America’s miserable record over the past 30 years should make it clear that a serious and genuine commitment to the rule of international law offers a more viable way forward than the “law of the jungle,” argue Nicholas Davies and Medea Benjamin.
By Nicolas J. S. Davies and Medea Benjamin
Across the arc of chaos and instability caused by U.S. wars, interventions and sanctions around the world, the past several weeks have seen new flare-ups of deadly violence and worsening humanitarian crises.
A single day’s headlines at the beginning of September included; “School Hit in Huge Somali Explosion; ” “US Army Sends More Military Equipment to Bases in Syria;” “Libya Announces State of Emergency in Capital Tripoli After 39 Deaths in Unrest;” “Lebanon Is Balancing on a Tightrope;” “Saudis Admit Strike on Bus Carrying Children Unjustified;” “Police Disperse Protesters at Entrance to Iraq’s Nahr Bin Omar Oilfield.;” “Brazil Calls in Army After Mob Attacks on Venezuelan Migrants;” “Thousands Mourn Ukraine Rebel Leader;” and an article about Afghanistan “17th US Commander Takes Over America’s Longest War.”
The last article, by Voice of America, reported that General Austin Miller is taking command of 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan as they soldier on in the “graveyard of empires” after 17 years of war. In the heady days after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 and the end of the Cold War, who would have predicted that America would soon be mired in its own quagmire in Afghanistan or that the fall of the Berlin Wall would usher in an era of U.S. wars that would sow violence and chaos across so much of the world?
And yet, it was precisely in those heady days at the end of the Cold War that what Mikhail Gorbachev has called Western “triumphalism“ was born. In the bowels of the Pentagon, in corporate-funded Washington think tanks and in offices in the White House under Republican and Democratic administrations, ideologues linked to both parties dreamt of a Pax Americana or a New American Century in which the U.S. would be the unchallenged, even unchallengeable, imperial power.
Two former cold…