In an attempt to discredit opponents of John Bolton, conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks has taken a wild swipe at reason.
Seemingly channeling Bolton himself, Brooks claims that “Bodies like the U.N. can toss hapless resolutions at the Milosevics, the Saddams or the butchers of Darfur, but they can do nothing to restrain them. Meanwhile, the forces of decency can be paralyzed as they wait for ‘the international community.’” Brooks needs to check his history books. In Bosnia (as in Rwanda), UN troops on the ground were handcuffed from acting precisely because they lacked backing from the UN Security Council, including the U.S. As for the genocide in Darfur, yesterday, on the very same op-ed page, Kofi Annan called for a series of specific actions. Meanwhile, the Bush administration’s “force of decency” in Darfur has amounted to a big, wet noodle. As the President wavers, thousands continue to die. And on Iraq, the UN was right. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Brooks then says that Americans “will never allow transnational organizations to overrule our own laws, regulations and precedents. We think our Constitution is superior to the sloppy authority granted to, say, the International Criminal Court.” Brooks doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The ICC — which the White House adamantly opposes — does not overrule our laws and does things our constitution was never meant to do; namely, hold international war criminals and people who commit genocide accountable. Yet the administration happily supports the World Trade Organization, which (for good or bad) sets binding rules on global trade and maintains an unelected court in a foreign land whose rulings often require the U.S. to change its laws and regulations under threat of sanctions. So right-wingers like Brooks oppose global governance because they “love our constitution,” except when it comes to making a buck. A little consistency please.
— Max Bergmann