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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

During International Crisis, Which Law Reigns Supreme?

By Deborah Weiss

American Security Council Foundation: April 13, 2010

At this critical juncture in history, the West is engaged in a long, unconventional war with radical Islam. Freedom hangs in the balance. The international community connives, seduces and pressures the US to work in “cooperation” with the rest of the world on matters of utmost importance. In the debate between internationalists and nationalists, which laws should govern, those of the international community or American law? Which law reigns supreme? America’s answer to this question may determine the future of her existence and that of the entire Free World.

American nationalists believe in American sovereignty. Sovereignty is the trait of having supreme, independent and sole authority over one owns land, and it stems from the right of a nation to self-determination. Some sovereign states operate as dictatorships, where the government is self-determinative, but the people are not free. But the American system of government is based on the notion that individual rights are endowed by their Creator, not the government. Rather, the government derives its power in the form of limited, enumerated powers conveyed to it through the constitution. Critical to this concept is the notion that the people consent to this governmental power. The government of the United States works for its citizens, not the other way around. The constitution creates a private domain in which the individual is free from government interference.

The plain text of the constitution states that the constitution is the “supreme law of the land”. Of course, the constitution itself can be amended through the procedures stated within it. Indeed, it was through those procedures that the Bill of Rights was created. Additionally, the US can choose to bind herself to an international agreement by signing and ratifying a treaty (requiring a 2/3 Senate vote). However, such treaties must be entered with caution because unintended consequences cannot be corrected through the domestic legislative process.

Internationalists believe that international law should take priority over the constitution and American law. In other words, they do not believe in US sovereignty, but rather that America should cede her power to external authorities. Though treaties may require the relinquishment of American authority, at least they are self-imposed. The larger problem stems from years of non-binding resolutions by international bodies, the assertion of authority by international organizations and conferences, and the establishment of “traditional and customary international law”, all of which gradually erode America’s right to make her own laws and decisions. The decision to yield to these authorities is political, not legal. Much of the world desires that nation states “share sovereignty.” In reality, this means that states will relinquish their national sovereignty in favor of some internationally recognized authority.

In the worldview of internationalists, no nation or nations would hold a balance of power over the others. Countries like the US and Israel that stand up as the beacon of freedom and human rights would hold no sway over countries that are tyrannical and oppressive in nature. American internationalists reject the notion of American exceptionalism. They refuse to believe that America holds a special place in the world by setting an example of freedom, equality and prosperity. Instead, they believe that America is and should be just one of the 192 member nation states of the United Nations, no different from any other.

The danger in this worldview is it cedes irrevocable authority to unelected, unaccountable international decision-makers who often do not have America’s best interest at heart (and oft-times nor of their own citizens). There is no consent by Americans to yield this power, no oversight after it is transferred, and no check on external power to keep it from being abused. Even when American officials bind themselves voluntarily to international agreements, the agreements are often flawed. In effect, they often constitute legislation without representation, and are used as a surrogate for the domestic legislative process. To the extent that politicians sign treaties on otherwise domestic issues, or issues circumventing the constitutional rights of citizens, that agreement constitutes a misuse of power.

American internationalists deny human nature. Their view is based on the false premise that there is no evil in the world, and that people from all cultures, countries and religions hold the same values, beliefs, interests and goals. It is this false premise that leads some in the west to espouse the merits of global governance. At a time when the world is at war with radical Islamists who believe in Islamist supremacy, and reject the concept of equality between Muslims and non-Muslims, between men and women, and between heterosexuals and homosexuals, it is important to understand that cultural relativism and tolerance for the intolerant cannot sustain the underpinnings of freedom and human rights. Appeasing enemies with contrary values and anti-freedom ideologies will not make our enemies like us more. It is tantamount to surrender.

It is likely that foreign countries which advocate for the ultimate authority of international bodies such as the International Criminal Court and expanded UN powers have the de-legitimization of US power as one of their goals. A world dominated by “global governance” drastically increases the threats to American sovereignty. The undermining of sovereignty progresses slowly over time so as to go under-noticed by the public as well as government officials. Included amongst the threats are:

• international bodies whose authority would supplant US authority. Some of these bodies would put America in a position where she has to request permission to defend herself via national security efforts;

• binding treaties that are under-examined by the officials who ratify them. Many of these circumvent domestic legislation and impact issues should remain internal, such as gun control, racism, and energy use;

• non-binding UN resolutions and international conventions which are eventually deemed “international and customary law”, “tradition,” or the “established norm.” They are then used to pressure the US to comply with that to which she never agreed;

• multilateral taxes. Under the guise of producing a unified solution to climate change, internet control, and banking failures, the UN is attempting to impose taxes on the US for which American citizens never voted and will have no representation. Once American dollars and resources are confiscated by non-US entities, she will have relinquished her sovereignty and will likely never get it back.

Little attention is paid to sovereignty issues because the subject may seem boring or academic. There is a lack of understanding of the implications of sovereignty, and a gross devaluation of its importance. Currently, America appears to have its first internationalist President whose ideology breaks from a long line of both Republican and Democrat Presidents who fundamentally believed in US sovereignty. President Obama’s past comments eschewed the notion of American exceptionalism. His foreign policy and national security goals aggressively advocate, increase, and lead in multi-lateral “cooperative” efforts. The President fantasizes about the reality of a nuclear-free world, Iran’s voluntary cessation of building nuclear capabilities following America’s example of unilateral disarmament, and has introduced along with Egypt, a UN resolution aspiring to outlaw free speech on radical Islam. There is no better time than now to heed the warning of the Founding Fathers regarding the limits of federal power and the importance of maintaining national sovereignty.

So, what is wrong if the rest of the world thinks that America should abolish the death penalty, reduce her carbon footprint or ban nuclear missile tests? If they are right, those holding these viewpoints should win the debate in the marketplace of ideas.

The real question is who will decide these issues? Will it be Americans who speak with the power of their votes? Or will foreign entities steal America’s freedom by imposing the false notion that America is bound by the “customs and traditions” of countries whose values lead them to have less freedom, less equality and less prosperity than the US?

As former Ambassador John Bolton so astutely worded it, “in secular terms, there is no superior authority” to the Constitution of the United States. The Founding Fathers laid out in the constitution that it is “we the people” of the United States who are sovereign. We must maintain that position against all political pressure if America is to remain free.
Deborah Weiss, Esq. works for She is a regular contributor to the American Security Council Foundation, American Thinker, and FrontPage Magazine. She also delivers speeches and seminars on the various methods that radicals are using to stifle free speech in the west.



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