Fair point, but

As Jack Straw endorses the Russians’ right to carry out pre-emptive strikes against terrorist bases, Norm wonders why we’re not willing to extend Israel the protection of these, err, norms.

At least, I assume that’s where his post is going. Although a problem with accepting pre-emption in international law is that if it applies to the US, Russia and Israel, then it would seem to apply to Iran and North Korea as well: the USA is substantially more of a threat to Iran than Saddam’s Iraq was to the USA, for example.

I don’t begrudge the USA, Russia or the Israelis the right to strike against imminent terror threats, assuming that they don’t abuse the right by making up lies and bombing whoever they like (this is something to which the Israelis are rather less prone than the other two actors).

One might claim some kind of ‘democratic force’ argument – that becuse Iran and North Korea are run by mad dictators, they don’t have pre-emption rights. This is also dubious: Russian democracy, never strong, seems to be petering out altogether; and US democracy also has certain flaws (did Fidel Castro really offer to send electoral observers to Florida this year, or did I imagine it?). Israel, once again, is fairly clean here.

Unless there’s another good theory I’ve missed, all we’re left with as a basis for world order is the ‘do what you like as long as America approves it’ club. And as any Latin American will happily tell you, “The USA is great. Also, I confess to being a communist. Please can you stop beating the soles of my feet now? Thank you, Mr CIA man.”

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3 thoughts on “Fair point, but

  1. I wasn’t aware that the USA was sponsoring suicide attacks in Iran. What on earth do the Iranians have to pre-empt?

    Are the US are parading missiles in Manhattan with "Death to the Islamic Republic of Iran"?


    Is Iran parading missles about with "Israel should be wiped off the map"


    This bizzare mental process from some of the left, which consists of running down Western democracies as less than democratic and then ignoring the manifest faults of nations such as North Korea, so that they can claim moral equivalency is the most saddening thing about the pseudo-left.

    They do not value the freedoms they themselves hold and think a country that throws mixed Chinese-Korean babies into wooden boxes and buries them alive is equivalent in some way to the US or UK.

    Stop playing abstract games.

  2. Are you denying that influential Republican figures have suggested imposing regime change on Iran? If I were an Iranian mullah, then I’d be seriously worried about invasion in the event of a second GWB term.

    And of course Iran is infinitely worse than the US in human rights terms. If you can come up with a coherent principle that would allow the USA, Israel and Russia to strike pre-emptively while denying it to the mullahs, I’d like to see (and adopt) it – as I said above.

  3. Are you denying that influential Republican figures have suggested imposing regime change on Iran?

    No. I’d support the Iran people in any move they made to change their regime. You wouldn’t?

    Coherent principle? How about the US, Israel and Russia are unlikely to strike pre-emptively, except in self-defense, (see Israel’s bombing of the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq) whereas the Mullahs in Tehran have explicitly stated that they want the Jewish entity wiped of the map.

    Israel has pre-emptively stopped 14 acts of terror this month, including 3 suicide bombings. Should they have let them happen and then retaliated?

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