Obama Drives a Nail into the Coffin of our International Legal Order

By Jordan Blashekr, AMERICAN THINKER

President Obama is clearly not yet finished destroying what remains of the U.S.-led international order.  By allowing a harmful UN Security Council resolution to pass declaring Israeli settlements to be “a flagrant violation under International Law,” he reverses decades of U.S. policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and makes a future negotiated settlement even more difficult for the parties to achieve.  More importantly, the move strikes a devastating blow to the credibility of the UN and international law.

Eight years of Obama’s foreign policy have left the world on fire.  Now, with his final foray into geopolitics, he has attacked the last remaining vestiges of a rules-based order.

For a president who prides himself on the long-game, this was an incredibly short-sighted and selfish move.

While the bi-partisan backlash has so far focused on the damage to Israel and the peace process, the longer-term casualty will be the international legal order itself.  Why?  Because going forward, the three major global powers – the U.S., Russia, and China – will concurrently disregard international law as they pursue their own interests.  While we expect this from Russia and China, President Obama just all but guaranteed that the Trump Administration will follow suit.

International law only functions properly and effectively when the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – the U.S., Russia, China, France and the U.K – unanimously agree to uphold its sanctity.  Since World War II, international law progressed slowly and unevenly because the U.S., the Soviet Union, and China each exercised their veto powers in pursuit of geopolitical interests.  Nevertheless, the United States unswervingly lent its power and legitimacy to the United Nations because we believed that it enshrined our values. We accepted the short-term limitations imposed by international law because of the long-term benefits offered by a rules-based liberal order.

Today, however, the international order is neither rules-based nor liberal.

Russia and China are revisionist powers who seek to reshape the global order in their image.  They have consistently violated international law to promote their own interests, while using their Security Council vetoes to hamstring the United States from taking actions that would uphold the global order.  In just the past 4 years, Russia has annexed Crimea, sold advanced missiles to Iran, and bombed civilians in Syria on behalf of Bashir al-Assad.  China has similarly waged covert cyber war against the U.S., constructed fake islands to claim new exclusive economic zone rights, and continued their ethnic cleansing of Tibet.  At the same time, the two countries have systematically prevented the U.N. from taking any action regarding Syria, including the referral of Bashir al-Assad to the ICC for his use of chemical weapons against civilians.

For his part, President Obama has fecklessly used the UN Security Council to circumvent our own system of checks-and-balances.  In 2011, President Obama justified his military intervention in Libya through the U.N. Security Council without seeking approval from Congress.  In 2015, he again used the Security Council to ratify the Iran Nuclear Deal without submitting the treaty for approval to the Senate.  Now, President Obama has used the Security Council to punish Israel, despite the protests of the incoming president and both parties in Congress.  Never before has a lame-duck president attempted to tie the hands of his successor in such a dramatic fashion.

The American people will have to decide going forward whether the UN is still an institution that enshrines our values.  This latest vote suggests otherwise.  The resolution was sponsored by Venezuela, a failed socialist state in the midst of an economic crisis.  Votes in favor were cast by Egypt, which has had two coups in five years and ethnically cleansed its Coptic populations; Russia which recently annexed Crimea and continues its covert war against Ukraine; and China, which currently occupies Tibet and has ethnically cleansed its population.  Lastly, the resolution targets Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East and among the U.S.’ most loyal friends.

President-elect Trump has already made clear where he stands.  After slamming the vote, he tweeted: “As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.”  Members of Congress and leaders from both parties immediately started calling for reprisals against the international body.  At least on this issue, Mr. Trump will almost certainly disregard the recent U.N. resolution by working with Israel to negate its consequences.  Mr. Trump lobbied fiercely against the resolution, calling it an obstacle to peace.  David Friedman, his newly selected Ambassador to Israel, is also an unabashed supporter of settlements.

The question is – will a President Trump ignore the U.N. more broadly?  He has excoriated the U.N. in the past for not being a “friend of freedom.”  His “America First” doctrine also places him at odds with many UN members and institutions.  But it has been an open question whether a President Trump would try to work with the U.N. in the future.  With this vindictive last act, President Obama has all but guaranteed that Mr. Trump will be at odds with the organization from the beginning.

The international legal order cannot survive without U.S. support, since U.S. military power and moral authority undergird its legitimacy.  It also cannot function if the three global powers – the U.S., China, and Russia – each ignore its structures in pursuit of their own world views and geopolitical interests.  Obama’s foreign policy has left us with a world in which Russia and China already do so.

Now, with this act, President Obama has driven a knife into the heart of the international legal order by poisoning the well for the incoming Trump Administration.  This is a tragedy for the U.S., for Israel, and most importantly, for people all over the world longing for liberty and security.

It’s deeply ironic that a man who came into office so committed to the integrity of international law has now caused its downfall.

The author is a former Marine Corp Infantry Officer and counter-terror policy advisor.  He is currently a JD-MBA candidate at Yale Law School and Stanford Graduate School of Business.

December 28, 2016 | 36 Comments »

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36 Comments / 36 Comments

  1. @ honeybee:
    Yes, all of it. That’s why added Obamacare as an afterthought in a post about the betrayal at the UN and Kerry’s speech. The author spoke as if Obama and co. were unaware they are undermining international law and the international order, the UN, itself! ALL OF IT. It’s deliberate Destruction on the part of the Soros-aligned crowd — at the top — Like Communist front groups which are built around a single issue, whose rank and file believe that what they are doing will help society. But, the inner circle elite believes that the vacuum they create through deliberately overloading and crashing the system by playing by the system’s own rules will lead to socialism. Get it? They are ultraleftists. They have no defined endgame. They think something good will come out of chaos. Stalin called them “Wreckers.”

    It kept erasing my post, so after selecting and copying my text to the clipboard, I posted a new post with just one symbol, the @ sign. Then, when it took, I selected edit, erased the @ sign and inserted my text, then update. It worked.

  2. @ honeybee:
    Yes, all of it. It’s deliberate Destruction on the part of the Soros-aligned crowd — at the top. The rank and file — like Communist front groups which are built around a single issue, rank and file — believe that what they are doing will help society. But, the inner circle elite believes that the vacuum they create by overloading the system will lead to socialism. Get it?

  3. @ honeybee:
    Yes, all of it. It’s deliberate Destruction on the part of the Soros-aligned crowd — at the top. The rank and file — like Communist front groups which are built around a single issue, rank and file — believe that what they are doing will help society. But, the inner circle elite believes that the vacuum they create by overloading the system will lead to socialism. Get it?

  4. @ honeybee:
    Yes. All of it. It’s deliberate destruction. They think socialism will arise out of the vacuum they create. The liberalism is just cover. The whole Soros aligned crowd. At the top. As with issue based Communist front groups, the ranjk file believe in what they are doing. That it will help. Understand?

  5. Sebastien Zorn Said:

    Except the futile craving to make people laugh. I was being facetious, sarcastic. Went right past you, over your head and around the corner, I see

    Really, I am the daughter of a Litigator . I was fed sarcasm with a golden spoon.

  6. @ honeybee:
    Relevance? The point is the regulations are not there to help but to destroy. It’s not a mistaken policy. At the top. The grunts believe in what they are doing. And my feelings weren’t hurt. That would be hard. I don’t have any. Except the futile craving to make people laugh. I was being facetious, sarcastic. Went right past you, over your head and around the corner, I see. Sigh.

  7. @ Birdalone:
    Tibet (like Korea) has been the victim of attempts at domination and colonization by its neighbors for thousands of years. The Communist government claimed Tibet was always part of China in the same way that warlord ruled parts of China unified by Sun Yat Sen were part of China. The Maoists were constantly referring to and re-enacting a ceremony from over a thousand years ago, where a Tibetan ruler paid a nominal tax once a year to the Chinese Emperor so as not to be invaded. It’s all crap. China tried and failed to invade Tibet earlier. Succeeded in 1959. Ethnically cleansing it, the way the Muslims did in our homeland and in most of the countries they have conquered. Islam, like Communism and all other forms of totalitarianism, is evil. It is inherently inhumane. Inhumanly so. It must be defeated and overthrown everywhere. Communism is mostly gone. But, the territory and population of China, and the countries it dominates or threatens like Taiwan and Tibet, is huge.
    It’s about Greed and racism by a society that claims to be beyond that. But, any excuse will do.
    China wants environmental domination of the region, Sure. Historical, Cultural, political, economic, national. Most importantly, have you noticed that both Taiwan and Tibet begin with the letter, “T.” Ever hear the expression, “Not for all the “T” in China?”
    Well, there you go!

    “This land is my land parody”


    (the original for those who don’t know it (Before there was “Imagine”
    by the Beatles, this song was the Left’s rallying cry and credo):

    “Woody Guthrie- This Land Is Your Land”

    https://youtu.be/wxiMrvDbq3s )

    Again, we really oughta sell California, ya think?

  8. Tibetan Plateau is the watershed for 10 major rivers in Asia.
    That is why China invaded, and why Sinicization of Tibet is official policy.


    Asia’s fight over fresh water by Brahma Chellaney Dec 18, 2016
    “…With the focus of China’s dam-building and other water diversions moving from internal rivers to international rivers, Chinese mega-projects now are increasingly concentrated in the resource-rich minority homelands, especially the Tibetan Plateau — the starting point of 10 major Asian rivers. This has spurred growing concern in downstream countries over how China is using its control over Asia’s largest river systems to re-engineer cross-border flows. With as many as 18 downstream neighbors, China enjoys riparian dominance of a kind unmatched in the world.”

  9. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    “Until 1949, Tibet was an independent Buddhist nation in the Himalayas which had little contact with the rest of the world. It existed as a rich cultural storehouse of the Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings of Buddhism. Religion was a unifying theme among the Tibetans — as was their own language, literature, art, and world view developed by living at high altitudes, under harsh conditions, in a balance with their environment.

    The Dalai Lama, an individual said to be an incarnation of the Buddha of Compassion, had been both the political and spiritual leader of the country. The current Dalai Lama (the 14th) was only 24 years old when this all came to an end in 1959. The Communist Chinese invasion in 1950 led to years of turmoil, that culminated in the complete overthrow of the Tibetan Government and the self-imposed exile of the Dalai Lama and 100,000 Tibetans in 1959.

    Since that time over a million Tibetans have been killed. With the Chinese policy of resettlement of Chinese to Tibet, Tibetans have become a minority in their own country. Chinese is the official language. Compared to pre-1959 levels, only 1/20 monks are still allowed to practice, under the government’s watch. Up to 6,000 monasteries and shrines have been destroyed. Famines have appeared for the first time in recorded history, natural resources are devastated, and wildlife depleted to extinction. Tibetan culture comes close to being eradicated there.

    Peaceful demonstrations/protests/speech/writings by nuns, monks, and Tibetan laypeople have resulted in deaths and thousands of arrests. These political prisoners are tortured and held in sub-standard conditions, with little hope of justice. Unless we can all take part and recognize Tibet’s loss as our own, the future looks grim…”


    Article 4, Section 3, Geneva accords, Secretary Kerry? You may recall it. The article under whose misapplication you libeled Israel. Or might you argue that the Tibetans are not defined under Accords as High Contracting parties or protected persons? Any more than the Jordanians or “Palestinians” (who didn’t define themselves as anything but “Arabs” at that time) were?

    “With the Chinese policy of resettlement of Chinese to Tibet, Tibetans have become a minority in their own country. Chinese is the official language. ”

    Which is what the Arabs did to us from the seventh century when they invaded on. If the UN is going for Ex Post Facto Law, laws that are retroactive to times before the law was passed, why not put the “Palestinians” in the dock for that. Forget about the fact that most of them are descended from illegal immigrants from the newly created surrounding Arab countries during the British Mandate when only immigration restrictions against Jews were enforced, or locals who realized that they would get free housing, services, and money from the UN if they said they were refugees from Israel.

    Pro-Pal activists used to say, “You can’t go back 2,000 years.” Really? why not? How about 1300? They would say, what was the dominant language in the 19th Century? Well, what’s so special about the nineteenth century? You can’t go back 2,000 but you can go back 200 years? Leaving out that when the Ottomans started to allow Jews back in in the early nineteenth century, Jerusalem quickly became mainly Jewish. East Jerusalem.There was no West Jerusalem. We hadn’t built it yet, and the Arab population was minimal because there were no economic opportunities being created by Jews. Then as now, the Arabs are mainly parasites, creating nothing, but appropriating the fruit of others’ labors.
    Compare Sodastream the Israeli bottling company that provided hundreds of good paying jobs to Arabs in Judea and Samaria was forced to leave by the likes of Kerry. The Chinese bottling plant Kerry invests in in Tibet is part of the forcible displacement of the indigenous Tibetans. And, then, as Secretary of State, he quietly receives China’s demand to shut up about the damn Tibetans, already. Dont’ get me wrong. China and it’s lackey, Kerry just luuuv Tibetans. “PUll!”

    Mel Brooks – “It’s Good To Be The King”


  10. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    “Seven years in Tibet: 2 million ‘displaced’ by Chinese relocation policy” June 2013.


    “China clarifies for Trump: uh, no, global warming is not a Chinese hoax”


    “Tibetans displaced within region ‘amid rampant mining'”


  11. Zahavah Said:

    Subject: Kerry Continues Ownership in Tibetan Firm Over Protests | The Daily Caller

    Actually, a Chinese bottling firm in Tibet. Yeah, that’s seriously smarmy, hypocritical and creepy. Isn’t this a conflict of interest? Forget Russia, we may ally with Russia. But China? In Tibet? Yuck!

    China foreign minister urges U.S. not to interfere with Tibet in call to Kerry


  12. @ honeybee:
    So you knew all about Trotsky, Alinsky, and the Cloward-Piven strategy and their connection to Obamacare and that it was therefore never intended to succeed but just to overload and destroy the system to enable its replacement by a Socialist system? I’m impressed! I never would have guessed from your posts.

    Forgive me for stating what is apparently common knowledge. I certainly didn’t mean to teach my grandma to suck eggs. Oh, look, I just picked up a copy of the NY Post and sure enough, here it is, all about the deliberate though hidden in plain sight connection between Alinsky’s adoption of Trotky’s transitional program for permanent socialist revolution, the Cloward-Piven strategy, Obama’s betrayal at the UN and Obamacare. Silly me. What further reading do you recommend?

  13. stevenl Said:

    There is a HUGE swamp on the East side from 42nd to 45th street, btw 1st & FDR. Ideal for the future Trump Tower.

    I could use that UN building !!!! Move it out to West Texas, lay it on it’s side and make a pig stall of it.

  14. A Pro-Israel, Pastor Nigel Woodley, and his parishioners travel to Wellington to protest against the NZ governments evil UN actions
    Hawke’s Bay-led Israel protest at Parliament – National – NZ Herald News


    Arriving in Wellington :
    Protesters march on Parliament to condemn UN Resolution 2334 over Israel-Palestine conflict – Politics – NZ
    Herald News
    To-day Australia let NZ know that they were not happy with their stance against Israel and were vociferous in
    their condemnation.

    How can creepy Kerry sleep at night…

    Subject: Kerry Continues Ownership in Tibetan Firm Over Protests | The Daily Caller

  15. The UN needs to be repealed and replaced and who can be better than an outsider like Trump to do the job?
    There is a HUGE swamp on the East side from 42nd to 45th street, btw 1st & FDR. Ideal for the future Trump Tower.

  16. @ Zahavah:
    They’re not even good hypocrites. “FIRST DO NO HARM” – Hippocrates. Paraphrasing and rephrasing a chestnut:
    Q: Why don’t sharks attack the U.N. (or the Obama Administration)?
    A: Professional Courtesy. (Oh wait. I guess that didn’t count for much at Benghazi. Sigh. What is the world coming to when there’s just no honor among terrorists.)

  17. To all those UN scumbags with amnesia. This UN
    appearance was in 2014. Well articulated with a strong message backing Israel with FACTS not Kerry’s fiction.

    Subject: Brigitte Gabriel keynote speaker at United Nations –

    Why did Spain vote against Israel when they were trying
    to right the wrongs of their historical hateful actions against their own Jews.

    Subject: Spain Expects up to 200,000 Jews to Apply for citizenship

    Subject: Exiled from Pakistan, destitute Afghans return to a country at war | Global development | The Guardian
    Instead of correcting diabolical unjust situations it’s
    better these UN scumbags sharpen their knives for the backs of the Israelis. Hypocrites…..

  18. Resending my ‘disappeared’ email

    Barry’s award of the Nobel prize lowered the credibility of the organisation and should be withdrawn. Introducing his Muslim Brotherhood Plan to destroy Egypt was the start of the ME destruction after Bush’s Iraq. The destruction of the ME brought about the biggest invasion of Muslims into the Western world.
    Christian guilt went along with diversity and multi-culturalism looking the other way. Suddenly one day they woke up to find their native cultures had disappeared under the heavy load of Islam. Racist, Bigots and ‘Islamofauxbia’ were now buzzwords dividing communities.
    Clinton’s killing of Gaddafi unleashed boat loads of uneducated Muslim Africans into Italy and the EU. Before Gaddafi had done a deal with the then PM Berlusconi to keep then out.

    My disgust with Barry and Clinton forces me to wish Seif Gaddafi success in retrieving the country’s leadership. Seif, what happened to your father’s gold, the 147 tonnes of it….

    Putting the knife into Israel, Barry, Kerry and the defeated Clinton think they can camouflage their
    historical records. In the back of Barry’s mind he will use his last presidential breath to breathe life into the legacy and realise the dream of that Egyptian Muslim
    Brotherhood, terrorist PLO, Nobel Piss prize holder and two faced bastard –
    Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa
    Commonly known as Yasser Arafat who wanted all Israelis

    Subject: Papers Ignore Obama’s Palestinian Friends [incl. Rashid Khalidi] – Campus Watch


    Israel will survive and prosper.

  19. Trump’s “America first” is nothing more than what the other wielders of the veto right at the UNSC do on a daily basis.

    I have a lot of trouble understanding people who think that his motto is the wrong way to go.

    I am looking forward to the new government next month. Even if it misses my expectations on some point or another, it will be much better than the swill we have had to put up with in the last 8 years, or actually more if we care to remember that Bush called on Obama to suggest policy after the election but before being instated. Obama probably considers that that was stupidity … It’s eye-opening to compare that with the show going on right now.

  20. In national and international affairs this President has used and abused systematically the use of lies as a mean to an end (his goals) in total disrespect of consequences for others. This is the definition of dictatorship or tyranny! That is an example of what happens when a far left ideologue is put in power. That is why the left adores him!

  21. @ Sebastien Zorn:
    I might add the Clintons. Obamacare formerly Hillarycare, though not mentioned in these articles, clearly falls under this category, and the first article notes that Cloward and Piven were present at the signing ceremony when President Clinton signed the Motor Voter Bill.