Battlepanda: Farley the Realist


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Farley the Realist

Rob Farley has a slightly different take on the death of Milosovic than I did. He focused not on Milosovic's personal escape from justice, but the loss of a valuable test case in the international courts:
It's too bad he died before the trial could be completed, not so much because he needed to be punished more severely (although he did), but because he was an interesting test case for international justice.

I did not support (and still do not support) the prosecution of Augusto Pinochet in a European court. It seems to me that some incentive must be left for dictators to peacefully and safely leave power, and as long as Pinochet isn't dictator of Chile, I really don't care all that much about him. Much worse, in my view, would be setting a precedent under which a dictator peacefully steps down, with agreement for his own security in place, and then is prosecuted anyway. The question, for me, is simply not a moral one. That is, I'm not terribly interested in the question of what dictators deserve. I'm much more interested in the problem of removing dictators from power without bloodshed, and if we begin prosecuting guys like Pinochet, we're likely to see dictators more reluctant to step down. Fidel Castro is a bad guy, but if he were willing to take a billion dollars to step down and move to France tomorrow, I think it would be a good policy outcome.

But, as I recall, this really doesn't apply to Milosevic. His regime collapsed, and his home state sent him to The Hague. A fair trial (to both Milosevic and to the prosecution) could not be had in Serbia. There should be some international mechanism to deal with situations like this, and it's a pity that the mechanism didn't get fully tested in this case.
About Pinochet, it makes my blood boil to think that he would probably live out his life unpunished with so many innocent souls on his conscience, but dammit. Rob is right. Preventing future bloodshed is more important than exacting vengence, no matter how righteous.