Saturday, October 7, 2017

A Largely Overlooked Huge Mistake in Foreign Policy

A Largely Overlooked Huge Mistake in Foreign Policy
The Telegraph
US votes against UN resolution condemning death penalty for gay sex -- joining Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Human rights advocates and LGBT activists have condemned the US government as it became one of just 13 countries, including China, to refuse to condemn the "imposition of the death penalty as a sanction for specific forms of conduct, such as apostasy, blasphemy, adultery and consensual same-sex relations". That resolution passed by a vote of 27 in favor, 13 voted against it and 7 abstentions. The UN ruling also condemned the use of the death penalty on people with "mental or intellectual disabilities, persons below 18 years of age at the time of the commission of the crime, and pregnant women".

The US has never supported any measure at the UN that condemns the death penalty.

The most powerful psychological tool of tyrannical governments is the use of executions. In 2015, the five countries with the most capital punishment executions worldwide were China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. This is the type of company that we continue to keep. These other countries are quick to point to the use of the death penalty in the United States to justify their use of coercive power and the death penalty. This is just one of the reasons why we should consider abolishing the death penalty as a matter of foreign policy. The UN resolution was just to place restrictions on the use of the death penalty.

After the tragedies of two world wars, the United Nations in 1948 set forth and aspired to a standard in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights which began by stating, “ Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,”

Many of our elected leaders attended law school where the prevailing philosophy of law has been legal positivism which draws a separation between morality and law. The strong advocates of legal positivism then go further and argue that all morality as well as all law is relative. Legal positivism can be supported because it is merely descriptive of what is or has been the prevailing law without moral judgement. It is not prescriptive. It is thus entirely local and relative to time and place, with there being no universal values. The laws of Nazi Germany, for example, would simply be recognized as the laws of Nazi Germany.

Legal positivism is thus entirely relative and does not recognize any universal values or Natural Law concepts such as human rights. It is thus disarmed in an international “battle of ideas.” Perhaps this background of legal positivism is one of the reasons that our leaders have problems conveying American values even in the presence of radical terrorism with beheadings, the abduction of young girls into slavery, the burning and drowning of men in cages, and a genocide of minority groups and threats of a nuclear catastrophe.

Why are we not supporting the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family even in the issue of death penalty?