working together in a friendly, civilized society
--Franklin Roosevelt (1941)
Afghani President Hamid Karzai repeats the same plea each time the U.S. and NATO kill civilians, as they did recently in Kandahar Province: Please consult with us prior to attack, and please conserve Afghan life. Always the same. Always ignored.
A group of Afghan and foreign aid agencies--the Coordinating Body for Afghan relief--recently echoed the thought: "Excessive use of force and abusive raids and searches are undermining support, not just for foreign and Afghan militaries, but those involved in humanitarian and development work."
The Nation recently ran a nice piece outlining the problem--the removal of sovereignty under a Pax Americana and the loss of the concert of powers idea ("For Liberal Internationalism.")
Following are some excerpts:
"[Woodrow Wilson's] world safe for democracy need not be a democratic world. It need only be a world in which democracies like the United States are not forced by recurrent world wars to turn themselves into armed camps.
"If global peace is the goal of liberal internationalism, the means to this end are the self-determination of sovereign peoples and a global concert of power. Why sovereignty and self-determination? A world of many, mostly small and nonaggressive nation-states will be less dangerous than one of a few empires battling to carve up the world.
Why a concert of power? World peace is possible only if the great powers are not locked in dangerous, expensive power struggles, hot or cold. The ideal of liberal internationalism therefore is a world organized as a peaceful global society of sovereign, self-governing peoples, in which the great powers, rather than compete to carve out rival spheres of influence, cooperate to preserve international peace in the face of threats from aggressive states and terrorism.
"The UN Charter codifies the liberal internationalist vision of world order. The fundamental norm is sovereignty. Wars are legal only if they are fought in self-defense or authorized by the UN Security Council. The Security Council was intended to function as a concert of great powers cooperating to keep the peace."
The article points out the goal in 1945 was to eliminate imperialism, not local despotism. In order to participate in the UN General Assembly, a country needed only to refrain from aggression against their neighbors. They did not need to be democracies.
"Indeed, in the post-1945 liberal internationalist system, it is illegal for a democratic country to wage an unprovoked war against an undemocratic country."
"Sovereignty should remain the basis of international order." The only exceptions are in cases of genocide or ethnic cleansing. This does not include massacres, lynchings or judicial murders, all of which should be handled by the state itself.
The definition of a failed state is one that cannot control the violence within the borders of the state. Via that definition, Afghanistan is a failed state, since it cannot affect the violence wrought by U.S. and NATO forces.
Forget the Taliban.
--Jim and Lisa