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Re: Adam Starr & Dennis Blewitt on international law
by Andre Gunder Frank
15 March 2002 16:12 UTC
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I am afraid that Charles Reid and Dennis Blewitt are right on about
international law - and then some.
Reid could not list the half of the major violations, nay abrogations:
After against Panama, against Iraq in 1991 and ever since - the ''use''
of the UN Security Council Resolutiuon still left the war and continued
bombing in violation of at least 7 articles of th UN Charter. The UN
abrogated its peace-keeping responsibility in Bosnia and handed
it over to NATO/US, which then did Dayton and later the NATO "Kosovo" war
against Yugoslavia. The latter - so did previous ones - violated not only
the UN but also much other international law, eg Nuremberg, Geneva
Conventions, Vienna [all treaties made under military duress are ipso
facto invalid under international law] - and even three stipulations
in the very first paragraph of the NATO charter itself! Interestingly in
view of what Blewitt writes, the war also violated much NATIONAL law and
the CONSTITUTIONS of several of the participant states, to begin with of
the US and Germany.

Alas, what Blewitt writes about defending internatinal law by challenging
its violoation on the violation also of national law is moot. Three and a
half observations in this regard should suffice for now: 

1. In not a single NATO country was its parliament consulted about
entering/making the war against Yugoslavia. [Canadian Premier Chretien
went so far as to say that ''we'' could not afford to consult his
parliament because any opposition there would give comfort to the
Milosevic/enemy. In other words, damn national democracy, and full speed
ahead to ...]. Hardly anywhere was any parliamentary or civic/political
objection raised or even any observation made regarding this abrogation of
national democracy, never mind international law. 

2. In the United States - and I suppose elsewhere - confirmation of an
international treaty by parliament /US Senate makes the stipulations of
that treaty part and parcel of NATIONAL law. Violation of the
international treaty provisions therefore also violate national [US] law
and are subject to the kind of national challenges that Blewitt mentions.
But nobody makes any such challenge or even recognizes that it could and
should be made.

3. The present war of course is waged by the US virtually alone in total
disregard of any and all else. There may be some domestic opposition,
but it has found virtually no political or legal or moral expression on
international and/or national grounds, let alone using national law to
defend international law as Blewitt proposes.

3 1/2. There is NO CONCERN visible, public or political, with any of the
three concerns above. Not even Barbara Lee, the only member of Congress to
vote against the war, voiced any of THAT concern. The legal challenges in
US court to the Clinton administration for its NATO WAR violation of
NATIONAL law were limited to that and did not extend to international law:
They came from the isolationist Republican right that, far from defending,
does not even recognize international law as applying to the US. In the
present war, these concerns have played NO role whatsoever.  Whether the
US has a ''right'' to wage war unilaterally has not been questioned in any
Bush Administration, Congressional, military, major media, or hardly any
other discussion of the war's rights/wrongs.

Surely, a if not THE major attainment of ''civilization'' has been
LAW,  national and especially international, to intervene against 
Hobbsian war of all against all. How then can it be that this war is being
fought allegedly to ''defend civilization" by destroying its mayor
accomplishment? What civilization is there left to defend if we DO NOT
ASK, never mind answer, even this essentially simply and simply essential

gunder frank


               ANDRE    GUNDER      FRANK

Senior Fellow                                      Residence
World History Center                    One Longfellow Place
Northeastern University                            Apt. 3411
270 Holmes Hall                         Boston, MA 02114 USA
Boston, MA 02115 USA                    Tel:    617-948 2315
Tel: 617 - 373 4060                     Fax:    617-948 2316
Web-page:csf.colorado.edu/agfrank/     e-mail:franka@fiu.edu


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