One of the more interesting claims Mitt Romney made during yesterday’s debate was that he hopes to see Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prosecuted by the international community. It was a curious statement coming from someone who frequently criticizes Obama’s internationalist bent as too accommodating towards the rest of the world, and again suggested Romney is moderating his foreign policy posture so voters don’t think he’d represent a continuation of reckless Bush-style go-it-alone unilateralism.
“I’d make sure that Ahmadinejad is indicted under the Genocide Convention,” Romney said. “His words amount to genocide incitation.”
A top adviser to Romney later clarified to Talking Points Memo that Romney wants to see Ahmadinejad indicted and arrested by the “World Court.” My Post colleague Glenn Kessler believes this can only be a reference to the International Criminal Court.
It’s possible Romney was referring to the International Court of Justice, but that body does not prosecute for genocide. The ICC does.
But the United States would not accept the ICC under George W. Bush — and indeed, one of Romney’s own top advisers has said that Obama’s embrace of it reveals his weakness and passivity on national security, and his unwillingness to exercise international leadership.
John Bolton, the former U.N. Ambassador under Bush who is said to be one of the only top foreign policy advisers Romney actually listens to, wrote a Wall Street Journal Op ed in March of 2011 attacking the ICC and Obama, when Obama came out in support of the U.N. Security Council decision to refer Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi to the ICC for prosecution. Bolton wrote that the ICC is “one of the world’s most illegitimate multilateral institutions,” adding that invoking it was an “abdication of responsibility” on Obama’s part.
Mr. Obama’s ready embrace of the International Criminal Court exemplifies his infatuation with handling threats to international peace and security as though they were simply local street crimes. It also reflects his overall approach to international affairs: a passive, legalistic America, deferring to international bodies, content to be one of 15 Security Council members rather than leading from the front.
So embracing the ICC is tantamount to “leading from behind,” right?
Yet now Romney appears to be embracing it — or the “World Court,” anyway. And Moderate Mitt’s Makeover continues apace, this time in the realm of foreign policy, as Romney now plays footsie with dreaded liberal internationalism.
Perhaps someone should ask the Romney campaign for clarification of his position on the “world court,” and ask Bolton what he thinks of Romney’s new “infatuation” with it.