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Thursday, March 10, 2005

Bolton and international law

Yesterday, I read an article by scholars Robert W. Tucker and David C. Hendrickson in Foreign Affairs, November/December 2004. In that piece on "The Sources of American Legitimacy," they quote the Bush administration's new nominee for Ambassador to the UN:
undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, John Bolton, had noted in the late 1990s that "it is a big mistake for us to grant any validity to international law even when it may seem in our short-term interest to do so-because, over the long term, the goal of those who think that international law really means anything are those who want to constrict the United States."
I also read in today's Washington Post that the Bush adminstration has just announced US withdrawal from another international treaty:
In a two-paragraph letter dated March 7, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice informed U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan that the United States "hereby withdraws" from the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The United States proposed the protocol in 1963 and ratified it -- along with the rest of the Vienna Convention -- in 1969.

The protocol requires signatories to let the International Court of Justice (ICJ) make the final decision when their citizens say they have been illegally denied the right to see a home-country diplomat when jailed abroad.
Anyone notice a pattern here?

I guess now that the foreign policy team is back from Europe, they can continue to ignore the norms and ideas shared widely by Europeans and much of the rest of the world.

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