I Can’t Keep Up with the Hypocrisies Coming Out of Washington

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Every ten minutes it seems a new outrageous statement comes out of the mouths of one or another Washington official. The latest is here:

“President Barack Obama said the United States and its allies have agreed that Russia had violated international law by launching an incursion into Ukraine this weekend.”

Since when have either Obama or his allies or the U.S. been devoted to international law? Was that when Colin Powell presented fabricated evidence before the U.N. or when Bush and Blair twisted intelligence around the policy they desired? Was that when these allies rushed to devastate Libya after propagandizing about a mythical slaughter of Gaddafi? Was that when they supported insurrections against the government of Syria? Was that when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan and failed to make a case to its government that Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11?

Is it part of this law that one group of states sits down over lunch, cocktails or dinner and pronounces that some other state is guilty and should be punished as these diners see fit?

Is the idea to bypass the U.N. where Russia has a veto on the Security Council?

Scholars in the field of international relations routinely acknowledge that international law as built up by states is a shaky arrangement that takes second place to the power politics of those same states.

For Obama to rely on a violation of international law as a justification for sanctions is to rely on no fundamental rationale that has substance and lends credibility to the verdict he has so hastily pronounced. Being prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner and allowing no trial, no court and no evidence can hardly be an arrangement that commands respect as lawful. This high-handed, closed-door and one-sided modus operandi undercuts the hard won procedures of justice of the rule of law in domestic affairs. It is an authoritarian method to which Mr. Obama has become increasingly accustomed. Meanwhile the U.S. is constantly violating international law and norms, such as they are, either in spirit or in substance.

2:09 pm on March 3, 2014