By Ibrahim Folorunsho Jimoh
My mentor Stephen R. Covey first gives me the opportunity to see the Berlin wall on a DVD attached to his famous book the ‘Eight Habit’. It was a devastating experience for me, seeing a sudden wall dividing east and west of Berlin. I saw every pain to humanity, genocide, rape, unending cries, stealing, suicide, murder, inhuman treatment, aches to women, children, young people, and many more discomforting pains. The euphoria was unexplainable, a simple convergence of madness when the wall was coming up to celebrate the darkest side of man. And the excitement of happiness when the wall was coming down says we can close our differences and come back as one family over and over again.
The fundamental international principle in breach
One fundamental principle of international praxis of the geo-centric politice that becomes formal with states as actors in international relations is contained in what states signed as the guiding principles of practice as Articles 2 (4) and 2 (7) of the United Nations. Article 2(4): ‘All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state or in any other manner inconsistent with the United Nations’ purposes’.
And article 2 (7) ‘Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such cases to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll’.
The chapters’ design suggests that all members of the UN shall be restrained from the use of force which is absolute banding authority and significant driver of the mutual relationship among nations at least to prevent untold injustice to human security and for the avoidance of another untold war.
They are forbidden from the use of a threat to war in the form of the use of force against one another. This is more so that the principle of states’ existence is fundamentally based on equality. This is more emphasized in Article 2 (1). ‘In pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, the Organization and its Members shall act following the following Principles. The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members’. Ian Hurd (2021) posited that “they have a kind of constitutional status because of the breadth and severity of the limit they place on the organisation vis-à-vis state sovereignty” those articles defined the operational bases of the United Nations in all that they do.
If a state does not abide by the fundamental covenant, they signed with the UN what is the options left for the United Nations in the face of human insecurity. We asked because these are situations in which the United Nations assumed states’ duties and acted as an actor in international politics. Still, when America invaded Iraq in 1990 without waiting for the UN and acted in violation of the UN chapter, what happens? In matters of Panama invasion, what happens. We saw in Libya in 2011, the UN Security Council response to “threat to international peace and security” the Council acted fast following her mandate in preventing war or threat to peace, but why is the situation differs in Libya?
The challenge in foreign policy is where the boundary lies in domestic matters that will tragal or respect the non-interference principle in other nations’ domestic affairs regarding Article 2 (7) of the UN Charter. Sands and Klein (2001) cited cases of apartheid in South Africa, genocide in Rwanda, and colonialism as more essential domestic matters or matters of international concern. Even in the apparent face of international practice of reducing anxiety on domestic issues and expanding global problems to justify intervention, is anything making sense in Syria matte?
Any Respite For Liberalism or Realism
At the Centre of international politics is power and interest. Thucydides trap (450s–400 BCE). Trajectorially, this plays open in the Delian League even if it is dissolved in the face of the Peloponnesian War. The realist’s classic argument is that within the content of an anarchic international society. An inherently unstable condition that requires international actors to guarantee their survival through the accumulation of power in a state of statism resulting in self-help is one effective way of ordering international peace.
Central to yesterday’s argument and today’s reality is Thucydides and Morgenthau’s belief that the origins of global power politics were to be sought in human nature. The state of nature as Bellum omnium contra omnes (‘war of all against all’) as describes English philosopher. Even if the Leviathan in Syria Is a realist, what has become of the end ten years after? We saw more in the field of Kenneth Waltz (1979) that global politics is conceived of the struggle for power, wealth, or security. John Mearsheimer criticized America’s intervention in Syria. He said that American intervention is uncalled for because such intervention underscored by a lack of demonstration of the US’s sufficient interest in Syria. Even if, as cited by Cox and Campanaro (2016) the work of Bull, 2002, p.184) that Realism’s model of the anarchic international system helps it to explain the persistence of war – defined as large-scale organized violence between two or more international actors in pursuit of political ends. It does not seem Realism has the solution to civil war such as the one in Syria, but only expanding it.
Liberalism’s incredible approach to anarchic international system desires to order peace of humanity in the dashboard of collaboration and corporation, expanding harmony of interest. But how much has such corporation and collaboration help in Syria? For how long the waiting time for the collaboration for peace to manifest.
Sir Winston Churchill “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.” It looks it is the other way in Syria; it seems like a war-war. What will the libra do? At the start of the war, we were hopeful that liberalism would not allow things to go this far. Is the thesis of liberalism challenging to deliver in Syria that “The First World War gave birth to the first generation of Liberal thinkers in IR – the Idealists? These thinkers hoped to establish a world based on the rule of law and collective security, in which states would resolve disputes through the League of Nations (now United Nations) rather than war’.
The liberalism thesis, as argued by Cox and Campanaro (2016), that Liberals believe that any form of international order must be defined by justice if it is to survive. Unjust orders, they argue, are inherently unstable because they invite rebellion by the people they oppress. This is falling sought of the reality with the killing in Syria. It makes sense for the war to end now.
-Jimoh Ibrahim CFR is a PhD Modern War candidate of the University of Buckingham.