reading # 25

reading # 25 - BOLTON_FINAL_FMT.DOC 2:13 PM THE RISKS AND...

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THE RISKS AND WEAKNESSES OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT FROM AMERICA’S PERSPECTIVE JOHN R. BOLTON* In the aftermaths of both World War I and World War II, the United States engaged in significant domestic political debates over its proper place in the world. President Wilson’s brainchild, the League of Nations, was the center- piece of the first debate, and the United Nations the centerpiece of the second. The conventional wisdom is that the dark forces of isolationism defeated Wil- son’s League in the Senate, and that the advent of the Cold War gridlocked the nascent United Nations, preventing it from assuming the role intended for it in preserving international peace and security. While the mythology surrounding both of these important debates is wrong and incoherent in many respects, 1 there is no doubt of the far-reaching implications of American political deci- sions attendant on them. Neither the debate over the League nor the one over the United Nations settled the issue of America’s proper relationship with other governments and international organizations. During the Cold War, there was little or no occa- sion for the debate to re-emerge in the United States because the life-or-death struggle with Communism dominated U.S. attention, at least at the national level. Nonetheless, below the surface, largely in academic circles, those debates favoring international legal measures to constrain the independence of nation states continued their efforts, both here and in Europe. Although motivated by a wide range of considerations, many of which were contradictory, one broad theme was that it was the nation state itself, and the seemingly inescapable at- Copyright © 2001 by John R. Bolton This article is also available at * Senior Vice President, American Enterprise Institute; Assistant Secretary of State for Interna- tional Organization Affairs, Bush Administration. A substantially similar version of this article appeared in 41 VIRGINIA J. INT’L L. 186 (2000). 1. While there is no real opportunity here to discuss at length the subject of “American isolation- ism,” it is in fact a very unsatisfactory historical template for evaluating U.S. foreign policy. “Isolation- ism” as a characterization is conclusory and derogatory and, therefore, for those who wield it, needs little supportive evidence or argument. Indeed, for those most disturbed by it, “isolationism” is much like Justice Potter Stewart’s famous definition of “hard-core pornography”: “I know it when I see it.” See Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184, 197 (1964) (Stewart, J., concurring). Unfortunately, for analytical purposes at least, the opposing term “internationalism” itself obscures more than it illuminates. Those interested in pursuing the point may wish to see my essay Unilateralism Is Not Isolationism , in UNDERSTANDING THE UNILATERALISM IN AMERICAN FOREIGN RELATIONS 50-82 (Gwyn Prins ed., 2000).
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This note was uploaded on 11/29/2010 for the course IR 109 taught by Professor Heinz during the Spring '10 term at Rochester.

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reading # 25 - BOLTON_FINAL_FMT.DOC 2:13 PM THE RISKS AND...

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