As a rule I make a point of disagreeing with Dave Aaronovitch (dates back to when I knew him) but I’ll make an exception for his contribution on Newsnight yesterday - commences around 32:30 in. No-one raises the issue of whether Blair's actions in Kosovo were legal, do they ? he asked.
And of course they don't. All the hair-splitting about the precise ‘international legality’ or otherwise of the Iraq war is not really the point. It’s that on Iraq, Blair's judgment was faulty.
I’ve little time for ‘international law’. The strong ignore it freely along the traditional lines: “Treason doth never prosper” etc etc. Then they use it to prosecute the weak.
So what about international trade, of which I’m a big fan ? Easy. Bilateral agreements are struck, based either on trust where there’s a workable tradition to call in aid, or with the parties agreeing which legal system and commercial jurisdiction the contract will be subject too.
In the energy industry, in my experience this means: England; the legendary Harris County, Texas; New York; Australia; maybe Netherlands if you’ve a strange objection to common law (though why any businessman would, I can’t quite fathom); with Stockholm bringing up the rear for parties (= Russians) whose pride doesn’t let them near the wicked Anglo-Saxon courts. Wouldn’t touch German courts with a Rheinland bargepole - or French.
How's it done in your industry ? Anyone got any other favourite venues for a bit of commercial-legal argy-bargy ?
Friday Update: Aaronovitch is on the Daily Politics spouting his usual nonsense so I can go back to diskarding him uterly.