September 7, 2002


We may even have to thank France for helping to ease the tensions. America’s oldest ally has come to the rescue — however inadvertently. Though it had kept it a secret, the French government had much the same objection to the court as the American government — that its peacekeepers could be hauled before the court.

As the European nations met last Friday to discuss their common position at the EU meeting — for the EU is supposed to have a common foreign and defense policy these days — it was revealed, much to the surprise of other EU members, that the French government had secretly negotiated a seven-year exemption for its own peacekeepers back in 1998.

“I was somewhat surprised that France, despite signing the ICC, had been granted this exemption,” noted Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh. Interestingly, demanding exceptions is exactly what Europeans have attacked the Americans for doing.

I guess I should be surprised, but I’m not.

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