Sunday, May 11, 2008

America's Interests and the U.N.

John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., was kind enough to provide additional United Nations material in the last issue of Imprimis - publication from Hillsdale College. Mr Bolton speaks of the internal politics and the ineffective management of the U.N. Most concerning, he speaks of the dangers "norming".

“Norming” is the idea that the U.S. should base its decisions on some kind of international consensus, rather than making its decisions as a constitutional democracy. It is a way in which the Europeans and their left-wing friends here and elsewhere try and constrain U.S. sovereignty. You can see how disastrous this would be just by looking at the geography of the floor of the U.N. General Assembly. Look out at the representatives of the 192 governments spread out over the floor and you wonder where the U.S. even is. Well, we’re there somewhere. But the fact is that we’re sitting with a majority of countries that have no traditions or understanding of liberty. The argument of the advocates of “norming” is “one nation, one vote.” That sounds very democratic: Who could object to that? But its result would be very anti-democratic. As an illustration of this, a friend of mine once went to a conference on international law and heard a professor from a major European university say, “The problem with the United States is its devotion to its Constitution over international norms.”

If the international community has such a problem with the United States "devotion" to its Constitution, then the rest of the member states should take their complaints and requests for "aid" elsewhere - we have real problems to deal with.

And on terrorism:

Although the U.N. is perfectly capable of passing resolutions about the death penalty and gun control—not to mention smoking—it has proved utterly incapable, even after 9/11, of agreeing to a definition of terrorism that would enable it to denounce terrorism. The U.N. is incapable of doing this, even to this day, because several member governments think there is good terrorism and bad terrorism. It is inconceivable, in my judgment, that the U.N. will ever be able to agree upon a definition of terrorism that’s not complete pablum—and therefore utterly useless.

The entire article is a worthwhile read. If you do not already have your free subscription to Hillsdales' Imprimis, I would highly recommend it.

##That's my opinion##


Name: Soapboxgod said...

I think there is a flip-side to that proverbial coin.

In as much as U.S. decisions ought not be based "on some kind of international consensus", international consensus cannot then be equally based on U.S. decisions.

I think, so long as the U.S. continues to associate itself with the international community through the U.N., they will have to unfortunately abide by such a concensus. Or, they can opt out and place their emphasis on their own best interest and their own sovereignty.

Lucid Guy said...

Soapbox, I'm not sure I understand your point. There is a difference between forming a consensus around a course of international action and the U.S. abiding by a global consensus within our borders. The U.S. should abide by the U.N. consensus on international actions, but the U.S. should never allow the U.N. to influence laws within our borders - such as gun control or limits on capital punishiment. And by abide, I don't mean the U.S. should not hold the U.N. to task to enforce its own rules and resolutions. If the U.N. will not enforce U.N. resolutions and hold violating countries accountable, then the U.S. will have to step up.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

You couldn't be more correct. Unfortunately, I don't know that the U.N. is capable of that.