The bottom line here is this. The U.S. doesn’t abide by fixed principles or laws relating to statehood, new or established states, their independence, or their sovereignty. It also doesn’t abide by fixed principles relating to rebellions and revolutions within a given territory. Since its inception, the U.S. acts on its interests, conceived or misconceived. When convenient, it upholds law; when inconvenient, it breaks law. The resulting behavior it exhibits is inconsistent with respect to principle, but it does consistently serve one main goal: the expedient preservation and expansion of its Empire. The U.S. is often a lawbreaker; but because it invariably poses as the upholder of law, it also is a hypocrite.
Before mentioning a few specific cases, consider how new, independent and sovereign states are formed. The key four elements are a People, a Declaration, a territory, and a system of government. All four are present in our 1776 Declaration. “One people” is mentioned at the outset and people, 9 more times. The territories involved were the Colonies, and all had established governments with stated procedures for voting. The American Declaration of Independence near its conclusion reads
“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”
The states within the Confederate States of America met these four conditions and announced them, among other reasons for secession. The South Carolina declaration is here. The North or the Union didn’t recognize the new southern states and launched an aggression to keep them from becoming independent sovereign states, even though its own history was based upon the Declaration of Independence. The maintenance of an Empire was the prime consideration.
Catalonia and Crimea are two recent examples of new states. Both met the four conditions for independence that our own founders proclaimed. Spain has contested Catalonia’s secession. Crimea successfully broke away from Ukraine and then joined the Russian Federation. In both cases, the U.S. has been against the secession. On the other hand, the U.S. supported secession of Kosovo, the breakup of Yugoslavia and any secessions from the USSR. Again, the prime consideration has been to maintain the unity of the Empire, control over its component states, and to expand the Empire wherever possible.
The U.S. does not believe in the principles of its founding. It doesn’t believe in the self-determination of nations. These principles form a kind of social, legal and political law based upon the natural rights of the persons who get together to form by declaration a People, a territory, and a government. That is, the individual persons have the right to associate with other like-minded persons in a region or territory to form a government. This is a non-aggressive collaboration. Self-determination as a social, legal and political concept has a basis in individual rights. Whenever the U.S. refuses to abide by self-determination movements that meet reasonable criteria like the four I’ve singled out, it is at the same time denying basic underlying rights. The guiding aim of our Empire is not, except where expedient, consistent with the rights of persons or the states they may have formed.
Consider Syria. Syria’s form of government is a presidential republic (see CIA). Bashar al-Assad was elected president in the most recent elections, held on June 3, 2014. Syria is a sovereign state, having become independent in the period 1941-1944. As an independent state, Syria is a member of the U.N.
States have sovereignty over their territories. This includes the right to exclude the uninvited interventions of other states on their domains. This principle is acknowledged in Paragraph 4 of Article 2 of the U.N. Charter.
Despite Syria’s sovereignty, the U.S., uninvited by Syria and expressly told by Assad to get out of Syria, feels free to cross its borders and invade it with whatever military forces and armaments it deems convenient and expedient. Stated aims, noble or not, do not count as legal foundations. Retaliation for alleged chemical attacks don’t count. Respect for Syrian sovereignty is orders of magnitude more critical and foundational to peace than crossing established frontiers to discipline perpetrators of chemical attacks; and especially when there is huge uncertainty about who may have done what. Borders are critical to international peace in the existing system of states.
The same four conditions as expressed in our Declaration to govern the formation of new states also apply to justifiable attempts to alter the form of government by rebellion and revolution. Our own Declaration meant war, and it had to be justified.
The rebellion that began in Syria in 2011 and the revolution that began in Kiev in Ukraine in 2014 didn’t meet these conditions, as one can readily verify. The whole People were not involved, even by a representative body. The rebellious elements could not justifiably claim legitimate rule over the entire territory. Terror elements were at work. Foreign states were working behind the scenes. There was literally no legitimacy to these attempts to replace one government with another.
Yet the U.S. supported, even instigated, the anti-government forces in both cases. Principles of law and right are not the basis of U.S. policies.
A recent article by Joel B. Pollak that’s favorable to U.S. incursions into Syria lays out clearly the lack of principle of our government. Pollak takes the Empire and its role as protector of its members or allies for granted:
“The United States cannot allow Syria to fall into Iranian hands. If it does, Iran will extend its military influence into the Mediterranean, threatening American bases as well as American allies. It will also strengthen its emerging position as a regional power that threatens Israel and the Sunni Arab states.”
The U.S. does have client states in that region that have gone in with the Empire, but does the resulting obligation of the Empire justify its activities outside of the Empire’s domain, as in Syria and other nearby countries not under the Empire’s protection? If Israel is made an ally, does that mean we look the other way when it invades Lebanon or Syria? Do we impose sanctions, an aggressive move, on Iran because the Empire finds it in its interest? Do we attack Iran or foment revolution there? The viability and growth of the Empire do not justify all this illegality and violations of rights.
Furthermore, there are many practical issues. Although this paragraph of Pollak exaggerates the prospects and fails entirely to contemplate what other states in the region would do if America withdrew its military umbrella, it does accurately capture the Empire idea. Important questions are being ignored, however, by this acceptance of the Empire. How much is this costing us? What does the Empire do for us Americans? What alternatives to military means are we ignoring? Isn’t the Empire rife with corruption and inefficiency? How can we be so sure that Iran will run Syria? How can the U.S. expect ever to attain peace and justice if it’s always interfering in alien lands? Why should we expect the U.S. to do anything but blunder further, as it already has in Iraq and Libya? What’s so great about siding with Israel or with Sunni Arab states? Aren’t we dragged into their conflicts, and don’t they form powerful lobbies in our Congress? Don’t they distort what we conceive of as our interests?
Without even realizing what he’s doing, Pollak spells out the Empire’s lack of law for us:
“That does not mean the U.S. must send troops to Syria, or that it must topple the Assad regime. These are alternatives that the U.S. might use in pursue of its interest, but there are alternatives — such as, for example, arming the Kurds and perhaps supporting their ambitions for independence. [Emphasis added.]
Indeed, these are in fact tools that the U.S. has used in many countries and could use in Syria. They are also aggressive. Pursuit of interest is not pursuit of self-defense except in certain instances that hardly ever occur and hardly ever explain U.S. interventions.
The U.S. is an unprincipled state actor, what might be called without exaggeration a rogue state: “a nation or state regarded as breaking international law and posing a threat to the security of other nations.”2:52 pm on April 13, 2018 Email Michael S. Rozeff