After World War II, there was hope that core principles of international law and human rights would become universal, but increasingly these standards have suffered from selective application and propagandistic manipulation, causing a loss of credibility in these key precepts, as Lawrence Davidson notes.
When Nelson Mandela was a dedicated freedom-fighter against white-ruled South Africa, he was almost as much a “non-person” in the U.S. media as he was in South Africa’s press. Only after Mandela pulled back from demands about redistributing wealth was he embraced as a mass media icon, Danny Schechter reports.
When Apartheid South Africa faced boycotts in the 1980s, it often argued that some black African governments treated their black citizens worse. Now Israel is making the same case regarding its oppression of Palestinians, that Arabs are worse off in, say, Syria, an argument that Lawrence Davidson assesses.
In recent decades, the U.S. government and news media have treated international law as a matter of convenience and hypocrisy, applying rules self-righteously when they’re useful and ignoring them when a hindrance. The dispute over Iran’s nuclear program is a case in point, as Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett explain.