Your one-stop shop for everything related to the Peace of Westphalia

Peace of Westphalia in the news, November and December 2022

Alfred de Zayas, the author of an article I referenced in my previous entry, appears again with another article in Counterpunch. I didn’t much care for his other article, and this one is significantly worse. In the last paragraph, he seriously argues that “NATO could easily be considered under the prism of articles 9 and 10 of the Nuremberg Statute of 1945 as a ‘criminal organization.'” No, it could not. Even if NATO has done many bad things (which I will not debate here), serious thinkers need to distinguish between “criminal organizations” and international security organizations which sometimes do bad things. Statements like this cause people not to take you seriously.

The author did raise one point which I thought, briefly, was interesting: he claims that “Pursuant to article 2, paragraph 3, of the Charter there is a treaty-based obligation to sit down and negotiate” contrary to NATO’s encouragement of a hardline position by Ukraine. A quick look at the UN charter finds that the sentence in question reads, “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and. justice, are not endangered.” It seems pretty clear that this article is intended to address people who start wars over international disputes; it certainly says nothing about how one is to resolve a war once it has started. There is, obviously, no way to settle a war such that “international peace and security, and. justice, are not endangered” — the war has already seen to that. I happen to feel that NATO is wrong to encourage Ukraine’s hard line against negotiations, but it doesn’t help to take a UN directive out of context and pretend that it requires people to negotiate.

And then, as though to disprove everything I thought about him, de Zayas writes what seems a basically sensible piece on how to settle the war in the Ukraine (Counterpunch). I can’t find anything to dispute in his blueprint of 8 points:

  1. Ceasefire based on the UN Charter, 2. A ban on deliveries of weapons to the belligerents, 3. UN organized international assistance to all populations suffering because of the war, lack of energy, lack of food, etc. 4. UN organized and monitored referenda in Crimea and Donbas, 5. Lifting of sanctions that have nullified the benefits of globalization, broken supply chains, upset international trade, endangered food security, 6. Drafting of a new security architecture for Europe and the world, 7. Establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to hear the grievances from all sides, 8. Punishment of war crimes by the respective governments, e.g. Ukrainian crimes to be investigated and prosecuted by Ukrainian judges, Russian crimes to be investigated and punished by Russian tribunals.

He cites an article by Henry Kissinger in The Spectator which argues that we are in danger of nuclear war and that we need a negotiated settlement. This seems so obvious to me, and yet it is controversial. Western opinion, at least among the literati, supports a hard line in favour of Ukraine. People who have opposed every U.S. war in my lifetime are telling me that we have to funnel more arms into Ukraine so they can win the war. I am so confused where this belligerence is coming from. I’m not a huge Kissinger fan, but I think he is right on this, and I wish more people would take note.

Many of the articles that I am alerted to relating to the Peace of Westphalia only tangentially touch the peace. Most of the articles I read are either crazy (anything from Executive Intelligence Review, which I don’t even look at any more) or so grossly uninformed about world affairs that I don’t see any point in engaging with them. Then, there are some that are just weird. I have one alert from last December with the title “Is Switz Nato or Warsaw Pact?” That’s not my abbreivation of Switzerland — that’s actually in the title. But the more striking question is, what in the heck is the author talking about? The Warsaw Pact dissolved itself over 30 years ago. What could it possible mean to discuss whether Switzerland is “Warsaw Pact”? I have no idea.

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