Tuesday, August 23, 2005


UN Power Grab

Subverting democracy by stealth

John O'Sullivan writes about the latest UN power grab:
In less than a month's time -- Sept. 16 and 17 -- the world's great and good will be gathering at the United Nations in Manhattan for what is officially called the High Level Plenary Meeting of the U.N. General Assembly. This meeting, attended by the heads of government of most countries, including the major powers, has become a regular event in recent years, but one of ceremonial importance rather than of substance.

This year it will be very significant indeed. For the plenary session will almost certainly pass an obscure document, now circulating in draft form among U.N. delegations, that calls on the assembled governments to reaffirm their support for the U.N.'s Millenium Declaration Goals and the other declarations of U.N. conferences over the last 30 years. It will ask them to support the achievement of these goals in a co-ordinated and integrated manner, to renew their commitment to . . .

Falling asleep already, are you? Well, that is precisely the intention of those who composed these anodyne phrases. When bureaucrats seize power, they do it not with swords but with chloroform. And this document is a power grab by people of whom you have never heard, the officials of the U.N. Secretariat, working in tandem with the diplomats of those countries and international organizations that would like to expand the power of the U.N. and its various agencies.
What harm is there in signing onto to these desirable outcomes even if we believe that they are either unobtainable or very distant? As scholars like John Fonte of the Hudson Institute have shown, there is very considerable potential harm. These treaties and declarations include enforcement mechanisms such as "monitoring" bodies. Sovereign democratic nations such as Canada have had to host delegations from the U.N. investigating whether their budgetary cuts in welfare violate some commitment they made on welfare rights.

Worse, these commitments change when judges interpret the treaties in a way no one would have predicted when they were signed. A topical example: the British government is currently trying to deport terrorist suspects it considers a danger to the public, but the courts maintain that such deportations are contrary to Britain's signature on the European Declaration of Human Rights.

In other words, the most sensitive and vital political questions are removed from democratic parliaments and the voters and handed over to an international committee nominated by foreign and often despotic regimes. (Emphasis mine.)
John Fonte labeled this philosophy Transnational Progressivism. He describes how the UN and its supporting organizations seek to subvert democracy in order to further their own agenda:
A good part of the energy for transnational progressivism is provided by human rights activists, who consistently evoke "evolving norms of international law." The main legal conflict between traditional American liberal democrats and transnational progressives is ultimately the question of whether the U. S. Constitution trumps international law or vice versa.

Before the mid-twentieth century, traditional international law referred to relations among nation-states. The "new international law" has increasingly penetrated the sovereignty of democratic nation-states. It is in reality "transnational law." Human rights activists work to establish norms for this "new international [i.e. transnational] law" and then attempt to bring the U. S. into conformity with a legal regime whose reach often extends beyond democratic politics.

Transnational progressives excoriate American political and legal practices in virulent language, as if the American liberal democratic nation-state was an illegitimate authoritarian regime. Thus, AI-U.S.A. charged the U. S. in a 1998 report with "a persistent and widespread pattern of human rights violations," naming the U. S. the "world leader in high tech repression." Meanwhile, HRW issued a 450-page report excoriating the U. S. for all types of "human rights violations," even complaining that "the U. S. Border Patrol continued to grow at an alarming pace."
The UN is a corrupt, unaccountable bureaucracy which aspires to world governance. Global elites, including many American politicians, portray it as a putative world authority to which the US is subordinate. How long will it be before liberal American judges begin to see things this way?

Many Americans correctly see how the UN threatens to US national security interests. We are constantly forced to compromise our core values in pursuit of our foreign policy goals. Often, these compromises are counterproductive. Or worse, as was the case with Iraq. But many miss the larger picture: The designs of the UN are fundamentally incompatible with American constitutional values. Indeed, the UN's very existence is a threat to them and to America itself. Americans need to recognize this and insist our political leaders act accordingly.


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