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One important part of the answer, I think, is the critical importance of the rule of law, both domestically and internationally.To be sure, there are many other things that are crucial to the good life in peaceful, open societies: freedom of speech, religion and association, and the power to choose – and remove – your own government. I was attempting to explain why the rule of law mattered so much to the territory's future, and I noted that when I was in the British government, the law applied to me just as much as to those I helped govern.Building on the Geneva Conventions on the laws of war and similar binding agreements, global rules were first institutionalized with the establishment of the United Nations.In times when the international system has been under assault, only America has had the standing to provide renewed credibility to the rule of law.During President George W. Bush's administration, the U.S. was willfully destructive of its global interests when it disregarded international law on issues like torture. Those U.S. politicians who regard international institutions as anti-American conspiracies are continuing the harm, costing their country much of its moral authority.
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