Today, “president” Barack Obama issued a proclamation concerning UN Day, and even encouraged the governors of the 50 states to likewise observe the day as a commemoration of hope in what is essentially termed “international cooperation”.
What an interesting term: “cooperation”.
Cooperation is a term which assumes a common end, and the determination to be united in a voluntary manner to achieve that end.
In the context of the U.N., an entity supposedly simply comprised of several nations themselves – and supposedly united in “common cause” behind floating terms such as “world peace”, “justice” and “international security”. Yet, without the semantic precision necessary for real understanding of goals and even alleged means to achieve such ends – how can such diverse nations truly be termed united?
The United States entered the U.N. via overwhelming Senate approval in December 1945. From then up until now, the United States has been a member state, and has even financially “contributed” more to the institution than any other entity.
Many are rightly critical of such an entity, especially as it has become more and more just another means of some nations being able to dominate others; the difference simply being the fact of this being done under the robes of so-called legality, instead of the so-called “law of the jungle” that was so feared and even “compelling” a reason as to be a selling point for the UN itself (as if the “legality” of a UN resolution makes such bullying any more right, let alone less dangerous).
This was obviously the case in the fairly recent U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 against Libya on largely unsubstantiated “charges” against Gaddafi (if they could even be considered reasonably as such given the nature of the presumption of guilt) clearly illustrated the pliability of the institution to benefit some members (western powers) at the extreme expense of others (such as those of Libya, and even north Africa and the Middle East generally). (source: here)
In fact, resolution 1973 seemed to clearly go against the UN Charter itself, which declares in Article 1 that:
“The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.”
Yet, the mere majority vote of the security council (not even comprised of all the member nations, including Libya) produced what violent outcome (?) – involving domestic issues within the jurisdiction of one particular state, namely Libya, without even the vote of that state’s own representative!
Later in that same Article, the UN Charter states that: “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter” and then, not insignificantly, subsequently allows for exception in vague, undefined and thus, semantically imprecise portions of Chapter Seven.
Therefore, in terms of the UN generally, in addition to the more superficial arguments against the practicality of such diverse states, with diverse leaders and therefore, even diverse goals as a matter of fact – there are many more substantial arguments to made against the continuance of such a body as currently constituted as a matter of constitutional law and implementation!
Yet, interestingly enough, many of the arguments, especially from more “conservative” leaning people, seem to be against “internationalism” itself. Instead of focusing on even places of dissatisfaction with the structure and use of such an institution, they simplify their discontent into an attack against “internationalism” and “world government”.
Although it is admitted that there is definitely a basis, in fact, in the desires of many for a “world government”, perhaps even based on a more empowered UN – there are some interesting angles of analysis which are too often overlooked in what is often simply turned into a defense of so-called “national sovereignty” and even “the Constitution”.
The seemingly subtle, yet glaring irony of such a stance coming from such an allegedly “pro-American” position is the very nature of the American system that they say they desire to defend, and seemingly cherish in the first place. This position fails to realize the international qualities of the American system itself.
The Declaration of Independence was a symptom, not of “national unity”, nor a defense of “national sovereignty” – but of, as a result of ratification, “international unity” and a coalition of sovereign nations working together toward the most noble common goals which were stated in the document itself. (Which goals, as an aside, when analyzed logically, are really the only possible “goals” of which government officials can legitimately have – that of Individual Rights and Freedom). The goal of the 13 “FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES” of America, or the united States of America, was that of more localized self-governance and, as a result of their own respective constitutional systems, more freedom for the people.
This was the basis of the American System – which was subsequently extended into the first international compact, based on a federal model of sovereign states (as opposed to a national model, of mere administrative units which, in all cases, answer to a centralized state) among the united States, namely The Articles of Confederation. By the way, the same Articles of Confederation wisely states in Article Two, just as the UN Charter does in Article One, a declaration – yet, without exception, let alone semantically imprecise exceptions – of what was essentially “sovereign equality of all its members“!
It states that: “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.”
Therefore, assuming a value attached to these American founding documents, the question becomes for these critics, If internationalism itself is, ipso facto, based on a false premise – then what defense would there be for the American system itself?
Now, this is not to be taken as a defense of the U.N. as currently constituted, or as a defense of their largely harmful and sometimes even lawless (to differentiate from “illegal”) actions – even as evidenced in the historical record of UN “war-making” in Katanga in the 1970’s (see documentary included at the bottom), or even the more recent “humanitarian” bombing of the Libyan civilians they were claiming to help. (source: here)
Yet, the fact remains – The Constitution of the United States is an international compact among sovereign states, and therefore, how can a defense of that international system be valid if made on the premise of the false nature of so-called “internationalism”? Are not the valid complaints against the UN based, not on the falsity of internationalism, but actually on the fact that they don’t respect the true principles of self-existent international law, or what the Founders termed “the Law of Nations”? (The Law of Nations, which was, essentially, implicit international law based on Natural Law, as is seen in the definition found in the 1828 Noah Webster Dictionary. For some commentary, see here)
In fact, the Constitution of the United States was originally sold on many of the same grounds was originally made in support of joining the UN, which narrative continues to be sold even in the present.
The idea of “peace” and “common markets” (whatever that means), “the rule of law” and “cooperation” were all the rallying cries of the major proponents of the US Constitution. The narrative is nothing new. The narrative is that of “anarchy” being the supposed result of a less “powerful” constitution (the Articles of Confederation or, perhaps even The League of Nations, or, essentially, the “weaker” predecessor to the UN) which is hardly questioned, even by historians – which, then, in turn leads to the “necessity” of more centralization for the sake of “law and order”. This new found “order” and “prosperity” is then, without hardly even a question, simply accredited to the increase in state power.
To not even say anything of the post hoc ergo propter hoc (or, “after this, therefore because of this”) logical fallacy – the idea of the prima facie case for a “conspiracy” for world government is, likewise, not new.
The same was said by the “Anti-Federalists” (who, ironically, were more true champions of federalism) when they spoke out against ratification of the US Constitution.
They (using the term “they” somewhat loosely) often spoke out against the so-called “secret combination” of the men such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton who, in secret, and also contrary to the stated public reasons for delegation to such a convention in the first place (namely, mere amendment proposals for the Articles of Confederation) put forward for ratification what was seen as a plot to tyrannize the people of the states! The facts surrounding the dubious circumstances of the drafting and proposal of the US Constitution do seem similar enough for interesting comparison – regardless of an analysis of the factor of so-called “good intentions” or the often alleged difference in moral virtue and “real goals” of the respective “founders”.
Interestingly enough, when one actually analyzes the initial proposals in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, such as James Madison’s Virginia Plan – one immediately realizes the fact that what was initially proposed was a NATIONAL model of government. This national model would have most definitely undermined the sovereignty of the individual States and usurped their respective constitutional systems, when the people of these very States had just barely finished fighting a war against a centralized system of government simply to remain “Free and Independent”. The Convention, luckily, had enough federalists in attendance who, at least, realized the morally dubious position of being sent by the states to then, in turn, back-stab and undermine these very states by taking part in proposing a “national” document.
The federalists, in the drafting process, did actually end up winning in their outvoting of the nationalists on the text and structure of the proposed FEDERAL system – to the chagrin of the then pro-nationalists James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. The result would be simply a more powerful federal model – which was sold as such in each respective ratifying convention.
Even the former nationalists themselves such as the two just mentioned wrote arguments defending the federalist nature of the US Constitution in a series of essays known as The Federalist, which as a matter of crucial context, was written in order to more fully persuade the people of New York to support ratification. (see, for example, Federalist No. 39)
In a case of interesting irony, the disappointed nationalists turned allegedly “federalist” won the day barely in the ratifying conventions – but largely based on what may have been disingenuous arguments to cater to the overwhelming support of federalism (and not nationalism) in the populace. Was this due to their hope for the US Constitution being a just a step in their hope for a more centralized system later on?
Although this author does not claim to be able to see to one’s heart even currently, let alone over two hundred years later and long after death – one cannot help to see the discrepancy between Alexander Hamilton’s arguments as made in the Federalist, and then the arguments later made as a part of George Washington’s cabinet in relation to his promotion of the “National” Bank and related issues. Does one, based on anything other than personal interest, switch from an argument for strict constructional interpretation (as found in The Federalist) to loose constructional interpretation (as found in Report on the National Bank), without clear admittance of a change in heart and/or mind, in a matter of a couple of years?
All this being said, and to bring this analysis back to the topic directly at hand, it is still very interesting that, on one hand, many attack the UN based on it’s plot toward centralization and on the falsity of “internationalism”, ironically in the name of a “secret plot” (as likewise found in the circumstances of the Constitutional Convention of 1787) toward centralization and “world government” – and then, on the other, defend the American system of “national sovereignty” and “the Constitution”.
Are the principle differences in these critics minds found in the nature of the wording and structure between the “governing documents” – namely the US Constitution and UN Charter?
Yet, who can argue that terms such as “general welfare”, “commerce”, “just compensation” (to name just a few) have been abused to allow for the exact opposite of the intended results of the US Constitution’s implementation?
Perhaps some may argue the reasons as to why one is principally good, and the other principally bad, are the intentions of the framers themselves?
Yet, analysis of the Journal of the Convention and subsequent statements of various times in the political lives of some of the biggest proponents of the US Constitution would show an inconsistency with the typical narrative of the system merely being based on the purest of motivations by all of those involved. (see here)
Now, in conclusion, do not let it be said that this is a carte blanche attack on the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and/or some of the members thereof, OR that this is a similar quality of defense of the U.N. If based on the correct principles of good government, is there really any universal principle which indicates a definite size limit to the amount of people, land, or even nations that could be a part of free system of governance? This analysis is merely to illustrate a glaring inconsistency of both sides of a wrong-headed argument, or in other words, a false alternative in the more obvious public discourse.
How can one truly be against internationalism itself, and yet defend what is perhaps the most famous “international” document (that of the charter between the united States) – and then on the other hand despise even the idea of the UN for being, in principle, wrong. Should one logically praise the “internationalist” Mr. James Madison while simultaneously spreading awareness of the “plot” asserted even by Carroll Quigley? (see here and here)
While it remains valid, and perhaps even the right argument, to call for essentially “secession” from the UN – it should also likewise be seen as equally valid to call for secession from what was sold as a voluntary “union” of “free and independent states”. Whether the UN, or even the US – when and why would the magical transformation between good and bad secession take place? Or, to put it in another way – when did the valid exception to the secessionist principles and actions surrounding the Declaration of Independence come about in relation to the United States government? To assert that the War among the States (notorious mislabeled as the “Civil War”) “settled” that issue is akin to asserting that a bully won an argument merely due to their “punching out” the person with whom they happen to disagree. (see here)
Hopefully, the depth of analysis we typically give to issues such as these will become more precise. Hopefully, this argument will help in regards to that goal.
The Devil is not in the details, but in vagueness and in oversimplification. Godliness is in the details, and semantic precision is absolutely necessary for meaningful analyses and debate.
Yet, to be sure that no one feels this is an inadequate response to what may be seen as the “real issues” that should be discussed on UN Day – perhaps a viewing of these older, yet not less relevant, documentaries are in order:
Also, for those who are either familiar or unfamiliar with the work of journalist G. Edward Griffin, he has an interesting book on the issue of the UN that is titled Fearful Master.