Archive for August, 2009

To Charge or Not to Charge

August 25th, 2009
Thought we were moving on?

Thought we were moving on?

The WSJ reports today:

The Justice Department on Monday appointed a special prosecutor to investigate alleged CIA mistreatment of terror suspects, a move representing a sharp break from the president’s early determination to move beyond Bush-era controversies.

President Obama, April 16, 2009 (click here for full text):

In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution. The men and women of our intelligence community serve courageously on the front lines of a dangerous world. Their accomplishments are unsung and their names unknown, but because of their sacrifices, every single American is safer. We must protect their identities as vigilantly as they protect our security, and we must provide them with the confidence that they can do their jobs…

Staff Articles

Consequences of the Kosovo “Exception”

August 7th, 2009

Rules of the road?

David Johnson runs an excellent newswire service about all things Russia over at the Center for Defense Information (click here to support him). Scraps of Moscow has kindly reprinted one article from the latest posting here. The piece is an op-ed written by a Russian policywonk who is calling for a “new world order.” This excerpt caught our eye:

It is possible for the existing centers of power these days to recognize political units as sovereign states or deny them this recognition regardless of the accepted legitimate criteria. Some UN states including three permanent members of the UN Security Council recognized the former Serbian autonomy as a sovereign state in February 2008. Permanent member of the UN Security Council and Atomic Club, Russia recognized sovereignty of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in August 2008. In the meantime, Russia flatly refuses to recognize Kosovo while the United States and its EU allies keep singing hosannah to the Georgian territorial integrity. In a word, common rules, standards, and criteria no longer work. Political expediency is the only guideline. It did not begin yesterday, of course. Last year events became but another confirmation (in the post-Soviet zone, for a change) of the premise that the Yalta-Potsdam version of the international law is history and that nothing has been developed to replace it. [emphasis added]

The Kosovo Precedent is being used to justify refashioning borders.  It is easy for the US and EU to talk of Kosovo being a one-off.  Their secessionists are either kooks — extremists in Vermont and Hawaii — or harmless — independence advocates in Puerto Rico and Flanders, for example. Most of the rest of the world lives with arbitrary borders because once you open the issue to revision there is no particular endpoint short of Mad Max.

Scott Palter Articles