Thursday, April 14, 2005

What Bolton's confirmation is all about
From David Brooks:

But it is ridiculous to say [Bolton] doesn't believe in the United Nations. This is a canard spread by journalists who haven't bothered to read his stuff and by crafty politicians who aren't willing to say what the Bolton debate is really about.

The Bolton controversy isn't about whether we believe in the U.N. mission. It's about which U.N. mission we believe in.

From the start, the U.N. has had two rival missions. Some people saw it as a place where sovereign nations could work together to solve problems. But other people saw it as the beginnings of a world government.[...]

The people who talk about global governance begin with the same premises as the world government types: the belief that a world of separate nations, living by the law of the jungle, will inevitably be a violent world. Instead, these people believe, some supranational authority should be set up to settle international disputes by rule of law.

They know we're not close to a global version of the European superstate. So they are content to champion creeping institutions like the International Criminal Court. They treat U.N. General Assembly resolutions as an emerging body of international law. They seek to foment a social atmosphere in which positions taken by multilateral organizations are deemed to have more 'legitimacy' than positions taken by democratic nations.

John Bolton is just the guy to explain why this vaporous global-governance notion is a dangerous illusion, and that we Americans, like most other peoples, will never accept it.
What does Brooks think are the reasons we'll never accept it? Glad you asked:
We'll never accept it, first, because it is undemocratic [...] Second, we will never accept global governance because it inevitably devolves into corruption [...] We will never accept global governance, third, because we love our Constitution and will never grant any other law supremacy over it [...]

Fourth, we understand that these mushy international organizations liberate the barbaric and handcuff the civilized. Bodies like the U.N. can toss hapless resolutions at the Milosevics, the Saddams or the butchers of Darfur, but they can do nothing to restrain them. Meanwhile, the forces of decency can be paralyzed as they wait for "the international community."

Fifth, we know that when push comes to shove, all the grand talk about international norms is often just a cover for opposing the global elite's bĂȘtes noires of the moment - usually the U.S. or Israel.
I'm not quite as certain as Brooks that Americans will never accept the UN as a global governing body—I just hope he's right. I believe that Brooks will never accept UN governance for those reasons, and I know that those are largely my reasons for the same. Unfortunately, some people are quick to subject American action to a "global test," you might remember.

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