Monday, March 26, 2012

NIMBY=ALAEUIFT; or, Honey Where Are My Keys.

Article Analysis Assignment

First, read a news story from the newspaper or the Internet.  Answer the following questions regarding your news story: 1) What is the main issue, who are the main actors being discussed;  Then, choose one of the assigned articles you read for this week.  Answer the following questions regarding the assigned article: 1) What are the basics of this article (who, what, when, how, why, etc.);  2) What is the overall main point the author is trying to convince you of?  3) Do you agree with the author’s argument?  Why?  Why not?   Finally, tie together your news story with what you learned from the assigned article, textbook readings, podcasts, videos, etc. for this week.  Type your answers in the box below using your own words, no outline or bullets, complete sentences and paragraphs, single-spaced, full-page. 

What is international law? I can’t say it is any clearer to me now than before I read the chapter six times. And not because of some lack of definition…not hardly. And certainly not because international laws are unnecessary to society at large, or to the global community. The opposite, I believe is true, actually--it seems that law is law no matter where and/or how you look at it. If we are allegiant to our state, and wish to remain free in a civilized society, we know that law  protects as well as punishes us, so we choose to adhere to the law—well, at least 99.44 percent of the time. Unless we decide we (hang the rest) should be allowed to jaywalk, or speed, or that only our tax cuts are necessary or only our sphere of influence should be accorded sympathy. This is NIMBY, right? Allowing that crime must be punished/society must be necessarily and properly protected means putting someone’s neighborhood smack dab in the middle of the town that centers their economy on enforcing the police power of the domestic state. Sounds like where I would want to live. 
I lived down road from the death penalty prison in Carson City; it was next to the city sewer treatment plant. Yeah, in Nevada. Hot, dry, desert Nevada. But the smell was bad two miles away where I lived, so there is little wonder about the smell next door. Just saying. Treatment of prisoners IS an international concern. Not to digress too much…and I know San Diego is a wonderful place to live…but states that hold vast economic power (or veto power, like US, UK, France, China, and the Russian Federation) are going to see more international legitimacy lent to their purpose, and will economically and otherwise “battle by proxy.”  Iran was glad to not have American interference in the summer of 2009, for example, largely because their rage would be misinterpreted as American rage. Imagine if the Arab Spring had been kicked off not by legitimate, local concerns about global inequality but instead by a cowboyish "everyone must live free the way we live free” attitude. All players would be somewhere else on the board.  
 Kofi Annan saying that the Iraq war was illegal is/was not enough to make Bush a War Criminal, though I wonder if someone had stolen so blatantly two elections (Scalia misremembered the outcome of Bush v. Gore recently, and Michael Parenti is one radical lefty who has a valid point about Ohio in ‘04) in some South American country, whether we likely would have “intervened.” Calling that out isn’t controversial, because we were right in Iraq, right?
We must protect American sovereignty and thus we “look forward,” but we cannot ignore that Bush has canceled overseas trips and Cheney cannot enter some states without fear of arrest. Meanwhile, Jeb Bush endorsed Romney recently. I look at the ALEC endorsement of the Stand Your Ground, the NRA endorsement of that law and Jeb and there is no doubt in my mind that these laws contribute purposefully to the mindset (be a vigilante against criminal minorities and the Law will protect you if you are the last one standing in an “altercation”) that led to the killing of Trayvon Martin. Stand Your Ground does not trump Do Not Chase. It cannot. There are too many laws in America that we would bellow about if/when we see/saw them elsewhere, too many laws that were written with the intent to have disparate impact on the poor, the minority, and the poor minorities--especially among  punishment of juvenile minorities, and this is just one more Jim Crow déjà vu in my rather partisan view-- but the UN will remain unable to police American affairs. Good. We shouldn’t let them. Of course, we shouldn’t need their push to correct ourselves, but sometimes, we do (“…evolving standards of decency). We need to protect our sovereignty while redressing multiple grievances. We will set the lead, no matter our choice. 
Do we want to live in a Civil (laws codified) Civilized society? Then we know we cannot regulate free speech harshly here or internationally, as this would violate every international regime. This gives Sarah Palin’s Prayer Warriors and their type (not to mention other threats, like soldiers refusing to follow orders or going beserk) a unique ability to undermine and tarnish our image by pretending to be diplomats and putting real diplomats in trouble by hiding their evangelical intent. Do we want law at all? Maybe America would be stronger if every other nation was subservient to us. Some on one side of the aisle seem to hold that view. They appear to feel they have a biblical mandate to be involved in domestic politics both here and internationally. What can be done about that, seeing as how the end goal is the end of civil law—replaced by Biblical Law?
 Are we bound out of obligation? Is that all we’ve got? Chuckle. Thanks, Eddie Vedder. When I say, “Honey, where are my keys…” it is hardly a question of if she should help me find them; we both need those keys. So it is with international law—we are married to the obligations we recognize as mutual---until ALAEUIFT kicks in. What? “All Laws Are Equal Until I Feel Threatened.” That’s NIMBY international- style. International Law is more Muller v Oregon than UN v. Bush (right to contract versus hey-stop-that-right-now). Justice? Really? What is justice anyway? For who? Who says? And so what then? Who has power to enforce? Who has power to intervene or bring about intervention? “Winners get to write the history.” “To the victors go the spoils.” Will the ICJ\ICC ever intervene here? 
Lots of questions, but the last one I can try to answer. No. America can barely get the other states with permanent  veto power to agree which day is best to meet next, so…until it becomes a problem that harms our interests outright or quick, decisive action can solve (Bin Laden/Libya)—it’s not our problem. We will work to avoid war at most costs, but avoidance alone is not what allows “law” to work.” Recognition alone is not exactly how international law works, either. We try every method of diplomacy, we make our power known through ICC/ICJ and other maneuvers (blockades, alliances, Hillary Clinton), but we remember the free market rights of arms dealers and grease those wheels just as we do “secret” business with those same “criminals” in the name of arms control and deterrence for security’s sake. We know well from the lessons of the Cold War the coercive benefits of interdependence, where only fools violate the law. 
Lastly, a word on “…evolving standards of decency.” No International body will ever argue that intervention is necessary because of Obamacare. No-one and no group within the International Community taken seriously will ever announce President Obama a tyrant/war criminal for mandating that people have adequate health care and that all partners in a civil civilization take part in their neighbors upholding their own responsibility…more likely, intervention might come one hundred years from now if the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care act and Americans still have no recognition of their “right” to life…which eventually requires a minimum of care. Is that not true? Then, what is up with the whole “Take Back America” theme? Take it Back  where? Pre-Westphalia? We know how Realists feel about the UN/ICC/ICJ, etc., already…drown the government in a bathtub, indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment