Holy Crap. John Bolton Was En Fuego At the Federalist Society

Screengrab from https://youtu.be/2Aa-Fjmb7DE

Screengrab from https://youtu.be/2Aa-Fjmb7DE

In my earlier post on the closing of the PLO offices, I quote from National Security Advisor John Bolton on what he says the United States will do if the ICC tries to prosecuted either US or Israeli officials. Because the the quote had was blended by the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post into their coverage of the crushing of Paletinian dreams, some critical context was lost.


Earlier in the year, Jeffrey Goldberg–he’s the guy who fired Kevin Williamson from The Atlantic because he wasn’t David Frum no matter how much he tries–wrote an essay on what exactly was Trump’s guiding principle in foreign policy:

The best distillation of the Trump Doctrine I heard, though, came from a senior White House official with direct access to the president and his thinking. I was talking to this person several weeks ago, and I said, by way of introduction, that I thought it might perhaps be too early to discern a definitive Trump Doctrine.

“No,” the official said. “There’s definitely a Trump Doctrine.”

What is it?, I asked. Here is the answer I received:

“The Trump Doctrine is ‘We’re America, Bitch.’ That’s the Trump Doctrine.”

If you thought that was hyperbole, then you might be mistaken. Today Bolton addressed the Federalist Society on the subject of Protecting American Constitutionalism and Sovereignty from International Threats. This subject, and the threat posed to American liberties by supranational bodies, was what caused Bolton to focus on the International Criminal Court. And focus he did in quintessential Bolton-ian style that left body parts strewn and not a prisoner in sight.

National Security Adviser John R. Bolton said Monday the United States has dismissed the International Criminal Court as “illegitimate” and it will sanction the organization’s judges if they pursue an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by American soldiers and intelligence officials in Afghanistan.

The announcement came from Mr. Bolton during a speech to the Federalist Society at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

“We will not cooperate with the ICC,” Mr. Bolton said. “We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.”

Mr. Bolton’s remarks specifically referenced a move made late last year by ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to launch a probe into possible war crimes committed by the U.S. and its allies during the 17-year-long war in Afghanistan.

Ms. Bensouda submitted a formal request to start an investigation based upon a 2016 ICC report that found that U.S. armed forces and the CIA might have committed war crimes by allegedly torturing detainees.

Mr. Bolton lashed out at the ICC, warning it that Washington would “use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court.”

He also warned that the Trump administration could ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the U.S., sanction their funds and prosecute them in American courts.

“This afternoon, we also make a new pledge to the American people,” Mr. Bolton said. “If the court comes after us, Israel or any of our other allies, we will not sit quietly.”


This was long overdue. When the ICC was established its mandate was specifically to investigate crimes in areas, like Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, where there was no functioning legal system to investigate atrocities. Like so many international bodies, it has been weaponized and directed at the United States and at Israel. By putting the ICC on notice of what it can expect if it decides to move out of its very narrow lane, Bolton has probably prevented the US from ever having to act on his promised actions, plus, heads have exploded all over Europe and the Third World. And that is a good thing.


This is whole speech, cued up, for your convenience to when Bolton takes the lectern.

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