The modern day international society is not a just, rule based society but a society where might has the right. The stronger nations have always flouted international laws or more often, maneuvered those to their own benefits. The use of veto powers in United Nations Security Council can be seen as an example of this. Whenever there’s something against the interest of a bigger nation, they bail themselves out by using the veto power vested in them.
The two big powers of 21st century have set so many wrong precedents in this case by not signing international treaties. For instance, US hasn’t signed important conventions like UN Convention on Law of Sea, UN Convention on Law of Non Navigational use of International Watercourses and International Criminal Court Statute. China has avoided such treaties as well. These states show unilateral stand on internal rule of law. This unilateral stand can be described as using international laws against weaker states and not complying with these themselves.
Unilateralism has been the underlying theme in US Foreign Policy regardless of the changing governments. Barack Obama even bypassed Congress when US militarily intervened in Libya leading to regime change and chaos. The chaos has converted the country into a breeding ground for terrorist groups. This is just one of many other invasions carried out and justified by US in recent past.
On similar grounds China has also started muscle flexing in Asian region by recently announcing its Air Defence Identification Zone in South China Sea. This ADIZ covers even those parts of the sea which aren’t under China’s control. This also conflicts with ADIZ of Japan and South Korea. China has also claimed its control over some islands which were under control of Philippines. Philippines has lodged a complaint against Beijing at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Beijing however has refused to attend the proceedings and will surely veto any jurisdiction that comes against it in UN Security Council as has been the case with US many times over.
Now considering the case of Indian Diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, who has been charged with cases of Visa fraud and underpaying domestic help. She was arrested, Strip-searched and cavity searched, despite the fact that she enjoys limited diplomatic immunity. No doubt that the diplomatic immunity only covers diplomatic and not personal acts, but still the actions were nowhere close to being justifiable. Can a minor issue as this be labeled as grave offence which warrants such level of punishment to a diplomat. How would US react if one of its diplomat is meted out such punishment? The reply can be guessed from the actions taken by them when one Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor, shot two men in Lahore. Obama defended Davis by calling him a Diplomat from US.
No matter how much we try to convince ourselves that the present international law provides a level playing field for all, the fact remains that might is always right.