Considering the recent wave of poor relations between Moscow and Washington, the U.S.-Russian cooperation on Syria seems miraculous and is worthy of the support and encouragement of our people.

The fact that both parties have strategic reasons to need a non-violent solution to the issue of chemical weapons in Syria doesn’t lessen the positive nature of their cooperation. In fact, the Syrian solution may demonstrate the benefits of cooperation for both nations.

cacnp-russia-Coogan Photo

Coogan Photo/Flickr

For the moment, the cries of our war hawks, eager to get us involved in military action to reduce the power of Syria to please Israel and others, have been bypassed. If the proposed action to remove the chemical weapons from Syria and follow international law succeeds, it could be a beginning of a new era of cooperation with the United Nations.

This is long overdue. The United States nurtured the founding of the UN in response to the terrible slaughter of World War II.

Its peaceful principles remain the hope of mankind.

By embracing the Bush administration’s theory of our right to rule the world, the United States has neglected the UN and its principles. After all, great empires mustn’t be hampered by the petty rules of treaties and international law. At least, so we were told by Condoleezza Rice and others.

After 9/11 she said, “this changes everything.” Meaning that the UN could be ignored and military solutions were given the green light to roll over every problem. Until now, the Obama administration has often followed the same path.

Is this the dawn of a new day?

It could be, but only if the American people support the Rule of Law at home and abroad. The huge military-industrial-security complex has been given so much money and employs so many people that it creates its own political momentum. It feeds on fear, war and money.

The challenge is how to convert the excessive part of that complex from fighting unnecessary wars and imaginary attacks to fighting the very real threat of our decaying infrastructure, education and public safety, as well as the attack of violent climate change that is killing our people. We must demand that Congress support this hopeful action and start that conversion.

Two and a third centuries ago, the Rule of Law was the foundation of our nation. Overall, it has served us well. It’s still the dream of most people, everywhere.

Either we work to strengthen the Rule of Law, or we contribute to an ever more violent and lawless world. As the economist David D. Friedman memorably said, “The direct use of physical force is so poor a solution to any problem that it is commonly employed only by small children and great nations.”

Support the miracle.

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Peter G. Cohen

Peter G. Cohen, a World War II veteran and painter, lives in Santa Barbara. He’s a long-time environmental activist and the author of and other Internet writings.
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