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US fires yet another salvo at the world order: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-09-11 21:46
An outside view of the Palestine Liberation Organization's office in Washington, USA, Sept 10, 2018. [Photo/IC]

Giving another example of its diplomatic audacity and scorn for international law, the Donald Trump administration has threatened to arrest and sanction judges of the International Criminal Court if they move to charge any US personnel who served in Afghanistan with war crimes.

The threat on Monday came along with the US State Department order to shut down the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington over US concerns that the Palestinians might prompt an ICC investigation against Israel for alleged war crimes.

The Hague-based court's mandate is to bring to justice the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Many media reports say prisoners in Afghanistan have been abused and tortured by US forces, which was corroborated by a US federal judge ruling in 2015 which asked Washington to release photographs showing the abuse of detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Perhaps this is what triggered the United States' bellicose attack on the ICC.

Yet the ICC's probe, if it has planned one, into US personnel and intelligence professionals would not be "utterly unfounded, unjustifiable", as White House National Security Advisor John Bolton claimed. Justice was definitely not on Bolton's mind when he threatened to let the ICC "die on its own", as it is clear that he questioned the ICC's legitimacy only because it is not playing by the rules set by Washington.

The attack against the ICC belies the US' self-proclaimed role as the high priest of human rights.

Ironically, just years ago the US wholeheartedly supported the court's investigation into alleged human rights abuse in countries such as Sudan and Uganda - because it served its purpose.

The move, with its disturbing signs, should be seen as Trump's designs to overhaul the existing world order and establish a new one to better serve his "America First" policy. The "art of the deal" that Trump never tires bragging about, which in essence is a constricted view of the world, has already prompted the US to pull out of many international institutions and multilateral pacts, from the UN Human Rights Council and the Paris climate agreement to the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and the Iran nuclear deal.

It is therefore highly doubtful whether this in-your-face attitude of the Trump administration will serve US interests in the long term. Not least because it is against the overwhelming global trend of peace development.

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