to the fine men flying to drones, keep practicing.
11.26.2008 6:38am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
LM. Do you talk to your mother with that mouth?
11.26.2008 8:09am
amcalabrese (www):
>Well, at least Darfur has some oil, although not nearly as much as Iraq

NO WAR FOR OIL!!! Or something like that I guess.
11.26.2008 8:27am
RKV (mail):
Meals on wheels. Here we go. Think Iraq was a tar baby? Wait until you see Darfur. Anecdotal evidence of what our soldiers think about Obama: my friend is a 21 year Army vet, air-defense artillery MSG with a slot reserved for him as CSM (and that is a big deal btw). He's retiring. Doesn't trust BHO, doesn't want him as CIC and says 3 combat tours in the ME is enough. He's done his bit. Says plenty of his peers feel the same.
11.26.2008 8:44am
keypusher (mail):
When it comes to foreign policy, we have only a Crazy Party.

By the way, Rice was criticized for inaction on Rwanda in 1994 in this article by Samantha Power, a former advisor to Obama who was fired for calling Hillary Clinton a monster during the campaign. Does this appointment mean that Power is permanently on the outs now?

Atlantic article

Substantive comment: our giant, seemingly irresistible military creates an irresistible urge to use it. Even when our military has been successfully resisted for five years right in front of our eyes.
11.26.2008 8:57am
BlogDog (mail) (www):
As intrigued as I am by the idea of providing defensive .45s, I don't think the idea of "cutting off the ammunition" is possible. After the fighting, there will be plenty of brass on the ground and reloading is not a difficult technology to master or buy.
On the other hand, has anyone considered the defensive capability of parking a fully loaded beer truck in the way of the invaders? From what I've seen corps discipline is not exactly the main strength of the militias.
11.26.2008 9:24am
Cromagnon guy (mail):

That would be "NO BLOOD FOR A LOT OF OIL!
11.26.2008 9:33am

Good gawd. So what, exactly, was her objection to the invasion of Iraq? Or didn't she object?

International law was the only possible reason to oppose the invasion of Iraq?
11.26.2008 9:42am

I heard an idea which might work, better and cheaper. Provide huge numbers of revolvers chambered for .45 ACP. Good round, simple weapon, inadequate for offense, but capable of costing an attacking force. Once the attacking forces find that doing their dirt is going to cost them, they may take up other work. When we decide it's over, we quit supplying the .45 ACP which is an American round. Since nobody will be paying for it, no other manufacturer will gear up to provide it. All the weapons become useless.

I don't think you can go bankrupt betting on the capacity of people with guns, and control of land and people, to acquire whatever ammunition they need (for handguns).

Keypusher has it, though. We really need a party with a noninterventionist platform. Especially at a time when government revenues are desperately needed to (a) prop up the economy through stimulus and (b) prop up Americans' lives through lower taxes, we don't need to spend them on (c) sending soldiers to protect random other people.
11.26.2008 9:45am
Bob White (mail):
Former senior CIA officer William Daugherty, in his book Executive Secrets, really goes to town on Ms. Rice. He doesn't refer to her by name, but it's clear from the identifying details it's her and that he has no affection for "Rhodes scholars who don't have a clue how the world works," or something generally along those lines.
11.26.2008 10:06am
Brian Garst (www):

She objected on the grounds that in Iraq there is at least a debate of serving U.S. interests. Funny thing about the left-wing interventionists: they're just as gung-ho about using military force as the right, just only on behalf of anyone other than America. As Madeleine Albright famously asked Colin Powell, "What good is a military if you don't use it?"
11.26.2008 10:19am
rarango (mail):
From several interviews I have heard in the past, Ms Rice is very much in favor of a more activist, and even interventionist, policy in Africa. As others have pointed, out, as long as China sits on the security council, Ms Rice will be effectively neutered. Africans will continue to keep killing each other with reckless abandon, while the rest of the world tut tuts.
11.26.2008 10:29am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
WRT the pistol idea. The theory was that almost anybody can get any pistol he wants if he has the scratch. The poorest of the poor in Darfur lack scratch. That means they can't buy ammo, either. Nor are they likely to maintain them well.
Everybody else who has the scratch already has all the pistols they want, and ammo in the basement.
They don't need revolvers, having semi-autos.

I don't know if it will work, but if it only manages to kill some of the murderers in the process of failing, that's a plus. Doesn't cost much.
11.26.2008 10:32am
Brian Garst (www):
Correction: Albright's question to Powell was, "What's the point of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?"
11.26.2008 10:43am
'...."What's the point of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?"....'

Another perfect example of how/why the left "doesn't get it."

Our military is to be used and exists for the sole purpose of serving OUR national interest. Find a place, in writing, that indicates we are supposed to serve the interests of anyone else (unless it is in OUR national interest to do so). If we have no national interest in something, we shouldn't be spilling our blood and using our treasure to support/fight it. Let someone else do it for a change...... I recommend the French!
11.26.2008 10:52am
therut (mail):
Let see. Obama and the left will be called Imperalistic, war criminals, militaristic, bullies, killers of children and the innocent, supporting the evil military industrial complex, a threat to world peace, pulling together a coalition of the bribed, lying, tyrants, traitors, evil, and there will be the crazy peace marches all over the world aganist this evil regeime, their will be redicule of a group of lefties that they had this evil plan well before the invasion was carried out kinda like PNAC conspiracy, VP Biden will have been seen looking over maps of this area before this is undertaken for the spoils of war. THIS will all happen surely??????????????????????
11.26.2008 10:59am
Eli Rabett (www):
amcalabrese (www):

Well, at least Darfur has some oil, although not nearly as much as Iraq

NO WAR FOR OIL!!! Or something like that I guess.

which is exactly why China protects the Sudan
11.26.2008 11:07am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I recall during the Bush/Clinton rescue effort in Somalia which ended by encouraging bin Laden that some of the lefties were desperately trying to find oil in the Horn so this could be a war for oil. Didn't find any, which no doubt disappointed them no end.
11.26.2008 11:15am
Cold Warrior:
I'm not sure what Posner's all bent out of shape about. Rice expresses pretty mainstream opinion here: UN authorized action is favored; if the UN is unwilling to act in the face of clear evidence of genocide/a gross human rights crisis, action by regional multilateral security legs may be a substitute; the United States always reserves the right to intervene unilaterally if there is no multilateral option (and she adds the reference to the evolving int'l norm authorizing humanitarian intervention under some circumstances). Pretty standard and well-thought out stuff. Posner may not like it, but, hey: Ron Paul didn't win, so don't feign shock at the continuation of the Clinton-Bush doctrine ...
11.26.2008 11:20am
willis (mail):
The upside of "waging war against Sudan" is that the protest script is already written. I can't wait for the film of blissful Sudanese children innocently flying kites and being blown up by Obama's minions. Declarations of loss and surrender. Huge, violent protests against ObamaHitler. Payback! This is going to be great!
11.26.2008 11:25am

NO WAR FOR OIL!!! Or something like that I guess.

I think the oil is elsewhere in Sudan -- and the Chinese have all the drilling rights locked up.

Sending troops into the Sahel. IF -- big if -- NATO (and so France) decides to send troops, at least we'll get French Foreign Legion (who might know something about defeating desert guerilla warfare). Otherwise we're sending US troops into the area where the people live whose ancestors invented desert guerilla warfare and have a history of defeating European armies back to the Romans and who generally fought off (and at least once conquered) the ancient Egyptians.

Last year I was exchanging emails with a friend who was then on the West Point faculty (former Airborne Ranger, Spec Ops, who went to law school via the Funded Legal Education Program, and eventually ended up in the USMA Dept. of Law). He was intently studying Darfur. We came up with 9 strategies the US could follow if US forces were deployed there, and he had Cadets evaluate their probable outcomes. Disaster was the least unfavorable outcome for any of the strategies (assuming we followed Bosnia-style ROEs, there weren't too many broadcast media types showing the effects of responding to hostile intent with deadly force resulting [not an unreasonable assumption since there are no good hotels in Darfur and there'll be no "Green Zone"] in additional restrictions on use of force in response to political pressure [validity of assumption dependent on number of Clinton era West Wingers or people who have similar beliefs are on the White House staff], assuming that all of the factions weren't trying to kill Americans to score political points either internally or internationally [assumption based on the "Sunni Awakening" in Anbar Provence, Iraq, vs ability of Muslim radical groups to pay locals to kill Americans], and assuming IEDs no more sophisticated than used in Afghanistan [questionable assumption since IED designs developed in Iraq and elsewhere usually turn up in Afghanistan within a few months], the estimated American KIAs should be under 50 per month.). Any guesses on how long the American public would stand for American KIAs in a country we have no interests in? Any guess on how terrorist organizations would react if the US then cut and run after suffering what they view as de minimus losses? Would someone please provide one good reason for deploying US forces in the Sahel?
11.26.2008 11:38am
Allan Walstad (mail):
America Goes Broke, continued
11.26.2008 11:56am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Good reasons? The best. To make themselves feel good. Liberals are accused of being charitable with other people's money and calling that "generous" and feeling superior for making it happen.
Why would that stop with money? Why would it not include the lives of American soldiers? Ain't gonna be any of them, nor anybody they know.
11.26.2008 11:57am
Cold Warrior:
People, relax. It's ok. Think about it and tell me which option is best for our prospective UN Ambassador to voice:

1. Unilateral action will always violate international law.
2. Multilateral action is favored as a matter of international law and policy, but unilateral action is sometimes lawful and appropriate, and the United States reserves the right to take unilateral military action in situations involving gross human rights violations that threaten international stability (eg, refugee crises) or vital US interests.

3. The United States will not cede it's right to take military action whenever and wherever such action is on the interests of the United States, as determined in the sole unfettered discretion of the Government of the United States; the UN is fine and dandy, but ultimately irrelevant.

Rice's statements are basically in accord with option 2. Would anyone out there really prefer the alternative statements? Coming from a prospective UN Ambassador? Really? If you think I've unfairly stacked the deck, please draft your own comments for Rice. Exactly what would YOU have her say on this issue, namely: "is unilateral humanitarian intervention ever lawful and appropriate?"
11.26.2008 12:25pm
unilateral engagement:
Most liberals had no problem with intervention in Kosovo even though it was more violative of international law than the Iraq invasion, which at least had the might of several longstanding UN resolutions behind it, and (depending on your point of view) a (penultimate) resolution that invalidates the previous UN-mandated conditional ceasefire.

Kosovo on the other hand was completely unsanctioned by the Security Council, making it quite clearly violative of international law, and not even within a whisker of plausible legality.

No one should be surprised now, given the comparative lack of outrage then. We have come full circle.
11.26.2008 12:31pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Now that we have a democratic president, number two is obviously correct.
11.26.2008 12:32pm
Cold Warrior:
To "unilateral engagement"--

That is nonsense. Take a look at Sean Murphy's treatment of the topic in his book on Humanitarian Intervention. The action in Kosovo may have been wise or unwise, but it was certainly not clearly in violation of international law.
11.26.2008 12:45pm
unilateral engagement:
Art 53(1) of the UN Charter: "no enforcement action shall be taken under regional arrangements or by regional agencies without the authorization of the Security Council"

The Security Council never did authorize force for Kosovo, which is why NATO had to go it alone.

It was in clear violation of international law, however you try to justify the practice of 'humanitarian intervention,' which has no basis in text, and certainly not in custom to the extent that it conflicts with Chapter VIII of the Charter.
11.26.2008 1:00pm
RPT (mail):
Kosovo equals Iraq? Conservatives are now opposed to sending "someone else's money" and American soldiers to foreign countries and not "feeling superior about it"? Have you been away for the last seven years?
11.26.2008 1:56pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Difference is, conservatives don't send money and troops for the sole purpose of feeling good about themselves. They believe there's a national interest served.
Liberals eschew any noticeable national interest issue, in order to feel really, really good about themselves.
11.26.2008 2:12pm
unilateral engagement:
"Kosovo equals Iraq?"

No. Kosovo was worse than Iraq as a matter of international law. It was certainly the graver violation of the UN Charter as no colorable argument at all could be made that intervention was legal, based on the express text of the Charter.

Cold Warrior babbles cluelessly about "nonsense," but the illegality of Kosovo is very likely the better view, considering the following.

"Humanitarian intervention is sometimes invoked as a justification for military action that is normally prohibited by international law. But this is a highly dubious legal argument. It does not command sufficient authority to qualify as a rule of customary international law. It is contested even if nationals of the intervening State are in peril. Its power to justify armed intervention on behalf of nationals of the oppressing State is even weaker." Christoph Schreuer, "Is there a Legal Basis for the NATO Intervention in Kosovo?" 1 International Law FORUM du droit international 151, 152 (1999).

"[T]here is very little evidence to support assertions that a new principle of customary law legitimating humanitarian intervention has crystallised." Ian Brownlie, Testimony to the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, Fourth Report (2000).

"[F]ew lawyers would claim that the [humanitarian] 'right' [of intervention] is at present clearly established in international law." Vaughan Lowe, Testimony to the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, Fourth Report (2000).

"[I do] not think that state practice is sufficient to conclude definitively that the right to use force for humanitarian reasons has become part of customary international law." Christine Chinkin, Testimony to the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, Fourth Report (2000).

And so on. The contrary argument that state practice has given rise an emerging customary right of humanitarian intervention is too cute by half. Christopher Greenwood, for example, thinks it only emerged in the 90s, just in time for Kosovo. That's a little too cute and convenient for my taste. (And even he admits that such custom can only be read as contrary, and an exception to, the text of the Charter.)

No doubt Cold Warrior will set me right with his cavalier dismissal of "nonsense." But we've seen that trick already.
11.26.2008 2:24pm
E, O;Neal (mail):
Internationalists like Rice support the use of unilateral American force only when vital American interests are NOT involved. That's the main distinction between Darfur and Iraq.
11.26.2008 2:30pm
RPT (mail):
If Rumsfeld is unhappy, it must be a good thing:

"Former Rumsfeld Deputy Criticizes Gates

By Ann Scott Tyson
Larry Di Rita, a close confidant of former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, criticized President-elect Barack Obama's expected retention of Defense Secretary Robert Gates as a "safe decision" that maintains the "status quo" of those who resist broad efforts to transform the Defense Department.

In a blog posting on National Review Online, Di Rita, who served in several Pentagon jobs under Rumsfeld from 2001 to 2006, writes that Gates focused on Iraq and Afghanistan at the cost of carrying on Rumsfeld's efforts to bring about "the most rapid and profound transformation" of the defense establishment since 1947.

"Gates had little choice but to relegate much of this to the back burner," Di Rita writes. Faced with the "forces of status quo" among defense contractors and Congress, "Rumsfeld muscled his way through these forces without fear or favor," he writes. "Gates, given what he believed would be limited time and a limited mandate, mostly avoided them."

Mr. Aubrey:

I understand the asserted difference in perspective, but the problem is that it would be better to have that "national interest" assertion based on fact, rather than partisan political and financial interest, as in Iraq. No national interest or benefit in the prosecution of that debacle. Many contractors benefited, many office-holders ran and were reelected on the war, but it was a complete failure for the rest of us.
11.26.2008 2:47pm
And, don't forget, the US President ordered the US military to take action in Kosovo (and against Serbia) without any authorization or resolution by Congress.

To make themselves feel good.

Actually, Richard, I have to disagree with this. Much more important is whether there are disturbing images being broadcast on US TV or Cable (not including Fox News, since "progressives" hate Fox and anything reported on it is derided).

Recall the facts -- Yugoslavia started breaking up in 1989 - 90. Slovenia declared independence, the JNA invaded and after about 2,500 killed on both sides, the JNA withdrew. The US did nothing. Croatia and Bosnia &Herzegovina (BiH) declare independence (which was recognized by the UN. UN declares arms embargo on all of former Yugoslavia (ignoring that Serbia is a net arms exporter. Germany appears to ignore the embargo, at least as far as Croatia is concerned.) The hospital in Vokuvar, Croatia was empted of patients and staff (strongly suspected that they were taken somewhere and summarialy executed -- but no pix of bodies until years later when the mass graves were found and bodies identified by DNA and by things found with the corpses), Knia Serpska and areas of Northeastern Croatia declare independence from Croatia -- and sometimes say they are part of "Greater Serbia". Dubrovnik under seige. Republika Serpska declares itself independent of BiH. Serbia supplies arms to all of the "Serpskas". Aside from declaring moral support for Bosnia, US does nothing -- in 1993, Herzegovina (heavily Croatian area of BiH) declares itself as independent area which is part of Republic of Croatia -- Croatian militia (who call themselves Ustashe) destroy the bridge at Mostar. 3-way fight in the area between "armies" of Bosnia, R.S. and "Ustashe". Various Muslim majority or Muslim/Croatian majority areas in Bosnia over-run by R.S. forces or surrounded by R.S. forces. City of Foca (before the conflict, approximately 40% Serb, and 30% Muslim and 30% Croatian population) taken by R.S. forces. Mayor of Foca a former Professor of Internation Law at Sarajevo University. Recreational rape camp for R.S, militias run in downtown Foca (similar "recreational" camps established elsewhere in the R.S.) [After the conflict resolved by the Dayton Peace Accords, the Mayor of Foca assumes new job as Minister of Justice of the Republika Serpska portion of Bosnia &Herzegovina]. UN declares various "safe areas." The most (in)famous of these is Srebrenica, where the DutchBat sent to "protect" it is over-run by R.S. forces in the summer of 1995, and some 8,000 men and boys (&a few women) are removed by buses and trucks. Much later their corpses are found in mass graves.

During all of this, the US President makes generally under-reported speeches expressing "concern." UN condemns the violence and ethnic cleansing (however, nothing with any teeth passes the UN Security Counsel due to threat of Russian veto of additional sanctions against former Yugoslavia, i.e., Serbia).

Meanwhile, in a place called Kosovo, rumors of ethnic cleansing of Kosovar Albanians (who are about 90% of the population and disenfranchised since 1988) by Serbian "militias" are circulating -- but, this is not reported in the US press.

Then, a female CNN reporter goes to Bosnia and starts sending news reports, which are broadcast in the US. She even goes to the R.S. seige lines surrounding Sarajevo and broadcasts from there. Pix of burning buildings and dead children and women and reports of "ethnic cleansing" start appearing on US broadcast and cable TV. (None of this is news to either the US DoD, State Dept. or CIA, all of which have been receiving such reports, and reporting the information to the White House since the beginning of the conflict.) US President's approval ratings in the polls drop somewhat. Suddenly, stopping the fighting in BiH and Croatia are the US President's top priority. Peace Talks are convened in Dayton, OH ( involving the US, various European nations and UN representatives, and the warring factions the various Serpska areas represented by the Pres. of Serbia). At the insistence of France, the resulting agreement is formally signed in Paris and so is formally known as "The Paris Peace Agreement" (Americans being so borish as to refer to it as "The Dayton Peace Accords" as Dayton, OH was the place where it was negotiated and representatives of the parties initialed it).). Near Christmas (on the Julian calendar -- Orthodox Christmas is 2 weeks later) 1995, there are some violations of the Peace Accords by R.S. forces around Sarajevo. US warplanes, under NATO command, bomb the R.S. capital of Pale (R.S.), BiH. There are also "reports" of a R.S. sniper wounding a French Foreign Legion Captain and a US Army Captain in Ilidza (area next to the Sarajevo airport) and the response of the US being to file a "strong" diplomatic protest with R.S. officials, and the the response of the Legionaires being to locate the sniper and, a couple of days later, driving him all around Sarajevo and ajoining areas (said sniper having at least 29 holes in his body -- which look like they may have been caused by military caliber weapons -- while he was tied across the front of the French military vehicle much like hunters tie deer across the hoods of their trucks when coming home from a successful hunt. French TV stations -- which are French gov't owned -- do not report any of this. Meaning, there are no foreign feeds being shared at the Press Bunker in Sarajevo for US reporters to cop and sent to the US for broadcast as their own. So, there's no report of this on US TV, either).

Things seem to be fairly calm in Croatia and BiH. Then, in 1999, pictures broadcast on US TV showing massacre of 29 Kosovar Albanians, including a woman who was 8+ months pregnant. US President's approval ratings again dip a point or 2, and we're off to the races, again.

Meanwhile, after the US withdraws from Somilia some 200,000 to 300,000 people there die of starvation and other causes. And, in Rwanda and Buranda, between 800,000 and 1,000,000 people are killed. And, there are vicious conflicts in Uganda, and in West Africa in the area of Liberia -- all of these conflicts making the "war crimes" in former Yugoslavia look tame by comparision. However, there is no TV coverage of any of these.

See a pattern?
11.26.2008 2:54pm
Michael B (mail):
Obama has also mentioned the Congo as a potential interventionist point.

Also, a post-9/11, national security paper by Rice, O'Hanlon and James Steinberg (pdf). And, an extract of a 1999 speech by Rice, U.S. and Africa in the 21st Century, wherein she notes "Sudan continues to seek a chemical weapons capability. And apartheid-era experts on weapons of mass destruction still roam free and are able to sell their knowledge to pariah states worldwide." Both are brief.
11.26.2008 3:05pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"2. Multilateral action is favored as a matter of international law and policy, but unilateral action is sometimes lawful and appropriate, and the United States reserves the right to take unilateral military action in situations involving gross human rights violations that threaten international stability (eg, refugee crises) or vital US interests."

I don't dispute the idea here, but I'd suggest that many do. How often have we been told that we must conform our actions to those that engender favorable world opinion? I think that was a theme of the Obama campaign, and disapproving world opinion was a rallying cry for those in opposition to Iraq.

The probability is that an unwillingness by any other nation to act is an indication they disapprove of action. So, unilateral US action would be contrary to the collective wisdom of world opinion.

Perhaps this has changed now. I'd be very interested in Susan Rice's view of the right to unilateral action when it is contrary to world opinion, especially in cases where the US has not been attacked.
11.26.2008 3:15pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I do see a pattern. In fact, somebody made a movie about it starring, IIRC, Dustin Hoffman.
I dated a girl in HS and college for a bit whose family came from the Balkans. Her mom was from the Croat community and her dad from the Serb community, both born here. Half of each family didn't show up for the wedding, and when dad (106th Div) was captured in the Bulge, the in-laws thought it was dandy.
IOW, those people are murderous, crazy bastards.
Just for the fun of it, I read an article in Car and Driver Feb 2000, "On Driving the UpArmored Humvee in --someplace in the Balkans, can't remember" It had been recommended as a good writer can make anything interesting.
True, but not much about the vehicle and a lot about the murderous, crazy bastards in the Balkans.
One family of missionaries told me that when the top came off, the first thing the mob went for was the local television station.
But, yes, that is the pattern, and with liberals it will continue.
See, we didn't know much about Iraq, on account of Eason Jordan had a deal with Saddaam. Keep that stuff under the rug. If we had....
11.26.2008 3:35pm
Cold Warrior:
unilateral engagement, since you called:
You claim that the NATO action in Kosovo was "clearly" in violation of intenational law, and the cite scholars who come to be stunning conclusion that your argument is stronger, but who in no way characterize the opposing argument as ridiculous or unworthy of serious consideration. So everyone agrees that it is debatable. Which makes your characterization (clearly in violation of int'l law), well, nonsense.
And do please read Sean Murphy's treatment of the issue in the book I referred to. It is available on google books- just google "sean murphy humanitarian intervention.". And then go to the section ok the Bosnian adventure. I think after reviewing that section you'll have to admit that the "clear violation" theory doesn't hold up.
11.26.2008 3:38pm
JM Hanes:
The U.N. is an AbFab place for Ms. Rice to serve out her exile. She can show us how to work that old diplomatic magic on Russia and China that Obama has been touting. Vetoes? No problem! Darfur/Bosnia? Same difference! U.N/NATO? Same difference!. Of course, that was all way back in '06. Now that Obama's won the election, lions will start lyin' down with lambs on 21 January, because the only thing stopping them has been Bush.
11.26.2008 5:16pm
unilateral engagement:
Cold Warrior, I said "quite clearly" in violation of international law, meaning clear to a degree. Having considered and disposed of the opposing argument with multiple cites, it is not a nonsensical claim to make. It is in fact a banally sensible claim to make.

That it is to your mind "debatable" doesn't make it any less clear to a degree. If you want to parse words, try doing it right.

As for Sean Murphy, Sean Murphy's book came out before the NATO intervention Kosovo. So it's funny that you're citing it as if it answers the question of whether intervention in Kosovo was lawful. The section on Bosnia does not in fact answer that question. Indeed, the NATO bombing campaign of Bosnia was authorized by Security Council Resolution 958 under its Charter authority and Chapter VII powers, providing for Member States, whether "acting nationally or through regional organizations," to take "all necessary measures, through the use of air power, in an around the safe areas . . . [in] support [of] UNPROFOR in the performance of its mandate."

This supports the opposite of what you are trying to prove, since it is not a "humanitarian intervention" in violation of the UN Charter, but rather, a law-abiding intervention under Charter authority (the very thing Kosovo was not). You couldn't have picked a worse example.

Murphy further writes that "the actions in Bosnia-Herzegovina do not fit easily within the concept of humanitarian intervention." Which makes your cite doubly irrelevant as an instance of state practice supporting Kosovo-style "humanitarian intervention."

And finally, Murphy thinks that Bosnia "exemplified how neither the international community nor states acting in their individual capacity perceive a legal . . . duty to act in situations in which there are widespread and severe human rights atrocities." In which case this is a triply poor example of dutiful humanitarian intervention.

My "quite clearly a violation" theory is holding up quite well, thank you.
11.26.2008 6:22pm
Ewart (mail):
I carry no water for Susan Rice, but she has taken too much of a beating as a result of Samantha Powers's yellow journalism, which is mischaracterised in some circles as "foreign policy expertise". Power's piece on Rwanda in the Atlantic magazine is infected with bias (Prudence Bushnell, Joyce Leader, Alison Des Forges etc. are all "agile" minds, and the "best informed" observers, who have to keep explaining the facts to insensitive hypocrites and clueless bunglers like Bill Clinton, Warren Christopher, Anthony Lake, Richard Clarke, David Rawson et al.). Samantha is also a pro-Tutsi racist, predictably dismissive of Kofi Anan ("overwhelmed") and Randall Robinson ("preccupied"), while blaming the soldiers of the "Hutu government" for "leading Ghanaian soldiers to safety, then killing and savagely mutilating the ten Belgian [soldiers]" —no explanation given of the history of Belgian-Tutsi collaboration in the subjugation of the Hutu majority.
11.27.2008 11:16am
Hopefully, President Obama will treat the U.N. with all the respect it deserves... i.e., almost none.
11.27.2008 1:38pm
unilateral engagement:
Correction: the relevant resolution was resolution 836. 958, citing language in 836, expanded that authority to measures taken in Croatia.
11.28.2008 5:38am
Lyle (mail):
I love Susan Rice. Progressive international interventionist are just neo-cons, without the Jewishness and Reaganism.

The understand war is a necessary in human life. God bless her. Hope she kills lots of Sudanese one day.
11.28.2008 4:20pm
J. Alejandro (mail):
People get used to it. You were duped into believing that there was no justification for going into Iraq, and that Afghanistan is another war, two different wars. It is the same. Grow up! And learn some geopolitics on the way there. The policy of regime change in Iraq was a Bill Clinton policy, which Hillary defended all the way, Bsuh simply followed it through, specially after 9/11. It was not the UN who did not respect or listened to the UN, it was the UN who did not respect America's right to self-defense. EVen Koffi Annan sadid so. The UN was corrupt to the bone in bed with Saddam. Obama is going to be to Bush what Truman was to FDR. We are at war, and not one of our choosing.
11.30.2008 6:14pm

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