The Troubling Decline of International Law 309


While it is true that rogue states – most notably the USA – have always posed a threat to the rule of international law, I see no serious room to dispute that the development of the corpus of international law, and of the institutions to implement it, was one of the great achievements of the twentieth century, and did a huge amount to reduce global conflict.

The International Court of Justice, the Law of the Sea Tribunal, the European Court of Justice, the World Trade Organisation, these are just some of the institutions which have played an extremely positive role, helping resolve hundreds of disputes during their existence and, still more importantly, helping establish rules that prevented thousands more disputes from arising. Regional Organisations, dozens of them including the EU, the African Union and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, have also flourished.

The judgement of the ICJ in the 160 cases it has heard has almost always been respected by the parties to the case. That has applied even when the dispute is radical, inflammatory and had already led to fighting and deaths, such as the settlement of the Nigeria/Cameroon border. The ICJ has been a massive success story.

The foundation of the International Criminal Court in 2002 was the high water mark in establishing the rule of law as the guiding principle of international affairs. As with all the major worldwide institutions of international law, the UK had played a leading role in the establishment of the ICC. I was in the FCO at the time, and I remember the quiet confidence that eventually the USA would join up, just as they had with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea after decades of havering. In fact, the ICC has been a major disappointment, of which more later. I refer to 2002 as the high water mark for the rule of international law, because subsequently the tide has turned decisively against it.

When Blair and Bush invaded Iraq, not only without the sanction of the UN Security Council but in the certain knowledge the Security Council was against it, and in Blair’s case against the unanimous opinion of the FCO’s entire cadre of Legal Advisers who stated that the war was illegal, they not only precipitated a crisis that has resulted in millions of deaths, they dealt a killing blow to the entire fabric of international law.

The results are now becoming every day more visible. We have just survived for now, thanks to Iran’s remarkable sense and restraint, a dangerous crisis in the Middle East following the illegal assassination of General Soleimani, who was travelling on a diplomatic mission at the time. The use on a massive scale of execution by drone – including execution of UK and US nationals – by the British and American governments, often without the permission of the government in whose territory the execution takes place, is an appalling breach of international law for which there appears to be no effective remedy.

The FCO Legal Advisers refused to advise that the killing of Soleimani was legal in international law. However the UK government no longer cares if something is legal in international law or not. The government line was originally that there was an “arguable case” that the assassination was legal, then after objections from legal advisers the line changed to “it is not for the UK to determine whether the drone strike is legal”.

The United Kingdom used to be a pillar, arguably the most important pillar, of international law. Thanks to a series of neo-con politicians, including Blair, Straw, Cameron, May and Johnson, the UK scarcely makes a pretence any more abut giving a fig about international law. It simply ignores the instruction of the United Nations and the International Court of Justice to decolonise the Chagos Islands. It refuses to implement the binding international arbitration on debt owed to Iran. It mocks the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. It refuses to allow the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women into asylum detention centres. I could go on. A direct consequence of this is sharply diminished UK influence in the world, and in particular for the first time in 71 years it does not have a seat on the International Court of Justice. As the UK has effectively spurned the authority of the ICJ, this is scarcely surprising.

It was the UK’s reputation as an upholder of international law that moderated outrage at the UN at the UK’s anachronistic permanent membership of the UN Security Council. That international respect no longer exists, and the British Government are deluded if they think that the UK’s privileged UN status will last forever, especially as it can no longer be represented as a proxy for EU foreign policy.

The UN itself is of course suffering a sustained threat to its authority. It is simply ignored on the dreadful Saudi led disaster in Yemen. By refusing the Iranian foreign minister a visa to attend a Security Council meeting on Soleimani, the USA struck at the very purpose of the UN. If the institution is to be held the hostage of its geographical host, what is its purpose? Ultimately, to regain relevance the UN would have both democratically to reform and to relocate, perhaps to South Africa. I do not see that happening in the near future.

As for the International Criminal Court, that has been a severe disappointment which in many ways symbolises the collapse of international law. Its failure to prosecute Bush and Blair for the war on Iraq set its direction from the beginning. Waging aggressive war is in itself a war crime and was indelibly established as such by the Nuremburg Tribunal. That it was not specifically mentioned in the Rome Statute was a flimsy pretext from judges not willing to take on power. The same judges have bottled out of investigation of US crimes in Afghanistan and appear to be in the same process over war crimes in Gaza, where astonishingly there has been no backing from states for the ICC against Netanyahu’s threat to institute sanctions against ICC staff if investigations continue. I used to defend the ICC robustly over accusations that it was simply a tool of neo-con policy. I now find it very hard to do so.

The UK is not the only country ignoring international law. Spain’s repudiation of the European Court of Justice decision that Junqueras must be released to take his seat in the European Parliament is a huge blow to the prestige and authority of that organisation. Spain’s vicious persecution of Catalonia is itself the most comprehensive challenge that “western values” have faced for decades in the European heartland, by a large measure worse than anything which Orban has done. Spain completely ignores its Council of Europe obligations.

The structure of international law is looking very shoogly indeed. It does matter, a very great deal. The world is becoming a significantly more dangerous place as a result.

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309 thoughts on “The Troubling Decline of International Law

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  • Tom Welsh

    “By refusing the Iranian foreign minister a visa to attend a Security Council meeting on Soleimani, the USA struck at the very purpose of the UN. If the institution is to be held the hostage of its geographical host, what is its purpose?”

    To ask that question is to see the answer – unless one is politically purblind.

    • Dungroanin

      It is not a independent or transparent institution. Do we even know what its budget is? Or see any independent audited accounts? Or even what structures it has and how it is regulated?

    • MJ

      I suppose the obvious solution would be to shift the UN to Tehran. You kind of know however that UN member countries would never agree to it. They like their NY junkets too much.

        • N_

          Convening in Geneva is what the General Assembly once did to hear Yasser Arafat. I guess the bottom line is that any such decision by the Security Council would be vetoed by the US, which over the past 30 years has deployed its veto on numerous occasions to help Israel. Indeed US veto use to assist Israel has been the main use of the veto full stop, by any of the Permanent Five. Talk about taking the p*ss.

          • terence callachan

            Well said
            USA takes part to hinder progress of human rights around the world and encourage and assists those who ignore human rights
            USA have hundreds of military bases in the Mediterranean alone , it has the power of offering or refusing trade with countries around the world if those countries deny USA permission to set up a military bases.

            If a country happens to refuse the USA and ignores and copes with threats and so called sanctions from the USA the USA then threatens other countries to implement sanctions and cease trade with the country that refuses to bow to USA bullying.

            China and Russia are the only countries in the world that stick the finger up to USA
            Thank goodness someone does

            USA and their sidekick U.K. are the bully boys around the world not for freedom not for fairness or progress they do it only for control of resources and trade.

          • Cubby

            N

            Just like Galloway you are full of justice for all around the world except when it comes to Scotland. What does that make you – a Britnat Labour hypocrite.

            Craig Murray is for justice for all including Scotland – well maybe not Nicola Sturgeon 🤔

            Still waiting for your explanation as to why the Barnett formula has any relevance to fishing.

  • Tom Welsh

    “The ICJ has been a massive success story”.

    Unless it rules against the USA and its gang. Consider, for instance, the ICJ’s judgment against the USA after it attacked Nicaragua. The US government simply ignored it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicaragua_v._United_States

    More broadly, the US government eagerly uses the ICJ as a stick to beat its enemies and victims, while broadly refusing to recognise the court’s jurisdiction over the US government and US citizens.

    https://scholarship.law.gwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1902&context=faculty_publications
    https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1057&context=djcil

    In the topical matter of sanctions against Iran, even The Guardian openly admits that the USA flouts international law whenever it chooses.

    “International court of justice orders US to lift new Iran sanctions
    Mike Pompeo indicates US will ignore ruling, after judges in The Hague find unanimously in favour of Iran”.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/03/international-court-of-justice-orders-us-to-lift-new-iran-sanctions

  • Tom Welsh

    I submit, Mr Murray, that your thesis is fundamentally incorrect and is not supported by the facts.

    Instead, the 2,500-year-old logic of the Melian Dialogue (as reported by Thucydides) still reigns supreme over human affairs.

    ‘Athenians: “For ourselves, we shall not trouble you with specious pretences – either of how we have a right to our empire because we overthrew the Mede, or are now attacking you because of wrong that you have done us – and make a long speech which would not be believed; and in return we hope that you, instead of thinking to influence us by saying that you did not join the Lacedaemonians, although their colonists, or that you have done us no wrong, will aim at what is feasible, holding in view the real sentiments of us both; since you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must”’.

    Throughout history it has always been the case that the strong do whatever they wish, and the weak have to fall in with the wishes of the strong or suffer the consequences.

    As the Athenian spokesman pointed out, ” right… is only in question between equals in power”. In this context, power usually means military strength but can also include economic, political and cultural power.

    In today’s world, “the strong” means the USA – although it is increasingly challenged by nations like China and Russia which have sufficient power to face it down. To use military force against China or Russia would be disastrous for the USA, whether the war escalated or not. India and Iran are also very close to being safe from American diktats. Economically, there are prospects of Asia becoming a safe, self-contained trading zone within which US meddling is no longer tolerated. And militarily, the more countries equip themselves with fine Russian defensive weapons, the less able will the US government be to bully them into obedience.

    The adequate power of China, Russia and other nations should, logically, force the US government to negotiate honestly with them. The Melian Dialogue teaches us that, as between equals or near-equals in strength, questions of right assume real importance and validity.

    Unfortunately the Washington creatures have ruled the roost for so long that most of them seem unable to accept that any other nation is strong enough to merit being dealt with in terms of “right” – international laws and treaties.

    Sooner or later, then, it seems likely that the USA will meet with the same kind of disaster that ended the arrogance of the Athenian democracy.

    • pete

      I had no idea we were going to be sucked into a time warp and be plunged into the aftermath of the Peloponnesian War on page one of the comments on Craig’s blog, I thought we had moved on from the brute force rules of the ancient world into a more civilised one. The whole idea of international law is that it supersedes the laws of nation states, certainly the constitution of a nation like the USA which was written centuries ago by people concerned to preserve their own status rather than any ideas of equality, fairness or concerns about basic human rights. Why sign up to international laws if you have no intention of obeying them, or at least not obeying rules that disadvantage you economically?
      I read Craig’s piece as a plea to submit national authority to an independent international one, one guided by well established principles, I can’t see any problem with that. There is little hope for humanity’s future if we keep to the might makes right rule.

      • Tom Welsh

        I sympathize with your point of view, pete, and I admire your sentiments. But we have here a classic contrast between what “ought” to be and what “is”. As for the “time warp”, may I remind you of George Santayana’s warning:

        “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.

        As intelligent beings with the ability to remember and learn from the past, we should try to do so. It would be wonderful if, in the past 2,500 years, someone had found a way of refuting the Athenian position; but no one has. It’s not clear how it would be possible to find any rebuttal to brute force other than more brute force.

        You wrote, “I thought we had moved on from the brute force rules of the ancient world into a more civilised one”. The point of my comments was to show that we have not.

        You wrote further, “The whole idea of international law is that it supersedes the laws of nation states, certainly the constitution of a nation like the USA…” But nation states do not always obey their own laws when it does not suit their governments. And the US government has repeatedly and with great consistency ignored not only international laws and treaties, but its own laws and even its own Constitution. Many scholars believe that the Supreme Court was written into the Constitution, and then carefully developed, to provide a way of warping the Constitution to the liking of the ruling cliques.

        “Why sign up to international laws if you have no intention of obeying them, or at least not obeying rules that disadvantage you economically?”

        Because you hope that other nations will be unselfish and self-denying enough to obey those laws. Although the strong are free to do whatever they like, they sometimes employ deceit and confidence tricks to get what they want more quickly and easily than through the use of force.

        “I read Craig’s piece as a plea to submit national authority to an independent international one…”

        You are quite right. But the operative word is “plea”. Note what happened to the melians when they refused to submit to the Athenian demands, and instead uttered a plea for mercy and civilised behaviour. The Athenians killed all men of 15 and over, and enslaved all the women and children. Pleas are of little value against the cynical use of force and trickery.

        “There is little hope for humanity’s future if we keep to the might makes right rule”.

        Very true. But it’s not a rule. It’s a brutal fact.

      • Tatyana

        pete,
        Putin has proposed some changes to the Constitution here in Russia, now the commission is discussing it, in September we, the people, will vote. One of the suggested changes is the priority of our Constitution over international law. It is said that such is the order in the USA and in Germany and the UK too.

        • Rhys Jaggar

          Tatyana

          I think it depends on where the offending actions take place.

          I think Putin would find it hard to argue that a Russian can go anywhere in the world and only answer to Russian law. You should answer to the law of the nation you are in when you commit your infraction.

          On the other hand, if international law says that it supersedes Russian law when in Russia, that is rather tendentious and potentially full of banana skins.

          As soon as you have a situation where foreigners are not subject to domestic laws, then we are going to have a lot of expulsion of foreigners and lots of claims that racism, nationalism etc etc is returning.

          It would not be, what would be returning would be crime committed by diplomats, foreign executives and other fly-by-nights.

          • N_

            Over international law, not over other national law.

            But it does take me aback sometimes when US citizens abroad seem to be scared that the US government might call them back to the US if they act in a way that embassy officials take an exception to. If a British embassy creep tried to pull one like that on me when I was abroad, I’d tell them to f*** off (and I’d enjoy it).

            You may be interested in “consular courts“.

        • pete

          Re “priority of our Constitution over international law”

          Well, yes, large powerful countries can do that, backed up by economic force. The US does that so what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander as the popular phrase goes. And the international laws were essentially written by the victors of previous international conflicts and reflect values of an older state of affairs.
          My points don’t really count, they represent an ideal state of affairs as I see it, they are irrelevant to this debate.
          The realpolitik is different, the Brits, France, US, Russia and China are the guys in the Nuclear club demanding respect, India, Pakistan and Israel wait in the wings. When you can blow up the world people see you in a different light. Hegemony overrules international law, not just in human rights but also on issues like climate change and population control. We do only what we are allowed to do. Licences and permits are just autographed straight jackets. That’s how I see it.

    • H.F.

      The Melian dialogue is certainly a better primer to international justice then anything those modern international courts ever produced. Read David Irving on the Nuremberg trial, look at what happened to the author, understand that the British tortured witnesses at Bad Nenndorf, and then you might catch a glimpse that the moral highground the West has claimed for itself was never deserved.
      In Carol Quigley’s ” Tragedy and Hope”, it is stated, that England came to be the country of rule by law, because it was an island: Continentals always needed their people as support in case of war, whereas the english aristocracy could concentrate on subduing their people by means of law: dangle the idea of lawfulness in front of them, and when the poor guy takes the lord to court, the lord normally wins (hopefully I paraphrase correctly). The continentals could never reduce the relationship between lord and people to such a materialistic level.
      That is in the end life experience. People might lay down their lifes in war for the King or any other beloved leader, also for their tribe or people – but certainly not for democracy. Therefore the Angloamericans led WWII be fought for them by the Russians and therefore they use Muslim fanatics as proxies in the middle East. Their wars have always been elite issues, unsupported by the people. It takes something more existential then democracy or international law to fight for.

      Still, I read this blog because Mr Murray is true to the ideal of the principle of justice proclaimed by the western powers. For all of us it is hard to grasp just how much this ideal has been destroyed in the past decades.

      • pretzelattack

        well, people think they are laying their lives down for democracy, convinced by propaganda. the main problem i have with irving is he seems waaay too sympathetic to the nazis—the main problem in israel is they are acting like the nazis who slaughtered them. i guess irving wouldn’t appreciate that, though.

        • Magic Robot

          pretzelattack
          January 24, 2020 at 14:52
          I found David Irving’s writing to be devoid of any emotion, at all, let alone ‘sympathy’ for any political grouping. He is a cold, hard, historian who went directly to the prime sources, referencing each meticulously, before writing it into his work. Unlike many ‘fashionable’ historians, who seem to regurgitate the histories they were taught at school.

          Maybe this helps with your “problem in israel is they are acting like the nazis”.
          Quote: ‘It would be a terrible tragedy, if the very enemy we fight today is being foisted on us under another name’ from the preface to ‘The Edge of the Abyss’, by Alfred Noyes, pub. 1942.

          • np

            I only discovered David Irving in the last year or so. As someone who just wanted to find out more about what happened in and around WWII, I found his books on Hitler (Hitler’s War) and Churchill (Churchill’s War) quite riveting.

            The Churchill book also describes how the US was determined to dismantle the British empire and take control of Britain’s military know-how and strategic bases around the world for its own benefit – desperate for US aid, Churchill was powerless to prevent it and tried to keep his humiliation a secret.

            I’m looking forward to reading some of Irving’s other books, especially his first one on the allied bombing of Dresden, which he considers a major war crime. (All his books are available free online).

            He’s a superb narrative historian with an amazing command of original sources.

            I don’t know whether he’s a holocaust denier and Nazi sympathiser, as alleged, but his hitler book does seem to gloss over the holocaust. Irving argues that he found no documentary evidence that Hitler ordered the liquidation of the Jews, suggesting that he only wanted them deported and that Himmler and others were responsible for the genocide. He also dismisses the Nuremberg trials, apparently regarding them as victor’s justice and therefore the evidence presented as tainted.
            ===
            [ Update 20/2/20 ]
            I recently watched a BBC documentary about Holocaust deniers which featured a couple of very short, historic clips of the historian David Irving. He came across as an unpleasant character and, in remarks to a crowd, seemed to regard “Auschwitz” as little more than an amusing hoax.

            As a result, I regret recently posting complimentary comments about him. …

          • fedup

            “victor’s justice” by Montgomery Belgion

            Is the name of a book that if found is an interesting read.

            Also recollecting the mass migration fo the refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the mid east. Does anyone remember the Hungarian authorities writing the registration numbers of the Muslim refugees on their forearms? Later the same authorities loading the refugees onto trains that were being sent to destinations the refugees had no knowledge of? This mode of transport soon after was replaced by buses.

      • stewartb

        Just opened my geography atlas to check. And just as I thought: England is NOT an island!!

        Excellent discussion today. Thanks to all those making (the substantive )contributions.

        • J Galt

          Quite correct, however you have to allow for the usages of the time – even Robert Louis Stevenson used “England” when he referred to Great Britain.

          • H.F.

            Thank you, stewartb, for the correction! In the end this is a huge matter for the host of this site. The thing is that seen from the continent anything farther than the south of said island easily gets lost in the mist

    • Giyane

      Tom Welsh

      No doubt there are dozens of right wing think tanks who spend night and day dreaming up reasons why national borders should be bulldozed, human rights disrespected and wars be allowed to destabilise whole continents. If we’re going back 2,500 years we are in the time of the Captivity during which even the children of Israel were enslaved for ignoring God’s Laws.

      I listened this morning to a description on Radio 4 of a Uighur woman’s faith being ridiculed and her refusal to deny it followed by her torture. What is the difference between that and USUKIS refusing to give up its colonial aggression in Syria and Libya? The CIA backed jihadists have been torture rendition brainwashed to have no mercy on the Muslims of these countries. Armed with these zealots USUKIS refuse to give up their futile struggle for oil and power.

      China is right to prevent USUKIS subverting its neighbours through indoctrinated terror. In fact USUK know sweet FA about the ways to distort religion for political gain. Without their IS they would be unable to deviate from international law.
      I’d it pure coincidence that the rise of religious terror has increased with the establishment of Israel?
      Centuries of Chritian ethics have been thinktanked out.
      Instead we have been served a life of quickie sex and quickie consumerism . Lisa Nandy can get political kudos by complaining that men are not fit enough for her libido.
      It has been a deliberate policy of government in this country
      to make consumerism it’s only goal since Thatcher redefined Christianity as looking after no. 1 in the 80s.

      It’s a spiritual problem which can only be solved by spiritual cures. Politics is the barking of dogs from their individual back yards.

    • Dungroanin

      Ah them ancient Greeks eh? Where did it get them today?

      The Eurocentric obsession with the ancient empires – history written by the winners – is at the end of its centuries long rope and in the slow motion process of comically choking itself as it circles faster round the tree it is tied to – these ancient empires and its self proclaimed judaeo christian Anglo European Empire !

      It’s all Greek to me 😉

      • George McI

        But don’t you realise that the moment you stick in a few of those funny big Greek names, you’ve automatically won the argument?

  • Carl

    It has been clear for decades that international law is enforced only against approved enemies of Washington DC and its surrogates (aka “the international community.”) Look no further than Israel’s remorseless violation of UN resolutions without penalty. The hegemon and its “partners” now just laugh at the UN, other than when they decide to coerce it into justifying their next outrage.

    • Muscleguy

      Occasionally the international community gets the US to look the other way. Vis the condemnation of Israel passed by the UN in the latter stages of the Obama presidency. I’m a NZ citizen and we were elected members of the Security Council at the time and I am very proud that we helped get that one through.

      Of course it should be noted that Israeli-New Zealand relations have still not thawed since Mossad agents got caught, again, using stolen NZ passports in a foreign assassination mission after promising not to do it again after the first time.

      As a Kiwi who would like to visit Iran on my NZ passport I don’t want the Iranians to even consider whether I might be a Mossad agent or not (my family nose might preclude it though).

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Perhaps the most flagrant example of the perversion of impartial international bodies would be developments at the OPCW. Much of the talk attributing culpability focuses on Chargé d’affaires and British “diplomat”, Bob Fairweather. As ever, the British state is front and centre.
    Putin is justified in insulating the Russian state from this malign, Anglo / Zionist drive to global hegemony.
    Scotland must break from the British state and atone for our complicity. A small, independent, neutral state in NW Europe, attached to the EU by signing up to the Customs Union for pragmatic, economic purpose.

    • Mary

      It was heartening to hear Prince Charles’ words on the plight of the Palestinians. They will not have gone down well with the Occupiers.

      Prince Charles offers strong message of support for Palestinians in Bethlehem
      January 24 2020

      Prince Charles at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem today. He has called for an end to “suffering and division”

      The Prince of Wales said today that it broke his heart to see the suffering of the Palestinian people, in the strongest ever message of support from a member of the royal family.

      In his first official visit to the West Bank, he told Palestinian refugees and civic leaders in Bethlehem that he hoped that the future would bring them “freedom, justice and equality”.
      /..
      https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/prince-charles-offers-strong-message-of-support-for-palestinians-in-bethlehem-dq600wqtp

      • bevin

        Clearly he is an anti-semite. The world being divided into apologists for Israeli fascism and anti-semites.
        Not since Prince Frederick have we had such an obvious candidate for Philosopher King.

        • Bramble

          Anti Semitic in the same sense that tens of thousands of Jews who oppose Zionism are anti Semitic. I am disgusted by the candidates for the Labour leadership have allowed the Board of Deputies to decide who are “real” Jews and who are not. Not one is worth a principled vote.

          • Ingwe

            Hear Hear, Bramble. Not one prospective leader has rejected the BoD’s stipulations. What a bunch of gutless f*****s! And Corbyn has requested Tom Watson’s “elevation” to the Lords. Jesus!

          • Piotr Berman

            This is precisely what “new Anti-Semitism” is. The ironic aspect being that many “paleo-Anti-Semites” are very supportive of Israel, because they believe in “tropes” like Jewish control of this and that, so going against Israel can be calamitous for their countries. Back when Hitler was in control and Jews were not, the same logic led to a different conclusions. But neo-Antisemites are typically unpatriotic, so they do not worry about the wrath of USA and the calamities that follow (withholding intelligence sharing, or in a milder case, some punitive duties), and criticize Israel, the most adorable of countries.

            So it is somewhat convoluted. Neo-Antisemitism is vile not because it irritates some rabbis, but because of the wrath that can befell upon United Kingdom when those rabbis are irritated. Mind you, British elite cannot live without intelligence sharing.

          • Los

            The irony is, that since the Jewish Faith flows down the Female line, his Grandson will one day be the first Jewish Head of the CoE.

      • M.J.

        Ah! A good reason to be a royalist. It is good that such sane and good voices remain, above party politics.
        But on international law, it seems to me that systems only work as well as the societies in which they come into being support them, and as Alastair Cooke might have put it, the forces of corruption and progress are in constant conflict, so that the future is always uncertain. Now the progressives need to do the hard work in persuading people about their ideas, but by progressives I don’t necesarily mean a particular political party. It’s a question of encouraging whatever progress is feasible and doable in the circumstances we find ourselves in. The USA can change its leader in a year, but we will have to be patient for a few more. Austerity will however provide opportunity for charitable work independent of government.

        • bevin

          ” Austerity will however provide opportunity for charitable work independent of government.”
          An interesting comment-it also provides those engaged in politics, such as the half million said to be members of the Labour Party, with a real practical venue for putting those politics into practice and building social movements from the poor, vulnerable and unrepresented upwards.
          It is surprising that such obvious combinations of theory and practice are so rare.

        • Carl

          “Austerity will however provide opportunity for charitable work independent of government”

          An opportunity to end the welfare state and restore 19th century conditions, under a bogus frame of the Big Society.
          .

          • terence callachan

            So much these days that calls itself a charity is quite uncharitable except to those it employs

        • cubby

          MJ

          A royalist, gun supporting Britnat fascist. The whole pack of cards.

          Democracy is clearly not your thing.

          • M.J.

            Power corrupts, even in democracies. Look over the Atlantic.The founders of the US constitution were themselves wary of too much democracy, which is why they tried to build in the safeguard of an electoral college. But it wasn’t good rnugh for purpose, and I see the election of Trump as a failure of that system.

            I see the advantage of a constitutional monarchy, having influence rather than power, in an imperfect world. So I hope that the monarchy goes on exerting its good influence (by that, I mean the people in the photo of four genefrations of present and future UK monarchy taken recently).

            But democracy as such respects ordinary citizens and allows for correction at the next election. That is why it is better than dictatorships, even though it carries the ever-present danger of degeneration via populism into repressive regimes.

          • Cubby

            Constitutional monarchy – what even is that? The UK has no written constitution and no proper democracy when you have Kings Queens Lords etc etc – serf mentality.

            Royalty “exerting its good influence” is that what Prince Andrew or the Duke of York or……..(just how many titles do these people need to make themselves feel superior ) was doing with his pal Epstein. Exerting his influence on young girls – was he – for the good of the UK was it. Your idea of a good influence is clearly different from mine.

      • Dungroanin

        If only Mary – can’t easily forget the very recent outcome of the unelected ‘Chief Rabbi’ and unelected ‘Archie of Canterbury’ and their longstanding connections with the unelected ‘Defenders of Faith’ inbreeds that claim ownership over us all.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Mary January 24, 2020 at 13:12
        Fine sentiments indeed! Let’s see if he follows up on them, as his ex-wife Diana did with her campaign against land mines. I suspect the Alma Tunnel event may well have something to do with why Harry is quitting the ‘Royal Family’, he is pretty smart, and may well have come to the same conclusion as probably most ordinary British people as to what went down there.

    • bevin

      Here too the US refused to grant a visa to the OPCW ‘whistleblower’ who had to testify through Skype. The triviality and petulance of the US government knows no bounds.

    • Geoffrey

      Of course in the real world, a small heavily indebted country will do whatsoever it’s creditors tell it to do.

    • Tom Welsh

      Once Libya has been reconstructed, I would like to see the UN – and many other international bodies – based there. It’s central – handy for Europe, Africa and Asia, where the great majority of people live – and within easy reach of the European capitals, Moscow, the Near and Middle east and of course Africa.

      Moreover, such a relocation would commemorate for ever the humanity and good work of Colonel Muammar Qadafi, and the huge progress he made in Libya towards creating a truly decent, kind modern state.

    • Dungroanin

      Africa will be the most populated continent within a hundred years. With the largest variations of peoples and the richest resources. It is also easy to get to, being equidistant from all other populations on the planet and with a temprate climate to suit all these peoples. South Africa is not under the guns of superpowers will be totally free of its ancient imperialists soon too.

  • Mary

    Still true.

    ‘Where-ever law ends, tyranny begins, if the law be transgressed to another’s harm; and whosoever in authority exceeds the power given him by the law, and makes use of the force he has under his command, to compass that upon the subject, which the law allows not, ceases in that to be a magistrate; and, acting without authority, may be opposed, as any other man, who by force invades the right of another.

    This is acknowledged in subordinate magistrates. He that hath authority to seize my person in the street, may be opposed as a thief and a robber, if he endeavours to break into my house to execute a writ, notwithstanding that I know he has such a warrant, and such a legal authority, as will impower him to arrest me abroad.

    And why this should not hold in the highest, as well as in the most inferior magistrate, I would gladly be informed.

    John Locke 1689

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Since the US has the world’s largest economy and wields the world’s greatest military might, it is unavoidable at present to ignore that global reality.

    The challenge thus is how can or do the rest of nations reign the US into the realm of being a participant in a civilized international order respecting and participating in submission to conduct respectful of the rule of international law.

    Problem identified – but how?

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Courtenay Barnett,

      The US is now economically threatening and attacking the interests of the entire rest of the world including Europe. By sanctioning Russia, Iran, et al, it is also sanctioning any country that want to do business with them. There is bound to be an economic kick back, and alternative trading systems will be fully developed that by-pass the US Dollar.

      Once this happens the US is going to be in economic free-fall. The MMT money tree only works so far. If China and others dump all their US Dollar assets, there will be no buyers. The US will no longer be able to afford all its wars.

      The US will probably drag the UK down too, unless the UK, rapidly makes some complex financial decsions with regards to its trade with the rest of the World. The last thing the UK needs is closer ties with The USA.

      Hopefully, it will be a gradual transformation, but the writing is already on the wall.

      Tony

      • Courtenay Barnett

        Tony_0pmoc,

        ” The last thing the UK needs is closer ties with The USA.”

        I agree with much that you have said, however:-

        i) The UK ( read England) has very little choice in respect of trade, for a) the EU will set an example and not make it easy come 31st January, 2020 and b) I doubt that there will much trade traction in the Commonwealth ( but I could be wrong on this) and c) there are other players settled in the game such as China in Africa in a big way – so how does Britain cut into such a place and others likewise?

        ii) The US, I believe will continue to use militarism, bully-boy behavior and sanctions to protect the US dollar ( Iraq and Libya being just two recent examples).

        iii) As you correctly indicate, the steam will run out for the US, with the advent of a China and Russia strong enough to establish a huge trading bloc and reliance on their own alternate reserve currency.

        Guess there will be a lot of bloodshed and hardships to be experienced as the world moves along that path.

        • lysias

          The UK can cut a deal with China.

          I am sure China would be very generous if the UK revealed the Five Eyes’ secrets.

        • Tony_0pmoc

          Courtenay Barnett,

          The UK has for many years, had extremely close financial relations with China, much more than it has with the USA. Much of it goes unsaid and unreported, but even from my domestic retail point of view, if I want to buy the latest state of the art electronics, or even a light bulb, I almost always buy direct from China. They almost always deliver very quickly.

          I also buy stuff from the USA, Japan, Germany and Ireland, if it is not available in England, Scotland or Wales…but often China delivers faster. The goods do not get held up by the bureaucrats wanting their taxes.

          From my point of view, it is as if The UK and China, are already in a Free Trade area, and have been for years.

          And the Chinese are always so incredibly polite and helpful, if there is a problem.

          The Germans are OK too.

          Tony

          • Giyane

            Tony

            Bureaucrats wanting their taxes.

            Is it surprising that interest rates are low when governments charge interest on goods otherwise known as VAT?

            Traders do the calculations for free.

            Interest is profit on a loan. HMG charge us 20% profit in exchange for our using their currency.. ì promise to pay the bearer…

            Never in the history of human endeavour was so much money taken by so few.

          • Mr Shigemitsu

            @ Giyane,

            Sorry, but that was an economically nonsensical post.

            If the Govt spends (good!), then it *has* to impose taxes.

            If it doesn’t, then the effect of year-on-year govt spending will be to flood the economy with currency, which will then be chasing a roughly similar amount of goods and services – leading fairly quickly to runaway inflation.

            If the same goods cost £10 one year and £20 the next, £10 in the second year buys you half of what it did previously. That is precisely the equivalent of your money being taxed away at 50%!

            So, you can have taxation… or rampant inflation; either way you lose a percentage of your money’s purchasing power.

            If you want government to spend (as any sensible person does, because otherwise the only source of currency would be via bank credit, at interest) then it *must* later drain away that spending with taxation – though hopefully at an annual amount slightly less than it spends, so that the private sector can save a few bob for a rainy day.

            The rates and flavour of taxes are a political decision, but the necessity for taxation in a fiat currency system is unarguable.

            Taxation also enforces use of an otherwise worthless currency – but again, that’s a good thing: would you really be prepared to accept a variety of currencies in circulation at the same time in the UK, with varying daily exchange rates, and without the ubiquity of acceptance for all transactions that sterling offers?

        • terence callachan

          I agree but there are more and more countries abandoning the dollar and going back to gold

      • Deb O'Nair

        “If China and others dump all their US Dollar assets, there will be no buyers.”

        When it comes to govt. bonds there are already no buyers – that’s what QE is all about, printing money and giving it to institutions to buy government bonds (debt). Should China dump its $1trillion worth of US bonds (USG debt is $22trillion) the USG will simply print $1trillion and give it to Citibank, BoA, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan et al to buy them up. This behaviour is now creeping into other financial markets, specifically the stock exchanges.

    • Sven Lystbæk

      It is not correct that the US has the largest economy in the world. On a GDP by purchasing power parity basis the chinese economy surpassed the US in 2014 and today it is one third bigger than the US.

      AS economic power at the end of the day equals military power I would argue that this is the reason for the trade war with China and Russia as this should be seen as a last minute attemt by the US to sabotage the growth of China and Russia.

      • N_

        Meanwhile there are increasing references all over the place to avoiding the “Hobbesian trap” or the “Thucydidean trap”. And quite a few in the top Chinese elite send their brats to first-division universities in the US.

        “Social credit” is the thing in all advanced countries. It’s one of those irregular nouns: “We have social media”, “They have social credit”.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Courtenay Barnett January 24, 2020 at 13:24
      The UK ‘PTB’ have no interest in reigning in the U.S. they want to share the NWO/One World Gulag leadership with them (planned before WWI). But a small usurper has them both by the short and curlies….
      The ordinary folk, who have at least partially become aware of the reality beyond the MSM carnival and lies, could at least try their own BDS on anything American, or American Franchise. Practically impossible to do totally, but as best one can.

    • Muscleguy

      Like all Empires the cost of it all will soon bankrupt them. The Chinese are as usual playing the long game. If they were to suddenly sell their huge holdings of US$ it would crash and the US ability to pay its bills would plummet overnight.

      When the end comes it might not be pretty, California might secede for eg. They may have to ask host countries to help repatriate their troops from all the far flung bases. Though in some cases it might take force to get them to leave. A bit like the Finns had to to get the Germans to leave at the end of WWII. Note I don’t blame the Finns for asking the Germans for help in the Winter War against the Soviets. In Realpolitiks mine enemies enemy is my friend is real.

      After all many revolutionary movements around the world against oppressive regimes only accepted Soviet help when the US and Europe proved unhelpful. Just look at what Daniel Ortega has morphed into, former Sandinista leader and derided by the US as a Marxist. He is now a rather Conservative Catholic Church supporting reactionary. Not very Marxist that. But only the Soviets offered them help.

      This sort of thing has been the thing that puts the lie to the West’s claim to be the moral freedom backers of the world. If anyone ever wonders why many in Latin America, Africa and Asia rightly regard the US and EU as deeply corrupt and hypocritical this is why.

      Remember the UK and US were the last to leave and disinvest in Apartheid South Africa.

  • bevin

    “In today’s world, “the strong” means the USA – although it is increasingly challenged by nations like China and Russia which have sufficient power to face it down. ”
    The US-and the “west” in general retains, as the rump of the Empire and sub empires which have dominated the world for half a millennium, an enormous advantage in the sphere of culture and propaganda. In these crucial areas, alternative venues for disputes between states, the military parity achieved by the Eurasian powers has little effect-unless it is employed directly.
    As it is if Washington. London or Tel Aviv tell the world that black is white and up is down, there is still a tendency for international opinion to nod wisely even while unable to understand the complex philosophical reasoning behind such cleverness.
    The world, in fact, is still inclined to believe the rubbish that the Sun and the Washington Post publish.
    Of course this is all changing- the authority of the “west’s” economists, historians and lawyers is rapidly diminishing as their crude assaults on reality are recognised to be undeniable.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      bevin,

      I think the USA’s Assasination of General Suleimani on a Diplomatic Peace Mission, not agreed with anyone, outside of the USA changed everything, in the minds of the leaders of the countries in the rest of the world.

      The USA Government has gone completely Insane, and Bragging about it doesn’t help.

      Most of the leaders in Europe, and the opposition, cycle to work on push bikes.

      No one is going to push them off their bikes, even if we don’t agree with them

      I have seen a bloke who looks exceedingly like Jeremy Corbyn, cycle past me, whilst I was waiting for a bus.

      We are not going to be intimidated by American snipers.

      That is all the American Mafia Gangsters can do.

      They are well past their sell by date.

      Tony

  • Colin Alexander

    We don’t need to look far for a prime example of disregard for rule of law and national sovereignty.
    On the 23rd of January 2020, Empress Elizabeth, Sovereign of the Kingdom of England gave Royal Assent to the EU Withdrawal Act.

    Clause 38 in total disregard for the constitution and law of Scotland asserts that UK Parliament is sovereign. A sovereignty it is said comes from the sovereignty of the Sovereign of the Kingdom of England. It is convention made law.

    What the Kingdom of England failed to achieve over hundreds of years of attempted military conquest, has been achieved by Clause 38 of the EU Withdrawal Act. With the obedient acquiescence of the SNP and other politicians of Scotland, none of whom have been willing to sacrifice their respectability and comfort as British politicians to defend Scotland’s people’s ancient and rightful constitutional and legal rights.

    “They may take our lives but they will never take our freedom” said Mel Gibson in the fictitious film, Braveheart.
    The reality is the British Empire’s Empress Elizabeth, Sovereign of the Kingdom of England, has just taken Scotland’s freedom as a sovereign people, at the same time as dragging Scotland out of the EU against the democratic will of the people of Scotland.

    As Craig has highlighted, the British way is to scorn morality and rightful conduct. For the British Empire has returned to the ethos of: “Might is Right”.

    Yet, the SNP continue to play the role of colonial administrators, bending the knee to their Imperial Masters, with their talk of: “s30 to allow Scotland to exercise self-determination”, “the only legal way”, “the gold standard”; begging their Imperial Master to obey a “moral duty” and “do the right thing” etc.

    Thia is the language and mindset of the SNP colonial administrators and their Imperial Holyrood colleagues who fulfil the role of passive, subservient administrators of Imperial devolution at that symbol of Empress Elizabeth’s Imperial power in Scotland, Holyrood, where Scottish democracy is limited and contained and Scotland is run as a colony of the Kingdom of England’s United Kingdom.

      • Cubby

        Carl

        Corbyn is a Britnat Labour in Scotland colonialist. This tells a story as well.

        No sympathy for colonialists and democracy deniers. Nandy, the violence advocate, and all the rest of the Labour Britnats.

    • Cubby

      Colin Alexander

      Every post of yours should just start with SNP baaaad, very very baaad and then work backwards. No matter the story the end is always the same.

    • N_

      Yet, the SNP continue to play the role of colonial administrators, bending the knee to their Imperial Masters“.

      Their senior figures all play conkers, make corn dollies, and sing the Eton Boating Song when the cameras are switched off. Tomorrow night after pretending to have fun on Burns Night, they’ll be off to secret gatherings where they recite Shakespeare and Shelley, burn the Saltire and even (the horror!) the Royal Scottish Lion Flag, while prancing around in monocles and special kilts dyed with the cross of St George.

    • terence callachan

      Not quite Colin
      You have jumped thee gun in saying nobody is defending Scotland’s freedom as a sovereign people
      The clause in the EU withdrawal act doesn’t change constitutional law

  • Walter Cairns

    The war against Afghanistan was also entirely illegal. First, of all, the UN never gave express permission for a military invasion. Secondly, the ICJ has clearly stated, in the Nicaragua decision, that military action in response to an attack against a country is only warranted if that action was carried out by or under the direct orders of the government of the country in question. This was clearly not the case.

    • Tony

      Some elements within the Taliban government were among the many voices to warn the USA of the attack (9/11).
      They were ignored, of course.
      The Taliban then offered to hand over suspects so they could be put on trial.
      In his memoirs, Tony Blair makes clear he was just not interested.
      Any trial, of course, would have been somewhat perilous. It would have meant that the links between Osama bin Laden and people such as the Bush family might have become known.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/oct/14/afghanistan.terrorism5

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Tony January 24, 2020 at 13:50
        The Taliban agreed to hand over OBL, IF the U.S. provided evidence linking him with 9/11. The U.S. point blank refused (hardly surprisingly, as they had and still have no pukka evidence, just torture-induced ‘confessions’ and made-up video and voice recordings).
        There was absolutely no evidence handed to the various NATO countries which later joined the attack on Afghanistan – just American ‘assessments’.

  • Laguerre

    It was not only the refusal of a visa for Zarif, the Iranian FM, but also the refusal of a visa for OPCW inspector Ian Henderson, South African, who had to give evidence about Douma by video. It’s just impossible for the UN to function, if people can’t go there to take part in its workings. But I agree, no likely change.

    • Tatyana

      Also some russian UN representatives were denied visa recently.
      Another issue is 7 countries lost their UN voices because they cannot make payments:
      Venezuela,Yemen, Lebanon, Lesotho, Gambia, Tonga and Central African Republic.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Laguerre January 24, 2020 at 13:58
      These are the first time such has happened, I believe. But the one following so short on the other, suggests we can expect this ploy will be used more in future.

  • Andyoldlabour

    Craig, I expected better from you.
    The ICJ based at the Hague has simply been set up to get rid of people that the US, UK, Israel, France do not like. Nobody from the aforesaid countries will ever be put on trial, even if just, morally correct people think that they should.
    You see, there is this thing called the “Hague Invasion Act”, you may wish to read it. It was introduced by George W Bush in 2002.

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2002/08/03/us-hague-invasion-act-becomes-law

    http://www.iccnow.org/documents/8-3-02HRWBushSignsASPA.pdf

    • Tom Welsh

      Many thanks for reminding us all of the Hague Invasion Act, Andyoldlabour. I had it vaguely in mind but it eluded me while I was writing my comments – anno domini, I fear.

      A better example of how the US government embodies the ideas of the Melian Dialogue would be hard to find. “Justice for you peons, especially when you break our rules. But the court has no jurisdiction over the USA or its citizens”. “Why not?” “Because we say so. If you don’t like it, we’ll kill you”.

      • Tom Welsh

        The technique is a very clever, carefully worked-out one. It includes all the optimizations that a staff of lawyers, spooks and politicians could invent.

        Use force as the ultimate sanction, but prefer to use other less obviously frightful methods first. Threats, promises, bribery and corruption go a very long way indeed – especially if you have seen fit to equip yourself with the world’s first machinery for creating unlimited amounts of what people accept as money. (A kind of state-sponsored counterfeiting on the vastest scale imaginable).

        • pretzelattack

          coins were a fiction, too, but i guess they were limited by access to gold and silver.

      • terence callachan

        But the EU will buy gas from Russia
        The USA will not attack EU countries militarily for doing so
        The USA has been clear about little it respects the EU , Russia , China , North Korea , Iran , Iraq etc
        Who will it take on first in order to regain respect it has lost and will these countries fear USA or be emboldened
        India has ignored USA threats too

        Trump shouts louder than his predecessors but in my opinion USA looks weaker

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Andyoldlabour January 24, 2020 at 14:24
      From your link:
      ‘…The law formed part of the 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act for Further Recovery from and Response to Terrorist Attacks on the United States.’
      Indeed, it was one more abomination, like all the wars, ‘Regime Changes’, torture, ‘Extraordinary Renditions’, draconian civil rights clawbacks etc. all done under the umbrella of 9/11.

  • SA

    I am afraid the lawlessness is not only going to be international but national also. There are very serious signs that we are heading towards an elected dictatorship. Boris will now ignore the Houses of Parliament, which he feels not answerable to as he has a large majority. He has ignored the House of Lords amendments, will change the law to suit him and will even influence the judiciary and the BBC in his favour and he has only been in for a month. There is no internal dissent or moderating voice within the party as they have all being presciently purged before the election. If this does not ring alarm bells what will?

    • N_

      But will Boris Johnson take on the military industrial complex? And who would win if he did? Scrapping HS2 is easy-peasy compared to scrapping those aircraft carriers, even if their cost is smaller. The “defence review” dwarfs the trade agreement with the EU in importance too. Go against the military industrial complex (which could be called the Military Contract Understanding) and you had better watch your back. It’s the same in any country. A planned meeting of the “National Security Council” (i.e. the cabinet’s defence, security and intelligence committee) was called off at short notice. The Financial Times cites “officials” as saying Dominic Cummings wasn’t responsible.

      They mean, of course, that he was responsible.

      I hope he has taken precautions to protect himself when he goes under general anaesthetic in the near future. Old hands will remember what happened to Harold Wilson.

      It won’t surprise me if Mark Sedwill walks soon. Or in FT language, “The tensions between the National Security secretariat and No 10 could raise fresh questions over the dual role played by Mark Sedwill who doubles up as cabinet secretary, the most senior civil servant in Whitehall, and Mr Johnson’s national security adviser.” Sounds as though he is caught between two stools.

      • J Galt

        As far as HS2 is concerned nearly £7billion has been trousered already by the usual suspects with more or less bugger all to show for it, so cancel away and roll on the next boondoggle!

        • N_

          And I haven’t seen a single call for an inquiry into the HS2 scam that might lead to prosecutions. There has been a review, but led by a former chairman of HS2!

    • Deb O'Nair

      I agree with all that except on one point; I would suggest that “we are heading towards an elected dictatorship.” was the case in the first two weeks of December and that we have now arrived. Billionaire puppet Johnson is the death-knell of UK democracy.

  • Cynicus

    Strictly speaking, the UK’s bilateral extradition arrangements with the USA may not fall under the umbrella of international law.

    Even so, Mike Pompeo’s refusal to extradite Anne Sacoolas for questioning on causing death by dangerous driving illustrates, in a wider context, the increasing lawlessness of Trump and Trump’s America.
    Its more spectacular display, domestically but with an international dimension, is on display just now in the US Senate a majority of whose members will collude in a cover-up of the President’s “ high crimes and misdemeanours.“

    If the US is going to renege on its extradition treaty obligations, why should the UK one- sidedly abide by them? There is a prisoner in Belmarsh wanted by the US. Why should the UK hand him over?

    • Tom Welsh

      “There is a prisoner in Belmarsh wanted by the US. Why should the UK hand him over?”

      The answer would be the usual one. “If you don’t, we’ll kill you”. (Maybe not tomorrow, but one day – as they killed General Soleimani the moment they got the opportunity).

      • pretzelattack

        i don’t think the u.s. needs to threaten the brits to do that, they are eager to do so.

    • terence callachan

      U.K. govt will be happy that USA refused extradition , I believe they agreed it in advance of the request , one in the bag for U.K. govt sooner or later they will need the favour returned

      If you stole an apple from Tesco and tried to leave the country before being interviewed by the police you would have failed unless you have the special immunity that politicians royalty etc possess

      • Tony

        “U.K. govt will be happy that USA refused extradition , I believe they agreed it in advance of the request , one in the bag for U.K. govt sooner or later they will need the favour returned.”

        Very likely to be true.

  • Ben

    “Thanks to a series of neo-con politicians,”
    This is an excellent blog but I suppose its purpose is not to provide more analysis of what is actually happening in the world to cause us to be lumbered with the above series.
    Is it a collective psychological change in our makeup? Is it a natural progression?
    They say all organisations that flourish will eventually die. Have the ones mentioned above simply served their useful purpose from a Western, or some influential group’s, point of view?

  • Abulhaq

    “The United Kingdom used to be a pillar, arguably the most important pillar, of international law”.
    Depends on which side of the colonial fence you were.
    Do not have the faith in international law the writer has.
    Long since given up on the UN.

    • N_

      Never forget that the UN Charter (Article 53) exempted from Security Council authority whatever “measures” would be taken against “enemy states” such as Japan. A few weeks later, the US exploded atom bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in the defining war crimes of the new epoch. The US government has never been taken to court for these horrendous crimes committed against civilian populations. Thanks, UN! On the contrary, whereas scientists who conducted murderous experiments at Auschwitz are rightly vilified, a number who worked on the Manhattan Project who deserve equal vilification are still widely promoted as “great men”.

  • Dungroanin

    A fine explanation and synchronous with the just publish Off-G in a similar vein – so i’ll just copy the same comment!

    The UN is not fit for purpose.
    The SCO already operates under a ‘charter’ – which goes past religion and cultural hagemony by any one nation or peoples. Since it already represents more than half the worlds population and the majority of its land mass – it is only a matter of time that the defunct UN is upgraded to these standards and absorbed into it OR crashes and burns.

    Today there were hundreds of thousands of Iraqis – maybe over million, in showing the US and its allies that they really are serious about their national sovereignty and demand that the foreign forces fuck off! The western msm and news agencies bluff that it was hundreds and maybe a few thousand – AP’s twitter is aflame with rebuttals!

    The US response? To revive the old divide and rule option. Break up Iraq into religion and sectarian areas – using the ‘never learning Charlie Brown’ proxy Kurds by offering them tet another football to kick! Magnier has a good piece in it today.

    My opinion is the world accelerating towards a new order which puts economic security and mutual defence at its core, the US and its gunfighter professional gamblers resort to poker terminology – ‘we are ALL IN’ in keeping the Iranians and Syrians (and Turkey?) out of the SCO to stop a nonstop link from the Med to the Pacific and Artic to the Southern Seas.

    All in! Lol. They going to lose their shirts and be overturning the table and demanding a shootout to keep from paying up their bet.
    It’s a bluff and sitting with pocket rockets a simple CALL by the new, new world order.

  • writeon

    I don’t think it’s as simple as… ‘might makes right’ and the powerful always get their way and the law, means next to nothing. The very fact of the massive hypocrisy exhibited by the powerful in relation to the the law, and that they feel the need to repeatedly appeal to it to justify their actions, would seem to support this.

    What Craig seems to be talking about is how today, even the ‘bourgeois veil’ of respect for international law is being ripped to shreds, and the international structure, however, flawed and imperfect, are being replaced by a dangerous form of ‘chaos’ that increasingly resembles barbarism based on brute force and unbridled power as the US ‘goes rogue.’

    The case of Julian Assange is another, highly relevant and symbolic example of how the US and its’ vassals are ready to torture and crush, bury alive, an individual who dares to question their authority and actions. In Assange’s case, it can never be a ‘crime’ to reveal the crimes of the state, as he has done. Yet, this is effectively what the US government is arguing. That the state, because it’s the state, is above the law and cannot be held to account, let alone justice, is frightening concept which we’ve spent the last few centuries trying to push back against as democracy, of the bourgeois type, emerged from the shadows after its’ long slumber.

    The Americans are now arguing that Assange is subject to their domestice laws even though he isn’t a US subject and his ‘crimes’ took place outside the US! At the same time, as a foreigner, he’s not proteced by their laws, like the First Amendment, that protects freedom of speech and the right to publish what one likes. This is truly bizarre argument because at the time the Constitution was written the United States didn’t even exist as an independent state and most of the population identified as British and great swathes of them were born in Britain, like the great revolutionary thinker, journalist and activist, Tom Paine!

    • lysias

      I guess this is their clever way of preventing the precedent of going after Assange from affecting domestic media like the New York Times. But I thought there was plenty of precedent that the Bill of Rights applies to noncitizens.

  • remember kronstadt

    Dear old Uncle Vlad is putting his house in order while getting all nostalgic about the UN and respect for national sovereignty. Reform of the UN as Secretary-General would be a progressive swansong.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality …” Attributed to Karl Rove, 2004.

    • Deb O'Nair

      “Over a million citizens march today in Baghdad in support of the edict.”

      Reported as “thousands take to streets” in the UK.

  • N_

    If the British regime had kept its seat on the ICJ it would have continued to be occupied by the war criminal Christopher Greenwood.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    If anyone wants to know what America wars, and the transfer of almost all the wealth creating industry of the USA (the Americans I worked with in the 1970’s were exceedingly hard working, and completely brilliant) to very much cheaper labour markets, outside of The USA should read, the travels and photography of Linn Dinh.

    His book is awesome, and in hard back contains lots of high quality photos.

    This is what it is really like now in the poorest parts of the USA which is over 50% of the population. They are nice, but totally skint – even what was the middle class are rapidly joing them.

    I want to meet this man – the one in the middle. Linh Dinh. He couldn’t take the USA any more and went back to Vietnam, and is now in Laos.

    https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49330296072_75e4ac481c_b.jpg

    Linn Dinh’s book is awesome. He’s got a blog too. Buy his book. You won’t regret it.

    It’s nearly as good as Craig Murray’s Murder in Samarkand – so buy that too

    https://www.sevenstories.com/books/3425-postcards-from-the-end-of-america

    Tony

    • Mary

      That was a blast from the past for me. I used to read Linh Dinh on Dissident Voice 2010-2013. Excellent writing as you say. He saw the US war on Vietnam from a different perspective to that of the Western MSM.

      https://dissidentvoice.org/search/
      There are two pages of results there if you put his name in the search box.

  • Jack

    The start of the Iraq war is already 17 years back, feels like yesterday, still no one has been punished for that crime. The law breaching has instead accelerated with Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, Iran, Venezuela. I cannot see any way out of this but a big world war that will wake the west up from this crazy attitude.

    • Mary

      I saw the BBC report on Libya yesterday. A once civilized country is now a wreck. Betrayed by its leader and demolished by Cameron and Sarkozy.

      Libya conflict: Haftar forces threaten to target civilian planes
      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-51226094

      Obomber found it necessary to reprimand Cameron and Sarkozy.

      Uncomfortable truths for David Cameron over Libya
      President Obama is right to lament the Anglo-French failure to follow through
      https://www.ft.com/content/6d7c0c02-e77f-11e5-bc31-138df2ae9ee6
      March 11 2016

      By saying ‘follow through’, ‘completely destroy’ is meant.

      • Laguerre

        Haftar is not far off winning in Libya. Not according to the MSM though. it’s more a question of western naval artillery defending the last hold-out of the western-supported regime. Not that I support either.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Mary January 24, 2020 at 19:16
        Why do you say ‘betrayed by its leader? Qaddafi made Libya what it was, the most successful country in Africa with the highest standard of living, and a host of benefits.

    • Shatnersrug

      It seems Julian’s legal team suck, the prisoners are doing a Justgiving campaign to rase money for a better lawyer but it seems to be no longer available

  • Magic Robot

    “Never trust an organisation with the word ‘International’ in it’s title”.
    From ‘The Edge of the Abyss’, by Alfred Noyes, pub. 1942.

    • J Galt

      Indeed.

      The sovereign national state is disparaged, however it is a greater guarantor of freedom than anything with “International” in it’s name.

  • Dave

    When exactly was the United Kingdom a pillar of international law? As far as I can determine it used to be better at hiding it’s crimes but that’s about all.

    • Deb O'Nair

      Craig means that the UK was a pillar of Western hypocrisy. To be fair to diplomats like Craig and others that work for the state, like civil servants, decent people have a hard time accepting that they are working for lawless tyrants. Whistle-blowers have had to come to this understanding the hard way. In the ‘establishment’ the likes of Tony Blair are seen like the paedophile uncle that no-one talks about, best forgotten as an ‘aberration’ but then comes Cameron, then comes May, and now Johnson. If only they had resisted Blair and his lies in the beginning – like David Kelly tried to do.

    • lysias

      When the crimes of a regime have to be hidden, there are limits to what the regime can do.

      Also, as long as the crimes are hidden from the populace, the populace is not corrupted.

  • Ian Robert Stevenson

    Craig says “It was the UK’s reputation as an upholder of international law that moderated outrage at the UN at the UK’s anachronistic permanent membership of the UN Security Council. ” I set me wondering if a similar sentiment applied to France-similar economy, minor nuclear power, has a number of former colonies speaking French. It is a core country of the EU. Is that the difference or do a number of UN members also wish France to be replaced?
    I would imagine that India, Brazil and either Nigeria or South Africa would be in line for joining the Security Council. Probably to increase the number rather than replacing the two less populous European states. Europe would still need at least one voice.

  • Durak

    “Chickens Coming Home To Roost” springs to mind as a likely consequence of this crumbling edifice.
    And sooner rather than later I fear.

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