to Write both responses within 250 worlds at each side.

U.S. In the ICC

The International Criminal Court can be seen as a good thing that promotes international peace or a bad thing that does not contribute to the cause.  There are multiple countries, such as the United States, that are not part of the ICC.  Regarding the United States, it should be a part of the ICC because in doing so it will create less hostility towards itself, help promote international peace, and will not allow the U.S. to cover up certain war crimes that it feels justified to do.

            First, if the U.S. would join the ICC, they would be giving off a message that they trust other countries to help keep worldwide peace.  According to the textbook, “The United States, more than any other country, has soldiers deployed around the world to protect international peace and security” (Nau, 284).  By having soldiers in other countries, the U.S. is expressing that it does not believe that other countries are capable of dealing with the safety and security of their own countries, let alone dealing with international crimes.  This leads to these countries to feel hostile towards the U.S. because they feel that the U.S. is interfering in their affairs.  If the U.S. were to join the ICC, it would show that they trust these countries to make proper judgments with regards to security and, as a result, the other countries would not be angry at the U.S. for thinking that it is superior regarding international security issues.

            Second, since the U.S. is a country that is a leader within the international community, all of its actions have powerful effects on the rest of the world.  Therefore, when the U.S. decided to not join the ICC, they expressed to the world that the ICC is not something that is good or will be successful.  I believe that the reason the ICC is not as successful as it could be is because the U.S. is not part of it.  If the U.S. joins the ICC, more countries will follow its lead and join as well.  Once enough countries join, they can all work together to promote international peace in the world.  This can only happen if the U.S. decides to join because other countries look up to it as a leader.  If the U.S. joins the ICC, therefore legitimizing it, then other countries will feel that it is legitimate and will want to join and make an effort to promote international peace.

            Finally, the U.S. needs to join the ICC because the other countries will stop the U.S. from covering up its own war crimes.  One example of this is the way that prisoners were treated in Guantanamo Bay.  Here, prisoners of war were tortured in many ways that violated multiple war laws.  As Michael Froomkin says, “our government admits we have killed 27 POWs…tortured who knows how many, and then our government says no one is to be held accountable” (Froomkin, “Why the U.S. Needs to Join the International Criminal Court”).  Froomkin is saying that the U.S. avoids punishment for these crimes because it is not in the ICC.  As a result, if the U.S. were to join the ICC, it would not be able to cover up crimes of torturing prisoners of war.  This would also make the U.S. more favorable in the eyes of other countries, which will further promote peace and decrease any hostility towards the United States.

Works Cited:

Nau, Henry R. Perspectives on International Relations: Power, Institutions, and Ideas. Washington, D.C.: CQ, 2007. Print.

 Froomkin, Michael.  “Why the U.S. Needs to Join the International Criminal Court”.  2005. (Links to an external site.)

U.S. Out of the ICC

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an intergovernmental organization which was adopted by the United Nations. The ICC began functioning on July 1st, 2002. The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression. The United States participated in the original ICC negotiations until early 2002. The United States has since refused to join the ICC. As one questions whether or not the United States should or should not join the ICC, one must take into account the realist perspective, liberal perspective, and identity perspective.  A realist would argue that joining the ICC would shift power of persecution from a domestic level where the US Government reigns supreme to the international world stage. A liberal would argue that the ICC is another means of fostering interaction and interdependence between states, while resolving international conflicts. The identity perspective would focus on the ideas and identities of the actor participating in the ICC. The identity perspective would also dissect the motivation behind why the United States has yet to join the ICC, focusing on political ideology and leader’s strategies.

A realist would argue firmly against joining the International Criminal Court.  A realist would raise a concern about the ICC prosecuting US soldier’s and military personnel. The United States “has soldiers deployed around the world to protect international peace and security.” (Nau 284) This broad outreach of support, according to a realist, leaves the United States vulnerable. The ICC could bring cases against US soldiers and even the president, for acts committed around the world. The ICC also undermines the fundamentally anarchic world system that realist rely upon. The idea that there is no higher power than a governing state is essentially made void by the ICC. The international Criminal Court is an institution that operates outside of the sovereignty of states.  A realist would see the ICC’s intervention as a struggle for power. At the systemic process level, interactions between other countries and the US could become stained depending on the types of accusation being made and by whom. In order to assure that no Americans are sent to the ICC, the US has negotiated Article 98 agreements with other countries. This agreement states that those countries would not prosecute Americans through the ICC, placing the power back with the United States.

A liberal would argue that the United States must join the International Criminal Court. From the liberal’s systemic process level of analysis, joining the ICC would guarantee the strengthening of international relationships. A liberal would argue that by joining the ICC, the Unites States would establish a precedent for resolving international conflicts via a worldwide institution. According to a liberal, the fact that the US has negotiated Article 98 agreements with other countries, makes “it more difficult to enforce the laws prohibiting genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.” (Johansen 2) Not only has the United States refused to join the ICC, but the actions that they have taken essentially undermines the ICC’s effectiveness. The Bush administration initially promised not to undermined the court. After promising not to undermine the Court, “the Bush administration and Congress made law and developed policies that not only prevented US cooperation with the Court but also aggressively undermined the Court and aimed to destroy its legitimacy and effectiveness.” (Johansen 4) From a liberal perspective, this outright display of resistance and hostility, did an insurmountable amount of damage. By not joining the ICC and by seeking US immunity, the US threatened interdependence and negotiations. A liberal would argue that the Unites States actions only led to more conflict than conflict resolution. A liberal could argue that by joining the ICC, that the US could ratify some of its previous actions.

An identity perspective would focus on ideas and ideology. At the identity systemic level, the US and the ICC may have conflicting ideal about what justice means. The ICC began in 2002, less than a year after the September 11th attacks.  From a domestic level, the US ideology of the time lent itself to rejecting participation in the ICC. Individual ideology of the average American exhibited fear, uncertainty, and massive patriotism. The US not only refused to participate in the ICC, but also petitioned for immunity for UN peacekeepers. The US was granted immunity for one year. In 2004, the US tried to renew immunity. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan warned providing immunity for UN peacekeepers. Annan argued that the renewal “would discredit the Council and the United Nations that stands for the rule of law and the primacy of the rule of law.” (Johansen 10) At an individual level, Kofi Annan is rejecting the US and their ideology of superiority.

Once all perspectives are taken into account, it seems that the only course for the United States is to continue to reject participation in the International Criminal Court. In an ideal world, I believe that joining the ICC would strengthen ties throughout the world and grow interdependence. However, the risk is too high. By rejecting participation, the US retains power and also safeguards military personnel and peacekeepers. It seems that even if executive orders were given for the US joined the ICC, the backlash would be harsh. There would be great pushback from the military who are stationed abroad and from realist who’d deem this power shift as a gradual demise of the United States power. At this point in time, the United States should not join the International Criminal Court. The risk far outweighs the reward.

Work Cited:

Johansen, R. C. (2006). The impact of US policy toward the International Criminal Court on the prevention of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Human Rights Quarterly, 28(2), 301-331.

Nau, Henry R. Perspectives on International Relations: Power, Institutions, and Ideas. Washington, D.C.: CQ, 2007. Print.