US' quandary: An answer to Randy Black - MCH
To put it briefly, I accept Randy Black’s caveats about Gen. Odom; maybe he is wrong in his conclusions. Yet, I absolutely sustain Gen. Odom’s diagnosis. “The [Irak] war was never in the U.S.' interests and has not become so”.
If, ever, was a rule of thumb for empires, I would risk one. “There is one moment when, as imperial interests go wild they become contrary to originary national interests.” When did Napoleon experienced the ill-will of the French? Why did Alexander turned back at the Indus? Why did Hitler experienced the “20 Juli” revolt from the Wehrmacht officers?
Now, these examples are from the past, an affirmation which is not exactly a solecis; it enhances the fact that we are living in an unprecedented situation. Traditional empires had adversaries and they were supposed to confront them with all hardpower at their disposal. “Terrorism” is not an actor; Al Qaeda is significant but it not the Wehrmacht neither the Japanese Imperial Navy. [Incidently, Randy Black’s alusions to US-induced democracy in Japan and Germany miss the point as Germany had a liberal Constitution since the 1848 Revolution and Japan showed an extraordinary adaptation to liberalism since the Meiji era. There is not this kind of preconditions for democracy in Middle East.]
Back to my point, the US benefit presently from an undisputed leadership in the world stage and they deserve it as the “ land of the free”, to put it in a benevolent way. Now, “the land of the free” can not become an empire because it does not desire it neither is programmed for it. The quandary is obvious. The United Sates arrived at the tragic state of their existence as a political community. European nations experienced it long ago: when you do not have where to go, you must sort it out inside yourselves; that was the experience of European major wars that become global wars. The European Union was conceived to put an end to 714 Peace Treaties of European history….as the polemologist Gaston Bouthoul says.
Now the US have this kind of problem as their relationship to international law has become problematic. Increasingly, the US is using various mechanisms in its domestic legislation, administration, and judiciary, to weaken the role of consent in international law and to enlarge the scope of unilateral decision. The blunt distinctions between States, such as democratic and non-democratic, and the labelling of “rogue” and “failed” states belonging to the ‘the axis of Evil is part of a “pecking-order” criterium and not of International Law. In many cases US predominance translates into treaty law through negotiations, sometimes with threats of sanctions. David Westbrook called attention to Michael Byers and Georg Nolte’s compilation of the Goettingen Seminar “ United States Hegemony and the Foundations of International Law”. We can find there an excellent assessment of US’s quandaries from “a more animated than usual” International Law approach.
Here, I am just trying to convey a feeling, not a political science theorem, qed.