The Myth of International Law; Distinguish between Law and the Appearance of Law
Byline: Frederick Grab, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
On New Year's Eve, I applied Mailer's construct of the factoid to the historical existence of a Palestinian state. I would now like to use the same focus to examine a far more critical chimera, international law.
My view of international law mirrors Gandhi's famous response when asked his opinion of Western civilization: "I think it would be a very good idea." A lawyer by trade, if not by inclination, I know firsthand the best and the worst of bench and bar. And despite literature's all-too-accurate pejurations, it is a far, far better thing to suffer delay, contumely, uncertainty and even occasional injustice than to descend into self help, vigilantism and eventually barbarism. Law is all that stands between us and the Saddams, the Stalins and the Hitlers. But, we must remember, each of these tyrants had what passed for law in their own empires. And so, we must distinguish between law and the appearance of law.
The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (SOED) defines law, among other definitions, as the "body of rules...which a particular State or community recognizes as governing the actions of its subjects or members and which it may enforce by imposing penalties." Similarly, Black's Law Dictionary (BLD) renders law as "That which must be obeyed by citizens subject to sanctions or legal consequences. Law is a solemn expression of the will of the supreme power of the State." I believe that the fallacy, the factoidal nature of international law in general, and its embodiment in the U.N. Security Council, is self-evident in these definitions.
To begin with, to echo the "paranoid" cries of the John Birch era, there is no world government, and hence no "state" or "community" which is the sovereign upon whose will the so-called "law' emanating from the United Nations is predicated. This is no small matter. As U.S. citizens, each of us is entitled to have our governmental decision making based upon the structure described in the Constitution. Nowhere in that magnificent document is provision made for the relegation of authority to foreign governments for matters such as war-making, movement of armed forces, conduct of diplomacy, etc, much less to a hodgepodge assembly of such governments thrown together a little over 50 years ago. As U.S. citizens, we have the constitutional right to have our president and Congress conduct our business in conformity with our best interests, regardless of what an aggregate of other states think in pursuit of their own.
There is no true political process within the United Nations. …