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As the major media finally begins to notice the Bush Administration's decision last week to order state courts to comply with the ICJ's ruling in Avena, Texas may be gearing up for a last stand in the ongoing Medellin saga.I stand by my prediction last week that the Bush Administration's intervention on the side of the ICJ will almost certainly...

I agree that Bolton is a strange appointment, and not just because he doesn't appear to like the U.N. very much. It is also strange because if Bolton hates the U.N. so much and thinks it is useless, it isn't likely he will accomplish very much in his new job. In other words, this appointment almost suggests Bolton is being...

Last Monday, the State Department released its 2004 Report on Human Rights conditions around the world. The report has been around since the Carter administration, when Congress began requiring human rights reporting as a centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy. Since the beginning, the report has been criticized globally as reflecting an American tendency to subject other countries to a higher...

When Bob Zoellick was named Deputy Secretary of State, it was largely viewed as a triumph of the internationalist "realists" over the unilateralist "neocons" in the Bush State Department. That conclusion may have been somewhat premature. Today it was announced that John Bolton, a prominent neocon and current undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, will be nominated...

El Salvador watchdog (or is it "watchblog"?) Tim Muth notes that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed a $54 million judgment against 2 Salvadoran generals for human rights violations during the 1980s. Those generals now live in the U.S. and were sued by their victims under that ubiquitous Alien Tort Statute.Courts have generally held that Alien...

Territorial squabbling continues in Southeast Asia as the Indonesian government announced it would NOT bring its simmering dispute with Malaysia over offshore undersea development rights to the International Court of Justice (where it previously lost a territorial case in 2002). It also announced that warships sent to enforce Indonesian claims of sovereignty would remain and that Malaysian airplanes were violating...

In a conference in Brussels, Quebec's Premier Jean Charest "called for closer economic and trade ties among Canada, Mexico and the United States, saying the three North American countries should take the European Union as an example of closer integration."In particular, Charest says the NAFTA countries should move toward "NAFTA-plus, that we should look at dispute settlement mechanisms that have...

A while ago, I noted that Iraq had joined the ICC, which was rather surprising given the U.S. govt's strenuous opposition to the international criminal court. I also noted that no one, except the French government, appeared to notice or care.Yesterday, however, Iraq announced that it was withdrawing from the ICC (thanks to Allison Danner for the heads up). This...

This week, the U.S. Trade Representative submitted the 2005 Trade Policy Agenda and the 2004 Annual Report of the President on trade. These annual reports to Congress are required by statute. What makes this year's 437-page report more interesting than usual, however, is that it also triggers a statutory provision that requires the U.S. government to assess the costs and...

Although Malaysia and Indonesia have both been devastated recently by the December tsunami, they have apparently recovered enough to start squabbling over undersea development rights on two previously disputed islands, the Sipadan and Ligitan islands. The International Court of Justice awarded sovereignty over the two islands to Malaysia in a 2002 judgment, but Indonesia continues to contest the extent...