Might is not always right

Cape Times (South Africa), July 4, 2003 (Editorial)
By the Editor

On Tuesday the United States government announced its decision to suspend military aid to 35 countries.

The US took this astonishing decision because these countries, including South Africa, refused to sign immunity deals with it over the newly constituted International Criminal Court (ICC).

What is even more disturbing is that the US has chosen such a provocative course of action so soon after being lambasted for going to war in Iraq virtually on its own.

The US was then harshly criticised for trying to impose its political will on the rest of the world, and for disregarding the objections of the United Nations with what verged on contempt.

Its decision this week to suspend military aid to certain countries goes even further; it amounts to blackmail: if you do not go along with our wishes, is the crude message, you will be punished.

Such thuggish behaviour further erodes whatever claims the US may make to being the world’s foremost political and moral authority.

The US government claimed that its decision was designed purely to protect US troops. This does not make its decision any more palatable. In fact, rather the opposite.
It seems to suggest that the US believes it is not obliged to adhere to the rules and conventions which apply to the rest of the world.

This position is indefensible and is devoid of any logic. The only logic that applies, it seems, is that the US is the most superior military force on the globe and can set its own terms.

But might is not always right. The US needs to base its policies and actions on sound legal and humanitarian premises. Bullying and manipulation are very short-sighted strategies.

The unilateral and coercive strategies of the US are leading to growing polarisation – exactly the opposite of what the US intended: a new world order, united behind Washington’s leadership.

Instead of rallying behind the US, much of the world is being further alienated. Not a very good foundation for world peace and stability.

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