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The Pièce de Résistance: A New International Criminal Court


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three comments


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Why does President Obama, or any president for that matter, need to establish a defense or international relations doctrine? If a military unit reacts to fire in the exact same manner every time an enemy is better able to plan a devastating attack based on those reactions. If we tell people to cooperate with airplane highjackers then those highjackers are able to fly airplanes filled with cooperative passengers into tall buildings. Must the U.S. government react to all threats in a consistent manner?

Would passing off difficult prosecutions onto an international organization really improve world opinion of the United States? Other nations would just see the organization as extension of US power and hegemony. Wouldn’t world opinion be more readily (and cheaply) influenced through not only the export of US jobs, but also the promotion of US labor practices? Our corporations are excellent at utilizing the lax labor practices for financial gain, but we as a nation make no attempt to actually improve the living and working conditions of those workers.

This new ICC would not be an improvement over current military tribunals because domestic standards of evidence gathering and surveillance would and could not be utilized without intensive cooperation amongst signatories and non-signatories to a new ICC. Does a judge in the US have the authority to issue an search warrant in Pakistan or Somalia? Would a new ICC even concern itself with US interpretations of due process? Subjecting terrorists to a civilian justice system would require certain protections and safeguards that the tribunal system does not require.


I like this idea, but it will never happen.

The need for the court isn’t how it would help America, I see it as fulfilling American promise of providing equality for all. And if we now live in a more global world, we need a more global solutions for these problems.


Chris, I really want to answer you first question because I think it is interesting. It seems like every administration in the last twenty five years has had their own “doctrine’ like the Obama doctrine, the Bush doctrine or the Clinton doctrine. I think it is an easy rhetorical short hand for foreign policy strategy.

That said, we should only have such expansive doctrine for twenty or twenty five year plans. That is what the original Monroe doctrine was, with relation to the Americas.

As for why we specifically need an obama doctrine now, I think we severely mis-responded to 9/11. The safety through strength analogy has been misplaced, not to mention we kind of overreacted.

Now should we have a broad plan? Absolutely. Companies, universities, government organizations, people all make five year plans, and have company mission statements. This doesn’t make them predictable, and it doesn’t make us less safe, it simply provides a blue print for all of our government to work behind. A broad strategy outline is much different from specific guidance in how to respond in every situation. It hardly makes us too predictable.

Finally, I believe the best way for the US to get more competitive is to export US labor conditions. That is a much different challenge.