Little-Known Nethercutt Amendment Removed From Bush-Era Budget Just Passed

And it’s good news:

In 2004 George Nethercutt […], a Republican member of congress from Washington State, inserted a provision into the State Department/Foreign Operations appropriations bill stating that countries that cooperate with the International Criminal Court but do not sign so-called bi-lateral immunity agreements with the United States would not be eligible for U.S. foreign assistance funds. So, for example, if an ICC member like Peru declined to enter into one of these bi-lateral immunity agreements with the United States, then Peru would lose money earmarked for, say, efforts to reduce coca production and fight drug trafficking.

A number of America’s allies declined to enter into these side agreements because they believed their obligations to the ICC prevented them from doing so. They were punished accordingly. Meanwhile, the administration, too, had chose between its opposition to the court and other — arguably more important — diplomatic and foreign policy priorities.

I wrote about the Nethercutt Amendment a full five years ago in the American Prospect. I argued then that this was pretty dumb public policy. And now, via Don, I’m glad to report that it has ended. …

Heather Hurlburt at Democracy Arsenal has this, and two other, “small (to us) but significant signals” to the rest of the world that the Obama administration:

  • understands that success in a multilateral world means showing genuine responsiveness to others’ interests and concerns;
  • understands that the world is not zero-sum, and that sometimes power shared is power amplified;
  • is not afraid (or, is less afraid) of what Secretary Albright used to refer to as the “UN helicopters swooping low to steal your lawn furniture” crowd.

Via Memeorandum.

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