Smokescreen: The US, NATO and the Illegitimate Use of Force

Synopsis

When is it legitimate to use force? Smokescreen analyzes the workings and legitimacy of the United Nations Security Council, and how the United States and NATO governments systemically create the false perception of legitimacy for the use of force. the book offers a way forward toward international peace and security, in the interests of Western countries and humanity as a whole. Social scientists widely use Max Weber's definition of legitimacy, legitimitatsglaube, or the belief in legitimacy. Unlike moral philosophers, social scientists favor empirical data; therefore, for these social scientists, measuring legitimacy becomes possible by measuring what people believe to be legitimate. David Beetham maintains that Weber's definition is a catastrophe, and, in its place, offers a formula for legitimacy based on the objective criteria of legality, shared beliefs between dominant and subordinate, and consent from at least the most significant subordinate actors. This book argues that the United Nations Security Council, backed by the UN Charter, holds real legitimacy based on Beetham's formula. However, powerful Western states intent on military intervention, but unable to secure UN Security Council authorization, employ alternative norm justifications of self-defense beyond the scope of Article 51 and humanitarian intervention. They use a Weberian conception of legitimacy to create a perception of legitimacy where none exists. In this framework the powerful have the ability to manipulate public opinion to create legitimacy for a particular action. the author argues that this is not legitimacy but merely a perception of legitimacy to justify aggression. Objective standards to legitimacy exist, and those standards are enshrined in the United Nations Charter. This book is suitable for courses on international relations, political theory, and political science. Primary markets include bookstores, university book lists and secondary markets include international relations conferences and speaking engagements. the main subject area is international affairs. the readership level is intermediate and above. the book includes references to international law suitable for a general audience but also for the professional practitioner.