You had me at the headline.
“U.S. ordered to lift some Iran sanctions by International Court of Justice,” blared NBC News, above its Associated Press story.
Ordered is a pretty funny word, given U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton’s recent takedown of another global judicial body, just last month.
Bolton, in fiery September remarks in Washington, D.C. — delivered first in the context of discussing the International Criminal Court’s attempt to investigate U.S. military members for war crimes in Afghanistan, and second in the context of responding to this same court’s call to haul Israel in for human rights’ abuses against Palestinians — had nothing but scorn.
“The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court,” Bolton said.
Bam. In your face, ICC.
He then threatened to slap the ICC judges with sanctions and charges of wrongdoing and outright bans on entryway to the United States, before adding: “If the court comes after us, Israel or other U.S. allies, we will not sit quietly.”
But he wasn’t quite finished; not quite.
“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,” Bolton said. “After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead.”
The United Nations wasn’t happy to hear of it, of course.
The ICC’s David Scheffer responded in the Guardian by saying Bolton’s speech “isolates the United States from international criminal justice and severely undermines our leadership in bringing perpetrators of atrocity crimes to justice elsewhere in the world.”
In case the United Nations hadn’t noticed, this is the Donald Trump administration — not the Barack Obama wishy-washy White House. On globalism first, America second, this president doesn’t play that. MAGA, anyone?
The United Nations, apparently, isn’t getting the message.
“The United Nations’ highest court has ordered the United States to lift sanctions on Iran that affect imports of humanitarian goods and products and services linked to the safety of civil aviation,” NBC wrote.
And on that: “Ordered” seems a rather remarkable word. Better would be “begged.”
After all, what is the U.N.’s global court system to America? America may have helped establish the ICC, for instance, back in 2002 — but that’s the extent of the relationship. America has not joined as a state party; the ICC does not dictate policy and procedure to the United States. Neither, the ICJ.
It’s almost a delicious anticipation to sit and wonder what Bolton will say now to this ICJ order.”
Chances are, given his past and this administration’s bold “America First” dealings on the foreign policy front, it’ll be something like, Bite me, ICJ.
That would be well stated, for sure.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.