Mirror, Mirror On The Wall, Who’s The Biggest Rogue Of All?


follows is a record of the U.S. rogue role in the world—its
crimes and imperial designs. 

  1. Comprehensive
    [Nuclear] Test Ban Treaty, 1996. Signed by 164 nations and ratified
    by 89 including France, Great Britain, and Russia; signed by President
    Clinton in 1996, but rejected by the Senate in 1999. The U.S.
    is one of 13 nonratifiers among countries that have nuclear weapons
    or nuclear power programs. In November 2001, the U.S. forced a
    vote in the UN Committee on Disarmament and Security to demonstrate
    its opposition to the Treaty and announced plans to resume nuclear
    testing of new short-range tactical nuclear weapons. 

  2. Antiballistic
    Missile Treaty, 1972. In December 2001, the U.S. officially withdrew
    from the landmark agreement—the first time in the nuclear
    era that the U.S. renounced a major arms control accord. 

  3. Biological and
    Toxin Weapons Convention, 1972. Ratified by 144 nations including
    the U.S. In July 2001 the U.S. walked out of a London conference
    to discuss a 1994 protocol designed to strengthen the Convention
    by providing for on-site inspections. At Geneva in November 2001,
    Undersecretary of State for arms control John Bolton stated, “the
    protocol is dead,” at the same time accusing Iraq, Iran,
    North Korea, Libya, Sudan, and Syria of violating the Convention,
    but offering no specific allegations or supporting evidence to
    substantiate the charges. In May 2002, Bolton accused Cuba of
    carrying out germ-warfare research, again producing no evidence.
    The same month, three Pentagon documents revealed proposals, dating
    from 1994, to develop U.S. offensive bioweapons that destroy materials
    (“biofouling and biocorrosion”), in violation of the
    Convention and a 1989 U.S. law that implements the Convention. 

  4. UN Agreement
    to Curb the International Flow of Illicit Small Arms, 2001. The
    U.S. was the only nation in opposition. Undersecretary Bolton
    said the Agreement was an “important initiative” for
    the international community, but one that the U.S. “cannot
    and will not” support, since it could impinge on the constitutional
    right of Americans to keep and bear arms. 

  5. International
    Criminal Court (ICC) Treaty, 1998. Set up in The Hague to try
    political leaders and military personnel charged with war crimes
    and crimes against humanity. Concluded in Rome in July 1998, the
    Treaty was signed by 120 countries. Although President Clinton
    signed the Treaty in December 2000, he announced that the U.S.
    would oppose it, along with six others (including China, Russia,
    and Israel). In May 2002, the Bush administration announced it
    was “unsigning” the Treaty, something the U.S. had never
    before done, and that it would neither recognize the Court’s
    jurisdiction nor furnish any information to help the Court bring
    cases against any individuals. In July 2002, the ICC went into
    force after being ratified by more than the required number of
    60 nations, including Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy,
    and Spain—Russia now having signed, but not ratified. Throughout
    2002 and 2003, the U.S. worked to scuttle the Treaty by signing
    bilateral agreements not to send each other’s citizens before
    the ICC. By mid-2003, the U.S. had signed 37 mutual immunity pacts,
    mostly with poor, small countries in Africa, Asia, Central America,
    and Eastern Europe. Threatened with the loss of $73 million in
    U.S. aid, for example, Bosnia signed such a deal. In July 2003,
    the Bush administration suspended all military assistance to 35
    countries that refused to pledge to give U.S. citizens immunity
    before the ICC. 

  6. Vienna Convention
    on the Law of Treaties, 1969. The U.S. signed but did not ratify.
    In May 2002, as the U.S. was unsigning the ICC Treaty, it simultaneously
    announced that it would not be bound by the Vienna Convention,
    which outlines the obligations of nations to obey other treaties.
    Article 18 requires signatory nations not to take steps to undermine
    treaties they sign even if they do not ratify them. 

  7. The American
    Servicemen’s [sic] Protection Act, 2002. The Bush administration
    has been working overtime to nullify the ICC. In November 2002,
    the president signed this Act, which not only bars cooperation
    with the ICC and threatens sanctions for countries that ratify
    it, but authorizes the use of “all means necessary”
    to free any U.S. national who might be held in The Hague for trial
    before the ICC. 

  8. Land Mine Treaty,
    1997. Banning the use, production, or shipment of anti-personnel
    bombs and mines, the treaty was signed in Ottawa in December 1997
    by 123 nations. President Clinton refused to submit it for ratification,
    claiming the mines were needed to protect South Korea against
    North Korea’s “overwhelming military advantage,”
    a proposition denied by the heads of North and South Korea in
    June 2000. In August 2001, President Bush rejected the treaty. 

  9. Kyoto Protocol
    of 1997, intended to control greenhouse gas emissions and reduce
    global warming. Declared “dead” by President Bush in
    March 2001. No other country has chosen to abandon the treaty
    completely. In November 2001, the Bush administration shunned
    negotiations in Marrakech (Morocco) to revise the accord, mainly
    by watering it down in an attempt to gain U.S. approval. In February
    2002, Bush announced a new plan to limit emissions—by measures
    that are to be strictly voluntary. The U.S. is the largest single
    producer of these emissions, generating 20 percent of the world’s

  10. International
    Plan for Cleaner Energy, 2001. The U.S. was the only nation to
    oppose this Plan, put forth by the G-8 group of industrial nations
    (U.S., Canada, Japan, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, UK) in Genoa
    in July 2001. It would phase out fossil fuel subsidies and increase
    financing for nonpolluting energy sources worldwide. 

  11. UN Convention
    on the Law of the Sea, 1982 and the 1994 Agreement relating to
    Implementation of Part IX (Deep Seabed Mining). It establishes
    a legal framework for management of marine resources and preservation
    of the marine environment for future generations—including
    fish stocks, minerals, international navigation, marine scientific
    research, and marine technologies. President Clinton submitted
    these treaties to the Senate in 1994, but they have not been ratified,
    as they have been by 135 and 100 countries respectively. The primary
    obstacle to applying them remains the absence of U.S. ratification. 

  12. Cartagena Protocol
    on Biosafety to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, 2000.
    An international treaty sponsored by 130 nations, it seeks to
    protect biological diversity from risks posed by genetically modified
    organisms resulting from biotechnology. To date, it has been ratified
    by 13 countries and signed by 95 more, including the United Kingdom,
    Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, both Koreas, China, India,
    Indonesia, Argentina, and Mexico. The U.S. has long argued that
    there is no reason for such a protocol, has not ratified it, and
    is not expected to. 

  13. European Union
    (EU) talks on economic espionage and electronic surveillance of
    phone calls, e-mail, and faxes, May 2001. The U.S. refused to
    meet with EU nations to discuss, even at lower levels of government,
    these activities carried out under its Echelon program. Meanwhile,
    the U.S. escalated its opposition to the EU’s Galileo project,
    a global satellite navigation system that would rival the U.S.
    Global Positioning System (GPS), funded and controlled by the
    Department of Defense and serving thousands of corporate and individual
    users worldwide, all monitored and recorded by the U.S. In December
    2001, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told the EU that
    Galileo would have “negative consequences for future NATO
    operations” and would interfere with GPS. (In fact, it is
    planned to be compatible.) In March 2002, the EU announced that
    it would proceed with Galileo, slated to be operational in 2008. 

  14. Multilateral
    talks sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
    Development, Paris, May 2001. Discussion on ways to end “Harmful
    Tax Competition"—tax evasion and money-laundering operations
    carried out through off-shore tax havens. The U.S. refused to
    participate. In negotiations in Vienna under the auspices of the
    UN, the U.S., and the EU are also battling over a proposed global
    Convention Against Corruption. Europe wants the pact to cover
    businesses and governments; the U.S. wants it restricted to governments. 

  15. World Conference
    Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related
    Intolerance, September 2001. Convened by UNESCO (UN Educational,
    Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the UN High Commission
    for Human Rights. It brought together 163 countries. The U.S.
    withdrew from the Conference, alleging anti-Israel and anti-Semitic
    politics on the part of many delegations. The final declaration
    of the conference expressed “concern about the plight of
    the Palestinian people under foreign occupation” and “recognized
    the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination
    and to the establishment of an independent State and…the right
    to security for all States in the region, including Israel.” 

  16. The 39-year-old
    illegal embargo against Cuba by the U.S. Under Bush II, it has
    been tightened. In November 2002, the UN General Assembly passed,
    for the 11th consecutive year, a resolution calling for an end
    to the boycott by a vote of 173 to 3, the largest majority since
    the General Assembly first debated the issue in 1992. The U.S.,
    Israel, and the Marshall Islands voted against the resolution. 

  17. UNESCO. The U.S.
    quit UNES- CO and ceased its payments for UNESCO’s budget
    in 1984. The pretext was the New World Information and Communication
    Order (NWI- CO), which was not a UNESCO project, but a proposal,
    backed by several groups, including UNESCO, for change in global
    communications designed to lessen dependence of developing countries
    on Western media, news agencies, and advertising firms. The NWICO
    proposal was dropped in 1989; the U.S. nonetheless refused to
    rejoin UNESCO. In 1995, the Clinton administration proposed rejoining;
    the move was blocked in Congress. In February 2000, the U.S. finally
    paid some of its arrears to the UN but excluded UNESCO. President
    Bush stated that the U.S. would rejoin UNESCO in September 2002,
    when he appeared before the UN to ask for a resolution authorizing
    him to attack Iraq. 

  18. State-sponsored
    terrorism. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague
    held the U.S. in violation of international law for “unlawful
    use of force” in Nicaragua, 1986, through its own actions
    and those of its Contra proxy army. The U.S. refused to recognize
    the Court’s jurisdiction. A 1988 UN resolution that “urgently
    calls for full and immediate compliance with the Judgment of the
    International Court of Justice of June 27, 1986 in the case of
    ‘Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua’
    in conformity with the relevant provisions of the Charter of the
    United Nations” was approved 94-2 (U.S. and Israel voting

  19. Optional Protocol,
    1989, to the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political
    Rights (1966). Aimed at abolition of the death penalty, it contained
    a specific provision banning the execution of those under 18.
    The U.S. has neither signed nor ratified and exempts itself from
    the latter provision, making it one of five countries that still
    execute juveniles (with Saudi Arabia, Democratic Republic of Congo,
    Iran, and Nigeria). China abolished the practice in 1997, Pakistan
    in 2000. 

  20. UN Convention
    on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,
    1979. Ratified by 169 nations. President Carter signed CEDAW in
    1980, but the Senate blocked it. The only countries that have
    signed, but not ratified, are the U.S., Afghanistan, Sao Tome
    and Principe. 

  21. UN Convention
    on the Rights of the Child, 1989. It protects the economic and
    social rights of children. The U.S. has signed, but not ratified.
    The only other country not to ratify is Somalia. 

  22. Cairo Action
    Plan, 1994. Adopt- ed by 179 nations at the Cairo International
    Conference on Population and Development in 1994. It seeks to
    establish “reproductive health services and health care”
    as a means for curbing population growth in developing countries.
    In July 2002, the U.S. cut off its $34 million annual contribution
    to the UN family-planning program and, in November, withdrew its
    support of the Cairo Action Plan. The State Department’s
    population office stated that the Plan implied a right to abortion
    and undermined the U.S. international campaign for sexual abstinence
    to avoid pregnancy.  

  23. UN Convention
    on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 1948.
    The U.S. finally ratified in 1988, adding several “reservations”
    to the effect that the U.S. Constitution and the “advice
    and consent” of the Senate are required to judge whether
    any “acts in the course of armed conflict” constitute
    genocide. The reservations are rejected by Britain, Italy, Denmark,
    the Netherlands, Spain, Greece, Mexico, Estonia, and others. 

  24. Convention Against
    Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,
    1987. Ratified by the U.S. in 1994. In the UN Economic and Social
    Council in July 2002, the U.S. tried to stop a vote on a protocol
    to reinforce the Convention. The protocol would establish a system
    of inspections of prisons and detention centers worldwide to check
    for abuses. The U.S. claimed that the new plan would allow monitors
    to gain access to American prisoners and detainees—including,
    presumably, those held in U.S. detention camps in Guantanamo,
    Afghanistan, and now Iraq. 

  25. Vienna Convention
    on Consular Relations and Optional Protocols, 1963. The U.S. is
    a long-time violator, by detaining foreign nationals and failing
    to notify their governments. In 1999, two German citizens, Walter
    LeGrand and his brother Karl, were put to death in an Arizona
    gas chamber. When arrested in 1984 for the murder of a bank teller,
    the LeGrands were not informed of their right to contact the German
    embassy and German officials were unable to provide legal aid.
    In 1998, the World Court (the ICJ) ruled that the U.S. had violated
    international law in the case and asked the U.S. Supreme Court
    to stay the execution. The Supreme Court dismissed the request.
    In 2002, Mexico petitioned the ICJ to grant stays of execution
    for 54 Mexicans held on death row in the U.S., arguing that U.S.
    municipal and state officials are violating the Vienna Convention.
    In August 2002, Mexican President Vicente Fox cancelled a meeting
    with President Bush at his Texas ranch to protest Alabama’s
    execution of Mexican citizen Javier Suarez Medina, who was denied
    the right to seek help from his government when arrested in 1988. After
    September 11, 2001, U.S. violations of the Convention multiplied,
    with more than 600 “unlawful combatants” detained in
    Guantanamo and elsewhere without charges, denied all legal rights,
    and held for possible trial before closed military tribunals. 

  26. Agreement among
    all other 143 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to
    help poor nations buy medicines to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria,
    and other diseases, by relaxing patent laws that keep prices of
    drugs beyond their reach, concluded at the WTO Ministerial Conference
    in Doha, Qatar in November 2001. In December 2002, the U.S. single-handedly
    destroyed the agreement. Sources at the WTO in Geneva said that
    the U.S. decision came directly from the White House, following
    intense lobbying from U.S. pharmaceutical companies.


the status of “we’re number one” rogue overcome by
generous foreign aid given to less fortunate countries? The three
best foreign aid providers in 2002, measured by the aid percentage
of their gross domestic products, were Denmark (1.01 percent), Norway
(0.91 percent), and the Netherlands (0.79 percent). The worst was
the U.S. (0.10 percent) followed by the UK (0.23 percent). A 2003
index, put together by the Center for Global Development and


magazine and ranking the contribution made by 21 developed
nations to growth in the developing world, placed the U.S. 20th;
only Japan ranked lower. 

The foregoing record of the biggest rogue of all excludes the use
of armed force against other nations. According to the Congressional
Research Service (Report 96-119F, “Instances of Use of United
States Armed Forces Abroad”), from 1798 through 1995 there
were 251 instances (of which only five were declared wars) when
the U.S. used its armed forces abroad, in situations of military
conflict or potential conflict or for other than normal peacetime
purposes.  Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the level
of U.S. military activism abroad has been unprecedented. 

“Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has embarked
on nearly four dozen military interventions [during 1989-1999] as
opposed to only 16 during the entire period of the Cold War. Many
of these interventions, such as those in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia,
and Kosovo, were launched into areas traditionally considered marginal
to U.S. interests” (“New World Coming: American Security
in the 21st Century,” September 1999, United States Commission
on National Security/21st Century). 

DuBoff is professor of economics at Bryn Mawr College. He’s the
author of

Accumulation and Power: An Economic History of
the United States

(M.E. Sharpe 1989).