What international order?

We reproduce the text of Thierry Meyssan’s speech in Magdeburg (Germany), at the conference organized by the magazine Compact, “Amitié avec la Russie” , on November 4, 2023. In it, he explains what, in his view, constitutes the fundamental difference between the two conceptions of the world order now clashing from the Donbass to Gaza: that of the Western bloc and that to which the rest of the world refers. The question is not whether this order should be dominated by one power (unipolar) or by a group of powers (multipolar), but whether or not it should respect the sovereignty of each. He draws on the history of international law, as conceived by Tsar Nicholas II and Nobel Peace Prize winner Léon Bourgeois.

We’ve seen NATO’s crimes, but why affirm our friendship with Russia? Isn’t there a risk of Russia behaving tomorrow like NATO does today? Are we not substituting one form of slavery for another?

To answer this question, I would draw on my successive experience as advisor to five heads of state. Everywhere, Russian diplomats have told me: you’re on the wrong track: you’re committed to putting out one fire here, while another has started elsewhere. The problem is deeper and broader.

I would therefore like to describe the difference between a world order based on rules and one based on international law. This is not a linear story, but a struggle between two worldviews – a struggle we must continue.

In the 17th century, the Treaties of Westphalia established the principle of state sovereignty. Each is equal to the others, and no one may interfere in the internal affairs of others. For centuries, these treaties governed relations between the present-day Länder, as well as between European states. They were reaffirmed by the Congress of Vienna in 1815, when Napoleon I was defeated.

On the eve of the First World War, Tsar Nicholas II convened two International Peace Conferences (1899 and 1907) in The Hague to “seek the most effective means of assuring all peoples the benefits of a real and lasting peace”. Together with Pope Benedict XV, he prepared them on the basis of canon law, not the law of the strongest. After two months of deliberation, 27 states signed the final proceedings. The president of the French Radical [Republican] Party, Léon Bourgeois, presented his thoughts [1] on the mutual dependence of states and their interest in uniting despite their rivalries.

At the instigation of Léon Bourgeois, the Conference created an International Court of Arbitration to settle disputes by legal means rather than by war. According to Bourgeois, states would only agree to disarm when they had other guarantees of security.

The final text instituted the notion of “the duty of States to avoid war”… by resorting to arbitration.

At the instigation of one of the Tsar’s ministers, Frédéric Fromhold de Martens, the Conference agreed that, during armed conflict, populations and belligerents must remain under the protection of the principles resulting from “the usages established between civilized nations, the laws of humanity and the dictates of public conscience”. In short, the signatories undertook to stop behaving like barbarians.

This system only works between civilized states that honour their signatures and are accountable to public opinion. It failed, in 1914, because states had lost their sovereignty by entering into defense treaties that required them to go to war automatically in certain circumstances that they could not assess for themselves.

Léon Bourgeois’s ideas gained ground, but met with opposition, including from his rival in Georges Clemenceau’s Radical Party. Clemenceau did not believe that public opinion could prevent wars. Nor did the Anglo-Saxons, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and British Prime Minister Lloyd George. At the end of the First World War, these three men substituted the might of the victors for the fledgling international law. They shared the world and the remnants of the Austro-Hungarian, German and Ottoman empires. They blamed Germany alone for the massacres, denying their own. They imposed disarmament without guarantees. To prevent the emergence of a rival to the British Empire in Europe, the Anglo-Saxons began to pit Germany against the USSR, and secured France’s silence by assuring her that she could plunder the defeated Second Reich. In a way, as the first President of the Federal Republic, Theodor Heuss, put it, they organized the conditions for the development of Nazism.

As they had agreed among themselves, the three men reshaped the world in their own image (Wilson’s 14 points, the Sykes-Picot agreements, the Balfour Declaration). They created the Jewish homeland of Palestine, dissected Africa and Asia, and tried to reduce Turkey to its minimum size. They organized all the current disorders in the Middle East.

Yet it was on the basis of the ideas of the late Nicholas II and Léon Bourgeois that the League of Nations (League) was established after the First World War, without the participation of the United States, which thus officially rejected any idea of International Law. However, the League also failed. Not because the United States refused to join, as some say. That was their right. But firstly, because it was incapable of re-establishing strict equality between states, as the United Kingdom was opposed to considering colonized peoples as equals. Secondly, it did not have a common army. And finally, because the Nazis massacred their opponents, destroyed German public opinion, violated the Berlin signature and did not hesitate to behave like barbarians.

As early as the Atlantic Charter in 1942, the new U.S. President, Franklin Roosevelt, and the new British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, set themselves the common goal of establishing a world government at the end of the conflict. The Anglo-Saxons, who imagined they could rule the world, did not, however, agree amongst themselves on how to go about it. Washington did not wish London to meddle in its affairs in Latin America, while London had no intention of sharing the hegemony of the Empire over which “the sun never set”. During the war, the Anglo-Saxons signed numerous treaties with Allied governments, including those in exile, which they hosted in London.
Incidentally, the Anglo-Saxons failed to defeat the Third Reich, and it was the Soviets who overthrew it and took Berlin. Joseph Stalin, First Secretary of the CPSU, was opposed to the idea of a world government, and an Anglo-Saxon one at that. All he wanted was an organization capable of preventing future conflicts. In any case, it was Russian conceptions that gave birth to the system: that of the United Nations Charter, at the San Francisco conference.

In the spirit of the Hague Conferences, all UN member states are equal. The Organization includes an internal tribunal, the International Court of Justice, responsible for settling disputes between its members. However, in the light of previous experience, the five victorious powers have a permanent seat on the Security Council, with a veto. Given that there was no trust between them (the Anglo-Saxons had planned to continue the war with the remaining German troops against the USSR) and that it was unknown how the General Assembly would behave, the various victors wanted to ensure that the UN would not turn against them (the USA had committed appalling war crimes by dropping two atomic bombs against civilians, while Japan… was preparing its surrender to the Soviets). But the great powers did not understand the veto in the same way. For some, it was a right to censor the decisions of others; for others, it was an obligation to take decisions unanimously.

Except that, right from the start, the Anglo-Saxons didn’t play ball: an Israeli state declared itself (May 14, 1948) before its borders had been agreed, and the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy to oversee the creation of a Palestinian state, Count Folke Bernadotte, was assassinated by Jewish supremacists under the command of Yitzhak Shamir. Moreover, the seat on the Security Council allocated to China, in the context of the end of the Chinese civil war, was given to Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang and not to Beijing. The Anglo-Saxons proclaimed the independence of their Korean zone of occupation as the “Republic of Korea” (August 15, 1948), created Nato (April 4, 1949), and then proclaimed the independence of their German zone of occupation as “Federal Germany” (May 23, 1949).

The USSR considered itself fooled, and slammed the door (“empty seat” policy). The Georgian Joseph Stalin had mistakenly believed that the veto was not a right of censure, but a condition of unanimity of the victors. He thought he could block the organization by boycotting it.

The Anglo-Saxons interpreted the text of the Charter they had drafted and took advantage of the Soviets’ absence to place “blue helmets” on the heads of their soldiers and wage war on the North Koreans (June 25, 1950) in the “name of the international community” (sic). Finally, on August 1, 1950, the Soviets returned to the UN after an absence of six and a half months.

The North Atlantic Treaty may be legal but NATO’s rules of procedure violate the UN Charter. It places the Allied armies under Anglo-Saxon command. Its Commander-in-Chief, the SACEUR, is necessarily an American officer. According to its first Secretary General, Lord Ismay, the Alliance’s real aim was neither to preserve the peace nor to fight the Soviets, but to “keep the Americans in, the Russians out and the Germans under control” [2]. In short, it was the armed wing of the world government that Roosevelt and Churchill wanted to create. It was in pursuit of this goal that President Joe Biden ordered the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipeline linking Russia and Germany.

At the Liberation, MI6 and OPC (the future CIA) secretly set up a stay-behind network in Germany. They placed thousands of Nazi leaders in this network, helping them to escape justice. Klaus Barbie, who tortured French Resistance coordinator Jean Moulin, became the first commander of this shadow army. The network was then incorporated into NATO, where it was greatly reduced. It was then used by the Anglo-Saxons to interfere in the political life of their supposed allies, who were in reality their vassals.

Joseph Goebbels’ former collaborators created the Volksbund für Frieden und Freiheit. With the help of the USA, they persecuted German communists. Later, NATO’s stay-behind agents were able to manipulate the extreme left to make it detestable. A case in point is the Bader gang. But as these men were arrested, the stay-behind came and murdered them in prison, before they could stand trial and speak out. In 1992, Denmark spied on Chancellor Angela Merkel on NATO instructions, just as in 2022, Norway, another NATO member, helped the USA sabotage Nord Stream…

Returning to international law, things gradually returned to normal, until in 1968, during the Prague Spring, the Ukrainian Leonid Brezhnev did in Central Europe what the Anglo-Saxons were doing everywhere else: he forbade the USSR’s allies to choose an economic model other than their own.

With the dissolution of the USSR, things began to get worse. The US Undersecretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, drew up a doctrine according to which, to remain masters of the world, the United States had to do everything in its power to prevent the emergence of a new rival, starting with the European Union. It was in application of this idea that Secretary of State James Baker imposed the enlargement of the European Union to include all the former states of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR. By expanding in this way, the Union deprived itself of the possibility of becoming a political entity. It was again in application of this doctrine that the Maastricht Treaty placed the EU under NATO’s protection. And it is still in application of this doctrine that Germany and France are paying for and arming the Ukraine.

Then came Czech-US professor Josef Korbel. He proposed that the Anglo-Saxons should dominate the world by rewriting international treaties. All that was needed, he argued, was to substitute Anglo-Saxon law, based on custom, for the rationality of Roman law. In this way, in the long term, all treaties would give the advantage to the dominant powers: the United States and the United Kingdom, linked by a “special relationship”, in the words of Winston Churchill. Professor Korbel’s daughter, Democrat Madeleine Albright, became Ambassador to the UN, then Secretary of State. Then, when the White House passed into Republican hands, Professor Korbel’s adopted daughter, Condoleeza Rice, succeeded her as National Security Advisor, then Secretary of State. For two decades, the two “sisters” [3] patiently rewrote the main international texts, ostensibly to modernize them, but in fact to change their spirit.

Today, international institutions operate according to Anglo-Saxon rules, based on previous violations of international law. This law is not written in any code, since it is an interpretation of custom by the dominant power. Every day, we substitute unjust rules for International Law and violate our own signature.

For example:

• When the Baltic States were created in 1990, they made a written commitment to preserve the monuments to the sacrifices of the Red Army. The destruction of these monuments is therefore a violation of their own signature.
• Finland made a written commitment in 1947 to remain neutral. Joining NATO is therefore a violation of its own signature.
• On October 25, 1971, the United Nations adopted Resolution 2758 recognizing Beijing, not Taiwan, as the sole legitimate representative of China. As a result, Chiang Kai-shek’s government was expelled from the Security Council and replaced by that of Mao Zedong. Consequently, China’s recent naval manoeuvres in the Taiwan Strait do not constitute aggression against a sovereign state, but the free deployment of its forces in its own territorial waters.
• The Minsk agreements were intended to protect Russian-speaking Ukrainians from harassment by “integral nationalists”. France and Germany vouched for them before the Security Council. But, as Angela Merkel and François Hollande have said, neither of them had any intention of implementing them. Their signatures are worthless. If it had been otherwise, there would never have been a war in Ukraine.

The perversion of International Law reached a peak with the appointment, in 2012, of the American Jeffrey Feltman as Director of Political Affairs. From his office in New York, he oversaw the Western war on Syria. Using the institutions of peace to wage war [4].

Until the United States threatened it by stockpiling weapons on its border, the Russian Federation respected all the commitments it had signed or that the Soviet Union had signed. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obliges the nuclear powers not to spread their nuclear arsenals around the world. The United States, in violation of its signature, has been stockpiling atomic bombs in five vassal countries for decades. They train allied soldiers in the handling of these weapons at the Kleine Brogel base in Belgium, the Büchel base here in Germany (Rhineland-Palatinate), the Aviano and Ghedi bases in Italy, the Volkel base in the Netherlands and the Incirlik base in Turkey.

Then they say, by virtue of their coups de force, that this has become the custom.
Now, the Russian Federation, considering itself under siege after a US nuclear bomber flew over the Gulf of Finland, has also played with the Non-Proliferation Treaty and installed atomic bombs on the territory of Belarus.Of course, Belarus is not Cuba. Placing Russian nuclear bombs there changes nothing.It’s just a message sent to Washington: if you want to re-establish the Law of the Strongest, we can accept that too, except that, from now on, we’re the strongest.Note that Russia has not violated the letter of the Treaty, as it is not training the Belarusian military in these weapons, but it has taken liberties with the spirit of the Treaty.

Until the United States threatened it by stockpiling weapons on its border, the Russian Federation respected all the commitments it had signed or that the Soviet Union had signed. Last May, however, it in turn violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This treaty obliges nuclear powers not to spread their nuclear arsenals around the world. For decades, the United States has been stockpiling atomic bombs in five vassal states, in violation of its signature. At Kleine Brogel in Belgium, Büchel here in Germany (Rhineland-Palatinate), Aviano and Ghedi in Italy, Volkel in the Netherlands and Incirlik in Turkey.

Then they say, by virtue of their power moves, that this has become the custom. However, the Russian Federation, considering itself under siege, has also violated the Non-Proliferation Treaty and installed atomic bombs on the territory of Belarus. Of course, Belarus is not Cuba. Placing Russian nuclear bombs there changes nothing. It’s just a message sent to Washington: if you want to re-establish the Law of the Strongest, we can accept that too, except that, from now on, we’re the strongest. Note that Russia has not violated the letter of the Treaty, as it is not training the Belarusian military in these weapons, but it has taken liberties with the spirit of the Treaty.

As Léon Bourgeois explained in the last century, to be effective and lasting, disarmament treaties must be based on legal guarantees. It is therefore urgent to return to international law, failing which we will plunge headlong into a devastating war.

Our honour and our interest lie in re-establishing international law. It’s a fragile construction. If we want to avoid war, we must re-establish it, and we can be sure that Russia thinks as we do, that it will not violate it.

Or we can support NATO, which brought its 31 defense ministers together in Brussels on October 11 to listen to their Israeli counterpart announce, via videoconference, that he was going to raze Gaza to the ground. And none of our ministers, including Germany’s Boris Pistorius, dared to speak out against the planning of this mass crime against civilians. The honor of the German people has already been betrayed by the Nazis, who ultimately sacrificed you. Don’t let yourselves be betrayed again, this time by the Social Democratic Party and the Greens.

We don’t have to choose between two overlords, but to protect peace, from the Donbass to Gaza, and, ultimately, to defend International Law.



[1“Solidarism” became the dominant ideology of the French Third Republic.

[2Note, “the Russians outside”, not the Soviets.

[3Condoleeezza Rice was never legally adopted, but she lived with Professor Korbel. Madeleine Albright considered her her younger sister.

[4Germany and the UNO against Syria”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Al-Watan (Syria) , Voltaire Network, 28 January 2016.

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