By Peter G. Cohen
Considering the recent poor relations between Russia and the U.S., their cooperation on Syria seems miraculous and is worthy of the support and encouragement of our people. The fact that both parties have need of a nonviolent solution to the issue of chemical weapons in Syria does not lessen the positive nature of their cooperation. In fact, the Syrian solution may demonstrate the benefits of cooperation for both nations.
For the moment, cries of our war hawks, eager to get us involved in military action to reduce the power of Syria, in order to please Israel and others, have been bypassed. If the proposed action to remove the chemical weapons from Syria and follow international law is successful, it could be a beginning of a new era of cooperation with the U.N. This is long overdue. The United States nurtured the founding of the U.N. in response to the terrible slaughter of World War II. Its peaceful principles remain the hope of mankind.
By embracing the neocon theory of our right to rule the world, the U.S. has neglected the UN and its principles. After all, great empires must not be hampered by the petty rules of treaties and international law. At least, so we were told by Dick Cheney and others. He said, “…9/11 changed everything…” Meaning that the UN could be ignored and military solutions were given the green light to roll over every problem. Until now, the Obama administration has often followed the same path.
Is this the dawn of a new day? It could be, but only if the American people support the rule of law at home and abroad. The huge military-security establishment has been given so much money and employs so many people that it creates its own political momentum. It feeds on fear, war and money. The challenge is how to convert the excessive part of that complex from fighting wars and imaginary attacks to fighting the very real threat of our decaying infrastructure, education and public safety, as well as the attack of violent climate change. We must demand that Congress support this hopeful action and start that conversion.
Two and a third centuries ago, the rule of law was the foundation of our nation. Over all, it has served us well. It is still the dream of most people, everywhere. Either we work to strengthen it as more effective than slaughtering our fellow human beings, or we contribute to an ever more violent and lawless world. As David Friedman once wrote, “The direct use of physical force is so poor a solution to the problem of limited resources that it is commonly employed only by small children and great nations.” Support the miracle.