Term Paper: International Relations Political Science

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International Relations -Political Science

The issue of the international law, of the human rights, and of international justice is one of the most debated areas of discussion in the world right now. This is largely due to the fact that the 9/11 terrorist attacks raised a different set of questions related to the issue of human rights as opposed to the right of self-defense. The facilities from Guantanamo Bay in Cuba are relevant for pointing out the fact that there is a need for a coordination of factors that would enable the U.S. Administration to better deal with the issue of terrorism. At the same time however, human right are the doctrine of the new century; in this sense, the prison in Guantanamo poses serious concerns related to the respect and practice of human rights and there are voices which support the idea that Guantanamo must be closed down. Taking into consideration the evidence, the arguments and counterarguments, it is indeed obvious that the base in Guantanamo must and should be closed down.

The history of the Guantanamo Bay area is rather old and it includes acts from 1903 when the United States signed a lease contract with Cuba that would enable the U.S. To use part of the Cuban territory in order to ensure protection for both the U.S. And for the Cuban land (PBS, 2006). However, as the decades pasted, the facilities came to be used as a place for detainees of Cuban and Haitian origin that broke the law. Finally, the issue of terrorism is now considered as one of the most important matters of the international scene and the United States views it as a reason which would excuse any type of measure undertaken at the legal level as well as at the practical one. Therefore, the country is today in a rather delicate position, that of trying to cater both for the need of security and for the obligation to respect human rights.

In order to understand the precise need and obligation to establish a solution that would enable the consideration of both aspects of the problem, it is important to place them in the current context of international politics from the perspective of the theories available. In this sense, the issue of security has become an essential matter for the world's community, while human rights represents the new doctrine which must at all time be taken into account.

Security matters for the national state, regardless of the period under discussion. During the Cold War, the need for security was stringent and governed foreign politics (Kissinger, 1994). The bipolar world made it impossible for administration throughout the world not to take into account the threats facing the two poles of power. However, the neorealist view on the era described the issue of security as being the most important aim of the national policy (Nye, 2005). At the same time, following the detente attempts of the late 60s and the 70s, neorealists believed that a certain shift in the direction of foreign policy was determined by the need of the state to insure a security environment rather than one characterized by the struggle for power, as the realist theory suggested. Therefore, from this point-of-view, that period marked a new beginning in the way in which security politics was perceived and conducted. It was perceived as a matter of deep consideration and it was conducted with all means possible, including those means that at times defied the internationally agreed upon rules of state conduct. This attitude could be one explication for the transformation of the Guantanamo Bay area into one of the most feared and controversial places in the world.

The issue of international law as the framework which governs the foreign activities of the state is considered today to be one of the most important matters to influence the conduct of the state. Starting with the 19th century, it was considered to be proper means to regulate affairs between countries. The League of Nations and afterwards the United Nations tried to impose laws that would prevent state abuses as well as chaos in the international society (Schlesinger, 2003). However, the failure of the League of Nations, followed by a limited possibility of the UN to act in cases that included the defense of human rights determined a rather negative reaction to this chapter of international law. However, it must be pointed out the fact that the law in regard to human rights and its applicability is of rather recent date. Especially after the end of the Cold War could the international community truly focus on the issue of human rights, on the doctrine of the humanitarian intervention in the case in which human rights are seriously breached (Russbach, 1995). Therefore it can be said that indeed human rights are a subject of debate inside the international community for a relatively short period of time.

Despite this fact however, it is important to take into account the fact that following the Cold War, the progress in the area of human rights has been immense. The genocides in Rwanda, the hunger in Somalia, the Yugoslavian wars, the crises in the former soviet republics, as well as the dramatic situations from the refugee camps in Sudan or the Palestinian territories have all drawn the attention on the need to reconsider the matter of the human rights as a crucial aspect of international politics. From this point-of-view, it was considered in the early 1990s that any intervention could have been justified by invoking human rights. However, there were situations in which this reason was not taken into account such as Rwanda and even Sudan. Nonetheless, the constant talk about this issue made the people aware of the important of the new doctrine for the world we live in.

The issue of Guantanamo Bay and the discussions surrounding it is related to more aspects. However, there are convincing arguments to conclude that from the perspective of the international law and in relation to the need for security, a solution can be found to close down the area and maintain the level of security its existence offered.

From a legal perspective, the situation in Guantanamo is undetermined. Taking into consideration the fact that "Washington pays $4,085 a year in rent for the 29,000 acres of cactus-studded hills and pristine deepwater bay" it does not represent the territory of the Cuban state; therefore there is no Cuba legal jurisdiction on the area (Selsky, 2007). At the same time though, it is not part of the U.S. territory either in which case the courts in the U.S. have no jurisdiction either on the activities that are going on the Guantanamo premises. Therefore, it can be argued that the legal situation in the area is unclear and lacks any official control.

Taking this matter into consideration the situation appears obvious that a clarification is needed. The Guantanamo Bay area is very important for the process of justice that is taking place in the name of the "war on terror" because it allows for abuses to take place. In this sense, the area is being used "wherever the U.S. seeks to prosecute, whether at home or through proxies in countries such as Jordan, Syria and Egypt, where al-Qaeda suspects are being held, often in brutal conditions" (Silverman, 2004). Since 2002 when the first prisoners came to Guantanamo, there were heated discussions over the right of the accused to be defended and to know the charges he is brought. However, aside from the fact that there was little effort made to resolve this issue, the American state decided that "that executive branch officials were the sole judges of whether there was sufficient basis to hold persons as enemy combatants" (Treatment of U.S. Detainees at Guantanamo Bay, 2005). The Supreme Court did not share the same view; nonetheless, the controversy remains over the possibility of the American state to hold prisoners without trial and without ensuring the minimum human rights protection.

Indeed, the legal limbo which best characterizes the situation in Guantanamo is rather hard to define. Nonetheless there are some basic aspects which must be taken into consideration. First and foremost, regardless of their origin and nationality, the inmates in Guantanamo are human beings whose rights are being infringed. These rights include the right to a trial, the right to a fair trial, and most importantly the right to a proper defense. These rights are not considered by the U.S. Secondly, Guantanamo Bay cannot be legally defined and under these circumstances all sorts of abuses take place, which in the end affect the condition of the inmates.

Thirdly, there is the issue of the compliance with the international law, which as stated before represents the most important framework for the world we live in and for the reality we are creating each day. In general, "Under the Geneva Conventions, captured fighters are considered prisoners of war (POWs) if they are members of an adversary state's armed forces [END OF PREVIEW]

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International Relations Political Science.  (2008, March 21).  Retrieved December 7, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/international-relations-political-science/96114

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