Author Topic: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law  (Read 127951 times)

DougMacG

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United Nations, WHO: Yes, Dr Tedros previously covered up epidemics
« Reply #300 on: May 18, 2020, 11:11:26 PM »
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/13/health/candidate-who-director-general-ethiopia-cholera-outbreaks.html

[2017]  “A leading candidate to head the World Health Organization was accused this week of covering up three cholera epidemics in his home country, Ethiopia, when he was health minister — a charge that could seriously undermine his campaign to run the agency. The accusation against Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was made by a prominent global health expert who is also an informal adviser to Dr. David Nabarro, a rival candidate in the race for W.H.O. director general.”
« Last Edit: May 19, 2020, 05:47:06 AM by DougMacG »

Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: Trump vs ICC
« Reply #301 on: June 12, 2020, 05:45:17 AM »
Warning a Rogue Court
A Trump order defends the U.S. and Israel against foreign prosecutors.
By The Editorial Board
June 11, 2020 7:46 pm ET
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The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.
PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
President Trump takes a lot of flak for his blunderbuss hostility to international organizations, but he’s aiming for the right target with the new sanctions he threatened Thursday against the International Criminal Court. Someone needs to rein in the ICC and it might as well be Washington.

The order allows the Justice, State and Treasury departments to impose financial sanctions or travel bans on any ICC officials who attempt to prosecute Americans. It expands on a previous round of travel restrictions on some ICC officials introduced last year. The immediate goal is to block an investigation the ICC started in 2017 into supposed war crimes in Afghanistan. That investigation is both vexatious and silly. U.S. officials accused of crimes already are subject to American law, while the ICC somehow thinks the Taliban will care if officials in the Hague prosecute the terrorists for genocide.

The bigger aim of Thursday’s sanctions is to defend American sovereignty, and that of allies such as Israel that are also targeted by the court. The U.S. is not a party to the ICC, and both Republican and Democratic administrations have long worried the court would expose American officials to politicized lawfare investigations.

Sure enough, Attorney General William Barr said Thursday the Administration believes Russia may be exerting undue influence on the court to tie down American officials in a long, costly and pointless Afghanistan prosecution. Mr. Barr also said he’s seen evidence of financial improprieties by court officials. If that’s true, the lack of effective accountability counts as another strike against the court’s legitimacy.

The Trump Administration would perform a public service by releasing whatever evidence it has of alleged wrongdoing at the court. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump’s order is a vital defense of the constitutional rights of American citizens to have criminal complaints against them adjudicated in impartial, democratically legitimate courts.

Crafty_Dog

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Globalist Joe at the UN
« Reply #306 on: February 08, 2021, 05:31:54 PM »
Hope Over Experience at the U.N.
Biden ‘reengages’ with a dictators’ club called the Human Rights Council.
By The Editorial Board
Feb. 8, 2021 6:42 pm ET



Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday announced the U.S. would rejoin the United Nations Human Rights Council, vowing to reform the body “so it can achieve its potential.” We suggest the White House aim for a more realistic goal—like attaining world peace or establishing a self-sustaining Martian colony.

The U.S. is joining the council as an observer immediately and will seek full membership when possible. It shouldn’t be hard to meet the organization’s expectations. Well over half of its members “fail to meet the minimal standards of a free democracy,” according to UN Watch.

Last fall Cuba, Russia and China were elected to the 47-seat body. Moscow won its seat after poisoning opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has since been imprisoned on trumped-up charges. The Chinese Communist Party-sponsored genocide in Xinjiang wasn’t enough to stop its accession, though its margin of victory narrowed from previous years. Cuba’s long history of repression didn’t matter.


Like so many other U.N. institutions, the council also has a malign obsession with Israel. It has condemned the Jewish state some 90 times since its founding in 2006. No other country comes close. By UN Watch’s count, Syria and North Korea earned 13 and 35 condemnations. Russia and China? Zero.



Mr. Blinken at least acknowledged “that the Human Rights Council is a flawed body, in need of reform to its agenda, membership, and focus, including its disproportionate focus on Israel.” But these problems are endemic and predictable: Membership is based on a vote in the General Assembly, not on real standards of human dignity or freedom.

Knowing that Norway and North Korea get an equal say, George W. Bush didn’t bother seeking a seat. Then Barack Obama joined with no real results. After the Trump Administration’s attempts at reform failed, the U.S. withdrew.

Mr. Blinken argues “our withdrawal in June 2018 did nothing to encourage meaningful change, but instead created a vacuum of U.S. leadership, which countries with authoritarian agendas have used to their advantage.” This might be credible if countries like Cuba, China and Russia also weren’t members during the Obama years. Mr. Blinken doesn’t explain why this time is different.

A leading conceit of Joe Biden’s foreign policy is that the U.S. can reform international organizations—and make them live up to their ostensibly noble purposes—simply by showing up. History shows that America’s involvement condones the farce rather than ending it.

Crafty_Dog

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Stratfor: How many countries are there in the world?
« Reply #307 on: March 03, 2021, 05:00:01 AM »
How Many Countries Are There in the World?

undefined and Director of Analytic Client Solutions
Amelia Harnagel
Director of Analytic Client Solutions, Stratfor
4 MIN READMar 2, 2021 | 22:22 GMT





People stand over a world map at the Monument to the Discoveries in the Belem parish of Lisbon, Portugal, on Aug. 21, 2014.
People stand over a world map at the Monument to the Discoveries in the Belem parish of Lisbon, Portugal, on Aug. 21, 2014.
(Frederic Soltan/Corbis via Getty Images)

How many countries are there in the world? It’s a seemingly simple question. But like so many things in geopolitics, the answer is, well...complicated.

The 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States listed four requirements for statehood: a permanent population, a defined territory, a government and the capacity to enter into relations with other states. The issue, however, is defining who meets that criteria, which varies depending on who you ask.

The Common Standards
United Nations: Since the middle of the 20th century, U.N. membership has largely been seen as the standard for what makes a country a country. South Sudan was the last new member to join the United Nations in 2011, bringing the total number of U.N. member-states (and some would say recognized countries) to 193.

Admission of new members is managed by the U.N. Secretary-General with approval from the General Assembly, based on whether the applicant is deemed a “peace-loving” state that is “able and willing to carry out the obligations contained in the [U.N.] Charter.”
The United Nations also allows for non-member states to serve as “permanent observers” in the General Assembly, which currently includes The Holy See (commonly known as Vatican City) and the Palestinian territories.
Nation-State vs. Country
For the purposes of this analysis, we’ve opted to stick with the common vernacular that uses “nation-state” and “country”  interchangeably. Technically, however, there’s a difference. The United Kingdom, for example, is a single nation-state made up of four countries. And while a country, Libya is not a formal nation-state since it currently lacks a unified government that’s recognized both at home and abroad. 

The World Bank: Another large global body that we reference often in our work here at Stratfor is the World Bank. While World Bank and U.N. membership overlaps significantly, they have different missions and different criteria for admission. Andorra, Cuba, Liechtenstein, Monaco and North Korea are U.N. members but not World Bank members, whereas Kosovo is a World Bank member but not a U.N. member.

The Olympics: Of course, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is another large international organization with a global membership and reach. The number of countries competing changes slightly each time the events are held, as well as between the summer and winter games. But for our purposes here, we’ll consider the 2016 Summer Olympics, which saw athletes from a whopping 205 countries compete. This included all 193 U.N. countries except Kuwait (whose athletes competed under the banner of Independent Olympic Athletes), along with 12 other countries.


The Gray Areas
It is worth noting that there are dozens of areas around the world that are not formal members of these international organizations, but meet the 1933 criteria for statehood listed above (i.e. permanent population, defined borders, a government and capacity for international relations). This includes:

Self-proclaimed states like Liberland, located between Croatia and Serbia.
Partially recognized states like Western Sahara and Northern Cyprus.
Politically ambiguous states like Palestine and Taiwan, which are both recognized by some U.N. member states and not others.
“De-facto” states like Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, which operate mostly independently but are still widely recognized as part of another nation-state. Other breakaway territories that fall into this category include Somaliland, Tibet, Abkhazia and Transnistria.
Our Definition

As for our analysts and experts here at Stratfor and RANE, we use our own standard for defining countries based on geopolitical realities. We started with the U.N. list (including the permanent observers), and then added Greenland, Hong Kong, Kosovo and Taiwan. All four of these added states operate independently in the world system, at least geopolitically, which we deemed distinct enough to warrant them being treated as individual actors. While bound to spark some controversy, our standard should not be construed as taking a side in the quest for independence in these disputed regions, but rather a necessary framework for us to do our jobs.

And that, there, is why there is no one “right” answer to how many countries there are in the world, as the definition of country will always depend on the context in which it’s being used. For us, it’s outlining the constraints and compulsions within states’ (sometimes disputed) borders. But for others, it may have nothing to do with geopolitics and everything to do with what is “home.” And neither one of us is more right than the other.

Crafty_Dog

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ccp

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Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law
« Reply #312 on: April 05, 2021, 02:18:39 PM »
Yellen to call for global minimum corporate tax rate

Vladimir Lenin, 1917 ,
on return to Petrograd from exile and

on top of a tank to cheering soldiers and sailors screamed :

"  long live the world wide socialist revolution !  "

[notice he did not say Russian]

the goal today is the same

Crafty_Dog

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Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law
« Reply #313 on: April 09, 2021, 06:57:55 AM »
April 9, 2021
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The Myth of a Rules-Based World
Thoughts in and around geopolitics.
By: George Friedman


Two concepts have been constantly used in discussions of international relations of late. One is a liberal international order and the second is a rules-based system. In the former, the term “liberal” does not have much to do with what Americans call liberalism. Rather, it describes an international system that is committed to human rights, free trade and related principles. The second is the idea that there is an agreed-upon system of rules governing the relationship between nations. Together, these notions are thought to create predictability and decency in the way nations interact with each other.

This issue came up during the administration of former President Donald Trump, who was accused of undermining these principles by, for example, imposing tariffs on China and questioning the value of NATO. The question is emerging again because the Biden administration, having come to power criticizing the policies of its predecessor, has made it clear that it intends to return to these principles.

The most important question is whether there ever was a rules-based international order or whether it was an illusion. There has long been a vision that the relationship between nations should not be a war of everyone against each other, but rather harmonious cooperation between states. Philosophers and theologians have dreamt of bringing this vision to life, and at various times attempts were made to institutionalize it.

In the 20th century, two attempts were made to create a rules-based, liberal system of international governance. The first was the League of Nations, which was founded after World War I and became defunct well before World War II broke out. It had rules, but no way to enforce them, both because the very nations violating its rules were members and, more important, because there were no means of enforcement. Adolf Hitler was not created by the liberal and rules-based order, but neither was he in any way inconvenienced by it.

The second attempt was the United Nations, which was created to be a more forceful League of Nations. The major powers that won World War II were recognized to be a special class of nations and given special powers on the Security Council. The problem with the Security Council was that both the United States and Soviet Union were permanent members, and the Soviet Union demanded that permanent members be allowed to veto actions that they opposed. As the world was then divided between the United States and the Soviet Union, opposed to each other in every way possible, the result was that nothing could get done. The United Nations was unable to enforce rules and sank into a complex bureaucracy of humanitarian actions designed to mitigate the pain caused by its failure to fulfill its mission. That mitigation was not trivial, but it did not constitute a rules-based system.

The Cold War was a chaotic mixture of subversion, civil wars, interventions and threats of nuclear exchange. The world was hardly liberal, with Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union and China living under communist rules, and the Third World, freeing itself from European imperialism, caught between U.S. and Soviet manipulation.

It is difficult to understand what rules-based liberal system we are expected to return to. After the fall of the Soviet Union, there was a momentary thrill that we were seeing the age of Aquarius rising. But it was the same illusion that followed the Napoleonic wars, World War I and World War II. The Congress of Vienna, the League of Nations and the United Nations all had rules but few of them were followed. The Maastricht Treaty was signed as the Soviet Union collapsed, and it did bring the rule of law to what had been one of the most lawless places in the world: Europe. But the rule of law was for Europe, and the rules were never as clear as was the sheer power of some of its members – namely, Germany. It’s liberal but not liberal enough to encompass the whole of European experience. The European Union has rules galore and some liberalism to boot, but Europe is just an idiosyncratic fragment of a global system it once ruled.

The post-Cold War era gave rise to Islamic radicalism, endless American wars and the rise of China, which had long followed its own rules, only some of which could be considered liberal. Accompanying this era was a sense that what mattered was the interests of the nation-state. What a state needed was its primary consideration, how to get it its obsession. Each nation determined how much liberalism it tolerated, and when instructed by outsiders as to how they should live, they often answered with insurrections.

There can be no rule of law, as the philosopher Thomas Hobbes said, without a Leviathan, an overwhelming power imposing it and administering it. For a time after the Soviet collapse, there was hope that the U.S. would helm a multilateral order rather than become the Leviathan. The U.S. had neither the interest nor the ability to rule the world, but right or wrong, it couldn't always escape trying – dominant powers tend to act in certain ways if they want to continue to be dominant powers.

And without the rule of law, liberalism was always impossible. There were international agreements followed to the extent it benefited nations, and there were some international organizations that were useful to be a part of. But the rule of law was invoked when the law supported a nation’s position, and liberalism could not rule a world that was a vast mixture of beliefs, all passionately embraced as the only truth. The liberal international order, in other words, existed when it was convenient. In some places, it never existed at all.

The idea that we must return to a glorious age in which nations were ruled by laws and liberalism is a fantasy, a fantasy that allows us to believe that we can return to it. It is a nostalgia for things that never were. The human condition binds humans to communities large and small that think of themselves as free. They do not submit to rules they have not made, nor to political principles they did not craft. The Greeks did not accept the rules of the Persians or their political order. So it was then, and so it is now. The world doesn’t change that much, and the only place we can return to is ourselves.


Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: Yellen, Biden & Congress trying to give away American sovereignty
« Reply #315 on: July 16, 2021, 03:14:02 PM »
The Biden Administration is planning the biggest overhaul to American taxation in decades, and you’d think members of Congress might have something to say about it. But no, for the most part a strange silence has greeted Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s bid to rope the United States into a revamp of global tax rules that by design robs Congress of its sovereignty over tax matters.

We’ve described the details of global tax rules being negotiated at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The plan would create a new method for other countries to tax American tech companies (although this is billed as a tax on any big, global firm), and also would establish a global minimum corporate-tax rate of 15%. As the New York Sun reminds us, this is a fundamental affront to American constitutional governance.

A bedrock principle since the country’s beginning has been that the power to tax must rest with the representatives elected by the people who pay the tax. Washington has always sought to defend this principle in the international sphere. The Senate has ratified dozens of tax treaties with foreign governments. These agreements try to ensure that a foreign government won’t impose taxes on income Congress already has taxed within the U.S., or to which Congress might lay claim because the company is headquartered in America.

Constitutional principles aside, this is good economic policy. Despite their flaws, current global rules broadly try to hand taxing authority to the jurisdiction where a company’s investors and managers have taken risks, engaged in product development or research and the like. This arrangement lets Congress experiment with tax laws it believes are best suited to the U.S. economy, and allows voters to pass judgment on lawmakers’ successes and failures.


***
The tax rules the OECD contemplates and Ms. Yellen supports are very different. The tech tax is an immediate threat to Congress’s constitutional power. Foreign leaders admit the point of the proposals is to redistribute to them some of the corporate revenue the U.S. Congress now taxes (or not).


This would allow sclerotic European countries to tax successful U.S. firms solely by dint of housing consumers rather than encouraging investment and risk-taking—while blunting the benefit of any incentives Congress wants to provide. There’s a reason French and German officials favor this approach over economic reforms to encourage the development of their own tech companies. They can piggyback off the work U.S. lawmakers have done to foster a vibrant economy in America.

The global minimum tax might seem like less of a threat to Congress’s prerogatives only because the OECD’s proposed rate of 15% is lower than the rate Congress might impose. But here too Ms. Yellen wants to encroach on Capitol Hill’s constitutional authority.

By binding the U.S. to the OECD’s complex system for calculating a minimum tax, Ms. Yellen is limiting the ability of a future Congress to change tax rates and the exemptions, deductions and other rules of the U.S. code. Meanwhile, she’s signaling U.S. assent to a system that might allow foreign governments to tax corporate revenue Congress deliberately chose not to tax, in order to “top up” corporate taxes to some desired minimum.

***
If this sounds familiar, it’s because the Obama-Biden Administration attempted the same gambit with the Iran nuclear deal in 2015. The idea there was to sign the U.S. up to agreements that would create facts on the ground that Congress would find hard to reverse. Something similar is underway as John Kerry jets around the world negotiating American commitments ahead of another global climate summit later this year.

When will Congress stand up for itself? Sen. Mike Crapo and Rep. Kevin Brady, ranking Republicans on Congress’s tax-writing committees, warned Ms. Yellen in a letter last week not to surrender any part of the U.S. tax base to foreign governments. They also requested closer consultation between Treasury and Congress before Ms. Yellen goes any further in global negotiations. Other Republicans should awake from their slumbers and fight too.

As for Democrats, they’re either silent or supportive of Ms. Yellen’s global gambit. Some may underestimate the threat OECD proposals pose to their own power as lawmakers. Others, especially progressives, may welcome the opportunity to insulate their high-tax policies from future Republican Congresses.

Either way they’re making an historic mistake. Congress’s constitutional role in setting tax policy for the U.S. and its citizens is central to self-government. No taxation without representation. The French helped America win the revolution under that banner, but that doesn’t mean Emmanuel Macron should be able to write U.S. tax policy.