Back in the “good old days” you could not take a country to court because of a broad legal concept called “Sovereign Immunity”.
It was embedded in laws and regulations to protect nations from being sued for civil or criminal wrongdoing. Protection is still given to some Kings and Queens, diplomats and a few public institutions… the list is still quite long… It still exists in many countries (just check out Sovereign Immunity in Wikipedia) but it has been restricted and waived more often than not.
Global markets involving trade and services require knowledge that the rule of law will be applied and enforced in a predictable manner without prejudice. This is the basis for our current improvement in living standards.
Even back in the “good old days” countries like Finland never abused the rights of others when they borrowed money in the international markets even though they could have refused to repay when they faced an economic crisis.
Sovereign immunity could have offered the government protection against angry creditors. Then the Finnish government was smart and gradually it earned the respect of others to become one of the richest countries in the world.
If a country flouts important international laws and agreements then we all know what happens – that country becomes a pariah, an outcast, that faces economic ruin and years of pain, Just look at North Korea, Argentina and the list of well known countries that are best avoided as tourist destinations…
Now we have new countries joining this list:
- One country that stands out from the crowd of western countries allows the President to appoint members to the Supreme Court, which he does with supreme partisanship. He appoints his loyal lawyers and then gets to appeal against lower court decisions to publish his tax returns being made public!
- It is also disturbing that the same country’s president also appears to be using taxpayers’ money, which has been granted as aid for a struggling Eastern European country at war with a bigger bullying nation, as leverage for his personal gain in the next presidential elections.
- Another western country’s Prime Minister has tried to close down Parliament to stop a parliamentary majority from making important decisions in opposition to the will of the Prime Minister. Luckily the Supreme Court of that country found that the Prime Minister had acted illegally. Now the same Prime Minister appears to be refusing to obey an important legal obligation that it has agreed and signed up to with the EU.
- Two other EU countries have broken the important “Rule of Law”, as we understand it in western countries, even when they are recipients of more than €10 billion from the EU in the form of grants. That is taxpayers’ money from other EU member states including Finland, the other Nordic countries. This is a bad business that the EU is trying to correct. The only problem is that their efforts to correct this bad state of affairs appears to be a rather weak effort.
When big countries in the western world behave like banana republics we should be very concerned. Even though some politicians may dream about absolute power they are normally brought down to earth by a vigilant media and the voters…