The U.S. has done more than any other nation to instill in its civilian-controlled military a respect for human rights and the laws of war. When American servicemembers violate their doctrine and training—which can happen in any human institution—the U.S. is perfectly capable of applying our own laws to their conduct. These laws and procedures do not need to be second-guessed by international courts, especially ones that violate basic rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, like trial by jury.
.. Moreover, the Rome Statute’s real targets always have been not merely individual soldiers accused of war crimes, but their commanders and political leaders—all the way to the commander in chief of the global hegemon (as they resentfully see it).
.. It also fails a critical constitutional test—the separation of powers—in that the executive not only prosecutes but determines guilt or innocence. Decoupling executive and judicial powers is no mere constitutional nicety; it is a critical mechanism for restraining excesses.
.. To date, the ICC has been feckless and often in disarray, acquiring the justifiable reputation from its caseload that it was a project by Europeans to prosecute miscreants in their former African colonies. Burundi recently withdrew from the ICC, and others have come close.
the West’s dominance of global finance has meant that the US effectively controls conduits which are the lifeblood of non-Western powers like Russia and China as well. Russia, itself bitterly subject to American sanctions, hopes to escape the noose by deploying a blockchain-based parallel infrastructure for international transactions. Whether such an enterprise will prove laughable and quixotic, or whether it might pierce meaningful holes in the US-dominated conventional system, depends a great deal on how policymakers, bankers, and entrepreneurs around the world react to it.
.. However, now, specifically with respect to its enforcement of financial sanctions on an apparently compliant Iran, it is the United States that seems, even among its Western partners, to be the rogue state in need of policing. However begrudging European acquiescence to extraterritorial US sanctions may have been two days ago, it is more begrudging today.
.. More than that, the remaining counterparties of the Iran nuclear deal — China, France, Russia, the UK, and the EU — all want the deal to continue. They will be at pains to persuade Iran that it continues to enjoy significant sanctions relief relative to what it would face if it abandoned the deal. Which puts those countries between a rock and the hard-place of extraterritorial enforcement by the US of reimposed prohibitions. At a policy level, the remaining signatories now have an active interest in enabling, even encouraging, evasion of US financial controls, an interest that is morally and politically defensible. All of a sudden La Resistance among sullen French bankers isn’t just about the juicy fees foregone, but a heroic struggle to #resist Donald Trump, to prevent the renuclearization of Iran. And policymakers might agree.
.. That might mean taking some of the pressure off of European and vacation isle tax havens, reversing the recent, American-enforced trend towards transparency. It might mean partnering with China and Russia to participate in the parallel, alternative financial arrangements that those countries seek to develop. It plainly puts at risk the hard won, absolutely extraordinary, hegemony that American regulators have over global finance.
.. And for those among the US #resistance who see Vladimir Putin beneath every strand of orange hair, what Donald Trump has just done makes the possibility of a new Russian SWIFT considerably less laughable.
China is following the same path to regional hegemony that Japan did in the 1930s.
.. Implicit in the 205-minute harangue were echoes of the themes of the 1930s: A rising new Asian power would protect the region and replace declining Western influence.
.. In the 1930s, Imperial Japan tried to square the same circle of importing Western technology while deriding the West. It deplored Western influence in Asia while claiming that its own influence in the region was more authentic.
Only about 60 years after the so-called Meiji Restoration, Japan shocked the West by becoming one of the great industrial and military powers of the world.
.. Japanese engineering students returned home with world-class expertise in aviation, nautical architecture, and ballistics — and a disdain for the supposed “decadence” of their mentors.
.. By 1941, Japanese super-battleships, fleet carriers, and fighter planes looked almost identical to British and American models. Often they were just as good, if not better.
.. Satellite Asian clients were expected to overlook Japanese bullying and imperialism in exchange for the advantages of trickle-down wealth from a rising Japanese economy and the paternalistic security offered by the Imperial Japanese Navy and ground forces.
.. China is currently following the Japanese model of the 1930s and early 1940s. All the parallels are there: claims of Western decline, appeals to pan-Asian solidarity, the bullying of neighbors, visions of a Chinese-led trading and currency bloc, new westernized Chinese weapons, and boasts that Beijing has combined the best of both Western technology and superior Asian discipline to become the superpower of the future.
Dinesh D’Souza’s “The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left” is a jujitsu exercise that argues that only Donald Trump’s G.O.P. can “denazify” a U.S.A. in thrall to liberal totalitarianism.
.. But the two books are also sometimes weirdly similar, making them respectable and disreputable embodiments of the same crisis in the right-wing mind.
.. For Flake, as for many Republican critics of the current president, Goldwater-to-Reagan conservatism is the true faith that Trump has profaned, to which the right must return
.. His imagined G.O.P. would no longer need to “ascribe the absolute worst motives” to liberals, “traffic in outlandish conspiracy theories,” or otherwise engage in the kind of demagogy that informs, well, Dinesh D’Souza’s recent work.
.. But because D’Souza has become a hack, even his best material basically just rehashes Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism” from 10 years ago, and because D’Souza has become a professional deceiver, what he adds are extraordinary elisions, sweeping calumnies and laughable leaps.
.. To pick just one example: It would be nonsense at any juncture to argue that because famed Indian-fighter Andrew Jackson was a Democrat and the Nazis admired the expulsion of the Indians, contemporary Democrats are basically Nazis. To make the argument during a Republican presidency that has explicitly laid claim to Andrew Jackson even as Democrats disavow Old Hickory is so bizarre that the term “big lie” might be usefully applied.
.. the senator and the demagogue both think that conservatives need to … cut social programs in order to cut taxes on the rich.
.. So long as they are not broken, the G.O.P. has two options. It can follow Flake’s lead and be a high-minded party of small-government principle, disavowing bigotry and paranoia — and it will lose elections
.. Or it can follow D’Souza’s lead (and Trump’s, now that his populist agenda seems all-but-dead) and wrap unpopular economic policies in wild attacks on liberalism. With this combination, the Republican Party can win elections, at least for now — not because most Americans can be persuaded that liberals are literally Nazis, but because liberalism’s intolerant and utopian tendencies make people fear the prospect of granting progressives political power to match their cultural hegemony.
Winning this way is a purely negative achievement for the right, a recipe for failed governance extending years ahead.
.. leaders and activists and donors to have an intellectual epiphany, and to realize that the way up from Trumpism requires rethinking the policieswhere Jeff Flake and Dinesh D’Souza find a strange sort of common ground.