American Sovereignty

The other day, National Security Director John Bolton made an official address to the Federalist Society. He said some important things.

“The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court. We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.”

One of many things I like about Bolton (and President Trump, for that matter) is that he doesn’t mince words, he says exactly what he means, and means what he says as well. Very refreshing in a public servant.

Scott Johnson at PowerLine had some thoughts on the address, as well.

It is a great speech. It is an educational speech. It is an inspiring speech. Bolton speaks from deep knowledge of the subject. As he relates: “I was honored to lead US efforts internationally to protect Americans from the court’s unacceptable overreach, starting with un-signing the Rome Statute. At President [George W.] Bush’s direction, we next launched a global diplomatic campaign to protect Americans from being delivered into the ICC’s hands. We negotiated about 100 binding, bilateral agreements to prevent other countries from delivering US personnel to the ICC. It remains one of my proudest achievements.”

Paul Mirengoff also at PowerLine adds this.

I have personal experience with the ICC. In the late 1990s, I was part of a team of lawyers that defended a war crimes case before that body.

Of the three judges who heard the case, only one was from a well-functioning democracy. In fact, if memory serves, one of the judges was from China.

Aspects of the proceedings were quite alien to our justice system. The main piece of evidence against our client was hearsay that was subject to no exception recognized in American law. It was admitted, “in the interests of justice.” The interests of justice as perceived by foreign judges, including one from China.

Looking over the current roster of ICC judges, my impression is that fewer of them come from undemocratic nations. On the other hand, Europe is now more anti-Israel and, indeed, more anti-U.S. than it was twenty years ago.

Paul, in particular, knows of what he speaks. It’s well out of my field. But one does not have to be a lawyer to realize that if one is an American (or an Israeli) it is never going to be a good idea to let an American be judged according to Chinese (or European, for that matter) standards. We have maintained our freedom against all comers for more than 240 years by asserting our sovereignty. By all means, including war itself.

Almost a hundred years ago, we refused to ratify the Versailles Treaty ending the First World War, even though President Wilson was one of the key architects of it because we realized that the League of Nations infringed on our sovereignty, and thereby imperiled out citizens’ freedoms. Nothing has changed except the name of the players.

Here’s the speech:

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