In the wake of the chemical-weapons attack in Syria on March 4, 2017, Russia blocked a condemnation and investigation into the source by vetoing the U.N. Security Council resolution. Meanwhile, the American administration’s view of the Syrian government was shifting. President Trump told reporters, “my attitude toward Syria and Assad . . . has changed very much.” Cleverly, the American president would not disclose whether the United States would respond against the Syrian government. The question of whether an empire like the U.S. or an international organization like the U.N. should respond hinged on the question of whether the latter was institutionally hamstrung on account of the power of national sovereignty in the organization. In short, if the U.N. was impotent, then the moral imperative could shift to the major powers in the world, such as China, Russia, the E.U., and the U.S.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley presenting evidence of the chemical attack in Syria.
(Source: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
The full essay is at "Beyond the U.N."
1. Michael D. Shear and Peter Baker, “Trump’s View of Syria and Assad Altered After ‘Unacceptable’ Chemical Attack,” The New York Times, April 5, 2017.