September 12, 2018

Trump Targets ICC/PLO

We're officially on Insta! Did I throw on a blazer at 5 am for all you lovely people? You bet I did!

“The Trump administration on Monday threatened tough action against the International Criminal Court [ICC] should it try to prosecute Americans for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan and said the PLO’s office in Washington would be closed for seeking to punish Israel through the court.” Reuters

The United States did not ratify the ICC’s founding treaty and is thus not a member; it has cooperated to varying degrees since the ICC was founded in 2002. The ICC can only bring a case against Americans with a UN security council resolution. International Criminal Court

“The Palestine Liberation Organization, or PLO, was first founded in 1964 during a summit in Cairo, Egypt. The organization’s initial goals were to unite various Arab groups and create a liberated Palestine in Israel. Over time, the PLO has embraced a broader role, claiming to represent all Palestinians while running the Palestinian National Authority (PA).” History channel

See past issues

From the Left

The left is critical of the Trump administration’s latest moves to dismantle international institutions and diplomatic channels.

“It's certainly true that the ICC is far from a perfect institution — critics, for example, point to its disproportionate prosecution of African officials. But it still represents a key cog in the international system, and one that could yet provide justice for the hideous crimes of those like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or Myanmar's generals."

Washington Post

“The move [to shut down the PLO office] will eliminate a communication channel—diplomatically and physically—that has been at the heart of the peace process under four Administrations."

New Yorker

“The State Department [also recently] announced that the U.S. would no longer provide any funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which runs hundreds of schools for Palestinian refugees, dozens of medical clinics and food assistance for half the population in the Gaza Strip alone. The Trump administration called the agency ‘irredeemably flawed,’ but left it unclear how fewer schools, less healthcare and more hunger would aid the cause of peace."

Los Angeles Times

Regarding the deployment of an aircraft carrier and bombers, many note that the US “has a long history of provoking, instigating, or launching wars based on dubious, flimsy, or manufactured threats… The most egregious case was the U.S. invasion of Iraq, in 2003, which was based on bad intelligence that Baghdad had active weapons-of-mass-destruction programs. The repercussions are still playing out sixteen years (and more than four thousand American deaths) later… The sense of foreboding is tangible.”
Robin Wright, The New Yorker

Trump's “goal, it seems, is to put so much pressure on Tehran that it has no choice but to completely change its behavior — but he could end up leading the countries to the brink of war in the process… Now is typically the time when cooler heads prevail, but it’s unclear if there are cooler heads around… It’s hard to overstate how avoidable this situation was.”
Alex Ward, Vox

“In theory, there’s no reason why a bad businessman can’t go on to become a good president. But a commander-in-chief whose signature legislative achievement expanded tax loopholes that he himself describes as grossly unfair is pretty much a bad president, by definition.”
Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

From the Right

The right supports the moves, arguing that the ICC intrudes on US sovereignty and that the Palestinians are not negotiating in good faith.

From the Right

The right supports the moves, arguing that the ICC intrudes on US sovereignty and that the Palestinians are not negotiating in good faith.

“When the ICC was established its mandate was specifically to investigate crimes in areas, like Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, where there was no functioning legal system to investigate atrocities. Like so many international bodies, it has been weaponized and directed at the United States and at Israel."

RedState

“The International Criminal Court is one of those unaccountable multilateral organizations beloved by President Obama. The ICC prosecutor now threatens to undertake an investigation of the United States for war crimes in Afghanistan... [National Security Adviser John Bolton offered] a swaggering, make-my-day speech asserting the sovereignty of the United States and warning the ICC: Don’t tread on us."

Power Line Blog

Regarding the PLO, “It would be hard to identify a more overdue reality check in U.S. foreign policy... this isn’t to be vindictive but to show Mr. Abbas and the PLO that they can't continue to underwrite anti-Semitic textbooks and anti-Israel terrorism without consequences. If the Palestinians want to be treated with the respect of a peace partner, they have to first show a desire for peace."

Wall Street Journal

“The broader context here is North Korea's crop crisis. If Kim hasn't got sanctions relief by August's end, a painful winter is coming… Absent Kim's commitment to suspend all ballistic missile tests, the U.S. should not support the provision of food supplies to the North Korean people. A North Korean long-range nuclear strike capability poses an existential threat to American society… Trump must not allow North Korea's coming suffering to dictate his decisions. Supporting North Korea with food will both prolong North Koreans' suffering under Kim and directly undercut U.S. interests.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

Some argue, “It stands to reason that if Kim is willing to starve his own people, deprive his economy of any growth, and pour billions of dollars into missile tech, he will, at some point, develop weapons America and its allies mastered decades ago. And short of an invasion or a diplomatic agreement, under the present circumstances, there is very little we can do to stop him… Taking a hardline approach—what many call the ‘big deal’—or only granting sanctions relief after full denuclearization and the end of Kim’s missile programs is completely impractical and something North Korea would never agree to… only a step-by-step process of disarming Pyongyang, where each side gets a benefit for making a concession, will work.”
Harry J. Kazianis, The American Conservative

Others posit that “the reason Kim is developing missiles that can strike Seattle or LA is that 28,000 U.S. troops are in South Korea… If we cannot persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons in return for a lifting of sanctions, perhaps we should pull U.S. forces off the peninsula and let China deal with the possible acquisition of their own nuclear weapons by Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan…

“After an exhausting two weeks [between North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and others], one is tempted to ask: How many quarrels, clashes and conflicts can even a superpower manage at one time? And is it not the time for the United States, preoccupied with so many crises, to begin asking, ‘Why is this our problem?’”
Pat Buchanan, Townhall

Counterpoint: “after the War of 1812, President Madison… enacted the Tariff of 1816 to price British textiles out of competition, so Americans would build the new factories and capture the booming U.S. market. It worked. Tariffs [also] financed Mr. Lincoln’s War. The Tariff of 1890 bears the name of Ohio Congressman and future President William McKinley, who said that a foreign manufacturer ‘has no right or claim to equality with our own… He pays no taxes. He performs no civil duties’… [A tariff’s] purpose is not just to raise revenue but to make a nation economically independent of others, and to bring its citizens to rely upon each other rather than foreign entities.”
Patrick J. Buchanan, The American Conservative

A libertarian's take

“The scoop reflects poorly on Trump, who willfully misled the public for a decade in hopes of fraudulently representing himself as a man with a Midas touch. But he could not have succeeded without the assistance of many Americans, some mercenary, others over-credulous, who helped to spread the deceit and deception, generating countless newspaper articles, magazine stories, and TV segments that misinformed the public about the publicity hound’s record in business. New evidence of his staggering losses in that decade therefore provides an apt occasion to reflect on the media’s complicity in Trump’s brazen deceit and deception… Let [this] be a lesson for today’s tabloids, gossip columnists, over-credulous or mercenary journalists, and reality-television producers.”
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

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