As London locks down in feverish anticipation of the arrival of The One,Commentary publishes an important essay by John Bolton on an academic paper articulating what he correctly perceives to be the underlying rationale for Obama’s foreign policy – nothing less than the ending of American sovereignty.
The progressive classes in Britain and Europe have signed up to this idea for years. Dubbed ‘transnational progressivism’, it is based on the belief that the nation state is in and of itself the cause of all the ills of the world, from prejudice to war. Nations cause nationalism; nationalism causes conflict; abolish nations and you abolish conflict and usher in the brotherhood of man. War is replaced by diplomacy, and transnational institutions and values trump national ones. It’s the rationale behind the European Union; it accounts for the near religious veneration of the UN as the supreme global arbiter of international legitimacy and ethics; it explains the enthusiasm for supra-national institutions such as the International Criminal Court, the obeisance to ‘international law’ and the supremacy of ‘universal’ human rights law.
Unfortunately, this latest formula for Utopia is wholly inimical to democracy, actively undermines or prevents countries from acting in their own national self-interest to defend their own citizens, institutionalises deliberately mediated injustice and even terror through appeasement policies instead of ‘just wars’ against tyranny and aggression, and is a recipe for more conflict rather than less as the people progressively rise up against this erosion of their powers of representative self-government.
A large part of Obama’s appeal to the intelligentsia in Britain and Europe is precisely the understanding that he stands for the repudiation of American exceptionalism and the so-much resented swaggering imposition of American values (aka freedom and democracy) through military might abroad in favour of a Europeanised, multilateral diplomacy-based approach. Bolton points out that this approach has its distinct limitations, over and above eroding sovereignty by subordinating it to other people's interests:
The difference arises in the consideration of a tiny number of cases—cases that prove entirely resistant to diplomatic efforts, in which divergent national interests prove implacably resistant to reconciliation. If diplomacy does not and cannot work, the continued application of it to a problematic situation is akin to subjecting a cancer patient to a regimen of chemotherapy that shows no results whatever. The result may look like treatment, but it is, in fact, only making the patient sicker and offering no possibility of improvement.
... Time is one of the most important variables in a diplomatic dance, because it often imposes a cost on one side and a benefit to its adversary. Nations can use the time granted by a diplomatic process to obscure their objectives, build alliances, prepare operationally for war, and, especially today, accelerate their efforts to build weapons of mass destruction and the ballistic missiles that might carry them.
He’s talking about Iran.
Meanwhile, Obama has picked for a high-ranking post in his administration yet another official who appears to embody values antithetical to American interests --including American sovereignty. The New York Post reports that he has nominated Harold Koh, until recently Dean of Yale Law School, to be the State Department’s legal adviser – in which role he would forge a wide range of international agreements and help represent the US in such places as the United Nations and the International Court of Justice:
It's a job where you want a strong defender of America's sovereignty. But that's not Koh. He’s a fan of ‘transnational legal process,’ arguing that the distinctions between US and international law should vanish.
...The primacy of international legal ‘norms’ applies even to treaties we reject. For example, Koh believes that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child -- a problematic document that we haven’t ratified -- should dictate the age at which individual US states can execute criminals. Got that? On issues ranging from affirmative action to the interrogation of terrorists, what the rest of the world says, goes.
Including, apparently, the world of radical imams. A New York lawyer, Steven Stein, says that, in addressing the Yale Club of Greenwich in 2007, Koh claimed that ‘in an appropriate case, he didn’t see any reason why sharia law would not be applied to govern a case in the United States.’
A spokeswoman for Koh said she couldn’t confirm the incident, responding: ‘I had heard that some guy . . . had asked a question about sharia law, and that Dean Koh had said something about that while there are obvious differences among the many different legal systems, they also share some common legal concepts.’
... Koh has called America’s focus on the War on Terror ‘obsessive.’ In 2004, he listed countries that flagrantly disregard international law – ‘most prominently, North Korea, Iraq, and our own country, the United States of America,’ which he branded ‘the axis of disobedience.’
Get that – the man Obama wants to be a top law officer has equated the US with North Korea and Iraq as flouters of international law, and sees no problem in sharia being used to settle American law suits.
The destruction of US sovereignty and legal and cultural integrity at home and the appeasement of tyrants abroad by a President who holds his own nation in such contempt that he wants to emasculate its powers of self-government and grovel to its mortal enemies – it’s certainly change, all right, but whether such a national suicide programme is one that Americans can actually believe in is quite another matter.
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