USA: Bullying, blackmail and madness

Washington abominates world public opinion

As the US Senate and House of Congress pass laws which allows the USA to suspend cooperation with countries which do not sign treaties prohibiting the extradition of US personnel to the International Criminal Court at The Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity and giving the President powers to perform a military operation to rescue any such personnel held, the world reacts.

The international press is alive with reactions to the latest position from Washington and succinctly, the description by Human Rights Watch spokesperson Kenneth Roth, sums up the issue: “madness”.

Under the laws, the US administration will be entitled to suspend military aid to foreign governments which do not enact legislation which forbids the extradition from their soil of any US citizen who is accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity by the International Penal Court at The Hague. This raises the issue of why Washington is so worried that its personnel could be liable for such claims and another, a question of blatant, pure and abject hypocrisy: why is Slobodan Milosevic in the dock?

The suspension of cooperation would not be extended to the US allies in NATO, nor to Israel, Japan, Egypt, Australia or North Korea but would apply to all others. The New York Times quotes US Navy Commander Barbara Burfield as stating that “It is easier to list countries that do not receive US military aid than those who receive it”, these countries being all except Cuba and the countries listed in the dossier of states which collaborate with global terrorists.

US National Security spokesperson James Steinger, claims that these measures simply “reflect the sharing of common interests and should not be used to make these countries sign agreements”. An examination of the list of “services” which would be suspended would however coerce any administration into bowing to pressure. Apart from suspension of arms, the measures would cover financing for military purchases, technological cooperation, information sharing, preparation and training of troops, study programmes and cultural exchanges, apart from the commercial fall-out imposed on US companies by Congress.

Israel and Romania have already signed legislation prohibiting the extradition of American citizens to the Hague, while Norway has stated that such legislation is quite unacceptable.

The notion that the subjects of a certain country should be above the law and be governed by a set of rules different from the rest of the world, is a demonstration of a degree of arrogance, political short-sightedness, ignorance, bullying, and sheer absence of vision not only risible but also providing a frightening insight into the mindset of the Bush administration.


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Author`s name Editorial Team