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Crimea: Exercising the consent of the governed

The United States Declaration of Independence uses the phrase “consent of the governed.” This is based on a political theory where the moral right to use state power rests with the people or the society over whom that power is being exercised. This has been contrasted with the divine right of kings. It used to be that whatever the king said was the law. This is similar to the use of executive actions where the will of the people is clearly opposed. Our forefathers used this theory to defend their actions against England.

Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authorit of government.” This declaration was passed by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948. This was the first global expression of the rights that all human beings were endowed with. It came about as a result of World War II.

There is a paragraph in the Declaration of Independence that we seem to have forgotten:\

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

It then seems to be somewhat problematic when an autonomous republic like Crimea voted in a referendum to join Russia. This theory of consent of the governed is ignored and the divine right of kings is asserted. What makes this worse is that Crimea asked Russia for help when the established government in Kiev was removed. In the days and weeks that followed, no one bothered talking to the leaders in Crimea. Again, everyone expected Crimea to kowtow to the divine right of kings. What's worse is that the United Nations is violating the very act they helped pass.

Diplomacy is a two way street. It seems that the only ones going by the book are the Russians. They are accused of taking over an area against the will of the people yet the people voted. No shots were fired. The threats of force are coming from Europe and the US. Who then are the real aggressors?

Consent of the governed - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Wikipedia, the free ...

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