Truss guns for Putin

Liz Truss, in her pretend role as all an powerful foreign secretary of a global power, has been proposing that the Putin should  be in irons in the dock in The Haig, being tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC)  for war crimes. Like most of the external initiatives of the UK, it produces good domestic headlines, often aids the USA’s excesses by playing the useful village idiot, but in reality (like ‘net zero’) has no meaningful impact whatsoever on the outcomes in the real world. Setting aside the patently obvious attempts by Truss to play to the gallery for her (no doubt) forthcoming bid to succeed Bojo, her proclamations require more robust analysis.

Firstly, it’s worth noting that the ICC does not have universal support. The country leading the sanctions against Putin, the USA,  has not ratified the ‘Rome Statute’ which governs the activities of the court. Not just that, but it has pro-actively impeded any investigation involving the USA or its citizens. Donald Trump addressed the UN General Assembly and stated that the  “United States will provide no support or recognition to the International Criminal Court. As far as America is concerned the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy, and no authority.” That’s pretty clear, and appears to have been overlooked by Ms Truss.  Putin’s lawyers might just bring that out against any attempt to arraign him.

It might also be noted that the UK shrugs its shoulders at international justice by ignoring rulings by the International Court of Justice (the UN’s highest court) with regard to the Chagos islands. whose inhabitants were banished to allow the US to build a bomber base there. Mauritius is considering referring the UK for crimes against humanity to the ICC, the very self same body Truss  wishes Putin to be tried at for similar crimes. As the Keir Starmer might say, “it’s one rule for us, and another rule for them”   

Secondly, accusations of war crimes – as with most other humanitarian transgressions -always tend to be suffocatingly hypocritical; “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” springs to mind. Especially in this woke age, when the world starts examining historical perspectives, the callous realpolitik of the US exercising its position of the world’s dominant power is hardly the voice of pious judgement.

One act cited as evidencing war crimes was the use of cluster munitions, which are subject of an international treaty, the “Convention on Cluster Munitions”. One non signatory to this is Saudi Arabia – a key US ally, where there is evidence that they have been used by them in the Yemen, including weapons sold to them by the British and the USA. Moreover, the USA has not ratified the cluster convention, and indeed has taken steps under Trump to continue their use, along with land mines

. A Martian reading this would be taken aback by this sanctimonious cant. It’s as though a judge trying a drugs case took a break to take a snort of the white stuff. Grumpy carries no banners for Putin, but the reality is that military conflict  is messy  and In the ‘fog of war’, Stuff Happens, as Donald Rumsfeld once observed about bad things happening in Iraq.  Surely the focus should be longer term steps to create a framework for European stability in particular and the world in general, rather than grandstanding in Parliament. One reason for a more strategic perspective is that  these events are just a rehearsal  for the inevitable China / USA showdown.