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Trump’s defiance of rule of law will ruin US’ reputation worldwide

By Seddiq Hussainy (People's Daily Online)    18:19, June 23, 2020

Showing his disdain for the global rule of law, US President Donald Trump has locked horns with the International Criminal Court, imposing sanctions on ICC members in a bid to block an investigation into war crimes committed during the conflict in Afghanistan. The probe began after a UN report suggested that war crimes had been committed by members of the US armed forces in Afghanistan since 2003. Unsurprisingly, these aren't mere unsubstantiated allegations. There is not a shadow of doubt that US troops perpetrated crimes of unspeakable cruelty in the Afghanistan war. History testifies to the suffering the US-led occupation has unleashed upon this nation.

In the aftermath of the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Americans presided over a reign of terror under the pretense of fighting terrorism. They were virtually unstoppable, and a perennially weak Afghan government afforded them indomitable power and impunity. The US military and intelligence agencies also controlled policy and security portfolios. They were behind everything, carrying out harsh military operations, night raids, detentions, torture, rape and sexual violence, extra-judicial executions at CIA-operated secret detention sites and a litany of other crimes. US warplanes dropped tens of thousands of bombs on villages and killed countless civilians with their airstrikes. The UN reports have shed light on these atrocities, unequivocally implicating the US military in the indiscriminate murder of defenceless civilians. But the war is far from over. Afghanistan still bleeds, and civilians continue to be killed in staggering numbers.

The Trump administration is sticking to its wrong guns, engaging in a full-blown war with the International Criminal Court. Trump’s sanctions are a naked attack against the Afghan nation and an obstruction of justice for victims of atrocities. He has gone completely rogue. In the light of recent events, one can assume that Trump’s aggressive way of running things has only backfired. He has alienated a legion of his transatlantic allies. In a major face-off months ago, the US president and his NATO allies duked it out, playing a game of diplomatic brinkmanship over the Alliance's defence spending. He also estranged his European allies with his threat to cut trade ties.

Gratuitously reneging on the Iranian nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and other international commitments, sparring with the World Health Organization over the coronavirus pandemic and even blaming it on China, pressuring the ICC to halt a war crimes probe, and a long list of his conspiracy theories including Ukraine, a counter-narrative on Russia investigation origins and his conspiracy over Syrian refugees are all the dastardly consequences of his paranoid delusions and dangerous brinkmanship.

American transgressions are all compounded by denialism, whataboutism and neo-isolationism. This all presents a warning that the US has gone astray and that a new paradigm in international relations should be charted. The Europeans ought to wake up to the danger Trump is posing with his unilateralist and outlawed actions. Europe should not wipe the slate clean with Trump this time, and instead renounce support for his interventionist dogma.

Trump’s attack on the ICC has only vindicated the global entity and its pursuit of the truth and justice. Members of the UN Security Council and the ICC have already reprimanded the US for its threats against the Court, and voiced support for the investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan, which does not augur well for the US’ reputation.

The history of post-World War II America is entrenched in imperialism, expansionism, neocolonialism and interventionism. Now is a defining moment, a moment of judgment. The EU and NATO alliances will have to rethink their partnership goals with the US and stop putting America on a pedestal. Instead of sabre-rattling and bullying, all of us deserve to live in a world without its maladies and its coldness. 

The opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to People's Daily Online.

Seddiq Hussainy is a sub-editor with Afghanistan Times.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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