Thursday, July 17, 2008

Grim Cuts to the Chase

Grim, the sanguine Southern Democrat, makes this simple. Even bureaucrats can understand what he's saying here.

The view of diplomacy that has come to dominate the West is one of quasi-law: the point of negotiations is to create regulations and bodies to enforce those regulations. That mindset has an honorable history, and attempts to mitigate the worst tragedies in human history; but it also creates new problems.

For one thing, it should be obvious at this point that the international "enforcement" mechanisms are broken -- or, rather, that they were always illusions. The legalist model tries to treat relations between states as we treat relations between people within a state, but that concept cannot work. There is no similar way to punish a state, as our systems of law punish individuals.

...The traditional "enforcement mechanism" in international relations was war. This is not because our ancestors were barbarians, but because it is the only system that works. Engagement and diplomacy are good things, but they must always be braided together with the threat of war if agreements are not kept

It would be un-nuanced to reduce his essay to "too many lawyers, not enough cops," but it would not be a gross reductionism.

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