On this week’s Worldly, Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss a recent International Court of Justice ruling ordering that the US needs to relax its sanctions on Iran — and the Trump administration’s volcanic response. They put this in context of America’s broader foreign policy history, and debate just how hostile the United States is to constraints on its actions. On Elsewhere, they discuss Melania Trump’s first solo trip abroad to several African countries, and what it tells us about the Trump administration’s thinking on foreign aid. Zack compares the US to a petulant teenager, Alex sings a Beauty and the Beast song, and Jenn shows off her knowledge of Egyptian Sesame Street.
Alex wrote about the ICJ’s ruling mostly favoring Iran over the United States.
Jenn spoke about the 1955 US-Iranian Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights.
Before he became Trump’s top national security aide, John Bolton constantly berated international courts. Here’s just one example.
America history with the ICJ has been contentious for years, as this interview by the Council on Foreign Relations confirms.
Our hosts walked through a lot of different international agreements and accords, among them the Paris Climate Accord, the UN Law of the Sea Treaty, the Arms Trade Treaty and NRA efforts around it.
The team also dug into the Bush administration’s specific reasons for not joining the ICC, the International Criminal Court-- the fear that the ICC might prosecute the US for war crimes.
For a broader take on the US’s historical relationship to international treaties, Zack recommends this Politico piece. He also suggests this Brookings opinion piece on President Barack Obama’s role as an international reformer, and points out that Obama was far more friendly to ICC than his predecessors.
Jenn had some pushback. She brought up Obama’s record on drone strikes.
Also, here’s a South African civil society group that submitted a docket to the ICC to have the Obama administration investigated for war crimes over drone strikes, here’s the Obama administration saying the ICC won’t have jurisdiction over what US forces do in Mali, and here’s the Obama administration’s official policy toward the ICC as of 2010.
Going further back in Democratic history, here’s Bill Clinton recommending that his successor not ratify the ICC treaty.
We pulled a clip from this Melania Trump press conference.
Jenn walked us through USAID’s new approach… and Egyptian sesame street.
For more on the cons of foreign aid, Zack recommends The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor by William Easterly
For evidence that it’s probably still a net benefit, Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding--And How We Can Improve the World Even More by Charles Kenny
More on the Trump administration’s efforts to cut foreign aid
And an analysis of what foreign aid can do for national security
Americans think the US doles out too much foreign aid, even though it’s a relatively small percentage of the US budget.
Zack mentioned Pepfar and its success
This is the New York Times story Alex briefly alluded to in his final comment.
Here are the Today, Explained episodes on the Brazilian elections and the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement, a.k.a. USMCA… and the Weeds episode on USMCA!