our moral authority


“In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.”

That cringe. That feeling of embarrassment in your gut. That deep sense inside you that there has been a fundamental shift in the global balance. These feelings are the new paradigm for us as Americans, so get used to them. Our moral authority, to the extent that we had any, is lost. Those emotions you felt while watching the above clip also manifest themselves as a collective global chuckle, a world response to our utter arrogance. How dare we make such statements now? While giving a prepared speech on the Georgia conflict McCain also said the following:

“Anyone committing human rights abuses or acts in violation of the laws of war should be held accountable.”

As the world rolls its eyes at us we must ask how we arrived here.  What has become of our great democracy?  We have pawned off our moral authority, but for what? For the invasion of a country that was of no threat to us? For the suspension of habeas corpus, our most important guarantee of freedom? For the ability to torture prisoners, violating both international law and rational thought? For the secret wire-tapping of our own citizenry?

Although John McCain is the one I quote, this post is not an attack on him per se. In fact, had he said these same words eight years ago, they would not be remarkable at all.

James Traub is a freelance writer who specializes in international affairs. NPR’s Fresh Air interviewed him on the crisis in Georgia. I highly recommend you listen to that episode to get a better understanding of what the conflict is about.  The link is below:



1 Response to “our moral authority”

  1. 1 DO
    August 17, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    This is what i have been saying all long – There isn’t anyone you can put all your faith behind and know that, this is our guy to make everything better. There is absolutely no one running at this moment that i feel that is going to make what is wrong with the US and the world a better.

    McCain states that in the 21th century countries don’t invade other countries…. He must have been asleep for the last few years because i remember a small conflict across the pond where the mighty US invaded a county because we were attacked by not the county but people inside the country who may or may not have had anything to do with the government… McCain scares me but Barack Obama scares me more. I am not trying to start an argument hor pick a fight here but am actually scared about what’s going to happen in this next year…

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