TED Conversations

Lindsay Newland Bowker

TEDCRED 50+

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What are the limits of sovereignty? Are we clear on international norms?

Present debate on what to do about Syrias use of chemical weapons on rebels/government opponents takes us back to the broader issue of the limits of sovereignty. It seems apparent that we don't have shared global values on a country's interior use of chemical weapons or what to do about it even though this ostensibly has been a matter of global consensus since the end of World War II. .What action is justified and is it ok for anyone nation to act alone without a global consensus on the basis of "protecting its national interests"?

(I will add links to several TED convesrations we have had in the past on global values and global governance)

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    Sep 10 2013: This leaked document reported in Christian Sceince Monitor says that Iran has been warning the U.S. State Department for more than a year that a rebel faction within Syria possese and is using chemical weapons.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2013/0909/Leaked-Iranian-letter-warned-US-that-Syrian-rebels-have-chemical-weapons



    If true ( both that such letters exist and they report accurately), aren't our officials violating sovereignty every time they fabricate and falsify the basis and purpose of their actions?

    Isn't sovereignty as a concept something that belongs to the people of a nation and not to the authority vested in their leaders?

    The beautiful eloquent and still relevant Constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy has a lovely section on the expulsion and permanent banishment of those who abuse authority by using it for a purpose other than the welfare and well being of the all the peoples of the confederacy. All gather for the ceremony which the offending parry must personally present at. Each of the symbols of authority vested are one by one taken back and at the end the offending party walks out of the circle and away from all contact with all peoples of the confederacy forever.
    • Sep 10 2013: I highly doubt the authenticity of the claim. Its seems far too convenient.

      A rebel group got its hands on and is using chemical weapons, and a Sunni one at that? It fits the Iranian interest like a glove. There is every reason to suspect its fabricated, especially considering how close of a watch Assad has been keeping on his chemical arsenal to prevent exactly that.
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        Sep 10 2013: Be that as it may, ( and we may yet know the truth), what is your opinion on whether sovereignty belongs to "we the people or not" and whether pubic officials who lie or misrepesent facts to win our support violate our sovereignty and should be held accountable. Impeachmemt is sort of that but that is for only criminal not ethical breeches I believe.
    • Sep 12 2013: Lindsay Newland Bowker 50+
      "The beautiful eloquent and still relevant Constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy
      has a lovely section on the expulsion and permanent banishment of those who
      abuse authority..."

      Dang it, Your good. Your good.
      I wish I could write so well...
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        Sep 12 2013: Read the Iroquois Constitution..powerfully moving ( and thanks for your sweet comment)

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