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Thursday, February 24, 2005

HAFs, Sovereignty and the UN

A UN, a step toward a world collective or one world government, is a romantic notion particularly popular with egalitarians who, by some stretch of the imagination, transmogrify the greatest bastion of freedom in the world into a fascist dictatorship. Their faith in the synergy of collective action makes an independent American foreign policy anathema to them. For this Hate America First crowd, the collective, the UN is a totem, untouchable and beyond reproach.

Their ostensible complaint and incessant rant against America involves the issue of State sovereignty. According to their understanding the most hideous regime, no matter its record on individual rights, is entitled to immunity from outside interference based upon the concept of national sovereignty, but this is a misunderstanding of the issue. What Hate America Firsters must assiduously ignore is that a dictatorship has no claim to sovereignty, the case for sovereignty can only be made for those States that derive their power from the consent of the governed. Sovereignty is the prerogative of democratic nations. Claims of jurisdiction or sovereignty by totalitarian states are preposterous and should be dismissed out of hand.

HAFs generally point to American adventurism in foreign affairs as proof of their indictment. It is true that the US has backed some questionable regimes in the past, and engaged in a couple of specious military adventures against a Mexican dictatorship over the secession of Texas, and later against Spain in Cuba and Puerto Rico, but it has never abrogated the legitimate sovereignty of another nation. The US was certainly opportunistic in these adventures, but neither dictatorship in Spain or Mexico, had a legitimate claim to sovereignty. There are more recent complaints as well; US actions in Nicaragua and Iraq are usually mentioned. Magnifying the importance of these actions to indict the US as an imperialist power is mean spirited, tortured logic, and bogus history.

The HAF remedy for this supposed problem is to forbid independent foreign policy action by individual nations, especially the US, and to turn the world over to the United Nations. But why would this make sense? By any standard, the UN is bogged down in politics, graft, bureaucracy and corruption, and is even worse totally ineffective. Its committees and councils are staffed by the spoiled brats of the world’s wealthiest citizens as the career of last resort who engage in endless debates for partisan not humanitarian reasons. An international organization is not necessary a bad idea, but the UN as presently constituted is hardly the answer.

The problem starts and ends with its qualification for membership. Any despot anywhere in the world is eligible for membership and welcomed with the same dignity and respect due legitimate nations. This single, absurd prerequisite for eligibility, only demeans and renders ineffective what is supposed to be the most prestigious organization in the world. There is no rationale for a club that includes every nation irrespective of its politics, as if it were a collection of figurines one had to complete.

Does sound judgement require the opinion Ayatollahs? Should North Korea or Myanmar be members of an organization dedicated to freedom and human rights? Of course not. The only benefit derived goes to the illegitimate nations who profit from an undeserved veneer of respectability.

The hopes and aspirations of humanity are the province of free nations, and the UN should go the way of the dinosaur, or perhaps be replaced by a UFN (United Free Nations). Then and only then would the organization have real prestige. A Membership there would require the petitioner to accept the responsibility for protecting individual liberty. It would be an association to which nations would aspire and be proud to join. Dictatorships would need not apply.
Copyright 2005, Robert Davison Wolf.

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