Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Look Who's Ignoring the Sainted International Community

Have we decided to ignore national sovereignty when control of territory is mere legal fiction?

To kill jihadis, we launch air strikes (including with drones) in Pakistani territory beyond that country's control; in Somalia where no government has control over more than neighborhoods; and even in parts of Syria where Assad does not exert control (and without claiming to be on his side).

And we still want to kill jihadis in Yemen despite our retreat from that country in the face of a civil war.

I do believe we have the Lexington Rule in place to modify our recognition of member state authority:

So what if we modify our rules of recognition? Let's split our recognition. We recognize a government that holds a UN seat and borrows money and is responsible for its actions, as we do now. Right now it is all or nothing. You are recognized or not and if you do you are given credit for controlling everything within the lines on the map indicating your country. The government has legal responsibility to control their territory, but in practice there is no way to compel them to do so and yet international law prevents others from trying to install some level of control--or at least to destroy threats gathering in those areas beyond government control.

But as part of this recognition, we also declare the boundaries of these recognized governments that reflect effective control and not just legal fictions based on lines on maps. For most countries, we'd use the formal boundaries. Germany controls their territory. But not all countries are in this situation.

Where a country's government does not or cannot control all their territory, we should declare areas "free of control" by a national government and therefore deprive the non-state actor from hiding behind the nominal legal government when they are attacked on their de facto territory that the non-state actor rules.

This is different than working with a friendly government to launch air attacks against common enemies as we do in Iraq and Afghanistan (and which could apply to Pakistan--as it surely did not apply in the Osama bin Laden raid--notwithstanding popular disapproval and official denial).

I asked it before, so I'll ask it again: Has the UN-worshiping Obama administration with its surface fetish for the legitimacy of the sainted international community decided that the basis of the UN--states are sovereign over all that happens within their formal boundaries--is no longer valid?

Has the Obama administration adopted the Lexington Rule?

Well, as they say, only Nixon can go to China.