December 4, 2008

Did you know that the U.S. – under the Bush administration – refused to join the world’s first permanent war crimes court?

Roger Cohen notes that few U.S. actions have been as poisonous. “The snub has been seen as a symbol of U.S. contempt for the rule of law.”
In his op-ed piece in today’s (12-04-08)New York Times, Cohen says: “This remarkable, and gleeful ‘unsigning’ [by Bush] was followed by an aggressive campaign to oblige countries to make a formal commitment, under threat of U.S. reprisals, never to surrender U.S. citizens to the court.”

I don’t like bullies. Do you? I don’t like inappropriate power. Do you?

It turns out that the U.S. “stands alone among major Western industrial powers in rejecting the court: it has in effect deserted those powers’ attempt to mark a new century with a commitment to eradicating genocide and crimes against humanity by ensuring there is no impunity for them.”

Cohen writes: ” Washington has broken ranks with the Western liberal tradition of which it should be a cornerstone.”
Wow. What arrogance. How shameful.

The U.S. is so “special” that it is above the rule of law shared by other countries in the world?

Honestly, I’m so tired of the U.S. thinking it’s special — more special than any other country in the world.

Study after study shows that the U.S. is nowhere near #1 in quality and cost of healthcare for its citizens, in literacy rates, in the health of its children, in the election of women…And our lack of specialness goes on and on.
The U. S. needs to align with international law — from the courts to environmental commitments. The U.S. needs to stand tall and proud — not because we have weapons of mass destruction (and we sure do!) But rather because we work in partnership with other countries. Because we take the risk to speak with other countries, even our enemies.
The U.S. needs to be a leader in the United Nations instead of the John Bolton – Bush – Cheney complain and threat mode.

The U.S. can be more special than it is right now. That’s what I expect. What about you?

Welcome Mr. Obama. Welcome Ms. Rodham Clinton. Welcome Ms. Rice. I’m counting on you to behave well – and to lead this country to a new place.
Thank you.
P.S. It’s called leadership. “Leadership is not an entitlement; it has to be earned and sustained. Leadership that serves common goals is the best way to inspire the many different peoples of the world to make shared commitments.” (From an editorial, 12-04-08, The New York Times, quoting a report from the Phoenix Initiative, about the concept of American strategic leadership in the 21st century.)

Filed under: Social Commentary

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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