Thursday, December 08, 2005

From ZenPundit: "Lawfare"


Mark Safranski at ZenPundit had a good post a few days ago introducing a coinage I'd never heard—"lawfare":

Don't like guns but your fellow citizens are attached to their Second Amendment rights ? Petition the U.N. for a convention restricting ownership of small arms. Your industries have trouble competing with other countries? Try an "environmental agreement" that acts as a carbon tax only on certain competitor states. Or " tax harmonization" upward that punishes freer economies than your own.

Rule sets matter. Previously, the United States willingly signed onto all kinds of far-fetched, even harebrained, international treaties, safe in the knowledge that since the Soviet bloc could be reliably expected to cheat blatantly or ignore its commitments, no one would bother pointing fingers at the U.S. because no country took such agreements seriously. Well today those documents are being dusted off and invoked by lawyers from NGO's hostile to America to hold us to stipulations to which our diplomats never would have agreed were it not for the expectation that they were effectively meaningless.the United States has to become engaged here as never before in order to:
In light of "lawfare", the United States has to become engaged here as never before in order to:

a) Establish a common premise for interpreting open-ended language with our allies that allows for a traditional standard of " robust sovereignty" so that states are both responsible for their actions as well as free to act. Mutual understandings make crafting joint policies far easier.

b) Negotiate for only genuine " win-win" and fairly narrowly defined covenants. We should sign only what we intend to keep and we should keep our word for what we actually signed. We are not Swaziland or even China. Our behavior sets the standard.

ZenPundit links to a further explanation of lawfare here. The idea of using international law as a lever in the international arena is nothing new; I just hadn't heard it referred to using such a catchy, compact term that evokes the idea of international agreements as an aggressive tool.

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