The call to launch an attack on Syria on the pretext of protecting civilians is a ridiculous proposal.
And it seems that the world is not falling for the trick this time. If that were not the case, the U.S. secretary of state wouldn’t have had to trek around the United States and the rest of the world to gain support for the scheme.
Such flagrant war rhetoric is unprecedented since the establishment of the United Nations. The United States’ zeal for resorting to the threat of the use of force, while calling itself the most powerful country on Earth, is an element in the promulgation of the new U.S. foreign policy, the scale of which goes beyond the context of the Syria conflict. In fact, the United States’ way of thinking has been affected by the trauma caused by the transitional period. U.S. officials believe this period provides a chance to subjugate the world, while ignoring the fact that the people of the new world can no longer countenance the backward policies of previous centuries. The Syria crisis is just the tip of the iceberg.
Over the past century, the United States has spent trillions of dollars building the most colossal war machine in history, with the original goal of responding to the perceived threat of communism. Then the collapse of the Soviet Union put the U.S. in an awkward situation, in which it proclaimed itself the sole superpower at the pinnacle of world power, but at the same time had no enemy for its massive military to confront.
But the devil finds work for idle hands. The United States is now touting itself as the global hegemon and trying to turn the clock back to the 19th century. And the U.S. is using moral sleight of hand to justify breaching the most important precept of international law, which is the prohibition of the use of force or threats of the use of force in international relations.
In regard to the crisis in Syria, the use of chemical weapons is a war crime. Aggression is also a crime. And according to the statute of the International Criminal Court, aggression is a serious violation of international law.
Besides the fact that no admissible evidence has been provided proving that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against civilians, no moral or legal principle justifies or authorizes the commission of a crime in response to another crime.
Although the Russian initiative to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control is working as a short term palliative in the crisis, it doesn’t seem that the United States is going to refrain from threatening to use force in the Syria conflict or anywhere else.
Thus, in the coming days, no raw meat must be given to the crocodile.
Perhaps the least that can be done is to restrict this issue within the mandate of the United Nations as a matter of principle. Otherwise, the U.S. administration will receive authorization from Congress for the use of force and will hold this authorization over the heads of other parties seeking to resolve the issue peacefully like a sword of Damocles. But the bitter fact is that even if the Syria crisis is resolved in the long run, it cannot be said that a similar crisis will not occur in the future.
It is imperative that all the countries in the world urge the U.S. government to accept the values of the international community and the principles of the United Nations Charter and refrain from causing more global upheavals. The upcoming session of the UN General Assembly is perhaps the most suitable forum for world leaders to address this issue properly and responsibly. And the U.S. and its Western allies should make it clear if they believe that the United Nations Charter is still valid and still has legal force. And they should also inform the world if they are going to abide by their legal commitments as signatories to the charter.
Bearing in mind the importance of diplomatic and legal efforts to do damage control, the best way to tame a superpower that is out of control is to counterbalance its power. Perhaps the time is ripe for likeminded countries to create a mechanism -- sharing its costs and benefits -– that would enable them to counterbalance the power of the United States and combat unilateralism while upholding the values of the new world, such as human rights, free trade, and tolerance, with respect for cultural diversity.
Mohsen Baharvand is an expert on international relations based in Tehran.
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