The Pinochet Perplex

The Pinochet Perplex

the Persian Gulf War, has passed-but Washington doesn't realize it, argues Huntington, the noted Harvard University political scientist.U.S. officials talk and act as if America rules the world unchallenged, he asserts. "They boast of American power and American virtue," and "lecture other coun- tries on the universal validity of American principles, practices, and institutions." Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, for instance, has called the United States "the...

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highlighted by the Persian Gulf War, has passed—but Washington doesn’t realize it, argues Huntington, the noted Harvard University political scientist.

U.S. officials talk and act as if America rules the world unchallenged, he asserts. "They boast of American power and American virtue," and "lecture other countries on the universal validity of American principles, practices, and institutions." Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, for instance, has called the United States "the indispensable nation" and said that "we stand tall and hence see further than other nations." But the cooperation of other nations is always needed in dealing with major global problems, Huntington writes.

In its misguided effort to exercise benign hegemony over the world, the United States, he says, has used two principal tools: economic sanctions and military intervention. But other nations have grown more reluctant to join in sanctions, costing the United States dearly in dollars when it goes it alone, and in credibility when it fails to enforce the sanctions. As for military action, he says that bombing and cruise missile attacks achieve little, while more serious military intervention would require allied support and a willingness to accept casualties. "Neither the Clinton administration nor Congress nor the public is willing to pay the costs and accept the risks of unilateral global leadership," Huntington writes.

During the Cold War, many countries welcomed the United States as their protector. Today, however, he says, many of them view the United States as a threat— not a military threat but "a menace to their integrity, autonomy, prosperity, and freedom of action."

On issue after issue, from UN dues and sanctions against Libya to global warming and the use of force against Iraq and Yugoslavia, America "has found itself increasingly alone, with one or a few partners, opposing most of the rest of the world’s states and peoples," Huntington says. He quotes an unnamed British diplomat: "One reads about the world’s desire for American leadership only in the United States. Everywhere else one reads about American arrogance and unilateralism."

U.S. leaders should rid themselves of the illusion that the rest of the world naturally shares American interests and values, and cease their arrogant boasts and demands, Huntington contends. Instead, they should use American power to promote U.S. interests in the world, taking advantage of America’s temporary status as sole superpower and employing its resources to win other nations’ help in dealing with global issues.

The U.S. relationship with Europe, in particular, "is central to the success of American foreign policy," the author thinks, "and given the pro-and anti-American outlooks of Britain and France, respectively, America’s relations with Germany are central to its relations with Europe. Healthy cooperation with Europe is the prime antidote for the loneliness of American superpowerdom."


The Pinochet Perplex

"The Pinochet Dilemma" by Ricardo Lagos and Heraldo Muñoz, and "The Long Arm of the Law" by Anne-Marie Slaughter, in Foreign Policy (Spring 1999), 1779 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036; "Something’s Got to Give" by Jeremy Rabkin, in The National Interest (Spring 1999), 1112 16th St., N.W., Ste. 540, Washington, D.C. 20036.

Does the case of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet signal a welcome advance in the rule of international law— or an ominous new threat to democratic self-government?

Slaughter, a Harvard Law School professor, sees it as progress. Thanks to Pinochet’s detention in Britain last fall, at the request of a Spanish magistrate pursuing him for crimes against humanity, she says, ex-dictators "everywhere may henceforth face the prospect of being held accountable for their crimes in office." The case "marks the integration of domestic and international law. Both Spanish and British courts have been willing to inter-

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pret and apply international treaties and customary international law directly and as part of domestic law."

Qualified support for this view comes from Lagos, an official in the democratic Chilean government formed after Pinochet stepped down in 1990, and Muñoz, a political scientist and former Chilean ambassador. They add that "the new rules may also discourage those very same dictators from peacefully handing over power." (Pinochet enjoyed amnesty under a 1978 law and a seat in Chile’s Senate after he left office.) And Pinochet’s ordeal abroad has had unfortunate effects at home, they note, "reawakening the deep divisions" in Chile and making him "the undisputed leader of the Right... [and] once again the central actor in Chilean politics." Chile’s government, which first protested Pinochet’s arrest, is now calling for him to be returned to Chile for trial.

Lagos and Muñoz look to the International Criminal Court (ICC) that was part of a proposed treaty adopted by a UN conference in Rome last summer (and opposed by the United States) as an aid to navigating the turmoil created by the extension of international law. Even so, they conclude, it would be best if nations dealt with their tyrants themselves. International law should only be called upon as "a backup instrument."

Rabkin, a political scientist at Cornell University, has no kind words for the Pinochet precedent. "There has long been a customary rule of international law," he notes, "that courts of one country will not sit in judgment on the sovereign acts of, or the officials exercising sovereign power in, another country." To do otherwise would be to infringe national sovereignty and invite war. The only exceptions, Rabkin says, are cases in which the defendant’s home country does not object, as in the Nuremberg trials.

Chile "will not go to war with Britain or Spain," he notes. "But the notion that ‘international law’ will now hold evil-doers of all lands to account is absurd.... [No] one expects European Union countries to hold a top Chinese leader to account for massacres in Tibet...or American officials for extradition to Sudan, which has been threatening to charge them with war crimes." International law without the foundations of international government would be the height of injustice, a "selective, inconsistent" law administered by bureaucrats. And Americans, he argues, should pause at the prospect of handing over fellow citizens—from military personnel accused of war crimes to alleged drug dealers—to international courts where they would not enjoy the precious protections accorded them as citizens by the U.S. Constitution.



A Politicized Military?

"A Widening Gap between the U.S. Military and Civilian Society? Some Evidence, 1976-96" by Ole R. Holsti, in International Security (Winter 1998-99), MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. 02142.


The talk of a "crisis in civil-military relations" keeps growing louder. In 1997, the volume soared when Wall Street Journal reporter Thomas E. Ricks published Making the Corps, depicting his Marine subjects as increasingly alienated from the "soft" values of civilian society. Holsti, a Duke University political scientist, using poll data to gauge the civil-military breach, suggests that things may not be quite as bad as they seem.

True, his surveys of senior military officers show, there is growing partisanship in the traditionally neutral armed forces. In 1976, nearly half the officers polled called themselves independents and only a third were Republicans; by 1996, independents were down to 22 percent, Republicans up to 67 percent.

When officers were asked about their ideological orientation, the striking change was among the segment calling themselves "somewhat liberal," which shrank from 14 percent in 1976 to three percent in 1996. Yet the proportion calling themselves "very conservative" also fell, from a high of 17 percent in 1984 to 10 percent in 1996.

Indeed, comparing the views of top officers with those of civilian "opinion leaders" on particular questions of policy yields a somewhat more complex picture. As expected, the military leaders are much more socially conservative (on questions such as gay rights, for example), yet


98 WQ Spring 1999




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