The Exceptional Nation

A defining moment for the way the world works came last Friday when the United States and other members of the UN Security Council struck a last-minute deal on the reach of the new International Criminal Court.

The US – which sees the ICC as dangerously unaccountable and able to create law as it goes along in search of human rights violators – won a one-year exemption for itself and other nations that don't support the Hague-based court.

One year was all the US could get for now, even as it shelved a threat to block renewal of all UN peacekeeping missions unless it was given a permanent exemption from the court's long arm. The one year allows the US to negotiate pacts with nations to ensure American soldiers won't be turned over to the court.

The ICC still needs to prove it won't become a rogue, America-bashing tribunal, impeding a nation that has a track record and unique high-tech ability to rescue nations, even whole continents (Europe and Asia), from fascism, communism, famine, ethnic cleansing, and now terrorism. The ICC's claim to represent some universal rule of law has yet to be tested.

The ICC should remain under control of Security Council, which must still define the international consensus on genocide, war crimes, and gross human rights violations.

This compromise also recognizes that big powers, such as the five given veto power in the Security Council after World War II, must be given special consideration for their contribution to world peace.

The US and the UN may collide again in a year on this issue. But by then the ICC will have begun to show its mettle, and the US will have protected itself from potential abuses by the court.

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