(Captain's log): I've seen many commentators writing about leftist demands for an internationalized trial for Saddam who have expressed exasperation at what they perceive as smugness or obtuseness. In fact, what I think we're seeing is fear, panic and desperation.
I think those commentators have made the mistake of taking the leftists at their word. For example, Tacitus comments acidly on leftist claims that Saddam's trial would lack "legitimacy" unless it was handled by some sort of international tribunal. But that's only what they say. What they're thinking is that if this is not handled by an international tribunal, then the concepts of "international justice" and "international law" will themselves lose legitimacy.
For a long time now, transnationalists have been working to establish a world government. Their goal is nothing less than world conquest, but since they do not intend violent conquest, their means has been persuasion. What they hope is to create embryonic manifestations of world government and then to try to talk about them as if they were already established. If they can convince enough people (and the right people) that there even is such a thing as "international law", then it becomes true.
So they push that idea by hiding it. When discussing a nation which refuses to go along with them, they talk about that nation as a scofflaw rather than openly acknowledging the philosophical disagreement about whether there even is such a thing as "international law".
But the events of the last two years have not been kind to the transnationalists. There have been events which they think should properly be dealt with on the international level, but it's all gone wrong.
There was, for instance, their attempts to use the UN as a sort of international parliament. From their point of view the UN is deeply flawed, since the General Assembly has no practical power, and the US has a veto in the Security Council. But it was the best they had, and in a time of World War they demanded that the UN be involved in all decisions about where to fight and what to fight about.
But the US and its (true) allies fought in Afghanistan without even a token consultation with the UN. When the time came for the next major battle of the war, in Iraq, they did consult the UN, but after months of apparently pointless wrangling, they ultimately kissed the UN off and attacked without formal UN approval.
For transnationalists, both results were terrible. And they were reduced to hoping that somehow each of those operations would turn out to be a debacle for the attackers, somehow hoping that the course of events would do what no human agency seemed capable of: punishing the "unilateralists" for their failure to submit themselves to world governance.
"Unilateralism" is a term which the transnationalists have used pejoratively to label many of the actions of the US and its closest allies, who should instead of have embraced "multilateralism". Taken literally, the application of those two terms has been nonsense, since America had the support of many nations both in Afghanistan and in Iraq. But they're being used as code words, with new meanings. "Multilateralism" means submitting yourself to world governance and ignoring your own narrow self interest; "unilateralism" means a refusal to sacrifice sovereignty and an insistence on acting out of self-interest.
When America was wakened from its slumber by a brutal attack on its number 1 city, and when in response it seemed to become pugnacious, nationalistic, and "unilateral", it was a profound threat. America is the most powerful nation on the planet, the sole remaining superpower left standing after the Cold War. Its military power was unmatched; its economy was immense; it led the world in science and engineering; its diplomatic influence was felt everywhere. It was the hyperpuissance and without American acquiescence and submission, the transnational goal of world government could not be achieved.
The US had long been viewed as the biggest problem facing transnationalism, for there seemed little hope that Americans would lose faith in the system which had been so successful. There was an ongoing effort by many transnationalists to try to colonize the future by capturing control of the agenda in America's schools and indoctrinating America's children with the basic transnational concepts, but success was only partial, and it had not progressed very far. Transnationalists had hoped that some major setback might shatter American pride and confidence, and the 9/11 attacks seemed to have that potential. It was perceived by transnationalists that most Americans were oblivious to the negative effects that the transnationalists saw the rest of the world suffering because of American policies, and because of the very existence of the American system. Perhaps now that there had been backlash, Americans might wake up, might start to think about what their government had been doing, might feel shame, and might recognize that they had to stop being "unilateral". For about a week after 9/11, there was an outpouring of sympathy and support, but that rapidly faded when it became clear that Americans weren't reacting the right way. They were not treating the attack as being a clear consequence of prior American policy, and were not thus acknowledging failure. On the contrary, what transnationalists saw was what they viewed as the worst, most atavistic response imaginable. Not onl