The NYT Gets Its Shots In Before The Troops Hit The Ground

War in the Ruins of Diplomacy
The Times roles out the usual complaints about the Bush Administration’s foreign policy: we didn’t sign the Kyoto Protocols and we rescinded our signature on the International Criminal Court. They don’t provide any insight as to *WHY* we should have bought into these, they just throw them out as if they’re phoning the criticism in.

Once again, let’s set the record straight: even Clinton didn’t like the ICC and only signed the treaty on the last day possible so we could influence the outcome. It’s a bad idea from the word go. However improbable it is that a U.S. citizen might face that court, it exists as neither a court of a sovereign nation and certainly doesn’t fall within our Constitution. The Senate would have never ratified it. It’s also subject to mission creep. One of its duties is to prosecute “crimes against humanity”. Who’s to say that one day “hate speech” or the like isn’t considered such? What about war with Iraq? We’re going outside the UN and some morally-twisted transnational progressivist could very well consider this a crime against humanity and try to prosecute our President.

As for Kyoto: it was dead before it even arrived. The Senate passed a resolution 96-0 telling President Clinton it would get voted down if presented to the Senate. It would be economically devastating and would exclude China and India who together make up 30% of the world’s population. Even worse, it made no allowance for geoengineering and would only delay maximum temperature, not reduce it.

We are somehow obligated to ratify treaties that are not in our interest or pretend that we ratified them because of a supposed “obligation”. Yet, when it comes to using military force for our own purposes we are supposed to be tied down when others can act freely.

The international system, as it stands, sucks. We need to find a workable alternative, and soon. The idiocy of the current system makes it difficult for us to even stay in it.

But this did not turn out to be a team of steady veterans. The hubris and mistakes that contributed to America’s current isolation began long before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. From the administration’s first days, it turned away from internationalism and the concerns of its European allies by abandoning the Kyoto Protocol on global warming and withdrawing America’s signature from the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court. Russia was bluntly told to accept America’s withdrawal from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty and the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization into the territory of the former Soviet Union. In the Middle East, Washington shortsightedly stepped backed from the worsening spiral of violence between Israel and the Palestinians, ignoring the pleas of Arab, Muslim and European countries. If other nations resist American leadership today, part of the reason lies in this unhappy history.

The Atlantic alliance is now more deeply riven than at any time since its creation more than a half-century ago. A promising new era of cooperation with a democratizing Russia has been put at risk. China, whose constructive incorporation into global affairs is crucial to the peace of this century, has been needlessly estranged. Governments across the  Muslim world, whose cooperation is so vital to the war against terrorism, are now warily navigating between popular anger and American power.

Those governments across the Muslim world are some of the worst violators of human rights on the planet. If we were cooperating with them the Times would no doubt be criticizing us for that as well.

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