Waterboarding. Abu Ghraib. Detaining terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. Dissing Hans Blix. These, as seen by the Left, are the cardinal sins of George W. Bush’s administration. Set aside the fraternity party-like nonsense that took place at Abu Ghraib and what’s left are actions taken to protect U.S. interests.
But self-loathing Americans whose minds are confined in the cult of globalism don’t see it that way. Each of these “offenses” has at least one thing in common: they hurt the feelings of foreigners. Insensitivity to the outside world, U.S. internationalists argue, is a stain on Uncle Sam’s reputation from which we must repent.
With that in mind, one more “offense” must be included in the list of Bush’s sins. It occurred May 6, 2002, when John Bolton, on orders from the President, withdrew the U.S. from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Oh, there were terrible tantrums in Turtle Bay that day! Globalists were dismayed because Mr. Bush’s rejection of the ICC was a vote for American sovereignty — a refusal to cede authority to international government and a court that is not bound to the principles of the U.S. Constitution, far less our laws.
That could change under the Obama administration.
Two weeks ago, hope returned to the House of Hammarskjold when U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, in a closed Security Council meeting, voiced support for the ICC. She said it “looks to become an important and credible instrument for trying to hold accountable the senior leadership responsible for atrocities committed in the Congo, Uganda and Darfur.”
The mere mention of the International Criminal Court by the U.S. Permanent Representative drew her colleagues’ attention. “What she said on human rights and international law I could have written myself,” French ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert told Bloomberg News. Costa Rica’s Jorge Urbina said Rice’s speech “raises expectations” that the United States will submit to the authority of the ICC.
Urbina is on point. Sen. Obama said little about the ICC during his campaign for the White House. But in his first weeks as President, his actions speak less to constituents in Peoria and the Bronx than to admirers in Paris and Brussels. Obama’s trans-American constituent service includes his decision to shutter “Gitmo” and grant his first presidential interview with Al Arabiya television.
In his inauguration speech, Obama declared that “America is ready to lead once more.” He said American power “does [not] entitle us to do as we please.” In the parlance of the Left, these suggest submission to international authority, which was raised again last week when Ben Chang, spokesman for National Security Advisor General James Jones, echoed Rice’s comments about the Court. In the context of an ICC indictment for Sudanese President Omar Bashir, Chang told the Washington Times, “We support the ICC in its pursuit of those who’ve perpetrated war crimes.”
So, what will ICC engagement mean for the United States? To answer that, one must read “A Strategy for U.S. Engagement with the International Criminal Court,” written by David Scheffer and John Hutson and issued by the Century Foundation. Scheffer was instrumental in the formation of the ICC and served as Ambassador at Large for War Crimes in the Clinton administration. Hutson was the Navy’s Judge Advocate General from 1997-2000.
The report is stunning in its frankness, heartbreaking in its eagerness to sacrifice American citizens for some nebulous “global good.” The authors’ complaints begin with the Bush administration’s unwillingness to subject Americans to ICC indictments. They explain:
Any path toward support of the ICC will require examining long-standing concerns about the exposure of U.S. military service personnel and American political and military leaders to the court, whether or not the United States is a state party to the Rome Statute. (emphasis added)
A cornerstone of the ICC is that its jurisdiction extends only to those nations that ratify the Rome Statute. By subjecting the U.S. to the ICC even as a non-participant, the authors have turned the Rome Statute into a “living document.” It should be noted that the ICC itself is doing the same. Last week, Lois Morena Oncampo launched an investigation to determine if Israel can be prosecuted for attacks on Gaza. Israel is not a party to the ICC.
Scheffer and Hutson continue, stating the implications to the U.S.
“If the United States were to join the ICC,” they write, “one would have to accept at least the theoretical possibility that American citizens (particularly political and military leaders) could be prosecuted before the ICC on charges of committing atrocity crimes.” And without the protections afforded by Constitutional and laws.
What do Scheffer and Hutson mean when they suggest U.S. “political leaders” can be prosecuted by the ICC for “atrocity crimes”? See paragraph one.
Sign up to the Human Events newsletter