An urgent plea to the nations that my nation likes to kick around.
The U.S. State Department has a list of the treaties it believes are in force and the United States a party to. On that list one finds this:
RENUNCIATION OF WAR
Treaty providing for the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy.
Signed at Paris August 27, 1928.
Entered into force July 24, 1929.
46 Stat. 2343; TS 796; 2 Bevans 732; 94 LNTS 57.
Afghanistan, Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China 1, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Czechoslovakia 2, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia 3, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 4, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Yugoslavia 5.
1 Pre-1949 convention, applicable only to Taiwan.
2 See note under CZECHOSLOVAKIA in Section 1.
3 See note under ETHIOPIA in Section 1.
4 See note under UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS in Section 1.
5 See note under YUGOSLAVIA in Section 1.
Treaties, under the U.S. Constitution, are the supreme law of the land. Other nations are equally bound to abide by their treaties. And this treaty bans war. It was put in place in 1928 by the wealthy armed nations of the world. They renounced war but not colonialism or racism. They ended and avoided wars in the years that followed. And only once more did they make war on each other — that occasion being, of course, the catastrophe known as World War II. As the first war after the establishment of a treaty banning war, World War II was the first war that was followed by criminal prosecution of the crime of war. The prosecutors got it wrong, however. The Pact of 1928 banned all war, not aggressive war. The prosecutions were one-sided victors’ justice. But they, and the horrors of the war, had their impact. The rich nations — mine and the others — never made war on each other again. Now they exclusively make war on you.
You are the future. Your populations are soaring while ours are not. You live under the threat of economic pressure backed up by the threat of war. I’m speaking to you small nations, but also some of the largest (China, this means you). Some of you are proposing that war be criminalized. Here’s such a proposal from Malaysia. Why not take advantage of the fact that this has already been done? Some of you have signed onto the Peace Pact of Paris, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and others could do so, including Malaysia. You could then insist that all parties to the treaty comply with it. You don’t need anyone’s permission to join this treaty. It has built into it the requirement to accept all comers. And it does not ban war of a particular description. It bans ground wars, drone strikes, assassinations, and all non-peaceful means of foreign relations. We couldn’t dream up a better treaty. We couldn’t get the rich warmongering nations to join it if we did. Thankfully, they’ve done it for us. Now we need the non-war-making nations of the world to sign on and build pressure — in partnership with peace activists in the heart of the empire — for universal compliance.
I wrote a book last year about how this treaty came to be. Here’s what this treaty says:
The High Contracting Parties solemly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.
The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means.
The present Treaty shall be ratified by the High Contracting Parties named in the Preamble in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements, and shall take effect as between them as soon as all their several instruments of ratification shall have been deposited at Washington.
This Treaty shall, when it has come into effect as prescribed in the preceding paragraph, remain open as long as may be necessary for adherence by all the other Powers of the world. Every instrument evidencing the adherence of a Power shall be deposited at Washington and the Treaty shall immediately upon such deposit become effective as; between the Power thus adhering and the other Powers parties hereto.
It shall be the duty of the Government of the United States to furnish each Government named in the Preamble and every Government subsequently adhering to this Treaty with a certified copy of the Treaty and of every instrument of ratification or adherence. It shall also be the duty of the Government of the United States telegraphically to notify such Governments immediately upon the deposit with it of each instrument of ratification or adherence.
IN FAITH WHEREOF the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed this Treaty in the French and English languages both texts having equal force, and hereunto affix their seals.
DONE at Paris, the twenty seventh day of August in the year one thousand nine hundred and twenty-eight.