USA

President Trump is standing up for US sovereignty against the global swamp

Last month, President Trump took action to defend US servicemen and women from an illegitimate investigation by the International Criminal Court into their conduct in Afghanistan. The ICC’s efforts are unfounded and mock justice.

First and foremost, the United States did not ratify the 1998 Rome Statute that founded the ICC. Successive administrations have stood by that decision and, as a result, American citizens are not subject to ICC jurisdiction.

Second, the ICC is a failed institution. Despite repeated calls for reform from nations like the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan, the court has become an ineffective, unaccountable and politically motivated bureaucracy. There are serious concerns about corruption and misconduct at the highest levels of the ICC Office of the Prosecutor.

Further, in this investigation, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has pointed out, our adversaries are manipulating the ICC and encouraging the investigation. Corruption and manipulation of the ICC by foreign intelligence services subvert the original mission and purpose of the ICC.

Third, the United States holds our armed forces to the highest legal and ethical standards. In the rare cases where our servicemen and women violate laws and norms, they are held to account. The United States military justice system is far more effective at holding Americans accountable for alleged wrongdoing than the ICC has ever been.

President Trump refuses to stand by as they are illegitimately targeted by international organizations seeking to harm the United States.

President Trump’s executive order, which sanctions and denies visas to ICC officials investigating Americans, is only the most recent example of his defense of American sovereignty.

In 2017, he withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement, a climate-change accord that would have cost America nearly $4 trillion in reduced output and millions of jobs.

Under that accord, China was allowed to increase emissions until 2030. As Trump notes, just 14 days of carbon emissions from China would wipe out all of the expected US emissions savings through 2030 under the treaty.

In May 2018, Trump pulled our nation out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, another one-sided agreement that failed to block Iranian nuclear ambitions. Iran is now closer than ever to enriching enough uranium for a nuclear device and has spent the past six years expanding its ballistic-missile program.

Worse, the JCPOA threw a lifeline of cash to the regime in Tehran. Instead of helping its own people, Iran’s leaders funded terrorism and proxy wars across the Middle East.

In June 2018, the president left the UN Human Rights Council to protest its cooptation by authoritarian regimes. Over the past several years, nations renowned for their total disregard for human rights — China, Venezuela, Cuba — have gained control of the HRC, using it to shield themselves from criticism while targeting America and our ally Israel.

This month, Trump terminated the US relationship with the World Health Organization due to its gross mismanagement of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and its lack of independence from China.

The group parroted China’s false talking points regarding the lack of human-to-human transmission; insisted the coronavirus didn’t pose a formal Public Health Emergency of International Concern; and opposed international travel restrictions from China.

At an unacceptable cost in human life, WHO’s leadership also curried favor with the Chinese Communist Party instead of fulfilling its critical public-health mission. Instead of providing it nearly $500 million per year, the United States will now send that money directly to where it is needed most — to frontline health-care workers in developing nations.

Trump has taken these steps to protect the American people and defend our nation’s sovereignty. He’ll continue to take strong action when international agreements or organizations are unfair to our country and waste taxpayer dollars.

Trump’s decisive action in no way diminishes US leadership, nor does it represent a retreat from a commitment to our ideals. Yet if, together with our allies and partners, we cannot reform multilateral institutions or treaties that harm democracy, we mustn’t fund them and will refuse. Organizations that foster the rule of law, democracy and liberty are the only ones worthy of US support.

Robert O’Brien is national security adviser.

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