POL326Y1 Lecture 16: USFP Latin America Lecture

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26 Aug 2019
USFP towards Latin America
Make reference to an aspect of political culture: American exceptionalism
o Textbook: American know-how (the idea of American technological superiority1 component)
Americans could be successful where others have failed
International law2nd component
o Powerful countries like America would enforce international law; Iraq and Libya are prominent
violators of international law
o The environment in which international law; the powerful must do what they will, the weak must
do what they must
o The weak need an international system in which states are required to act
o The United States may transform international system in ways that’s conducive to its own agendas
without needing to mimic other international system
o International law rests on just war principles (Michael Waltzer)
Jus ad bellum (just reasons to resort to warfare)
Jus in bellum (justice within war)
Proportionality: the activities of a few Russian trolls would not justify the use of nukes;
would breach the notion of proportionality
Discrimination (most important): combatants must do whatever’s possible to avoid civilian
causalities; put into international law with support of Americans
War must be conflict between people and civilians; in WWII, the conflict played out in trenches and vast
o Airpower became much more decisive; during WWI, it wasn’t a decision of decision-makers, but
rather the nature of the conflict
o For example, Intel suggests that there were ball bearings in Germany; Americans took this out, yet
Germans; one of these bombs will hit what was intended
o Collateral damage is a breach of international law; the fact that it wasn’t intended doesn’t absolve
a state’s conduct; the precision bombing was somewhat problematic
Britain and France had no use of airpower
Europeans weren’t constrained in use of it; given this reluctance on part of America
French bombed in daytime; British bombed during daytimes
By the end of WWII, the misgivings of airpower were cleared up
The justification of using airpower completely changed, rather it intended to undermine the
war effort; made attacking civilian targets
o Michael Sherri: there were no constraints in using airpower as a means to use for American
technological superiority
The Nuremberg Laws: these laws must’ve been drawn up
Weakening of international law has implications on the United States with regards to WWII
o The use of airpower under international law remains underdeveloped especially in the context of
nuclear weapons; America’s only used nuclear weapons in the world (ex. Hiroshima/Nagasaki)
o Kurdis Lamain: faced between a large choice between a Japanese invasion or achieving a rapid
surrender on part of japan; airpower is an easier way to achieve objectives
o The other decision that made these bombings controversial is that there weren’t any military
targets within those cities; American policymakers were confused about this, since Tokyo was
already destroyed by conventional bombing
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