All posts tagged: international law

More than Cognitive Dissonance

James O’Neill The dilemmas in Canberra go beyond the respective roles of the American alliance and the China trade. They point to a failure to grasp historical reality and an equal failure to perceive the future. In a recent article in the influential Australian website Pearls and the Irritations (www.johnmenadue.com 8 January 2019) Richard Broinowski set out several reasons why the Canberra establishment (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of Defence and Prime Minister and Cabinet) in what he described as cognitive dissonance, have adhered to a pro-American set of foreign policies. This has been the case ever since then Prime Minister John Curtin’s announcement in 1941 that Australia was essentially switching its reliance on the United Kingdom to an equally dependent relationship with the United States. Mr Broinowski then set out a series of factors why this has been the case at least up until the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, although he now detects some faint glimmerings of a possible policy shift. Such optimism in my view lacks a solid evidential foundation. …

Goodbye ‘Freedom and Democracy’ – Hello ‘Rules-based International Order’

Paul Carline The banner and the clarion call of western countries, and their own asserted legitimation – especially when they are engaging in illegal wars and coups – used to be “freedom and democracy”: the precious gift they were generously and selflessly offering to a backward world – or one allegedly in the ‘chains’ of Socialism/Communism. There was “Radio Free Europe”, for example, pushing out western liberal propaganda, primarily against the countries of the former Soviet Union. The Washington-based “Freedom House” organisation, which claims to be independent, has around 150 staff members in Washington and in ‘field offices’ around the world. Its President is Michael J. Abramowitz, who before joining Freedom House in 2017, was director of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Levine Institute for Holocaust Education. Before that, he was National Editor and then White House correspondent for the Washington Post. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former fellow at the German Marshall Fund and the Hoover Institution. He is also a board member of the National Security …

International Lawyers: Strike Against Syria Would Be Illegal

via Consortiumnews, April 11, 2018 In this statement released Wednesday, a group of international law experts warn that a U.S. military strike on Syria would be illegal if not in self-defense or with U.N. Security Council authorization.  We are practitioners and professors of international law. Under international law, military strikes by the United States of America and its allies against the Syrian Arab Republic, unless conducted in self-defense or with United Nations Security Council approval, are illegal and constitute acts of aggression. The unlawful killing of any human being without legal justification, under every legal system, is murder. And an act of violence committed by one government against another government, without lawful justification, amounts to the crime of aggression: the supreme international crime which carries with it the evil of every other international crime, as noted by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in 1946. The use of military force by a state can be used in self-defense after an armed attack by another state, or, with the approval of the United Nations Security Council. …

Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations

by Simon Wood, September 20, 2017 “As a responsible nuclear weapons state, our republic will not use a nuclear weapon unless its sovereignty is encroached upon by an aggressive hostile force with nuclear weapons. The DPRK will faithfully fulfill its obligation for non-proliferation and strive for global denuclearization.” – Kim Jong Un, May 8, 2016 Attention: António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations Sir, I am writing in regard to a speech given by US President Donald Trump to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) earlier this week, in particular the following excerpt: “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” As Secretary-General you are sworn to uphold the principles enshrined in the United Nations charter. Article 1: [The Purposes of the United Nations are:] [1.] To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of …