September 10, 2018 | By Craig Kafura

The ICC Is Dead to John Bolton, But Not the Public

In a speech on Monday, September 10, National Security Advisor John Bolton announced a number of hostile policies aimed at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In his first speech as National Security Advisor, made to the Federalist Society, Bolton threatened to sanction ICC judges, bar them from traveling to the US, and use US courts to prosecute them. These restrictions come as the ICC has called for investigating Americans over alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

Said Bolton: “We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.”

Established by the Rome Statute in 1998 and established in 2002, the ICC was opposed by then-President George W. Bush, and the US has never ratified the treaty. Bolton, famously focused on international law and strict opposition to multilateralism, has long opposed the ICC, including during his Bush administration tenure as US ambassador to the UN.

However, Bolton’s opposition to the ICC has little support among the broader American public, even among his fellow Republicans. Data from the new 2018 Chicago Council Survey, fielded July 12-31, 2018, finds that three in four Americans (74%) support US participation in the agreement on the International Criminal Court. That includes majorities of Republicans (69%), Democrats (81%), and Independents (73%).

Partisan Views of the International Criminal Court

Nor is this public support for the ICC new. Since the ICC entered into force in 2002, Americans have favored US participation. That support has held steady for the past sixteen years, with roughly seven in ten in support and between two and three in ten opposed.

American Opinion on the International Criminal Court

For more results from the 2018 Chicago Council Survey, subscribe to our regular email updates to get the latest data on American opinion on foreign policy issues.

About

Dina Smeltz joined The Chicago Council on Global Affairs in February 2012 as a senior fellow in public opinion and foreign policy, and directed the Council’s 2012 survey of American public opinion (see Foreign Policy in the New Millennium).  She has nearly 20 years of experience in designing and fielding international social, political and foreign policy surveys.

As the director of research in the Middle East and South Asia division (2001-2007) and analyst/director of the European division (1992-2004) in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the US State Department’s Office of Research, Dina conducted over a hundred surveys in these regions and regularly briefed senior government officials on key research findings. Her experience includes mass public and elite surveys as well as qualitative research.  She has written numerous policy-relevant reports on Arab, Muslim and South Asian regional attitudes toward political, economic, social and foreign policy issues.  Her writing also includes policy briefs and reports on the post-1989 political transitions in Central and Eastern Europe, and European attitudes toward a wide range foreign policy issues including globalization, European integration, immigration, NATO, and European security.

With a special emphasis research in post-conflict situations (informally referred to as a “combat pollster”), Dina has worked with research teams in Bosnia, Kosovo, Cyprus, Israel-Palestinian Territories and in Iraq (2003-2005), where she was one of the few people on the ground who could accurately report average Iraqis impressions of the postwar situation.  In the past three years, Dina has consulted for several NGOs and research organizations on projects spanning women’s development in Afghanistan, civil society in Egypt and evaluating voter education efforts in Iraq.

Dina has an MA from the University of Michigan and a BS from Pennsylvania State University.

Feel free to email Dina with comments or questions at dsmeltz@thechicagocouncil.org

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