Means to an End: U.S. Interest in the International Criminal Court

In This Review

Means to an End: U.S. Interest in the International Criminal Court
By Lee Feinstein and Tod Lindberg
Brookings Institution Press, 2009
150 pp. $24.95

Books of this sort are all too rare. Two experienced policy intellectuals, one liberal, one conservative, have come together to find common ground on a controversial foreign policy issue. Feinstein and Lindberg argue that the time has come to rethink U.S. opposition to the International Criminal Court. To date, the debate over the ICC in the United States has been divided between those who emphasize the "global governance" virtues of membership and those who, in opposing membership, wave the flag of sovereignty. But the ICC is a means, not an end -- after all, the goal is to hold perpetrators of atrocities to account for their deeds. To Feinstein and Lindberg, therefore, the case for the court must be made on more traditional grounds of American values and interests. Since its earliest days, the United States has championed universal norms and institutions of justice -- and the international court is simply an instrument of these cherished commitments. The authors contend that the court could also serve real national interests, for cooperation with it would improve relations with close allies and military partners. The book is short, but it goes a long way toward clearing the ideological air.

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