REPRISE — Imagine: The Collapse of International Order, Syria, and Berlin in 1945
Originally published February 20, 2013
There is nothing inevitable about international order.
The lessons of two world wars which informed the creation of the United Nations in 1945, and the maintenance of international peace and security for over 60 years, can be forgotten.
It is entirely conceivable that without decisive leadership from either Europe or the United States, the international order that has existed for many decades could start to wobble and even collapse.
And it is nearly impossible to conceive of such leadership emerging any time soon.
The rubble in Syria resembles the rubble in Berlin and the destruction in Germany in 1945, which occurred the last time the international order collapsed.
How bad could it get?
You could have wars like the one in Syria devastating countries in Africa, a nuclear attack on Los Angeles from North Korea, Iran with nuclear weapons and delivery systems within 5-10 years, and Israel surrounded by hostile Islamist states.
Things could fall apart.
Imagine a world without law, without international law governing the use of force which is generally observed and which states seek to uphold when it is violated.
Imagine true anarchy unleashed upon the world.
Imagine a world in which states use force without acknowledging they have acted, and without any obligation to publicly justify the legitimacy of their actions by reference to international law.
That is the direction in which we are heading.
The Trenchant Observer