Thursday, February 21, 2008

What good is international law? Follow up on Kosovo, and Mariajosé 's eloquent and welcome comments from Spain & in Spanish & UN <> Python

Background: Mariajosé wrote:

Not if I have expressed correctly
I need the help of a dictionary
I will express in Spanish

En ningún momento he querido ofender a los americanos cuando he dicho que no conocen bien la historia de Europa, si ha sido así le pido disculpas.
Admiro a los USA. Algunos miembros de mi familia han vivido temporalmente (trabajo, estudios) en USA; y su experiencia ha sido fantástica.

En cuanto a la independencia de Kosovo, estoy de acuerdo en todo lo relativo al genocidio, pero los serbios no han sido los únicos genocidas en los Balcanes. Esa no es la razón de la independencia, si bien es cierto que hay un motivo étnico.

Pero estamos en el S.XXI y no en el SXVIII. Hay leyes internacionales que son para todos y hay que respetarlas. Otros países europeos se han independizado en los últimos años y lo han hecho pacíficamente y sin traumas acogiéndose a la normativa internacional.

Todo esto es un precedente muy grave en Europa, cualquier región que nunca ha sido un país independiente puede declarar su independencia de forma unilateral. Muchos países europeos tienen problemas graves con el nacionalismo (España, Bélgica, Reino Unido …)

Y además está la desunión que ha creado en la Unión Europea dividida en dos bloques: los que apoyan la independencia de Kosovo y los que no.

Pardon, I have still had it a bit long. I am sure that her Spanish is very good

Certainly, the page is very good

Tue Feb 19, 02:32:00 PM CST

To which I responded...

I'm in Spanish 101, and I have a big test Thursday, so I just had translate it.

Well thought out, I may have more to say after my big exam. But basically the area's a big mess, and the Serbs are reaping what they've sewn. I know Spanish history well enough to know that the last genocide which happened on the Iberian Penn. was 500 years ago during the reconquista, so Kosovo fleeing genocide does not ipso facto give all disaffected groups the same prerogative.

Here's the machine rendered xlation.

. I admire to the USA. Some members of my family have lived temporarily (work, studies) in the USA; and its experience has been fantastic. As far as the independence of Kosovo, I agree in all the relative one to the genocide, but the Serbs have not been the only genocidas in the Balkan Mountains. That is not the reason of independence, although it is certain that there is an ethnic reason. But we are in the S.XXI and not in the SXVIII. There are international laws that are for all and are necessary to respect them. Other European countries have become independent years in the last and they have pacifically done it and without traumas take refuging in the international norm. All this is a very serious precedent in Europe, any region that never has been an independent country can declare its independence of unilateral form. Many European countries have serious problems with the nationalism (Spain, Belgium, United Kingdom...) And in addition it is the lack of unity that has created in the divided European Union in two blocks: those that support the independence of Kosovo and those that no.

OK, well I promised I'd get back to this after my Spanish oral exam today, but thanks to that brutal experience, my brain is leaking out my ears.

Besides... I don't really have the answers. I'm no Henry Kissinger or Otto von Bismarck or Sun Tzu. But I do have some questions...
  • When has "International Law" ever prevented a genocide from happening?
  • When has "International Law" ever resulted in the nations of the world taking quick and effective action to intervene once one has happened?
  • What matters more in international law-
    • Lines drawn on a map by competing imperialistic powers?
    • Economic or military might?
    • Ethics of any sort?
  • How international is "International Law?" I don't remember voting on it, and I was chomping at the bit to vote from the time I was 6 years old.
  • So on what grounds is "International Law" any more binding or ethically superior than the imperial alliances which once governed and throughly mucked up the world?
    • Frankly... I just don't see much difference between the agreements of "International Law" now, and the agreements of the various great powers which existed before and directly led to World War I.
I'm not saying I know what the answer is... I don't even know that Kosovo declaring independence is the best answer. But when another country has tried to exterminate you, I'm not going to second guess you wanting your own country. As I said before, we lobbed off HUGE chunks of Germany after the World Wars, including parts which were as innately German and central to its history as Kosovo was to Serbia. So no... I have no tears to shed for the Serbs.. and that was even before they demonstrated their "renewed commitment to civil behavior and respect of human rights" by going on a rampage through Belgrade today.

Probably the one verse from the "Minor Prophets" (or "The Writings of the 12") most often quoted or alluded to in popular culture is Hosea 8:7a, and it does pretty well describe what has happened to Serbia as they've lost most all of their former Yugoslav empire.

They sow the wind
and reap the whirlwind.

I certainly am not saying that a "Pax Americana" is preferable to "International Law." As I've said previously, our nation is one singularly ill suited to this task.
  • Our ignorance of the cultures, history, and languages of the rest of the world is almost transcendent in its magnitude.
  • Our attention span is measured in milliseconds
  • The only thing which holds it longer is the trite, the banal, and the salacious.
  • Our citizens do not know what the people who act in our name do- be they relief workers and other civilian "nation [re]builders" or the military- which is why we don't understand why so much of the world hates us.
  • We the people bear the full responsibility for this. Such ignorance is as intentional as it is damnable.
So, dear lady of Spain... do not hear me calling upon the U.S. to be the World Police. We'd be the "Keystone Cops" if we tried, and have been when we have. But I am also aware of the weaknesses of "International Law," its many failures, its faulty or shallow foundations.

Oh... owww... too hard... been too long... can't resist... YES, its time for a South Park reference... sorta.

Team America- World Police
by the same twisted geniuses behind the best show on American TV, South Park, dealt with this issue exquisitely well.

Nobody else out there tells it like it is like Matt and Trey. They don't just say "The emperor is naked," they say "DUDE- the emperor is butt-f*ck naked!"

Added Friday morning 7:15 windy city time after reading Val's prescient comment

The United Nations & "International Law" and Python's Life of Brian

Reg: Furthermore, it is the birthright of every man —
Stan: Or woman.
Reg: Why don't you shut up about women, Stan? You're putting us off.
Stan: Women have a perfect right to play a part in our movement, Reg.
Francis: Why are you always on about women, Stan?
Stan: I want to be one.
Reg, Francis: What?
Stan: I want to be a woman. From now on, I want you all to call me "Loretta".
Reg: Wha'?
Loretta: It's my right as a man.
Judith: Well, why do you want to be Loretta, Stan?
Loretta: I want to have babies.
Reg: You want to have babies?!
Loretta: It's every man's right to have babies if he wants them.
Reg: But... you can't have babies.
Loretta: Don't you oppress me!
Reg: I'm not oppressing you, Stan, you haven't got a womb! Where's the fetus gonna gestate? You gonna keep it in a box?
[Stan/Loretta starts to cry.]
Judith: Here! I-I've got an idea. Suppose that you agree that he can't actually have babies, not having a womb — which is nobody's fault, not even the Romans' — but that he can have the right to have babies.
Francis: Good idea, Judith. We shall fight the oppressors for your right to have babies, brother. Sister, sorry.
Reg: Wh-what's the point?
Francis: Wha'?
Reg: What's the point of fighting for his right to have babies when he can't have babies?
Francis: It is symbolic of our struggle against oppression!
Reg: Symbolic of his struggle against reality, more like...

Reg: They've bled us white, the bastards. They've taken everything we had, and not just from us, from our fathers, and from our fathers' fathers.
Loretta: And from our fathers' fathers' fathers.
Reg: Yeah.
Loretta: And from our fathers' fathers' fathers' fathers.
Reg: Yeah. All right, Stan. Don't labour the point. And what have they ever given us in return?!
Xerxes: The aqueduct?
Reg: What?
Xerxes: The aqueduct.
Reg: Oh. Yeah, yeah. They did give us that. Uh, that's true. Yeah.
Commando 3: And sanitation.
Loretta: Oh, yeah, the sanitation, Reg. Remember what the city used to be like.
Reg: Yeah. All right. I'll grant you the aqueduct and the sanitation are two things that the Romans have done.
Matthias: And the roads!
Reg: Well, yeah. Obviously the roads. I mean, the roads go without saying, don't they? But apart from the sanitation, the aqueduct, and the roads--
Commando: Irrigation.
Xerxes: Medicine.
Commandos: Huh? Heh? Huh...
Commando 2: Education.
Commandos: Ohh...
Reg: Yeah, yeah. All right. Fair enough.
Commando 1: And the wine.
Commandos: Oh, yes. Yeah...
Francis: Yeah. Yeah, that's something we'd really miss, Reg, if the Romans left. Huh.
Commando: Public baths.
Loretta: And it's safe to walk in the streets at night now, Reg.
Francis: Yeah, they certainly know how to keep order. Let's face it. They're the only ones who could in a place like this!
Commandos: Hehh, heh. Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh.
Reg: But apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
Xerxes: Brought peace?
Reg: Oh, pea-- Shut up!
Yep, I'd say that's pretty much what the world of International Law is like.

Same as it ever was, as Talking Heads sang, or...

Ecclesiastes / Qoheleth 1:2 (according to the Christian versification... be aware that people of other faiths do no necessarily follow this standard, nor indeed to all Christians- sometimes the Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Coptic Christians try to track more closely with the divisions of the Hebrew scribes known as the Masoretes. Also, the Eastern church shows a preference for following the Greek Old Testament known as the Septuagint over the Hebrew one which is based on Codex Lenigradus on the grounds that the Septuagint represents a more ancient text... it can be dated to the 2nd to 3rd century BC while C.L. is dated to 1008 AD.)

Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher,
"Vanity of vanities! All is vanity." (NASB)

2Es ist alles ganz eitel, sprach der Prediger, es ist alles ganz eitel. (Luther Bibel 1545)

2 Lo más absurdo de lo absurdo,
—dice el Maestro—,
lo más absurdo de lo absurdo,
¡todo es un absurdo! (NVI)
2 הֲבֵ֤ל הֲבָלִים֙ אָמַ֣ר קֹהֶ֔לֶת הֲבֵ֥ל הֲבָלִ֖ים הַכֹּ֥ל הָֽבֶל׃ (Codex Leningradus)

There is nothing new under the sun!


val said...

Look how successful the UN has been at preventing war since it was set up. (How many wars have there been now? Anyone who's not lost count?)

The Rug Goth said...

Thanks Val, my point exactly. You inspired me to add some inspiration from two sacred texts to the post- Python's Life of Brian and Solomon's Ecclesiastes

The UN constantly lives out the sad results of Churchill's most unfortunate statement to the effect that "Jaw jaw is better than war war" and of course the result is you get a lot of BOTH

Its a political fiasco... but beyond that... MANY PEOPLE DIE & cultures are wiped off the planet.

SnarkAngel said...

What I've been saying for a long time boils down to this: our nation (government AND people) need MORE awareness, and LESS interference.

The Rug Goth said...

A-men to that.

Knowledge is power... and by that standard, we're the world's weaklings.

And the government which governs best governs least.