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Author Topic: Britain to back US on war crimes court
Adam Smith
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posted 01 September 2002 03:33 AM      Profile for Adam Smith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I read that Britain is getting ready to give the US a pass on the ICC. I think that this could really hurt the court. I also don't really understand why they care if a country like Britain gives them a pass. The US won't be commiting acts of genocide there. Israel, Romania, East Timor and Tajikistan have also signed bilateral agreements on the court. This really pisses me off cause I thought, I don't know why, but I thought that this court would be an institution that might put an end to alot of the sick shit the US government pulls in all sorts of place if there was enough international pressure. What really is most shocking though is a country like East Timor making this agreement with the US, they're a huge victim of US assisted genocide.

[ November 18, 2002: Message edited by: Adam Smith ]


From: Manitoba | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Apemantus
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posted 01 September 2002 03:44 AM      Profile for Apemantus        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That is very sad. I had hoped that the UK would hold out on this one, but it seems our government capitulates to the US all the time and I don't understand why - they don't give us a huge amount of aid, they are useful for trade but so is the EU, we, at the moment, seem to be doing more for them than they do for us or rather everything for them while they do nothing for us, at present.

But above all this, we used to think the ICC was a damn good idea. It made sense. Now, it doesn't. It seems it will become like everything else, another supranational structure for the US to use and abuse to the detriment of other members. International law, my ass!


From: Brighton, UK | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Adam Smith
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posted 01 September 2002 03:56 AM      Profile for Adam Smith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's like most other international organizations, everyone else can work within in them, but you can't be serious about us having to work within them. I could list organization after organization that the US helped create and later went on to say that it was outside of the groups juristiction.

[ September 01, 2002: Message edited by: Adam Smith ]


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josh
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posted 01 September 2002 04:49 AM      Profile for josh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What a bunch of lackeys. The Labour party sold its soul when it chose Blair.
From: the twilight zone between the U.S. and Canada | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Apemantus
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posted 01 September 2002 05:31 AM      Profile for Apemantus        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am not sure that was entirely true - it seems bizarre to me, until one remembers what a loving relationship Blair has had with the corporations since his election, how a government that was elected on much more radical promises, and whom it was truly believed at the time, would honour them, could end up being SO slow to do so and often seems to be going in the opposite direction. What is more strange is that they are now finally realising that everything they promised (improved, better funded public services being the biggest) needs to happen for them not to lose next time round. So, they are actually, domestically, heading ever further left from where they were in their first term.

Yet, on foreign policy, they started off with an ethical foreign policy which has now effectively been abandoned, and their military interventions have increasingly been less and less humanitarian. So, it seems whilst at home they go ever further left, abroad, they go ever further right. Now, maybe, that is the true make-up of the British population - certainly, it would seem to be borne out by the old imperial attitude (where a welfare state, caring lord of the manor approach intermingled with authoritarian enforcement and colonisation).

But, on this particular issue, the ICC, I am really surprised, because both left and right are normally sticklers for following the law - many Brits of all persuasion believe that the law (as they define it, admittedly) must always come first and it is something that normally both left and right criticise the US for. Generally, the UK does believe in international bodies.

So, Blair's recent dismissiveness towards all such bodies makes me think the problem wasn't so much when he was elected to the Labour party leadership (he was instrumental in them winning power because of his middle way approach), but that he has spent too much time in the company of Dubya. But even then, there is a very interesting documentary showing this weekend in two parts, which is about 9/11 and the response - it interviews Blair, Powell, Condeleeza Rice, Putin and Musharraf - and in it it seems clear that Blair was the one that pushed for the release of evidence against Bin Laden and Al-Qeada, to help Musharraf persuade more Pakistanis that the US was not just making Bin Laden a scapegoat, so even at that stage Blair was keen on the legal approach.

In addition, it now seems that the UK want to press the UN to pass another resolution, perhaps with an inspections deadline, to try and resolve the Iraq situation - so that at least there is some sort of international legitimacy for an attack.

So why back the US on the ICC, especially as it seemed that the UK was adamant a few months ago - why the change of mind? My only thinking is that Blair knows the one country the UK is not at risk from is the USA (as politicians see it, rather than activists and dissenters amongst others), so if us giving them immunity gets them on board, great. Unfortunately, what is sad is that the US is pressuring states like East Timor into acquiescence and the UK should be standing firm with them not giving in for its own selfish reasons.

But, maybe there is an attempt (inept as it is) for the UK to bridge the growing gap that exists between the US and Europe regarding international law and international organisations and the US own view of national sovereignty being all important. Typical British fencesitting, I guess, but this is not one to fencesit on, especially if the Brits do claim to pride themselves on their belief in the law.

Edited for gobbledegook

[ September 01, 2002: Message edited by: Apemantus ]


From: Brighton, UK | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
josh
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posted 01 September 2002 01:02 PM      Profile for josh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think the left in both the U.S. and Britain sold their souls for the sake of winning by backing Clinton and Blair. Winning became more important than core principles.

And how were they repaid. In Clinton's case, by proclamations that the era of "big government" was over, so-called "welfare reform," and balanced budget uber alles. In Blair's case, by policies that Thatcher didn't even try, like giving up democratic control over monetary policy.

Perhaps you can answer why the Labour left has gone along with Blair so long without leaving the party or joining the Liberal Democrats.


From: the twilight zone between the U.S. and Canada | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Apemantus
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posted 01 September 2002 01:20 PM      Profile for Apemantus        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yeah, that is a valid point. A few things spring to mind:

The Liberal Democrats, bless them, are all over the shop - basically if there is a policy that they can take that shows popularity and potential, they grab it so at the last election they were advocating a tax increase to pay for more on public services, now they realise people are dubious as to whether the extra money works, they have ruled out a tax increase at the next election. As good as Kennedy is, and as sensible as some of their policies are (especially their intelligent and internationalist approach to foreign policy), they do float all over the shop.

The left of Labour has splintered a bit - a lot of new Socialist parties emerged by the 2001 election - but I think to be honest most people are sticking with Labour because as much as gets written about them in what is mostly a Tory press, their overall aim, certainly with Brown's tax policies has been to concentrate on the poor and needy rather than broad benefits to all. The issue the left has with privatisation is a real danger to them, but as long as they feel big sums are going into the NHS (7% p.a. increase for 5 years), education, transport, then they seem to forgive them, and I think after the disastrous 80s, many lefties (!) feel they are better arguing from within the party than splitting off from it. That may well be a cynical thought about losing power if they splinter too much (see below) but I think they had so long out of power that they are paranoid that they could stay true to their principles, but after Thatcher that would mean no power. This way, they have the power, but the grassroots need to fight to influence the parliamentary lot. But, Brown is actually quite left in his anti-poverty stance, Mowlam was well respected, Clare Short seems to have sold out in certain ways but she is still more left than most.

Of course, the irony, I think, is that not only did Labour promise so much more before the 1997 election, they won with such a majority and the country heaved such a huge sigh of relief that they could have been incredibly radical and still won the 2001 election, and now, as they get more leftwing if not radical, they could also go much further and not lose the next election, because there is no effective opposition. Even the Lib Dem's arguments are part of the internal debate that goes on in Labour and the Tories are having to try and copy Labour (public services, rehabilitation for criminals) to get any support (but it looks so plainly false it doesn't work). A lot of the voters who stayed away at the last election are believed to be pissed off leftwingers in Labour.

The spin shit that infected the first term has gone and Blair has opened up a lot of the process - not least with press conferences (next one on Thursday, lots on Iraq) and appearing in front of parliamentary committees.

Yes, Blair pisses natural Labour supporters off, but he also appeals to middle of the roads and non-Labour supporters and that gets a lot of votes.

By the time they go (not for another 8 years I suspect at least), they will actually have done an awful lot, it is just taking them way too long to find their feet, but I think they will.


From: Brighton, UK | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Apemantus
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posted 01 September 2002 01:24 PM      Profile for Apemantus        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just wanted to come in on this:

quote:
democratic control over monetary policy.

This is generally acknowledged by most of the press, left and right, as the best move they made actually, because not only did it show they were not the old Labour that everyone was paranoid about, it did actually make sense. They still have tax and spend abilities, which are what is crucial, but having a government of left or right control interest rates had not worked and would not work. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who would fault them on that. Alongside that, the general view is luck has played a part, but Brown is seen as a good steward of the economy, also by both left and right, including old Tory chancellors as well as leftwing commentators who like his anti-poverty stance.


From: Brighton, UK | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
josh
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posted 01 September 2002 01:53 PM      Profile for josh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If you trust government to tax and spend, why can't it be trusted to handle monetary policy? By turning monetary policy over to an unelected group of monetarists, you've tied your hands in responding to changes in the economy, since the monetarists will always favour fighting inflation over fighting unemployment.
From: the twilight zone between the U.S. and Canada | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Apemantus
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posted 01 September 2002 01:57 PM      Profile for Apemantus        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There are other ways to fight unemployment (and I suppose unemployment stays low if inflation stays low?), and the scars from the dangers with inflation run deeper in the UK, I think. I guess also the difference is tax and spend is a more long term thing than interest rates. I get the impression the fear was always of a government using its control to get a quick fix that screwed up over the longer term.
From: Brighton, UK | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged

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