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International Law

Of all the laws and legal frameworks in existence, none are more vulnerable to abuse and misinterpretation that those which span countries and continents, yet few are more essential to the maintenance of peace and prosperity among those same nations.

During the Cold War era, the main bulwark against global conflict were the legal constraints which allowed East and West to push and pull and vie for influence, even to fight proxy wars, without stepping across real or imagined red lines, so that an uneasy, but sustainable state of global 'peace' was preserved.

That situation no longer holds.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the need to observe International protocols receded, and the first Gulf War, less than a year later, was possibly the last time that any meaningful effort was made to muster a truly International consensus, and display a commitment to due process, despite the fact that Kuwait had been invaded and it's rulers had requested assistance.

Contrast this with the reckless and fundamentally illegal second invasion mounted on the flimsiest pretext of WMD.

This was soon followed by war on Libya, where a 'humanitarian' no fly zone was agreed, which soon became a kill at all costs operation, resulting in the death of Muammar Gaddafi.

The need for legal justification is no longer pretended, and we see that in Syria bombing and invasion are now commonplace.

And it's not just USA abandoning the principles of International Law.

The NATO campaign against Yugoslavia was based far more on what it could get away with, than what it could rightly justify, and the UN's association with one of the worst Human Rights offenders on our sad and distressed planet, makes even the most imaginative mind boggle. Add to these, China's notion that it controls everything that it can fire a rocket at or dump sand on, and we can see how little respect is now shown to diplomacy and cooperation.

Perhaps strangest of all, though, is the way Russia is being demonized in this context, because, since escaping communism, they have shown the most restraint and willingness to compromise of all the great powers.

Marine Law 

This can be divided into Laws of the Sea, which concerns National interests and treaties, and Maritime Law, which deals with private commercial and trade regulation.

Carrying people and cargo by sea has long been a mainstay of human progress and national wealth, so laws governing the seas go back to Roman, Byzantine and even include Islamic, jurisprudence, and have a complexity that reflects this diverse history, and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea currently runs to some 200 pages, so it's easy to see how different nations and interests will find areas to manipulate for their own purposes.

Although piracy figures are dropping, several per week are still reported, while a huge number of sailors are murdered each year, it appears therefore, that the law of the jungle is also the law of the sea.

Little wonder then, that laws concerning the smuggling and trafficking of people, are widely disputed and flaunted.

The only thing we can truly agree on, is that one person's refugee, is another one's economic migrant and yet another's unwanted invader.



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