November 10, 2002
SOUND AND FURY:
Europe's mid-term crisis
: The EU can check the actions of the rejuvenated Bush administration, it just needs the guts (Simon Tisdall, November 8, 2002, The Guardian)
Herein lies the crux of the problem facing Europe as Bush savours his election victories and begins to expand upon the policy themes of the last two years: Europe may not like much of it, but there is precious little it can or will do about it.
If Europe really feels that strongly, it could mount a boycott of US companies or impose economic sanctions on the US until it cleans up its Kyoto act. If the boot were on the other foot, this is exactly what the US might do. But will Europe do it? Fat chance.
If it were so minded, Europe could refuse to exempt Americans from the ICC's provisions and issue arrest warrants, say, for the CIA operatives who blew away six al-Qaida "terrorists" in Yemen this week. Will this happen? No way.
Of course, Mr. Tisdall, presumably unintentionally, just made the case for why the U.S. should refuse to be bound by the ICC. If the targeted killings of those al Qaeda operatives this week were the kind of thing that would get Americans indicted by an International Criminal Court then neither we nor the world can afford it.
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 10, 2002 5:51 AM
I love the scare quotes around "terrorists." Is Tisdall suggesting that al-Qaida is not a terrorist organization?
How does Mr. Tisdall expect his "arrest warrants" to be enforced? With the U.S. not a signatory to the ICC, we could not lawfully turn over our people to a "warrant" whose legitimacy we don't recognize. If Europe were to use force to bring the men into custody, how would this differ from initiating a war with the U.S.? Indeed, how would it differ from the idea that Europe can create binding U.S. law and impose it on us without our consent? Tisdall is either stripping the words "arrest warrant" of their meaning, or advocating imperialism by another name.
What I would like to know is whether other states that have negotiated exemptions from the ICC, such as France
would find their exemptions revoked as well?
Or do his suggestions apply only to the United States?
Tisdall, while drooling onto his page, actually makes sense, but probably by accident, like a stopped clock. I have become convinced that if Europe really, absolutley and truly "stood up to America" in the manner he speaks of, they would in fact earn a great deal of respect from Americans. The problem is that the reason they do not is that they do not want to deal with the downsides, which their leaders are far more cognizant of than their chatterers like Tisdall.
Arrest warrants for the CIA or US military? So, Simon, content to bring an end to NATO singlehandedly, are we, while the US then sets up bilateral protections for Eastern Europe?
Boycott US companies? Boycotts go two ways chief, and we all saw how trade walls do wonders for us all and for global peace (whose collapse you will now confront without NATO. Nice going.)
Palestinian state? So create one. Go. Do it. Apparently, it's a piece of cake, so go ahead.
Worried about oil supplies? So defend them.
Ah, yes.... the rub. These are all actions, not bloviating. Actions that, just like the US when it acts, include sacrifice, risk, downsides, and pissing people off.