The U.S. Is Correct to Stand Up to the International Criminal Court

Sept. 17 2018

Last week, National Security Adviser John Bolton gave a speech in which he threatened that the U.S would consider taking legal action against officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC) should it try to prosecute Americans. It could do the same, he added, if the ICC prosecuted citizens of America’s allies, including—Bolton explicitly stated —Israel. Jeremy Rabkin comments:

Some critics [of the speech] warned that such action would undermine respect for the rule of law around the world—since it threatens targeting actual judges! That is missing the point. As a nonparty to the ICC treaty, the United States has never agreed to submit its nationals to the court. Still less has the United States agreed that third-party states can extradite Americans to this court in The Hague.

It is one thing for national courts to prosecute Americans for offenses committed on their territory. . . . It is something quite different for a court claiming to speak for humanity at large to try Americans without—as we see it—any serious legal ground for such action. . . . Why are the officials of the ICC entitled to a special privileged status? To say that [John] Bolton’s blast against the ICC undermines “respect for the rule of law” implies that any official of any corrupt or tyrannical regime who is locally designated a “judge” must have a claim on our respect. That is not respect for law but for the mystique of the robe. . . .

President Trump has repeatedly complained that most NATO states shirk the costs of military preparedness. That’s a serious problem. But surely it is worse when our partners, lacking the resources to provide military assistance, still want to participate in legal second-guessing of what fighters have done. The European idea seems to be that Americans will do the fighting and Europeans will assist with the judging.

Meanwhile, Angela Merkel boasts that the security of Israel is a fundamental principle of German foreign policy (Staatsraison), but there is no sign that her government will lift a finger to resist ICC prosecution of Israeli soldiers for what officials in the safety of The Hague regard as excessive force in responding to missile attacks. The important thing, as Immanuel Kant says, is to prove one’s good intentions by making no exceptions—which means, in practice, no serious judgments about circumstances and ground-level realities. Bolton’s warning was to the point: states that take the side of the ICC can’t be reliable partners.

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Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Angela Merkel, ICC, International Law, Israel & Zionism, John Bolton, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

 

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter