St. John’s Associate Dean for International Studies, Christopher Borgen, has written this essay on Opinion Juris on President Barack Obama’s recent speech on potential U. S. military intervention in Syria and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s responsive op-ed published in today’s New York Times. In the piece, entitled, From Apology to Bazinga!: International Legal Rhetoric in Obama’s Speech and Putin’s Op-Ed, Professor Borgen, who writes on states’ use of international legal rhetoric as diplomatic strategy (among other issues) observes:
This week, we saw the leaders of the U.S. and Russia use the language of international law to undertake the latest round of persuading, positioning, and sparring. For the moment, at least, Russia’s explicit use of international legal argument in its diplomatic statements has helped it to redefine the debate over Syria.
But we should not forget that the real issue here is not the strategy of the argument, but saving and preserving lives. Assad’s war machine is still chewing up men, women, and children and we need to get past apology, Utopia, and Bazinga! and find a way to address Syria.