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Episode 121 of 123

Here's How 121 – Vox Populi

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station description presented by William Campbell
Here's How ::: Ireland's Political, Social and Current Affairs Podcast
Duration: 48:09
Dr. Roslyn Fuller is an author and founder of the Solonian Democracy Institute



*****



We have an expectation of a rules-based system of international order. Some of these rules are very famous, they show up in popular media, thing like diplomatic immunity, basically if you send an ambassador to
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Dr. Roslyn Fuller is an author and founder of the Solonian Democracy Institute



*****



We have an expectation of a rules-based system of international order. Some of these rules are very famous, they show up in popular media, thing like diplomatic immunity, basically if you send an ambassador to another country, they can’t be arrested, their bags can’t be searched, you can’t even give them a parking ticket.







That gives us some anomalies sometimes, again, more often in fiction than in real life, but it does happen; the wife of an American government worker in England drove on the wrong side of the road, killed a young man a while back, she was whisked back to the US to escape justice. It’s not clear that she did have immunity, it’s not even clear what her husband’s position was, probably because he was a spy.



But countries almost always follow these rules, because they want to benefit from them sometimes too. Diplomatic immunity is one, but there are lots more, some of them are explicitly codified, some of them are just understood conventions. At a high level, there are rules against one country trying to prosecute rulers of another, and it goes all the way down to how leaders are treated when they visit another country, who gets a red carpet, who gets the national anthem and all that.



There is one important thing to remember here: Rules benefit the weak.



That’s not always true, there will be a thousand examples where someone can point out where weak countries suffer because of capricious rules, but that doesn’t change the basic principle: without rules, the strong can do and take what they want. Rules, even if they are imperfect, even if they are not consistently applied, generally benefit the weak.



We’ve had two instances in recent weeks of people, for totally understandable reasons, demanding that Ireland throw out that international rulebook of how countries behave towards each other. The first were the demands to expel the Israeli ambassador, to mark disapproval of the ferocious attack on the densely-packed, poorly defended, and impoverished refugee settlements in the Gaza Strip.



The second was the calls for various retributions against the Lukashenko regime in Belarus which, in an act of what can only be called air piracy, forced a Ryanair jet to land in order to seize the exiled opposition activists Roman Protasevich and Sofia Sapega.
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