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.
[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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Accumulation and Power: An Economic History of
the United States
(M.E. Sharpe 1989).