July 12, 2002

The Writing On The Wall Series #7: The Imminent Economic Meltdown


Hello everyone

The first article seems to be a real ominous sign that very serious economic upheaveals are just ahead of the curve - and according to the conclusion of this article it looks as if this is exactly what the elite has planned for...

There are also other various items of interest. Please note that the next Meditation Focus (on the growing risks of a calamitous famine in several African countries) will follow tomorrow.

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000

P.S. See also my latest Media compilation #78: Global Environmental Terrorism Made in USA --- Posted at http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000/Archives2002/MediaCompilation78.htm


"Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned away from silence. Every day he invents machines and gadgets that multiply noise and distract man from essential life, from reflection, from spiritual immersion. Motor-car, airplane, radio, atom bomb are the latest victories of progress. Man today has nothing essential to do, but wants to do this nothing with speed and super human noise. He wants to be distracted, and fails to suspect that the robot who now holds the reins is driving him to the meaningless. In the midst of all the horn blowing, howling, screeching, thundering, crashing, whistling, gnashing and chirping, he feels confident. His anxiety is calmed. His inhuman emptiness grows like a monstrous gray plant."

- Hans Arp, "Arp--On My Way, Poetry and Essays 1912 - 1947"
Sent by "Paul Prior " <webmaster@globalcircle.net>


CONTENTS


1. FTW Economic Alert: Global Economic Collapse Imminent
2. Feedback on The Big Brother Files #41
3. Bush Press Conference Announcing the New War on Weddings
4. America - To live by the sword or by International Unity?
5. War Crimes Court Opens in The Hague
6. The ugly American again


See also:

A Tale of Two Coups (July 1, 2000)
http://www.gregpalast.com/printerfriendly.cfm?artid=169
The big business-led coup in Venezuela failed, where international finance's coup in Argentina has succeeded. Greg Palast gives us the inside track on two very different power-grabs.
Also available at http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/07.07A.palast.2.coups.htm

Citing Israel's Need for Security, Bush Accepts Occupation (July 9)
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/09/international/middleeast/09PREX.html
The president's comment appeared supportive of Israel, whose officials had said recently that they had no intention of withdrawing from Palestinian areas soon.

Bush Received Company Loans He Now Wants Banned
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/07.12C.bush.loans.htm

Amnesty Condemns Palestinian Attacks
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/07.12F.amnesty.pa.htm

Form Of Teleportation Achieved By Oz Scientists (6-17-2002)
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5
In a dramatic technological breakthrough, an Australian-based research team has teleported a message-encoded laser beam - bringing the science fiction fantasy of "beaming" humans from one place to another a step closer. (...) "What we have demonstrated here is that we can take billions of
photons, destroy them simultaneously, and then recreate them in another place," Dr Lam told The Australian. CLIP

Did Pterosaurs Survive Extinction?
http://paranormal.about.com/library/weekly/aa061702a.htm




1.

From: http://www.rense.com/general26/ftw.htm

FTW Economic Alert: Global Economic Collapse Imminent, Pension Fund Disaster; Stocks, Dollar To Free Fall, Gold To Skyrocket

By Michael C. Ruppert 7-8-2

[Ed. Note: The last time FTW issued an emergency economic bulletin to its subscribers was Sept. 9. At that time a derivatives investment bubble on the verge of implosion, a 900-point drop in the Dow Jones average and a pending liquidity crisis signaled a crash on the order of 1929. Only the attacks of Sept. 11 and massive intervention from the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve prevented the collapse. Investors blamed the ensuing market losses on the attacks. The situation now is much, much worse as more factors combine to suggest that foreign investors and trust in the U.S. economy might soon be a thing of the past. Your pension is at risk today and your home may be at risk in six months to a year. One economic analyst has suggested that a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan might be the perfect cover for the biggest financial wipe out in human history. I think that an ill-conceived and risky invasion of Iraq might serve the same purpose. From consumer confidence, to corporate accounting, to the dollar, to gold, to foreign capital flight, to pension fund wipe outs, to the derivative bubble, to debt, there is not a single economic indicator that is not flashing red. The warnings are as clear, explicit and well-documented as were the warnings received by the U.S. government throughout summer 2001 that a terrorist attack against the World Trade Center would take place during the week of Sept. 9 using hijacked airliners from United and American airlines. Nothing was done to prevent that and apparently nothing is being done now in spite of the fact that $4.2 trillion of your money has been stolen right in front of your eyes. There was no single reason for the attacks of 9-11. I have cited oil, drug cash and geopolitics as three of the primary motives for the U.S. government s complicity in allowing the attacks to happen. But what also cannot be overlooked is the fact that 9-11 effectively masked a major economic crash that was certain to occur. That crash has not been averted by the extraordinary financial maneuverings of the Bush administration that followed 9-11. It was merely postponed for a very short time.--MCR ] c. 2002

July 8, 2002, 4 PM PDT (FTW) -- Reuters, London published a story June 27 based upon an interview with billionaire financier George Soros. The headline read, Soros Blames Bush Factor for Dollar's Fall. George Soros is a man to be reckoned with. Emerging from WWII as someone who allegedly cooperated with Nazi occupation troops by identifying assets to be seized, the European financier is one of the most powerful financiers on the planet. He is credited with successfully assaulting the currencies of several nations, including Britain's pound. He recently participated in the World Economic Forum in New York where he was seated on the dais with the likes of Zbigniew Brzezinski, Hillary Clinton, Shimon Peres and academics from Ivy League colleges. It is more than just a case that when Soros speaks, people listen. The truth is that when Soros speaks, markets move.

His comments were brutal.

The international financial system is coming apart at the seams & There is a lack of confidence. That's what I call the Bush factor in the economy. There is a liquidity crisis in financial markets, said Soros. Everybody s going home. The Swiss banks are going home. The strengthening of the yen clearly shows repatriation. Translated, that means that foreign capital is fleeing the United States in the wake of as yet not fully realized accounting scandals that will, according to Fox News on July 6, take an estimated $600 billion in value out of the U.S. stock market this year. One of the many smoke alarms triggered by this is the fact that the U.S. economy needs an estimated $1.5 trillion per year in new foreign investment just to remain solvent.

Reuters quoted Soros as saying that the global economic downturn had exposed the weaknesses of corporate America and how the U.S. administration runs the international economic system.

Soros is aware of what FTW and noted economic thinkers like Catherine Austin Fitts, former assistant secretary of housing, and British economist Chris Sanders of Sanders Research have been saying for years: as much as half of the value of the U.S. financial markets is derived from criminal endeavors, whether it is the laundering of drug money or the fraudulent cooking of financial statements to boost profits.

PUMP AND DUMP

It s a simple scheme really. The mafia knows it quite well. By whatever means necessary, drive a stock's price higher and higher. Make it look like a mover, even if it s a dog. Cook the books and get suckers to buy in, helping to drive the price even higher. When you think the balloon will pop, call all your buddies and sell your shares. That effectively steals all the money that the suckers put in. When the stock crashes, the suckers who weren't part of the scheme will take the loss, whether they be individual investors or the New York City police and fire pension fund.

The U.S. stock markets have been pumped to the breaking point, and they are trying very hard to dump right now. Most sober analysts have agreed for a long time that the prices are over-inflated by as much as 50 percent or more; that price/earnings ratios, now averaging more than 30-1, should properly be corrected to about 15-1. That means the Dow should be at 5,000 or lower. We'll talk about how the meltdown is being temporarily prevented later. It is first necessary to examine the severity of the crisis.

If I mention the bookkeeping problem that's threatening Wall Street right now and asked you how many companies were being investigated for or had announced overstated earnings, how many would you say? Six? Eight? Try 17.* Seven of them are energy companies, and this adds another degree of imperative for Congress to force the White House to compel full disclosure from Vice President Cheney's 2001 energy task force. But he has a problem there too. One of the companies under investigation for fraudulent bookkeeping is Halliburton. Cheney was its CEO until taking office, and the fraudulent accounting occurred while he was the boss.

Did you think that WorldCom was a big one, having illegally claimed $3.8 billion in earnings to boost its share price? On July 5, according to Newsday, the energy giant Reliant Resources restated its 1999-2001 earnings by chopping off $7.8 billion in revenue. Just today it was disclosed on CNN that the pharmaceutical giant Merck has overstated its revenues by $14 billion.

At the core of all these accounting problems is a non-transparent form of corporate bookkeeping called pro forma.

CLIP - Read the rest (quite long!) at http://www.rense.com/general26/ftw.htm

CONCLUSION

The Great Depression was not an event that wiped out U.S. capitalists. It was an event that made the rich even richer by transferring the wealth of the people into the hands of the wealthy. Legendary is Bank of America s rise to affluence through real estate foreclosures from 1929-37. Don t believe for a minute that the richest of the rich will be hurt by the coming collapse. The only ones hurt will be you and me.

George Soros is a member of the Bilderberger Group, a collection of the wealthiest individuals on the planet. It includes, from the U.S., both Democrats and Republicans, and from Europe and Asia the richest old money that can be found. U.S. participants in this year s conference included David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summer, former CIA Director John Deutch and George Soros. It was just after this year s meeting which ended in early June, that all of the revelations about corporate fraud started to really hit the news. One wonders if it had been on the agenda.

I also note sadly a recent financial report from the Denver area stating that mortgage foreclosures were going through the roof. This, at the same time that Reuters (July 2, 2002) reported that corporate layoff announcements had risen by 12% in one month. In this context Bush s tax cuts seem worse than bad judgment. As former Ass t Secretary of Housing Catherine Fitts pointed out to me in a last minute e-mail, By 2010, when (and if) the Bush tax reductions are fully in place, an astonishing 52 per cent of the total tax cuts will go to the richest one per cent & Put another way, of the estimated $234 billion in tax cuts scheduled for the year 2010, $121 billion will go to just 1.4 million taxpayers.

Unless you can convince me that gravity might suddenly reverse direction, this collapse is inevitable and imminent. It will be unspeakably brutal. How long do we have? Maybe weeks. Maybe months. Maybe only days. But the house of cards is already starting to collapse all around us. A major terrorist attack, the folly of an invasion of Iraq or a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan would only be a momentary diversion from a much greater tragedy.

See also:

Stocks Careen To 1997 Lows - Confidence In Economy Plummets (7-10-2) http://www.rense.com/general26/coll.htm




2.

Date: Wed, 03 Jul 2002
From: Herb Baldwin <hjbaldwin@shaw.ca>
Subject: Re: The Big Brother Files #41: 9-11: The Missing Link

Bonjour Jean,

The info you provide is most interesting and shared with others but I frequently ask myself what good is it doing. There is a declared war which should have been questioned from the start even by those characterized as liberals or whatever, but for some reason, the declared war has been accepted as a rationale for justifying the killing of civilians. We express our phony sympathy but then note that this is war. The Afghans never attacked the west but we're there and our Canadian military and government is complicit in the act of killing people. What this is about is an act of ongoing calculated vengeance by the U.S. and it's leading all of us down a road of self-destruction. We could have addressed terrorism in a more serious manner without unleashing terror from the sky which is only going to make heroes of terrorists who also have no respect for human life. I didn't want this to be an epistle but simply to pose the question for dialogue and to make note that we are well on the road to fascism and what possible hope is there for `we the people' when we're told by the pollsters that a very high percentage of us supports the actions of this President and administration while the American TV networks promote the party line with very little dissension.

What isn't being discussed with rightful concern is what's coming down the road when `debt/deficit' from war mongering leaves the U.S. in a complete self-destructive mode as well as internal domestic dissent which this time around and with time could tear the fabric of the U.S apart. It might be interesting to note that certain elements of history are not recorded well and not apparent in the American psyche, e.g. the eminent General Douglas MacArthur allegedly sent tanks into the streets in the early part of the last century to quell protests by WW 1 veterans protesting for pensions etc. and more recently we can recall the Kent State incident.

Can you imagine what's coming with what's happening now - the trap has been set and we the people have subscribed with the notion `just make us feel warm and fuzzy' and you can even take away our civil liberties. We the people are going to have a lot to answer for just as the German people and their blind allegiance to the little man with the twinkling eyes and twitching mustache who was their perceived saviour. For anyone not wanting to be characterized with `we the people' - we might reflect on our old Irish grandmother's adage `if the shoe fits wear it or let your conscience be your guide'. We're all involved with the collective `we'...

Peace be with you

Herb Baldwin




3.

From: "Larson, Elaine" <elainelars@aol.com>
Subject: Bush Press Conference Announcing the New War on Weddings
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 2002

Dear Jean,

Here is my take on the latest US atrocities.

Namaste,

Elaine Larson
elainelars@aol.com

---

Bush Press Conference Announcing the New War on Weddings

White House Resident George W. Bush briefed the press today on the latest expansion of his War on the World. What follows is a summary of his prepared remarks, since questions are now known to be against free speech, freedom, liberty, justice and all we stand for as Americans.

Bush was visibly excited as he described the recent US bombing of a wedding party in Afghanistan, killing 50 and injuring and maiming over 100. "This is the first known direct strike on this type of enemy target", he gloated. "We now have put the terrorists of the world on alert that they are not safe at any type of celebration or sacred gathering. As long as the possibility exists that a single terrorist might attend a single wedding, we will be vigilant in searching these suspect occasions out and decimating all attendees. Our best military strategists confirm it's inevitable that one of these years we'll kill a terrorist if we keep up our resolve and bomb every gathering we can detect."

He noted with glee that many possibilities are opened by vigorous pursuit of this innovative War on Weddings. "Since weddings occur in other countries that have harbored terrorists, we know that this will be an effective tactic in those countries as well." Bush cited national security concerns for not elaborating further as to which countries will be next for implementing the 'Wedding Solution'. Bush closed his remarks with an impassioned plea to the young adults of America. He challenged them to exceed the performance of our country's children in sending their pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to the starving survivors of US bombings of orphanages. He expects our young adults to take an interest in sending small donations to assist widowed brides and crippled ring bearers. He ended by suggesting that the next strategic move of the war may be to destroy hospitals and old age homes, so that the rest of our citizenry can have their own special survivors grateful to receive donations from generous Americans.

See the real horror:

Expecting Taliban, but Finding Only Horror (8 July, 2002)
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/07.09C.afghan.horror.htm
KAKRAK, Afghanistan, July 6 -- After an American plane bombarded this village on July 1, American and Afghan soldiers surrounded the settlement and advanced at first light, searching houses and detaining people, apparently expecting to find Islamic militants, residents said today. But as the soldiers neared the center of the cluster of mud-walled farmhouses, they found a horrifying scene, survivors said. Women and children lay dead and wounded in and around one big house where they had been gathered for an engagement party, torn apart by cannon fire from the American attack plane, an AC-130 gunship. Survivors said they were gathering up the bodies, picking up limbs and body parts from the streets and adjoining orchard, and carrying the wounded to the village mosque, when the soldiers arrived. CLIP

Afghans Say Civilians Killed in U.S. Bombing (1 July, 2002)
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/07.02A.120.killed.htm
BAGRAM, Afghanistan -- U.S. aircraft attacked a village today while a wedding was under way, killing and injuring scores, witnesses and officials said. U.S. officials said an AC-130 gunship and a B-52 launched an attack after American forces came under fire. (...) U.S. special forces killed 21 Afghans when they stormed buildings in Khas Uruzgan village on Jan. 23 looking for Al Qaeda and Taliban forces. The Pentagon later acknowledged that none of those killed were Al Qaeda or Taliban, but Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld cleared the Americans of any wrongdoing. He denied the raid was a mistake, saying the soldiers had been fired upon at one of the sites.

Afghans Link Civilian Deaths to U.S. Bomb
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/02/international/asia/02MILI.html




4.

From: "Jonathan Evelight" <rainbow@aum.freewire.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 2002
Subject: America - To live by the sword or by International Unity?

Jean - please accept this contribution concerning America seeking immunity from the International Court of Justice.

Will America abide by the International Court of Justice?

2 July 2002

America's decision to abide by International Law or to seek immunity from that Law will identify it as a separatist nation with its own agenda or an integral part of the human family. This is an issue we can all respond to.

The International Court is man's interpretation of the principle of Right Relations between nations and between people. This decision will define history and reveal the true nature and motives of nations.

The resolving of this issue for the greatest good is essential for it threatens the existence of the United Nations or guarantees the principles of international cooperation under mutually accepted laws preserving the basic rights of human relations.

This decision is governed by:

The Instinct which declares that "to fight (or flight) is my way and my way alone - I am a law unto myself. I live by the sword and I will die by the sword."

The intellect or reason states "according to the letter of the Law I abide and agree the rules of engagement (as long as they satisfy my national self-interests). To this will I answer."

The intuition however says simply "I abide by the Law of Oneness, the Law of Karma governs our actions equally. One for all and all for One according to Truth, Justice and Freedom for all. To this highest law, not writ by human hand, I will answer in the end."

Bush, a Cancerian prefers to sidestep the issue and is torn between the voice of the defence dept and the separatist forces of instinct, and foreign policy which at the least acknowledges the necessity for common principles of engagement.

Blair, a Taurean with Gemini rising prefers a fixed position of "special relations" and is torn between the moral correctness of international consensus versus the go-it-alone defence of that special relation risking the loss of international unity.

This polarisation brings forth deeper truths, insights and tests the integrity of all nations in resisting self-interest alone for the greater vision of mankind's human family.

It is something we can all do something about. Let us petition all our politicians to council America to surrender its separatist attitudes and commit to the International Court of Justice.

Jonathan




5.

From: http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/07.02G.hague.open.htm

Originally from http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-UN-International-Court.html

War Crimes Court Opens in The Hague

By The Associated Press | New York Times

Monday, July 1, 2002

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) -- Equipped only with a fax machine and a phone, a four-member team opened for business Monday at the temporary office of the world's first permanent war crimes court, as international criticism mounted against U.S. opposition to the tribunal.

The staffers went to work in a single room of the 16-story office complex set aside as the court's headquarters in The Hague until a permanent court is built. Their main task will be keeping track of complaints until permanent representatives are appointed early next year.

On Sunday, the United States took the extreme step of vetoing the renewal of the mandate for peacekeeping operations in Bosnia after failing to win an exemption for its troops from any proceeding at the new International Criminal Court. Washington fears the court could be used to indict U.S. troops on political grounds.

The U.S. move was denounced, even by some of Washington's closest allies, with only Israel fully supporting the American position.

In London, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw called the U.S. veto ``a serious matter'' with which the British government disagreed. But he said talks were continuing to overcome U.S. objections.

``What we are involved in is a very detailed and active conversation with Americans to try and allay their fears,'' Straw said.

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer told reporters in Berlin that he ``regretted the United States' negative stance'' toward the court, and that he hoped for a ``long-term re-think'' in the U.S. position.

Criticism of the U.S. veto also came from Denmark, Norway and the European Union headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Bosnia said it feared its vital U.N. police mission would be dismantled, threatening its fragile peace.

After a special meeting in Brussels of NATO ambassadors to discuss the dispute Monday, the United States and alliance representatives underlined their commitment to peacekeeping in Bosnia.

``Our commitment to Bosnia remains, based on the Dayton accords,'' said NATO spokesman Mark Laity.

NATO insists that its 18,000-strong force in Bosnia is not directly affected by the U.S. threat since it is not a U.N. operation. Instead, its mandate comes from the 1995 agreement signed in Dayton, Ohio, to end the war in Bosnia. However, the lifting of U.N. backing for the mission could affect some nation's participation.

In Oslo, Norway, former Balkan peace broker and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke also expressed regret at the U.S. decision.

``I don't think there is any danger to Americans in the peacekeeping forces in Bosnia, and to jeopardize this force in this way is unnecessary,'' he said in an interview on Norwegian state radio NRK. ``I want to point out that if this continues it will affect not only Bosnia but Kosovo, Africa, East Timor and most importantly Afghanistan.''

White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said Monday that the Bush administration ``strongly supports Bosnian peacekeeping'' but the treaty threatens to overreach and ensnare American diplomats and military personnel on overseas duty.

Fleischer quoted criticism of the treaty made by former President Clinton that echoes the Bush administration's problems with the court, and said the United States wants protections for its citizens similar to those being sought by other countries.

``This is a very important matter of principle about protecting Americans who uniquely serve around the globe in peacekeeping efforts,'' Fleischer said. ``The world should make no mistake the United States will stand strong and stand on principle to do what's right to protect our citizens.''

With the backing of 74 countries, the Hague-based institute has the authority to prosecute individuals -- not states -- suspected of war crimes anywhere in the world.

The International Criminal Court cannot try offenses committed before July 1, 2002.

On the first day of operations, the court received no allegations, and the four administrators spent most of the day answering questions from the media.

Allegations will be filed and evidence handed to the court's caretakers retained for safekeeping until prosecutors take over next year.

The start of the court's jurisdiction signals the beginning of ``the greatest institution of peace ever created,'' said William Pace, head of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, which includes over 1,000 global organizations.

``All who believe in democracy and justice and the rule of law can celebrate,'' Pace said Sunday in an interview from New York. ``This is truly one of the greatest advances of international law since the founding of the United Nations 57 years ago.''

Staff members will keep track of complaints until permanent representatives are appointed early in 2003, said Bart Jochems, a spokesman for the Dutch Foreign Ministry.

The United States opposed the court because it fears U.S. soldiers and leaders could be indicted on political grounds. The Senate adopted legislation authorizing the president to use ``all means necessary'' to free U.S. citizens held by the court. It also enables the United States to penalize countries for cooperating with the court.

Supporters say there are many safeguards to prevent abuse, including a democratic process to elect a prosecutor and 18 judges. Each member country has one vote.

Another safeguard against political prosecution is the aim of an independent prosecutor's office that will weigh claims of war crimes on their merit, not on political grounds.




6.

The ugly American again

The Japan Times: July 10, 2002

There is always something disturbing about a leader that pronounces himself above the law. That only partially explains the unease surrounding the United States' decision to oppose creation of the International Criminal Court. Just as important have been the implications of that resistance -- which were on full display last week in the United Nations, where the U.S. had threatened to end the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia.

A temporary solution was reached, but U.S. demands that it be given blanket immunity from the court's jurisdiction fly in the face of established notions of justice. Worse, there is no reason for this impasse: The ICC was designed in such a way as to foreclose the political prosecutions the U.S. fears.

The controversy was triggered by a Security Council resolution that sought a six-month extension of the 1,500-strong U.N. police training mission in Bosnia. It also extended authorization for the 18,000-person North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia for one year. The U.S. originally threatened to veto the resolution unless U.S. participants in the peacekeeping mission -- 46 police trainers and 3,100 soldiers in the NATO force -- were given immunity from the jurisdiction of the ICC.

That position is unpopular. More than 100 nations met at U.N. headquarters to express dismay at the U.S. proposal and sent a letter to Security Council members urging them to stand fast against the U.S. position and respect the ICC's independence. Ultimately, Washington compromised in the face of unflinching opposition from other Security Council members and its allies, including the 15 EU governments that have ratified the ICC treaty. It agreed to a 12-day extension -- until July 15 -- which would allow negotiations to continue.

The U.S. position has powerful implications for global order. In addition to undermining the progress that has been made in rebuilding Bosnia, it threatens the 14 other U.N. peacekeeping operations that have been deployed from East Timor to Africa. Later this month, the peacekeeping mandates in Lebanon, Georgia and the Western Sahara expire.

In an unusually blunt letter to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan warned that "the whole system of U.N. peacekeeping operations is being put at risk" by Washington's single-minded pursuit of immunity.

Mr. Annan pointed out that no member of a U.N. peacekeeping mission has been accused of war crimes and that the U.S. position amounts to amending the court statute's after it has been formed.

The U.S. worries that American personnel would be the targets of frivolous or politically motivated prosecutions. The charge is understandable only in theoretical terms. In addition to Mr. Annan's point, the ICC only has jurisdiction when a country refuses to prosecute its own people. (That statute was crafted in an attempt to allay precisely those U.S. fears.) It would be difficult, if not impossible, for the court to claim that the U.S. has shown the requisite failure of its judicial institutions for the ICC to assert jurisdiction.

The real rub is Washington's hostility to any institution that infringes upon its sovereignty. In the simplest terms, the U.S. wants to claim that it is above the law. That may appeal to patriots in the U.S., but it is bad policy. Washington daily demands that other nations hew to international norms and standards -- be it in the fight against international terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, or even more mundane issues such as whaling rights -- and rightly claims that the world would be a better place if they were respected.

The U.S. cannot demand their adherence to those norms and then simultaneously assert that it is free from those same constraints. International law must bind all nations or it will bind none. The irony is that international law is a low-cost way of ensuring the furtherance of U.S. aims and objectives. Few nations have played such a fundamental role in the construction of the postwar order. It is for good reason that we talk about the "Washington consensus" when discussing the prevailing international policy framework.

American exceptionalism not only undermines the legal framework that Washington has worked so hard to build -- and which reflects in large measure U.S. values and goals -- but it also erodes the good will that the U.S. has developed during the last half century. Few policies seem as short-sighted or destructive of the U.S. national interest. Yet that does not seem to be sufficient rationale to get Washington to change its mind.








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