Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Someone's Still Standing Up For Civilization

Someone's still standing up against the barbarians, but sadly (and sadly predictably) it's not a traditional Western power. Rear Admiral Raja Menon of the Indian Navy has chastised NATO members for treating Somali pirates "with kid gloves", Danger Room reports. "There is an 1838 convention that permits any warship to interfere anywhere on the ‘High Seas’ to intercept pirates and try them — without handing them over to the country of origin." Dern skippy, there is. Customary law of the sea has always treated pirates as stateless actors and given captains of legitimate flagged vessels the authority to try them, at sea, under the laws of the capturing country. But the West these days is more concerned with the pirates' civil rights. An old definition of conservatism is the firm belief that civilization is but a thin and fragile veneer in need of vigilant defense: India gets it, Europe clearly doesn't, and America can't seem to make up her mind. This isn't the first time I've wondered whether, having inherited more evidently the traditional responsibilities of Western civilization, India doesn't more legitimately deserve the global eminence that the Western powers historically enjoyed.

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