[lit-ideas] Re: LAUGH OR CRY?

  • From: "Phil Enns" <phil.enns@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:43:51 +0700

Robert Paul wrote:

"I'm not sure I understand the real difference between Bush's
'acknowledging' the UN before invading Iraq, and (let's say Putin's)
ignoring it before invading Georgia."

The difference is both real and important.  Bush could be held
accountable to the principles and ideals of the U.N. before and after
the invasion of Iraq because Iraq was a question before the U.N.  The
invasion of Georgia was never brought up in the U.N. and therefore can
be an issue for the U.N. only as a fait accompli.  The countries of
the world could debate whether Iraq should or should not be invaded,
and so the legitimacy of the invasion remains a subject of lively
debate.  The countries of the world can only debate what to do with
Georgia now that it is largely under the control of Russia.  There
will be no global debate about the legitimacy of the invasion of
Georgia, only debate as to how to respond to conditions on the ground.
 The difference is one between Kant's rule of law and Hobbes' rule of

The question for the U.N. will be whether it has the strength of
conviction to bring this Russian act of power politics under the rule
of law.  This show of character will largely depend on whether the
U.S. is willing to allow for the international rule of law.


Phil Enns
Yogyakarta, Indonesia
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