A scrap of fatuity

Former Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy wrote yesterday that:

We are on the verge of a transformative international event. The International Criminal Court is expected to issue an arrest warrant today for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on charges of planning and executing a systematic campaign of mass terror in Darfur. This would be the first arrest warrant issued by this court for a sitting head of state and an important declaration to the world that no person, no matter how powerful, is immune from the reach of justice in the 21st century.

Not that old Lloyd was and remains a man with a pernicious habit of mistaking words for deeds. But President al-Bashir is completely, contemptuously and very obviously immune from the reach of justice unless someone actually goes and arrests him. If not, talk of this sort, from the Court as well as armchair vigilantes, simply creates a dangerous and demoralising gulf between our goals and our means. The resulting collapse of our windy aspirations doesn't just disillusion well-meaning people. It causes us to neglect practical measures we might take to improve our security. Given how badly that approach worked in the past, for instance in the 1930s when college students in the U.S. mounted a "strike for peace" that inexplicably didn't stop Hitler, I wonder if we might do a bit more thinking and a bit less bloviating now.