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This is worse than Colin Powell’s 2003 Iraq speech
Dialogue with the Alter Ego on Sec. Kerry’s case for war in Syria, drafted and published on Aug. 31, 2013
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    A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording
    mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike. (...)An
    evident principle runs through the whole program I have outlined. It is the principle of justice to all peoples
    and nationalities, and their right to live on equal terms of liberty and safety with one another, whether they
    be strong or weak.
    Unless this principle be made its foundation no part of the structure of international justice can stand. The
    people of the United States could act upon no other principle; and to the vindication of this principle they
    are ready to devote their lives, their honor, and everything they possess.

    US President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, Jan. 8, 1918 (Excerpt)


Question by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (AE): On August 30, US Secretary of State John Kerry gave a press
conference in the course of which he detailed the United States’ case for a military intervention in the Syrian
civil war. His arguments were that there is pretty undisputed intelligence which evidences that chemical
weapons have in deed been fired by the Assad regime, that this has happened several times by now, and that
it is imperative for the world to finally send a message that such crimes against humanity won’t be tolerated
endlessly. What does Noah denkt™ make of Mr. Kerry’s presentation?
Answer by Noah denkt™ (Nd):
Beyond what we have already said in this matter it irks us most that the US isn’t
even considering to get a UN Security Council mandate for subject intervention. In that, Mr. Kerry’s speech is
worse than that given by former Secretary Powell in 2003 who at least tried to get UN support for
a later
intervention in Iraq.

AE: Why is it bothering you so much that the US isn’t going to take its case to the UN Security Council? After all,
it isn’t too far fetched to presume that “guaranteed Russian obstructionism” (Kerry) won’t allow for any
intervention mandate to be passed.
Nd: Well, the problem here is that by not even asking for a UN mandate the US is undermining the credibility of
all UN based collective security management so much that its questionable whether the latter can continue to
operate from here on. In other words,
it seems to us this could very well be a watershed moment in
international relations and in international law
since all meaningful international community based
reasoning may have effectively lost its foundation.

AE: But, come on. This is not the first time that the UN has been sidelined in matters of peace and war. Just
think about
the Russian intervention in Georgia from 2008. That use of force by a UN veto power didn’t have
explicit Security Council backing either. And still, this didn’t mean the end of all collective security based politics.
Nd: The difference between a possible US intervention in Syria and anything that Russia does or does not do is
that the United Nations were created due to US initiative. And that would imply that the US should demonstrate
a greater sense of obligation towards the authority of subject institution than anyone else would be expected to
feel.

AE: Okay, but neither the US interventions in Grenada (1983), Panama (1989),
Kosovo (1999) Afghanistan
(2001),
Iraq (2003) nor the cruise missile strikes in Sudan and Pakistan had UN backing. And all this didn’t
destroy international community based reasoning either. Why then would air strikes in Syria be so different?
Nd: Because for the first time ever,
the US doesn’t have the moral support of Great Britain, the other great
founding father of rule-of-law based thinking in this world. That changes the perception of any US action in
Syria dramatically. After all, Britain is the home of the concept of common law, of fair play, of the Magna Charta
and of parliamentary politics to name just a few.   

AE: And the moral and practical support which the US receives from
France in this matter doesn’t make up for
the lack of British backing? After all, France is another UN veto power. And do not forget that the Chinese
character for "Law" equals that for "France".
Nd: French support for the US-led action in Syria doesn’t change the fact that it is the first time ever, at least in
our recollection, that the US is pressing ahead with a military intervention without having the tacit support of at
least half of the veto powers in the Security Council, let alone in the international community. This is a serious
first that could come back to haunt us all.
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Keywords:

credibility of collective based security arrangements, credibility of the UN Security Council, John Kerry's case for a
military intervention in Syria, comparing John Kerry's case for war in Syria to that of Colin Powell's case for war in
Iraq, consequences of unilateral US intervention in Syria
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