The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence

By Francis A. Boyle | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE
THE UNITED STATES
EMBRACES
INTERNATIONAL LEGAL
NIHILISM

With the Reagan/Bush administrations' ascent to power in January of 1981, the people of the world witnessed a government in the United States of America that demonstrated little if any respect for fundamental consider- ations of international law and organizations, let alone appreciation of the requirements for maintaining international peace and security. What we watched instead was a comprehensive and malicious assault upon the integ- rity of the international legal order by a group of men and women who were thoroughly Machiavellian in their perception of international relations and in their conduct of both foreign policy and domestic affairs. This was not simply a question of giving or withholding the benefit of the doubt when it came to complicated matters of foreign affairs and defense policies to a U.S. govern- ment charged with the security of both its own citizens and those of its allies in Europe, the Western Hemisphere and the Pacific. Rather, the Reagan/ Bush administrations' foreign policy represented a gross deviation from those basic rules of international deportment and civilized behavior that the United States government had traditionally played the pioneer role in promoting for the entire world community. Even more seriously, in several instances, spe- cific components of the Reagan/Bush administrations' foreign policy constituted ongoing criminal activity under well-recognized principles of both international law and U.S. domestic law.

In direct reaction to the Reagan/Bush administrations' wanton attack upon the international and domestic legal orders, tens of thousands of Ameri- can citizens engaged in various forms of nonviolent civil resistance activities in order to protest against distinct elements of a U.S. foreign policy that violated basic principles of international law. These citizen protests led to numerous arrests and prosecutions by federal, state, and local governmental authorities all over the country. This author gave advice, counsel and assis- tance to individuals and groups who had engaged in acts of nonviolent civil resistance directed against several aspects of the U.S. government's foreign

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