Sky News laments erosion of ‘rules-based international order’ but does such a thing really exist?

Sky News laments erosion of ‘rules-based international order’ but does such a thing really exist?

The “rules-based international system” is under increasing threat, with laws flouted and “norms” violated at every turn by disobedient members of the world community, warns a preachy Sky News op-ed.
The dire warning, authored by Sky’s foreign affairs editor Deborah Haynes, defines this rules-based order as the “network of accords and institutions” which make up the“framework that helps to ensure security, rights, freedoms and justice” around the world.

Any truly honest assessment of the world today would acknowledge that this of which Haynes speaks is a myth; if it ever did exist, it has been battered ceaselessly by Western powers. The rules-based order is less a functioning system offering “rights, freedoms and justice” and more a tired catchphrase used by Western officials and their media partners to scold countries that refuse to obey their commands. In other words, it exists only in theory, rarely in practice.

Was the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan — a country still occupied 18 years later —  a win for the rules-based system? If there were any lingering notions about a functioning international order after that, the 2003 invasion of Iraq should surely have put an end to them; oddly, it gets no mention in the article.

Maybe Libyans, having had their once stable and prosperous country ravaged by NATO’s 2011 “humanitarian intervention”feel the same? The military bloc’s infamous “humanitarianism” was also on display during its earlier bombardment of Yugoslavia in 1999.

Unfortunately, it has indeed become ‘normal’ for the US to crush under its boot any country which dares to object to its rule, through the use of deadly sanctions and often brute military force. 

The other thing about the “global rulebook” is that the rules are constantly changing to suit the whims of Western powers. When asked why Washington’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over Syria’s Golan Heights was good, but Crimea’s decision to rejoin Russia was bad, Pompeo referred senators to a particular “international law doctrine” which does not exist. 

Ultimately, the screed adds little of value to any discussion about international affairs. Yet, it is still valuable in the sense that it is a great demonstration of the delusion, hypocrisy, and total lack of self-awareness displayed by many Western journalists when attempting to make sense of the world around them.


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