07/15/2014 05:10 pm ET Updated Sep 14, 2014

World Cup and the Rule of Law


I am no great expert on soccer. As many others, I follow the World Cup every four years. This time around, I was struck by the level of blatant violence and, even worse, the fouls allowed by the referees. Targeted, vicious attacks, at times totally unrelated to the play at hand, have for some reason become acceptable. What happened to fair play and following rules?

It suddenly occurred to me that the violence and casual disregard for rules somehow mirrors what is happening elsewhere. We are witnessing a general free-for-all across the board of human behaviour. Think Gaza, Syria, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Iraq -- among other places -- where violence is used indiscriminately to settle scores with no regard for international law or established moral rules of conduct. Where are our "international referees"? What are they doing to stop this worrying slide into planetary anarchy?

The UN Security Council is the first and foremost entity responsible to protect the integrity of the international game. So it's high time for the Security Council and in particular its permanent members (China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States) to show collective resolve and determination to end the rule-breaking.

In the face of timid responses, it's up to all of us to call out fouls and demand action and punitive measures. If it becomes increasingly acceptable to bend or even ignore the basic rules of governance we have in place, we will end in total chaos.

This is a shared responsibility. It's not like we don't have the means or knowledge to uphold respect for the rights and rules we have so painstakingly agreed over the last decades. It is inexcusable that those of us who are supposed to act as referees are failing to do so effectively. Right now it seems as if we are either standing by or barely responding to egregious breaking of the rules. When and why did this become OK?