Rice’s Strategic Vision – A Democratic Peace, But What About International Law?

Rice’s Strategic Vision – A Democratic Peace, But What About International Law?

Secretary Rice continues her PR offensive. This time, her target audience is U.S. readers of the Washington Post’s Sunday Outlook section and her topic is not torture, but a restatement of the Bush Administration’s main strategic goals in foreign policy as the search for a Kantian(?) “democratic peace.” None of this is new exactly, but it is interesting nonetheless. Here’s a key graf:

Our experience of this new world leads us to conclude that the fundamental character of regimes matters more today than the international distribution of power. Insisting otherwise is imprudent and impractical. The goal of our statecraft is to help create a world of democratic, well-governed states that can meet the needs of their citizens and conduct themselves responsibly in the international system. Attempting to draw neat, clean lines between our security interests and our democratic ideals does not reflect the reality of today’s world. Supporting the growth of democratic institutions in all nations is not some moralistic flight of fancy; it is the only realistic response to our present challenges.

This is all very well and good, but there is something missing. There was no reference to building a world of democratic states that band together through international treaties to develop a global rule of law. Or to strengthen international institutions like the U.N. There was, in short, no explicit reference to the development of international law.

Was this omission deliberate? You betcha!

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stefan moluf
stefan moluf

Do you see the U.N. as the best body to be the arbiter of international law as it stands now?

Does your definition of “strengthen” mean restructuring or simply extending its international influence and enforcement power?