The US has sent missiles to attack Syria. Not only is this a violation of international law, it is also a violation of the US Constitution in that nowhere has congress granted authority to take military action in Syria. The administration claims that it has ‘secret authority’ to wage war though why it should be kept secret is not clear. The administration did not even go through the pretense of an investigation or any public presentation of whatever evidence they have. They have simply asserted that they are justified in taking the action, the same way that they have done many times in the past and later been shown to have lied. And as usual, the UK has been its craven lackey, this time joined by France, both of whose leaders seem to enjoy being part of the macho posturing by Trump.
But we are way past such niceties as following laws. The US has long been a rogue state, out of control. Many police in the US are rogue actors, attacking and killing people with impunity just because they can. It is not surprising that they think they have the right to ride roughshod over the rights of people when their own government behaves in just the same way with respect to other countries. And just as the police are careful to act in this high-handed manner only against those who are powerless, such as the poor and minorities, while protecting their friends and the wealthy, so is the US selective. It attacks some countries while it conveniently collaborates with nations such as Israel and Saudi Arabia as those countries create immense misery, suffering, and death for so many people, with weapons supplied by the US and provided with political and military cover for their actions.
We cannot blame this just on Trump. He is just the current person in the office and doing what every president, Republican and Democrat, has done going back to the mists of time. All those Democratic supporters of Barack Obama who twisted themselves into pretzels to defend his unlawful actions because he was a ‘nice guy’ and seen as ‘one of them’ have to share the blame for what Trump is doing.
A state department spokeswoman was quoted as justifying the latest US military action by saying that no country (she was of course referring to Syria) can be allowed to violate international law. Yeah, right. I wonder if any reporter at any of these briefings will bring up the extremely long list of violations of international law by the US and ask the spokespersons about them. Don’t hold your breath. The US media knows well how to avoid asking uncomfortable questions while also exploiting the jingoism of the public, to ride the patriotic fervor, the thrill that people feel at the show of muscle by someone else supposedly acting on their behalf while they themselves are safe and secure
I recently watched a good British police drama called Collateral. In it, a Labour member of parliament tells his party leader that the party’s hostile and xenophobic attitude towards refugees and immigrants is wrong. He says that the one thing we know for sure from history is that things change and that nations that were once powerful will later become weak, those who were once wealthy will become supplicants, and those who treat refugees and immigrants with contempt will one day find their own people in the position of seeking refuge elsewhere. The course of action that should be taken is that based on the assumption that roles could be reversed in the future, however unlikely that may seem at present.
At this moment in time, the US is the world’s bully with little or no respect for the law and acts as if that state of affairs will last forever. Like all bullies, one day it will get its comeuppance.