Monday April 16, 2018
The full extent of the damage to international peace and security caused by the US-led Syrian strikes will take some time to become clear. But its impact on the very concept of legality in international affairs is already evident.
Simply put, the most powerful county in the world and its chief satellites, the UK and France, have thrown the rule of law into the trash can. The only "law" now is the law of the jungle. There is no going back.
Ironically, the attack itself was claimed by its perpetrators as enforcement of legality, not of its obliteration. For example, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces "a clear breach of international norms and agreements" that "calls for a collective and effective response by the international community."
Leaving aside for a moment the question of what really happened in the Syrian city of Douma, Stoltenberg knows very well what the mechanism is for a collective response by the international community.