The hand-over of power to Iraq by the victorious American forces has stimulated public discussion about a word that seems to have fallen in disfavor in the last few years: sovereignty. It is the ability of one government to act without being subject to the legal control of another government, country or international organization, restrained only by moral principles.
Sovereignty was transferred to Iraq on June 28, but when the question came up at a U.S. Senate hearing as to whether Iraq can the order U.S. troops to leave, the official answer was: not yet. Iraq won't become truly sovereign until it can do that, which won't happen until elections establish a permanent government.
The U.S. Constitution is based on the premise that we are a sovereign nation and we need not obey any power unless authorized in the Constitution. The Europeans, on the other hand, are rapidly abandoning their national sovereignty in favor of an international bureaucracy called the European Union.
European Union representatives are using "unilateralism" as a smear word to show their disdain for America's stubborn adherence to sovereignty. They assert the ridiculous proposition that U.S. actions cannot be legitimate without United Nations approval.
The enemies of sovereignty are squeamish about the term world government. They like the softer slogan global governance, which harbors undefined concepts such as human rights, sustainable development and international justice.
Unhappily, it's not only non-Americans who are trying to replace U.S. sovereignty with global governance. Former President William Jefferson Clinton told the United Nations he wanted to put the United States into a "web" of treaties to set the ground rules for "the emerging international system."
Clinton's chief foreign policy adviser was notorious for his Time magazine article of July 20, 1992, "The Birth of the Global Nation." Talbott opined that "national sovereignty wasn't such a great idea after all," and he predicted, "Nationhood as we know it will be obsolete, all states will recognize a single, global authority."
After then-President Clinton failed to get congressional authorization for his war on Yugoslavia, Madeleine Albright, his secretary of state, rationalized it by demanding that Yugoslavia surrender its sovereignty. She said: "Great nations who understand the importance of sovereignty at various times cede various portions of it in order to achieve some better good for their country."
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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