Call it the Independence Day capitulation or July Fourth surrender.
Forty-eight hours after handing the U.N. an ultimatum -- either U.S. troops get immunity from the International Criminal Court, or we veto the U.N. mission in Bosnia -- President Bush backed down. The globalists called our bluff, and America threw in its hand.
Hours before the capitulation, the president was a portrait in patriotic defiance. "As the United States works to bring peace around the world, our diplomats and our soldiers could be drug into court." U.N. Ambassador John Negroponte echoed Bush: "We are and will remain a special target (of the ICC), and we cannot have our decisions second-guessed by a court whose jurisdiction we do not recognize."
Tough talk, followed within hours by an American cave-in. We have now given the U.N. until July 15 to meet our demands, though few believe we will use the U.S. veto. "We will not abandon Bosnia," White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer assured the U.N. "From the U.S. perspective, nothing is going to happen," Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, added.
It appears that, even before the vote, Secretary General Kofi Annan and the Europeans had concluded that Bush, tough cowboy reputation aside, was all hat and no cattle.
Indeed, a close look at this diplomatic rout suggests that the Eurocrats and U.N. diplomats are more resolute in their zeal for the New World Order than are the president's men in protecting U.S. sovereignty. According to The Washington Post, the U.S. demand for immunity from ICC arrest and prosecution was met with almost open contempt at Turtle Bay.
Said EU Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Chris Patten, the ICC is "the most important advance in international rule of law since the establishment of the U.N. ... We are not going to allow anyone to water down our commitment to the principle."
And "anyone" includes the president of the United States. Kofi Annan accused the United States of holding peacekeeping operations hostage. Even Canada's ambassador rebuffed us: "This (American) proposal would send the message that peacekeepers are above the law."
U.N. to Bush: If you Yanks want to veto the Bosnian mission and take your ball and go home, you go ahead -- we stand with the ICC. Unable to stand alone for U.S. sovereignty, unwilling to take the heat of casting a U.S. veto, the administration crawled back off the limb.
In the final analysis, this showdown was between the United States and the continent we have defended for 50 years. Europe is committed to the ICC as a great advance in human rights. Europe is unwilling to carve out any exemption for the United States. And the Europeans have concluded that America will neither pull out of Bosnia and the Balkans, nor veto U.N. peacekeeping missions, even if U.S. troops do not get the immunity their diplomats demand.
Thus far, the Europeans have been proven right about Bush.
But as this latest extension of the U.N. Bosnian mission is only until July 15, the ball is back in the president's court. How serious is he about U.S. sovereignty? Last week, some of us thought he was serious enough to terminate U.S. participation in any mission where U.S. soldiers were not granted immunity from the ICC.
Apparently, we overestimated this president's commitment and resolve, when faced with the full weight of foreign opinion and the U.S. bureaucratic investments in global peace-keeping. Soon, we will find out if the good opinion of the global elite means more to this president than any principled stand for American sovereignty.
And the issue is not minor. With the ICC, the world crossed a red line on the road to world government. When the U.N. was created, the United States got a veto in the Security Council. When the IMF and World Band were created, the United States demanded and got voting power commensurate with its contributions. With the World Trade Organization in 1994, however, the United States got no veto and only one vote to the European Union's 15. But with the ICC, the United States has been declared subject to its jurisdiction, even though we never agreed to its establishment. ICC authority transcends national sovereignty.
What Europe and the U.N. are saying to America is: If you wish to play world policeman, you will follow our rules. With or without the United States, this great project of World Government is going forward, and those who are building it are not going to include any special exemptions for the U.S.A.
What does the president say? We shall find out by July 15.