Global Analysis from the European Perspective. Preparing for the world of tomorrow

Legal trap

In case you were wondering, a political entity may be ill-served by the international law once it becomes a signatory to it. In the power struggle that has always taken place and continues to take place, also the most noble ideas – like the introduction of international law – are wielded in the hands of politicians as weapons. You need to be on your guard also – or especially – when you are asked to agree to a piece of legal text to be later bound by it. Take the provision that makes culpable the party which begins a military aggression. Is that an irreproachable provision? At the face of it, we tend to answer approvingly. Yes, aggressors need to be condemned and need to be prevented from acting. Consequently, signatories to such a provision tend to think that this piece of legislations will serve them right. Not by any means!

One of the signatories may figure out the following: we can carry out attack after attack and so long as it is no physical – military attack – we are not going to be labelled as aggressor, while the other party is going to sustain political and economic or social losses. Thus, such attacks are carried out by one party to the detriment of the other party. Party A begins poking Party B in the eye, in the stomach, in the arm, Party A launches verbal attacks and only waits for Party B to either patiently accept such blows and sustain further losses or punch back. In either case Party A is holding the winning hand. It either continues tormenting its opponent, or provokes the opponent into pouncing back, in which case the opponent is internationally recognized as an aggressor. A nice legal trap.

Picture to yourself an ordinary circumstance: you intend to behave in a peaceful manner but someone keeps verbally abusing you, keeps ridiculing you and poking you now and again. We all understand: even if your patience and self-control equals that of an angel, sooner or later (some sooner, some later) you will punch back, and that’s it: you become an aggressor!

A wise man said: war ought not to be blamed on the one who began it, but on the one who made it unavoidable.

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