January 20, 2004

State of the Union: Foreign Policy Revolution

The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States - and war is what they got.

The President of the United States just annulled a number of the principles that have guided international system since 1648. Since that time, when the Peace of Westphalia was signed, the idea was that states were sovereign. Inside their borders, they could do largely what they pleased and they were responsible for what happened inside. Only states could declare war. Only states could make peace. Who was recognized as sovereign was the key to who you would talk to.

Israel, the US, Russia, a number of other nations have been doing little pirouettes around the inconvenient fact that subnational organizations are declaring and acting as parties that can declare war and have been waging war. George Bush just stopped the dance.

We are now in a very uncomfortable position. Heads of State all over the world now know that if an organization on their territory declares war on the United States, the United States will believe them and act accordingly, with likely devastating consequences to the country.

This is going to do a slow roll throughout the diplomatic world. I don't think it's going to be retracted.

Posted by TMLutas at January 20, 2004 10:08 PM