Courting Danger

Courting Danger

Mini Teaser: Advocates of a permanent international court to try perpetrators of war crimes and other "crimes against humanity" achieved a major success in July 1997.

by Author(s): John R. Bolton

In fact, whether the ICC survives and flourishes depends in large measure on the United States. We should therefore ignore it in our official posture, and attempt to isolate it through our diplomacy, in order to prevent it from acquiring any further legitimacy or resources. U.S. policy toward the ICC should be, in a phrase familiar to President Clinton, "Three No's": no financial support, directly or indirectly; no collaboration; and no further negotiations with other governments to "improve" it. Such a policy cannot entirely eliminate the risks posed by the ICC, but it can go a long way in that direction. Certainly, members of Congress should press this view on the Clinton administration.

The plain fact is that additional "fixes" over time to the ICC will not alter its multiple inherent defects. The United States has many alternative foreign policy instruments to utilize that are fully consistent with our national interests, leaving the ICC to the obscurity it so richly deserves. Signatories of the Statute of Rome have created an ICC to their liking, and they should live with it. We should not.

John R. Bolton is senior vice president of the American Enterprise Institute. He has served both as assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration and assistant secretary of state in the Bush administration.

Essay Types: Essay