It is a common misconception that democracies do not start wars of aggression or carry out terrorist attacks. The historical facts for the period from 1945 to today show a completely different reality: time and again, democratic states in Europe and North America have participated in wars of aggression and terrorist attacks in the past 70 years.
There are so many cases that I am not able to list all of them here. As examples, I have selected three events from different decades:
- the illegal attack by the European democracies Britain and France on Egypt in 1956;
- the terrorist attack by the democracy France on Rainbow Warrior, a ship operated by the environmental organization Greenpeace in 1985;
- and the illegal attack by US President Donald Trump on Syria on April 7, 2017.
Because mass media, neither in the European nor the American democracies, openly address and criticize these crimes and because so far the responsible politicians have not been convicted by a court, a stubborn misconception persists in the populations of these aggressor states that democracies never start wars and also never use terror as a political instrument.
But the three examples mentioned show clearly:
Democracies, members of the NATO military alliance and with a veto power in the UN Security Council to protect themselves from condemnation, have repeatedly attacked other countries.
This is illegal. For the UN Charter of 1945, Article 2 (4), clearly states:
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force..[..]
The Charter only allows the use of force if an attacked state defends itself or if the United Nations Security Council has approved the military strike. In all other cases, the UN prohibits war. Terrorist attacks are always prohibited.
The attack on Egypt in 1956
Egypt is a strategically important country because of the 160 kilometer long Suez Canal, opened in 1869. It plays a central role in supplying Europe with crude oil. The canal connects the Mediterranean with the Red Sea and saves ships from the Persian Gulf to Europe the detour around Africa. Today, the canal is plied daily by tankers bringing oil and liquefied natural gas to the European market.