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Defending American Sovereignty
by Ron Lewenberg
18 March 2003

Just as the institutional failure of the Articles of Confederation created pressure for a reconstitution of the American government, the vacillation of the UN will create pressure for a stronger, more centralized world government.

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In recent weeks, certain conservatives have questioned why globalists have taken actions in the UN that seemed to be discrediting the institution.  See, for example, Why Have the Globalists Discredited the U.N. on the View From the Right website. Hans Blix and Mouhamed Al-Baradei persisted in downplaying Saddam Hussein’s open breaches of the 1991 Ceasefire agreement and Resolution 1441, the 17th resolution ignored or breached by the Ba’athist regime in Iraq. Meanwhile the French and Russians threatened to veto any resolution enforcing prior resolutions for which they voted. While these stances have been explained by neoconservatives in the press as mere institutional pacifism in the UN and protection of business interests by France and Russia, there are more serious agendas driving these actions. It is imperative that conservatives recognize the current threat to American sovereignty and power, and focus on these issues rather than on the current internecine fight between neoconservatives and paleoconservatives.

The US is the only superpower among western nations. Our GDP provides roughly one-quarter of Gross World Income. The paltry 3% of GDP we spend on the military is more than the aggregate GDP of entire blocs of nations. The British Empire at its relative height never had this power. Unless the transnational progressives can control and constrain this power in the UN through institutional pressure in the US, the UN is little more than a glorified debating club. No global government can work unless the US is constrained.

Despite some of the more outrageous propositions by the left that the UN constrain the US militarily (see, for example, Art Moore's March 15 column on WorldNetDaily), the only method the UN has to constrain the US is through an appeal for international legitimacy. The UN Charter claims to be the sole arbiter of legitimacy for aggressive military action.

According to Article 2, Section 4 of the UN Charter, "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."

President Bush’s gambit of going to the UN for authorization was an attempt to secure international legitimacy, quiet Democrat and liberal domestic critics, and shore up the support of our foreign allies. The strategy failed, not because of the veto of France and Russia, but because of our failure to purchase the support of the temporary Security Council members. Going to the Security Council allowed Cameroon, Mexico, and Angola to harbor the illusion that they could block US military action. Worse, this attempt to secure the support of the UN has given precedent to Globalist claims that only the UN can bestow legitimacy on non-defensive wars. Until now, the US has jealously guarded its sovereign power of pre-emptive action. Even during the Clinton administration, the US acted in Kosovo and Haiti without UN authorization. As long as America’s political class maintains the will to exercise power, the UN cannot constrain us.

It may be to the beneficial for transnational progressivism that the UN, as currently constructed, fails in constraining the US. (For more on transnational progressivism see John Fonte's article on the American Diplomacy website.)  If it cannot enforce resolutions or constrain the US, the UN has no real power, and must be replaced or reconstructed. Just as the institutional failure of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union created pressure for a reconstitution of the American government, the vacillation of the UN will create pressure for a stronger centralized world government.

The standard argument proposed by many neoconservatives is that the UN has become the League of Nations; or that it is a worthless debating society constraining American action. President Bush has echoed this view with his assertions that the US is only executing existing UN resolutions.

This argument will be appropriated by the left as another reason to promote a more powerful institution. The failure of the League of Nations did not discredit the idea of world governance; rather it called for a redoubling of efforts. The idea of sovereignty was discredited in many circles. The blind opposition of the anti-war Right undermined reasonable opposition to the UN; even Senator Robert Taft voted for the UN Charter. This can happen again.

As currently constructed, the UN faces two structural problems: inequalities between member states (the US has too much power) and the vacillation of the UN due to the competing interests of member states. Having a relatively independent and unaccountable bureaucracy can solve these dilemmas. This has been the solution of the Transnational Progressives in the past. For example, despite competing national interests and expansion of the EU, it has become more centralized and rigid due to the bureaucrats in Brussels. If a mere trading association can usurp sovereignty and centralize power, what are the limits of the growth of a Byzantine world government like the United Nations?

By going to the UN with our resolution to attack Iraq, the US has crossed the Rubicon. The UN will never be the same. The institutional pressure for its growth and centralization will not abate. If we continue with the attack and succeed, the Transnational Progressives will use the fall of Iraq to further discredit sovereignty and the UN's prior inaction to push for an efficient bureaucracy. If the US attacks Iraq and fails, the Transnational Progressives will blame our "unilateral" approach.

Should the UN, transnational progressives, and antiwar right prevent the war on Iraq, American sovereignty and power will decline. The precedent will have been set that no aggressive action may occur without UN approval. This will severely limit US action in the future. Furthermore, our standing in the world will decline. Many of our allies, especially those where the heads of state have jeopardized careers by supporting us -- Britain, Australia, Spain, Italy, Jordan, Bahrain, and Qatar -- will see our inaction as a betrayal. This will hurt the ruling parties among our European allies, strengthening the anti-US forces in the EU.

The current divide in Europe may well limit the Franco-German dream of a United European centralized federation opposing the US. Despite the unpopularity of war with Iraq, it is a lack of American action that is most likely to create a true federation challenging American Hegemony in the West. Similarly, anti-Western Arabs and Islamists will be strengthened by American vacillation or inaction. The threat of Islamist or anti-American nationalist revolutions sweeping Pakistan and the Persian Gulf states so commonly used to justify anti-war positions among our foreign policy elite may be realized only if we follow their advice. The reality is that if we are to maintain our sovereignty and ability to act in our self-defense in the future, we must invade Iraq and topple the Ba’athist regime.

Unfortunately, to do this, President Bush must first make an argument for attacking Iraq based on national interest. George Tenet’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on February 11, 2002 is damning and should discredit all those who cling to the illusion that Iraq has had nothing to with terrorism or Al Qaeda.

Iraq has and is harboring Al-Qaeda terrorists and has trained terrorist groups affiliated with Al Qaeda in bomb-making and forgery. Moreover, there have been reports that Iraq has educated terrorists in bombing and airplane hijacking at a training and biological weapons facility called Salman Pak.  (GlobalSecurity.org has additional information on the Salman Pak terrorist training facility.)

Moreover, Iraq has played a role in terrorism against America in the past. In "The War Against America: Saddam Hussein and the World Trade Center Attacks," Laurie Mylroie and James Woolsey set forth a case that Iraqi Intelligence played a significant role in the 1993 World Trade Center attack. While the full extent of Iraqi collusion with terrorists is unknown, the evidence cannot be ignored. While this case may not have the appeal to the Neo-Wilsonians that promises of liberation and democracy have, no other argument is satisfactory. National interest alone is a legitimate reason to go to war, not withstanding the UN charter and the calls to principle by the writers at the Weekly Standard. This would go a long way in restoring national sovereignty as an ideal.

In the long run, the US must also leave the UN. It is a globalist institution formed by communists.   (For more on the communist influence behind the UN visit the Chuck Morse website. For 35 years, the UN has been run by an alliance between transnational progressive bureaucrats, and third-world countries seeking to get money from the US.

Unfortunately, President Bush is ideologically opposed to such a direct assault on the globalist international order. Even as he condemned inaction by the UN, President Bush promised the UN a role in the reconstruction of Iraq, should war break out. The only solution is for paleoconservatives to support the war on the grounds of national interest and make that case to the American people. President Bush can do the right thing, but only if there is a groundswell of support for it. Paleoconservatives cannot afford to associate themselves with the anti-war Transnational Progressives and Communists in a myopic opposition to Americans defending our national interest. The fear by paleoconservatives of an American Empire imposing a Pax Americana or leading a Wilsonian crusade on the world is understandable. However, the current alternative is for the UN to become the arbiter of international law, justice, and the exercise of force. As this country prepares for war, American conservatives must unify for the long-term interests of this country.

Ron Lewenberg is the founder of the Columbia College Conservative Club and served as its president from 1999-2001. His writings have appeared in the Columbia Daily Spectator, the Colorado Freedom Report, and Front Page Magazine. During the 2000 Election and aftermath, he was part of a student panel on NBC’s Today Show. In 2000 Mr. Lewenberg participated in a student mock presidential debate representing Patrick Buchanan and the Reform Party. Mr. Lewenberg works as a computer consultant in New York City. His website is http://www.ronlewenberg.com.

 

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