George W. Bush’s administration has undermined the legitimacy of the United States of America as a member of the international community through an astonishing array of unilateral policies that do not respect the interests and concerns of that community. On matters of serious concern to the peoples of the world, such as the global environment, human rights, nuclear weapons proliferation, terrorism, and, of course, war, the United States has pursued its foreign policy interests guided by “political realism” and a stubborn commitment to its narrowly interpreted national interests. It is not enough, however, to merely identify and condemn the legitimacy crisis of the United States; action is required to bring it into alignment with the laws of the international community. Responsibility for that action belongs to the American people. Action sufficient to restore U.S. legitimacy would include the reclamation of our democratic political structures, as well as public acts that denounce torture.
Sundstrom, Ronald, "Torture and Legitimacy" (2006). Philosophy. 68.