Politics > Determining Political Choice > Applications > Global Arena > Law & Nations: CL2&3

International Rule of Law and National Interests (CL2 & CL3)

CL2: Global Rule of Law

There is no equivalent to a society's rule of law at the international level: the closest are UN conventions and charters and an emerging canon of international law with international courts.

Power issues and pragmatics often determine whether any particular treaty, convention or international law is taken seriously at any moment. The 'balance of power' approach commenced some centuries ago inhibits but does not prevent wars and global disorder: as witnessed in the 20th Century.

A global system that is anarchic but not chaotic is to be welcomed. Anarchy, as a system of social organization, is built on individual-member’s voluntary cooperation and responsibility. It rejects any form of coercion by «higher» governance institutions.

The issue remains as to whether individual nations are prepared to be constructively anarchic rather than encouraging violence. Many internal civil wars or coups or «freedom» movements have been, and still are, stoked by leaders of larger nations as if this was perfectly reasonable behaviour and desired by their public.

CL3: Nations & States

Nations and statesSome nations are not states e.g. the Karen of South East Asia have a government but lack exclusive territory and recognition; the Kurds do not have a Kurdistan. Both Karen and Kurds have army equivalents. that engage in the power struggles-CL1 are pressured by two phenomena revealed by the national v global duality: namely declared national interests (CL3N) and agreed national obligations (CL3G).

Geopolitics Centres and Channels of influence in relation to power struggles (L1), international rule of law (L2) and governments, the political actors (L3)

National interests would be expected to dominate national obligations, especially given that this dominance is natural and understandable within the nation-state. However, in the geopolitical context, it is disturbing to notice that powerful nations often refuse to accept obligations acceptable to most others.

Example: Closed The Ottawa Treaty seeks a complete ban on all anti-personnel landmines. These weapons often cause civilian injuries for many years after wars have ceased. As of Jan 2011, 159 nations had signed up, but not China, India, Russia or the United States.

ClosedMore about Rejection of Obligations:

Agreed national obligations-CL3G (i.e. based on formal treaties, global conventions, international declarations) often seem to be treated with near-contempt and trampled over by Heads of State. In more advanced societies, the political issue is usually about how to deceive the citizens and the legislature.

This rejection of obligation is profoundly anti-ethical, politically destructive and humanly corrosive. It contributes to the fears that lead to war and to the persistence of war within international relations—even when that war is unnecessary and unwanted from the perspective of the citizenry.

Using the labels developed for the national frame of reference, it seems that nation-states often use the Channels negatively and destructively—always on the grounds of national security.

A further effect of the focus on national security is to tilt the internal balance of power towards the state rather than the individual. This destructive normality will not alter until…Closed the people in the societies face up to what is going on and bring a stop to it.

Originally posted: July 2009; Last updated: 12 June 2014.

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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