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How can countries be held accountable?

marcuscato
Posts: 738
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7/24/2011 4:35:26 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
E.g.
1.America supposedly waged war on Iraq for "WMD" based on false intelligence. Its ridiculous, Thousands of innocent civilians have been killed as a result.
2.It is alleged that-Pakistan deliberately breeds terrorists.
3.The western countries have caused global warming but are unwilling to take responsibility.
How can we fix these things?
Solomon_Kane
Posts: 29
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7/24/2011 7:11:21 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
I'm not sure how greater accountability could be enforced. Since countries are pretty much owned and controlled by largely unaccountable corporations, the entire gamut of oversight and declaration would need to be overhauled and policed.

The undertaking would be vast, and would need to coincide with approval globally if it were to be truly effective. You'd be basically looking at a totally different society than the one we have at present.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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7/24/2011 2:05:12 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
The minute they're "held accountable" they're not countries, they're provinces.
And you clearly dislike, say, Saddam being held accountable for his unquestioned crimes despite his lack of WMDs, so you oughtn't ask, despite your love of holding others accountable for an accusation that a basic understanding of the scientific should lead anyone to laugh at.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
CGBSpender
Posts: 82
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7/24/2011 2:58:24 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
The first thing you learn when you study international politics is that it is basically a state of anarchy. States are sovereign bodies in a similar manner to human beings. So the answer to your question "how can countries be held accountable?" and the contention raised that if they are held accountable they aren't States, raises the question "can humans be autonomous/sovereign and held accountable for their actions in a state of anarchy?"

I think the answer to the second question is yes since freedom is in most ethical theories a necessary prerequisite for accountability and so they can't be conflicting. If it is the case that humans can be both sovereign and held accountable even in a state of anarchy, then it must also be possible for states to be held accountable.

The specific framework to enforce this accountability, I would imagine, would be, if you had a negative conception of liberty, just a Balance of Power (as it is now), but if you had a positive conception of liberty, there could be a legal framework built up that didn't infringe on the autonomy of States.

The important thing to keep in mind here is that, as things are now, States are accountable just not in an obvious legalistic way. It is more through global interdependence and mutually-assured destruction, and mechanisms like that.

I guess to be more specific staes are accountable to the stronger and to the collective as might be exemplified in the oil crisis of 1973. The strengthening of international economic interdependence would increase accountability, but make everyone more vulnerable as might be exemplified by the very recent global recession.
Talleyrand
Posts: 3
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7/24/2011 11:24:13 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/24/2011 2:58:24 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
The first thing you learn when you study international politics is that it is basically a state of anarchy. States are sovereign bodies in a similar manner to human beings. So the answer to your question "how can countries be held accountable?" and the contention raised that if they are held accountable they aren't States, raises the question "can humans be autonomous/sovereign and held accountable for their actions in a state of anarchy?"

I think the answer to the second question is yes since freedom is in most ethical theories a necessary prerequisite for accountability and so they can't be conflicting. If it is the case that humans can be both sovereign and held accountable even in a state of anarchy, then it must also be possible for states to be held accountable.

The specific framework to enforce this accountability, I would imagine, would be, if you had a negative conception of liberty, just a Balance of Power (as it is now), but if you had a positive conception of liberty, there could be a legal framework built up that didn't infringe on the autonomy of States.

The important thing to keep in mind here is that, as things are now, States are accountable just not in an obvious legalistic way. It is more through global interdependence and mutually-assured destruction, and mechanisms like that.

I guess to be more specific staes are accountable to the stronger and to the collective as might be exemplified in the oil crisis of 1973. The strengthening of international economic interdependence would increase accountability, but make everyone more vulnerable as might be exemplified by the very recent global recession.

I wouldn't be so sure about that point. The anarchic nature governing international relations is definitely considered in certain schools of thought; namely the realist one. But Wilsonian collective security would have us believe that there is a legal (at least) and a moral (at best) obligation for states to act responsibly towards the goals of peace, security and prosperity. In fact, the legalistic basis of international relations is something that is considered to stretch all the way to the beginning of the current states' system in 1648. While one could argue that such obligation is enforced by states themselves and therefore null, third-party normative bodies governing state-relations have precedence back to the Holy Alliance and Vienna Congress System of 1815. In the present day, such bodies can be found in the UN and othe international bodies, who just lack the strength to enforce legal claims. But to say that the states' system is inherently anarchic is ignoring attempts past and present (successful and not) to impose order, especially while one is going on today.

I see what you did there...
Inter arma enim silent ledges.
Talleyrand
Posts: 3
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7/24/2011 11:27:28 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/24/2011 7:11:21 AM, Solomon_Kane wrote:
I'm not sure how greater accountability could be enforced. Since countries are pretty much owned and controlled by largely unaccountable corporations, the entire gamut of oversight and declaration would need to be overhauled and policed.

The undertaking would be vast, and would need to coincide with approval globally if it were to be truly effective. You'd be basically looking at a totally different society than the one we have at present.

Not at all. Accountability of that nature only really requires the enforcement of accountability on the part of the world's most powerful nations; only a handful. And such measures have been attempted before, and continue to shape action today: Klaus von Metternich's Holy Alliance, for example. Or the League of Nations. Or the present-day United Nations.
Inter arma enim silent ledges.
marcuscato
Posts: 738
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7/25/2011 2:43:37 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/24/2011 2:05:12 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:

And you clearly dislike, say, Saddam being held accountable for his unquestioned crimes despite his lack of WMDs, so you oughtn't ask,.
I never said/indicated that i dislike him being held accountable. I would like it if he was held accountable and this did not involve a war.
Furthermore the war was principally waged on the basis of WMD and not about Saddam being held accountable.
Why was Saddam not held accountable in the International court of Justice?

Wikipedia:Amnesty International stated that the trial was "unfair,"[7] and Human Rights Watch noting that Saddam's execution "follows a flawed trial and marks a significant step away from the rule of law in Iraq.

Again, I am not implying that Saddam was innocent, merely that he should have been held accountable by an impartial body.

Wikipedia:After the court ruled that its covert war against Nicaragua was in violation of international law (Nicaragua v. United States), the United States withdrew from compulsory jurisdiction in 1986. The US now only accepts the court's jurisdiction on a case-by-case basis.

While I appear to be coming off as anti-american, I am not so.
While browbeating of the weak(nations) may be a reality, I do not think there is any harm in having a discussion on accountability in the interest justice.
CGBSpender
Posts: 82
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7/25/2011 12:33:58 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/24/2011 11:27:28 PM, Talleyrand wrote:
At 7/24/2011 7:11:21 AM, Solomon_Kane wrote:
I'm not sure how greater accountability could be enforced. Since countries are pretty much owned and controlled by largely unaccountable corporations, the entire gamut of oversight and declaration would need to be overhauled and policed.

The undertaking would be vast, and would need to coincide with approval globally if it were to be truly effective. You'd be basically looking at a totally different society than the one we have at present.

Not at all. Accountability of that nature only really requires the enforcement of accountability on the part of the world's most powerful nations; only a handful. And such measures have been attempted before, and continue to shape action today: Klaus von Metternich's Holy Alliance, for example. Or the League of Nations. Or the present-day United Nations.

I think what the original poster is getting at is that these attempts fail precisely because they rely on the abiliy of certain countries to enforce accountability over all when that force would not be used to regulate the enforcers.
Is there any real accountability in a justice system where the administrators of justice are functionally above the law? I think most modern liberal conceptions of justice would answer this question with a resounding "no". But justice and accountability are not synonymous and agreeinng on what justice is makes it as impossible to enforce it as the logistical and economic requirements that these "world police" would need.

As a seperate point, when you talk about accountability for States, it is very different than saying that individuals like Saddam Hussein, George Bush, or Henry Kissinger should be put on trial. It's important not to confuse the too.
CGBSpender
Posts: 82
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7/25/2011 12:37:59 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/24/2011 11:24:13 PM, Talleyrand wrote:
At 7/24/2011 2:58:24 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
The first thing you learn when you study international politics is that it is basically a state of anarchy. States are sovereign bodies in a similar manner to human beings. So the answer to your question "how can countries be held accountable?" and the contention raised that if they are held accountable they aren't States, raises the question "can humans be autonomous/sovereign and held accountable for their actions in a state of anarchy?"

I think the answer to the second question is yes since freedom is in most ethical theories a necessary prerequisite for accountability and so they can't be conflicting. If it is the case that humans can be both sovereign and held accountable even in a state of anarchy, then it must also be possible for states to be held accountable.

The specific framework to enforce this accountability, I would imagine, would be, if you had a negative conception of liberty, just a Balance of Power (as it is now), but if you had a positive conception of liberty, there could be a legal framework built up that didn't infringe on the autonomy of States.

The important thing to keep in mind here is that, as things are now, States are accountable just not in an obvious legalistic way. It is more through global interdependence and mutually-assured destruction, and mechanisms like that.

I guess to be more specific staes are accountable to the stronger and to the collective as might be exemplified in the oil crisis of 1973. The strengthening of international economic interdependence would increase accountability, but make everyone more vulnerable as might be exemplified by the very recent global recession.

I wouldn't be so sure about that point. The anarchic nature governing international relations is definitely considered in certain schools of thought; namely the realist one. But Wilsonian collective security would have us believe that there is a legal (at least) and a moral (at best) obligation for states to act responsibly towards the goals of peace, security and prosperity. In fact, the legalistic basis of international relations is something that is considered to stretch all the way to the beginning of the current states' system in 1648. While one could argue that such obligation is enforced by states themselves and therefore null, third-party normative bodies governing state-relations have precedence back to the Holy Alliance and Vienna Congress System of 1815. In the present day, such bodies can be found in the UN and othe international bodies, who just lack the strength to enforce legal claims. But to say that the states' system is inherently anarchic is ignoring attempts past and present (successful and not) to impose order, especially while one is going on today.

I see what you did there...

Yes, haha. It's not a very ideological claim that there is anarchy before order is imposed. That order can be imposed is an entirely different claim. I am certainly not saying that all order is superficial and the underlying anarchy is necessarily supreme.