Debating IR

Probing the philosophical underpinnings of the international system and anything else of interest.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Milosevic "Tried" to Death

Since the class readings focus on what went on in Yugoslavia during the late 90's I thought this might be of interest. Apparently, Slobodan Milosevic died of natural causes earlier in the day. It looks as if Milosevic was "tried" to death.

This is a huge embarassment for the tribunal and NATO which botched the war from the very beginning. How could NATO think that spending $200 million dollars on a drawn out, four year mess, be a good idea? NATO could have made everything a lot easier for itself had it just hung the guy right from the beginning. Was it not obvious that Milosevic was guilty?

Of course, the critics are right that the tribunal could have been a lot more efficient and wiser. Even though this tribunal turned out to be a big waste of time it is an important indicator of how critical certain values are to the the West. NATO could have just eliminated Milosevic and swept him into the dustbin of history. Yet, they spent the money and suffered through the public embarrasment because "the West" stands for the rule of law and "civilized" behavior in international relations. I believe these values are intrinsic to the West's identity and explains why the West had to go through the mess that was the Milosevic trial.

In the end, I think for Western governments, the commitment to these values gives it the legitimacy it needs to garner the support of its own people.

Hopefully, future leaders will learn from the Milosevic trial and be a lot more efficient and use much more common sense.


Blogger NW said...

I have to agree with Jon about the stupdidity of these trials. They definitely reflect the importance of morality as a power in influencing international relations. These trials are entirely ineffective and serve no obvious purpose in a power-based anarchic world. They are often long and lead to conclusions which are not preferred. They make a mockery of an organized judicial system. Witness the Saddam trial, where Saddam pleads not guilty to war crimes including chemical attacks on civilians, but complains that his judge is biased because he comes from a village which was gassed.

However ill-conceived these trials may be, they are important. These trials help the West to uphold "higher" values of morality, giving them a moral trump card in the world system. This trump card acts as a power which the West can use to intervene in situations such as Kosovo. It's kind of like the Shinko idea that even behind humanitarian efforts there is often violence and force, power. By not simply executing Milosevic or the others who routinely commit suicide while in jail, the West impairs its military and judicial authority, but in the modern world of touchy-feely human rights, moral power may be increasingly more important and may someday supercede military power in importance.(I'm unsure how likely this is however, due to the fact that being threatened with violence is generally more frigtening than being threatened with the loss of freedom of speech.)

2:40 PM  

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