National Sovereignty and International Law
(Photo by Robin Holland)
In his conversation with Bill Moyers on the JOURNAL this week, international lawyer Philippe Sands discussed the Bush Administration’s view of international law:
“They don't like international rules. It goes back to a project back in the 1990s, a Project for the New American Century, in which the very same people who came into the administration said, 'International rules impose constraints on the United States, undermine America's sovereignty, make America unable to protect itself. And we're going to get rid of them.' And they came into office, I think, with that as a policy objective. And 9/11 provided a useful way of taking that forward.”
The argument that international laws endanger national sovereignty can be heard from diverse voices across the political spectrum with regard to a variety of issues.
Regarding trade policy, for instance, progressive stalwart Ralph Nader warned against “sovereignty shredding” and said:
“The decisions are now in Geneva, bypassing our courts, our regulatory agencies, our legislatures.”
The conservative John Birch Society objects to the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, which is purportedly a non-binding initiative to build “cooperative relations” between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The Society argues:
“Plans include a 'free trade zone with a common security perimeter,' thus erasing established international borders. U.S. citizens would then effectively surrender their citizenship to the North American Union (NAU)... The John Birch Society believes the American people should oppose any programs or projects that would replace our constitutional system and/or combine our government with the very different Canadian and Mexican governmental systems — effectively destroying the United States of America.”
What do you think?