On American Diplomacy and the Disorderly Oscillation of World Orders, americandiplomacy.web.unc.edu

Chas W. Freeman, ambassador, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense

[…] The United States not only ceased longstanding efforts to establish the rule of law in international affairs,[9] it began progressively to set aside major elements of international law it had helped establish. The casualties included but were not limited to:

  • The “Westphalian” principles of sovereignty that form the basis of the United Nations Charter were set aside as the U.S. launched a series of wars and so-called “humanitarian interventions” aimed at overthrowing sovereign foreign regimes.
  • Domestic American constitutional procedures and corresponding processes for the authorization of wars by the UN were annulled by the self-proclaimed war powers of U.S. presidents.
  • Previously forceful U.S. objections to secondary trade and financial sanctions against third countries were dropped in favor their profligate use in unilateral efforts to impose U.S. policies on allies, partners, and friends as well as adversaries.
  • The Geneva Conventions of 1949 and related protocols were eviscerated by innovative U.S. legal evasions, like those in Guantánamo, and expedient suspensions of international law, as in U.S. backing for Israeli occupation practices and territorial acquisitions, set the post-World War II rules aside.
  • The civil and human rights of individuals were violated by their bureaucratic designation as “enemies of the state” and their subjection to practices like “extraordinary rendition (official kidnapping) and “enhanced interrogation” (torture).

Thus, America’s “unipolar moment” unexpectedly facilitated a radical departure from the post-World War II order and replaced it with a level of global anomie and sociopathy not seen since the 18th century. The traditional aspirations of Americans for a higher standard of morality yielded to smirkingly cynical approval of lawless brutality to achieve desirable outcomes. Americans came to believe that, in foreign policy, might makes right and the ends justify the means. U.S. claims to exceptionalism rang increasingly hollow. […]

Instead of the UN Charter and related international laws, Washington now advocates what it calls the “rules-based international order.” This formulation has limited appeal internationally. To many it sounds like a desire by the United States to restore the basic elements of the fading “unipolar moment” by proclaiming rules, unilaterally imposing and enforcing them, and then deciding which of them, if any, it will apply to itself or its client states. References to the “rules-based order” are seen as part of a pretentious U.S. effort to isolate and cripple China, Russia, and their economies, while forcing a choice between them and the United States that all but a few nations seek desperately to avoid. Läs artikel