Jonah Goldberg

Now, taking nothing away from the great and glorious accomplishments of the Luxembourgeois, Togoans and Rwandans -- never mind the invaluable insights the Pakistanis have into what constitute America's vital interests -- I am at a near-total loss to see how gaining their approval for a measure makes that measure more worthwhile. If you believe Bill Clinton was right to bomb the Balkans to stop ethnic cleansing (which I do), do you think that action was any less moral or right because he did it without the support of the U.N. and therefore -- according to international law -- illegally? I don't.

And then there are the permanent five. It's worth remembering they have their seats on the council simply by virtue of the fact they were the great powers at the end of World War II. One irony is that the people who routinely insist the U.S. must seek approval from the U.N. are also the sorts of people who blithely opine that "might doesn't make right." Well, the council's authority is derived entirely from the idea that might does make right. More important, by what perverted moral calculus does the approval of Russia (never mind the old Soviet Union) or China confer moral legitimacy? Without reading the full bill of indictment (the gulags, the mass murder, the invasions, etc.), suffice it to say that China and Russia's opinion of what is right and legal counts less than Miley Cyrus's verdict on what is tasteful.

But there is a deliberative body that has significant moral, political and legal authority when it comes to the conduct of American foreign policy. It's called "Congress." You could look it up.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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