Saturday, 31 August 2013

The Koran v Rawls - the case *against* liberal interventionism

The days of Britain's gunboat diplomacy died with Palmerston and the loss of the British Empire, you would have thought.

The British lost their empire after their pyrrhic victory of WW2.

The historian A J P Taylor said WW2 was a continuation of WW1.  What was WW1 really about?

No one quite knows.  If you told the Modern Briton - even one who has passed his GCSE history or who even has a degree in it - he will not seem to know that the British fought WW1 over the issue of Belgian neutrality.

What had the Treaty of London 1839 to do with the Britain of 1914?  No one really knows.

The awful truth is that the British simply muddled into world war after world war, without pausing once to examine their reasons or really counting the cost.

If Britain were a man, he could be said to be now in a drunken stupor which has lasted decades after he has mortgaged and remortgaged his home, been abandoned by his wife and family, and sold the family silver.

Perhaps the moral of this story is that one must not accept every invitation one receives, else we fall into bad company and are caused needless inconvenience and expense as a result.

Having lost their empire and in hock to the Americans after borrowing heavily to fund their war, the British decided to call this master and servant relationship a "Special Relationship".  It was important to the British to be seen to be dining at the top table with the most powerful nation in the world, though the rest of the world sniggered at them for being America's poodle.

Anyone who has tried to keep up with friends much wealthier than we are would know that it is financially ruinous to do so if you really do not have the wherewithal to do so.

This mania for liberal interventionism seems to come from Rawls, who "claimed, controversially, that violations of human rights can legitimize military intervention in the violating states, though he also expressed the hope that such societies could be induced to reform peacefully by the good example of liberal and decent peoples."

The Law of Peoples

By 'Law of Peoples’, Rawls means "a particular political conception of right and justice that applies to the principles and norms of international law and practice" . This political conception of justice is arrived at through the device of the 'original position' – a hypothetical arrangement whereby representatives of each of the peoples get together with the aim of determining principles that will govern the terms of their association. The principles yielded by this process make up the content of the Law of Peoples. The eight principles are:

  1. "Peoples (as organized by their government) are free and independent, and their freedom and independence is to be respected by other peoples."
  2. "Peoples are equal and parties to their own agreements."
  3. "Peoples have the right of self-defense but no right to war."
  4. "Peoples are to observe a duty of non-intervention."
  5. "Peoples are to observe treaties and undertakings."
  6. "Peoples are to observe certain specified restrictions on the conduct of war (assumed to be in self-defense)."
  7. "Peoples are to honor human rights."
  8. "Peoples have a duty to assist other peoples living under unfavorable conditions that prevent their having a just or decent political and social regime."

Convoluted, impractical, idiotic and utterly laughable.

Compare his convoluted shit with the Koran, which says, quite simply, that we may not attack another nation unless it attacks us, so that all wars must necessarily be defensive.

The point to note that the British suffer from a collective neurosis about their foreign policy and this neurosis, or even dementia to be more accurate, is long-standing and bone deep.  

Only when they stop worshiping Churchill - the man who lost the British their world empire in one reckless throw of dice - will their dementia lift.   

The proper and rational foreign policy for any self-respecting nation must be Palmerstonian:

"We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow."

America is not our Special Friend.  In fact, it is its own worst enemy.  

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