Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, accused Russia of holding the Security Council "hostage" by vetoing resolutions supporting Anglo-American-French military intervention in Syria (something that the US has done with casual frequency in regard to Israel for decades). Ms Power told a news conference in New York: "Even in the wake of the flagrant shattering of the international norm against chemical weapons use, Russia continues to hold the council hostage and shirk its international responsibilities.... What we have learned, what the Syrian people have learned, is that the Security Council the world needs to deal with this crisis is not the Security Council we have."
When the US fails to get its own way in global fora, it exercises its self-awarded right to work beyond the law. But this is hardly anything new for the self-proclaimed "indispensable nation", an "exceptional" power not tied by international norms or laws. Even before 9-11, then-secretary of state, Colin Powell, declared the "special" character of American power to which conventional rules did not apply: "The U.S. has a special role in the world and should not adhere to every international agreement and convention that someone thinks to propose." That the UN was proposed by Anglo-American leaders at the end of WWII appears to have been missed by Powell, even though, even in 1945, the UN was an exercise in power politics to promote Anglo-American power.
"We are going to show," Powell continued, "a vision to the world of the value system of America." This was January 2001. Since then, the war on Iraq, extraordinary rendition, Guantanamo Bay and other torture facilities outside the laws of war, etc.. have really shown the world the coercive values of American power.
Samantha Power's words signal America's intent to pursue a most dangerous and aggressive course regardless of what the rest of the world, including US domestic opinion, thinks.