This past week, the campus hosted Professor Shirley Scott from the University of New South Wales to present a talk entitled ìInternational Law and US Power: A Critique.”
Scott is a published author on international law, having worked with a multitude of scholars in Australia, North America and the United Kingdom. According to the University of New South Wales Web site, her current research projects are ìThe United States and International Law” and ìInternational Law and the Use of Force.”† She was here at the Tuesday forum to discuss her findings up to this point.
Scott began to explain the ìdichotomy” of the United States Engagement in International Law.† The difference is between what the United States says and what it does; what standard it holds the international world to and what standard it holds itself to.† ìSome call it hypocrisy,” said Scott, ìbut I believe it can be explained otherwise.”
In her opinion, the current United States foreign policy can be indirectly linked to the great World Wars.† Before that point, the United States followed international as well as any other country. †However, by the end of World War II, America had become very powerful.† Essentially, the United States had won the war and, because it saw itself as a neutral third party, began to enforce disarmament treaties to which the United States believed it was exempt.† As other countries grew weaker, the United States gained strength, which helped to bolster its policy of ìcustomary law.”
A more recent issue of the United States ìskirting the law” has been the excuse of national security.† For example, when the United States government used ìshoddy legal logic” to engage in a pre-emptive strike, effectively using a good offense to protect its assets on the home-front, as in Iraq.† How do we get away with it?† Its power in the international community.
Although emphasizing the practice as being a bit shady, Scott pointed out the necessity of a strong central power in keeping the peace.† Sure, it has not been perfect, nor even remotely impartial, but World War III has not happened yet.† Besides, the United States is not the first to use this model of international policy ó the British used a similar policy during their Golden Age as well.† She did, however, say the United States is slowly using up its credibility and will soon lose the faith of the international community.† ìAt that point,” Scott said, ìChina might just give the U.S. a run for its money.”