Expert comes to U to address recent U.S. role in international law

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the status of international law has risen to the forefront of worldwide thought, and even more so since the onset of the war in Iraq.

Tom Farer is one of the most prominent world experts on international organizations and law.

He has taught at Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Johns Hopkins and Cambridge universities, and currently serves as dean of the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

Farer addressed the status of the world in forming international unity and the prospects for the future.

“It’s not likely that we’ll develop a concert, but if we don’t, things will get worse,” Farer said.

The state of the world is bad enough and it is, in large part, due to force, according to Farer.

Three main forms of force exist in today’s world: self defense, force authorized by the United Nations Security Council and a broad category of every other form of force.

He emphasized that, under the current U.N. Charter, force is only legally acceptable when governed by the former two circumstances: force applied in self-defense and force authorized by the Security Council.

Farer addressed the level of self-defense in the case of the strike on Afghanistan.

“Invoking the charter recognized right of self defense…with respect to a government, the Taliban, that was providing safe haven to a well-organized terrorist organization that had struck repeatedly at American targets, killed more Americans than died in Pearl Harbor and threatened continued assaults-that was not a dubious stretch of the charter norms. Iraq, on the other hand, is a stretch,” Farer said.

The United States received backing for the intervention in Iraq from only one permanent member of the Security Council and a handful of about 30 or so other nations in the U.N. General Assembly, according to Farer.

He said he agreed with the message in the U.S. intervention, which was getting rid of Saddam Hussein, but he didn’t agree with the messenger in the Bush administration.

“Saddam is one of the biggest butchers of history. He’s a pathologic murderer who has personally killed people. That’s how he got to the top,” Farer said.

“Humanitarian grounds were the main thing.”

Farer addressed the prospects of democratizing the region as well.

“In the pursuit of democracy in Iraq, there are two perspectives: the pessimists, who tend to be the experts in the Middle East, and the optimists, who tend to base their reasoning on faith rather than expertise,” Farer said.

The best the world can hope for in the case of Iraq is a balance of power and rough justice in the distribution of opportunity and wealth.

In order for this to occur, Iraqis need a government that can strike a balance between legitimacy and force, according to Farer.

He asserted that in the end, it is most important that the empowered populations around the world are demobilized.

“[America] can militarily defeat anyone-or win any battle-but you don’t fight to win battles, you fight to win the war. No force in the world can stop a mobilized population because you aren’t dealing with a military, you’re dealing with a consciousness,” Farer said.

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