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Think Again: International Law.

At the invitation of the Foreign Policy blog, I wrote some brief comments on the differences between Obama and Bush's approaches to international law. If you're curious, go here.

Steve:
Oh man.

The invasion of Iraq did violate the U.N. Charter, but it also removed one of the world's worst international lawbreakers and vindicated the U.N. sanctions regime that Iraq had disregarded.


I could make myself keep reading. But is it advisable?
9.22.2009 9:44pm
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9.22.2009 10:11pm
Kenneth Anderson (www):
Eric, I had been meaning to post this link and then got distracted - terrific piece! How would you suggest that either/or the UN GA meetings this week or the G20 summit play out against your model?
9.22.2009 10:14pm
one of many:

The invasion of Iraq did violate the U.N. Charter, but it also removed one of the world's worst international lawbreakers and vindicated the U.N. sanctions regime that Iraq had disregarded.

I could have sworn the question of whether or not 1441 authorized the invasion was still an open one. Could you point me to the decision that 1441 didn't cover the invasion?

A quibble, "Europeans Care More About International Law Than Americans Do", is shibboleth the word you want to use to describe this? While the idea is more common in Europe than the US it is still common enough in the US that it doesn't distinguish the two groups.

Sorry if sounds snarky, I've been reading a lot of snark today and my internal filters are out of calibration. No actual problems with the piece, which I think is an excellent overview of reality versus image, just those 2 which are completely peripheral to the thesis of the piece.
9.22.2009 10:43pm
ArthurKirkland:

The invasion of Iraq did violate the U.N. Charter, but it also removed one of the world's worst international lawbreakers and vindicated the U.N. sanctions regime that Iraq had disregarded

The Professor apparently buys lipstick by the container load and applies it with a shovel.
9.22.2009 10:44pm
Steve:
Seriously, I was perfectly open to the idea that Obama isn't going to materially shift the paradigm of mainstream American foreign policy - he's hardly setting up a Department of Peace, after all - but if you have to toss off a casual whopper like that one to set up the argument, it's sort of credibility-destroying. Heck, by the same logic the propriety of a decapitating strike against Israel would be subject to reasonable debate.
9.22.2009 11:39pm
Mac (mail):

Meanwhile, Europeans have played hardball when it has suited them. On international trade, the European Union has taken positions in a range of disputes involving genetically modified organisms, beef hormones, and bananas that have placed it in violation of international trade law or nearly so. Most EU countries are on track to violate their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. European enthusiasm for the ICC remains high, but major European countries -- unlike the United States -- have been reluctant to give the ICC free rein in Sudan.



Well, the Europeans have the best of both worlds. They sign climate change treaties so they feel good about themselves and then ignore them. They want human rights treaties, but love to travel to and enjoy themselves in some of the worst countries for human rights violations such as Dubai. But, they signed the treaty, so no problem.
As for the Sudan, why not support military intervention and the criminal court? If anything gets done, it will be the US doing it, at least while there is any shooting to be done. No skin off their noses.

It is a perfect world for them and long as the US does all the dirty work such as delivering the leaders of the Sudan to them (they wish) as we did with Melosevic in Serbia and as long as we continue to provide for their defense.

What a deal. And, they can continue to do nothing but sign treaties, make themselves obnoxious in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere and look down their noses at us. Good work if you can get it.
9.23.2009 12:23am
zywotkowitz (mail):
Is the ICC really a "court"?

Don't they say explicitly that they take political considerations into account rather than apply law "blindly"?
9.23.2009 2:58am
James Gibson (mail):
I want to thank Mr. Posner for his article in Foreign Policy Blog. Not because the article was very insightful, because I was ware of most of these point for quite awhile. It generally goes down to the Political statements that Bush tore up the Constitution and Obama will bring it back, therefore Bush also thumbed his nose at International Law and Obama will be different.

But its too early to judge how Obama will be with International Law since we don't know what is to come in the form of Foreign crisis. Bush had eight years in office, and the worst attack on US soil with it, and the majority of the accusations made against him are being shown to be more political then factual.

To some here, any deviation from their understanding of the law is unacceptable and a grievous sin and we as America must set a higher standard. But we have done the moral high ground on many issues and to what ends: only to see our good intentions thrown back into our faces and our people killed.

As for Obama, in just eight months in office he has violated the trade laws with the Tariff. Will this be the only case or just the start of others, who is to say. But I will predict that for some time to come, those who were very quick to shout criminal and point at Bush will be mute with their hands behind their backs regarding Obama's actions.
9.23.2009 4:48am
martinned (mail) (www):

Don't they say explicitly that they take political considerations into account rather than apply law "blindly"?

Cite?
9.23.2009 8:35am
martinned (mail) (www):

As for the Sudan, why not support military intervention and the criminal court?

Since when is military intervention on the table? I'm pretty sure all NATO countries agree that that can't be done...
9.23.2009 8:36am
Mac (mail):
Well, there are a lot of people who make and made a lot of noise that our military must go into the Sudan. Think Hollywood and various other like-minded folks with a microphone. There was a lot of criticism of Bush, as I recall, because he didn't send in the Marines. I suppose they may have forgotten our lovely experience in Somalia.
9.23.2009 5:11pm

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