Friday, December 10, 2004

I'm So Bored With the USA

America's right-wing has it in for the United Nations. Americans simply will not countenance any outsider telling the US what it can or cannot do (or, for that matter, what it should or should not do). It is quite remarkable that the United States seems to be completely and deliberately oblivious to the opinions of other nation states, even its allies and friends. Note, for example its total hostility to the International Criminal Court despite its only real ally's full support. As Nick Cohen wrote in 2002: "The East Timorese have good reason for wanting the Indonesian generals who invaded and ravaged their country put in the dock for war crimes. America has added insult to the original injury of Henry Kissinger authorising a slaughter - which was close to genocide - by insisting that East Timor exempts US nationals from the court. Fearful of losing American military support for the fight against the pro-Indonesian militias that threaten its country, the Timorese government has succumbed. Astonished Serbs were told in succeeding sentences they must first hand over alleged mass murderers from Slobbo's days to the war-crimes tribunal in the Hague and then guarantee they would not under any circumstances convey an American to the International Criminal Court."

There was barely disguised glee among America's right wingers when a bunch of un-important Greeks attempted to bring Tony Blair before the ICC but, of course, that story died the immediate death it deserved but, as Mr DeWeese wrote: "To back up its opposition, the US has enlisted the cooperation of other nations, securing guarantees from more than twenty that US armed forces personnel would not be subject to ICC prosecution. President Bush recently revoked military aid to thirty-five nations that would not guarantee US immunity from the Court. At a time when the US is being called upon to expand its peacekeeping activities, the last thing it needs is a UN International Criminal Court ready to pounce on any excuse to restrict its operations. The United States maintains military personnel in 146 nations around the world and in all the oceans and seas. The ICC opens the door to the worst kind of mischief." which, when read in the context of the Nick Cohen piece above, is just another example of how unashamedly America's right-wing is concerned only with America's interests. The whole point of the ICC is to act where a national court cannot. The US is hardly at risk of "mischief" because, one hopes and imagines, it would not fail to act itself were its citizens guilty of any of the crimes the ICC has been set up to try. This fact seems to be lost on the right.

Glenn Reynolds says today "The U.N. needs to be either fixed, or crippled so thoroughly that it can no longer harm U.S. interests in the slightest." I have been lost for the right words in my recent posts to describe America's attitude to the rest of the world and international co-operation but I've found them now - America is suffering from a pitiful world view, where honour and morality are dismissed with a sneering contempt disguised as "realism". The UN does need reforming and the lack of coverage of its current ills and malaise, in the Irish media anyway, is annoying. Europe could be leading the charge for reform, though, to prove to the US that the UN is capable of being effective and that it is a better option than going it alone.
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