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Is Germany actually blocking the development of the UNITED NATIONS to become an effective System of Collective Security?

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by Klaus Schlichtmann


ART. IX / 九条




Walther SCHÜCKING, The International Union of the Hague Peace Conferences


INDIA and the Quest for an effective UNITED NATIONS ORGANIZATION


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The Security Council and the Rule of Law

Reviewed 1996

Mohammed Bedjaoui, President of the World Court, has written an important book called The New World Order and the Security Council (Dordrecht, 1994). He shows that the Security Council has interpreted its powers as being above the law -- that is beyond any system of legal limits. Whatever the Security Council does is, according to the council's own view, legal. Surprising as this may seem to most people -- accustomed to legal limits imposed on governments by constitutional law or international law -- Bedjaoui makes it absolutely clear that the Security Council rejects any legal limits on its powers. He makes his point through extensive and rather chilling quotation from leading political figures and from council debates and decisions.

The book opens with a blunt statement in US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles' memoirs War or Peace (1950). Dulles wrote: "The Security Council is not a body that merely enforces agreed law. It is a law unto itself." Dulles goes on to say, "No principles of law are laid down to guide it; it can decide in accordance with what it thinks is expedient."

Bedjaoui asks whether the Security Council should be allowed to operate without any respect of the provisions of the UN Charter or the rules and principles of international law. He points out that this issue was debated at the time of the founding of the UN and has been raised in many other controversies since. He thinks the issue has become even more urgent since 1990, in light of the council's increased activitity and its great number of resolutions, sanctions and other forceful measures in the international system.

Bedjaoui argues finally that a kind of judicial review of the Security Council's acts could be undertaken by the World Court. He also discusses the value of limits on the Council being imposed by the General Assembly.

This tome contains a fairly brief main text -- clear and well-argued -- supplemented by a large bibliography and nearly four hundred pages of documents. The Non-Elected ("Permanent") Members of the Security Council are firmly opposed to Bedjaoui's views, but a majority of UN member states favor his ideas, as do many practitioners and theorists of international law. Anyone interested in the Security Council should read this important work.

Review by James A. Paul

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Human, All too Human

284 The means to real peace. -

No government nowadays admits that it maintains an army so as to satisfy occasional thirsts for conquest; the army is supposed to be for defence. That morality which sanctions self-protection is called upon to be its advocate. But that means to reserve morality to oneself and to accuse one‘s neighbour of immorality, since he has to be thought of as ready for aggression and conquest if our own state is obliged to take thought of means of self-defence; moreover, when our neighbour denies any thirst for aggression just as heatedly as our State does, and protests that he too maintains an army only for reasons of legitimate self-defence, our declaration of why we require an army declares our neighbour a hypocrite and cunning criminal who would be only too happy to pounce upon a harmless and unprepared victim and subdue him without a struggle. This is how all states now confront one another: they presuppose an evil disposition in their neighbour and a benevolent disposition in themselves. This presupposition, however, is a piece of inhumanity as bad as, if not worse than, a war would be; indeed, fundamentally it already constitutes an invitation to and cause of wars, because, as aforesaid, it imputes immorality to one‘s neighbour and thereby seems to provoke hostility and hostile acts on his part. The doctrine of the army as a means of self-defence must be renounced just as completely as the thirst for conquest. And perhaps there will come a great day on which a nation distinguished for wars and victories and for the highest development of military discipline and thinking, and accustomed to making the heaviest sacrifices on behalf of these things, will cry of its own free will: ,we shall shatter the sword‘ - and demolish its entire military machine down to its last foundations. To disarm while being the best armed, out of anelevation of sensibility - that is the means to real peace, which must always rest on a disposition for peace: whereas the so-called armed peace such as now parades about in every country is a disposition to fractiousness which trusts neither itself nor its neighbour and fails to lay down its arms half out of hatred, half out of fear. Better to perish than to hate and fear, and twofold better to perish than to make oneself hated and feared - this must one day become the supreme maxim of every individual state! - As is well known, our liberal representatives of the people lack the time to reflect on the nature of man: otherwise they would know that they labour in vain when they work for a ,gradual reduction of the military burden‘. On the contrary, it is only when this kind of distress is at its greatest that the only kind of god that can help here will be closest at hand.  The tree of the glory of war can be destroyed only at a single stroke, by a lightning-bolt: lightning, however, as you well know, comes out of a cloud and from on high. (R.J. Hollingdale, transl., Human, All Too Human. A Book for Free Spirits, Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy (1996), pp. 380-81)