BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S:

March 29, 2006

Enough with the globo-gab: Transnationalism may be on the way out — and not a moment too soon (MARK STEYN, 3/27/06, Maclean’s)

In Redefining Sovereignty, Orrin C. Judd brings together a splendid collection of essays on the tension between national sovereignty and the new transnational entities. Full disclosure: there’s an approving quote from me on the front of the book, but other than that I have no stake in its success or failure; don’t know Mr. Judd, nor most of his stellar contributors, from Václav Havel and Jesse Helms to Francis Fukuyama and Kofi Annan. The token Canadian is a good choice: David Warren, represented by a fine essay yoking Bush’s approach to Islamism with Lincoln’s to the Civil War — liberating the Middle East is not the point of the exercise, any more than liberating the slaves was. But in both cases it was necessary to fulfill the strategic objectives of saving the Union a century and a half ago, and of saving the nation-state system today. As another contributor, Lee Harris, puts it, “The liberal world system has collapsed internally.” He means that there are no longer, in Kant’s phrase, “maxims of prudence.” That’s to say, we don’t know the limits of behaviour. When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatens to wipe Israel off the face of the map, we cannot reliably assure ourselves (though many foolish experts do) that this is just a bit of rhetorical red meat, a little playing to the gallery for the Saturday-night jihad crowd.

The transnational gabfests aren’t much use in this new world. The Kyoto treaty is, in that sense, the quintessential expression of the higher multilateralism: the point of Kyoto is not to do anything about “climate change,” but to give the impression of doing something about it, at great expense. If climate change is a pressing issue and if the global economy is responsible — two pretty big “ifs” — then Kyoto expends enormous (diplomatic) energy and (fiscal) resources doing nothing about it: even if those who signed on to it actually complied with it instead of just pretending to, all that would happen is that by 2050 the treaty would have reduced global warming by 0.07 degrees — an amount that’s statistically undetectable within annual climate variation.

That’s fine for “climate change,” which, insofar as there is an imminent threat, is a good half-millennium away. As Kofi Annan, the bespoke embodiment of transnationalism’s polite fictions, says, “There is no substitute for the unique legitimacy provided by the United Nations.” Which is swell if your priority is “legitimacy.” That and a dime’ll get you a cup of coffee — unless the tsunami hits and sweeps the lunch counter out to sea. Yet these days, even with natural disasters, the international order divides — like Bagehot’s view of the British constitution — into its “dignified” and “efficient” halves. The efficient humanitarians — the Pentagon and the Royal Australian Navy — have boots on the ground in Indonesia and Sri Lanka within hours, rescuing people, feeding them, housing them. The dignified humanitarians — the UN’s 24/7 permanent humanitarian bureaucracy — are back in New York holding press conferences to announce they’ll be sending a top-level situation-assessment team to the general vicinity to conduct a situation assessment of the situation just as soon as the USAF emergency team has flown in and restored room service to the five-star hotel.

Kofi Annan referred to the UN’s “unique legitimacy,” and he’s right about the “unique” part. The transnational system, in insisting that the foreign minister of Syria is no different from the foreign minister of Denmark, confers a wholly unmerited legitimacy on the planet’s gangster states. In Redefining Sovereignty, Roger Scruton wonders of Saddam “how it is that a petty tyrant could have defied the world for so long.” But, if “the world” is represented by the UN’s “unique legitimacy,” you don’t have to defy it, you just have to strike a deal — in this case, the Oil-for-Food program, that Hydra-headed racket under which, among other fascinating codicils and appendices, a million greenbacks from Saddam got funnelled via his Korean chum Tongsun Park into a Canadian petroleum company run by the son of the quintessential transnational Canadian Maurice Strong — Mister Kyoto himself.

Based on current trends, by mid-century, America, India and China will each be producing roughly 25 per cent of world GDP, with Europe down to 10 per cent. As the columnist John O’Sullivan points out, the three global powerhouses are all strongly attached to traditional notions of national sovereignty, so Europeans and others who’ve bet on transnationalism have the next 10 years to cement its existing institutions and expand its reach.

Hard to cement the world when you can’t even mucilage your own rotten countries together.


GORE EVERY OX:

February 27, 2006

Changing the rules: a review of Redefining Sovereignty: The Battle for the Moral High Ground in a Changing World By Orrin C. Judd (Steven Martinovich, February 27, 2006, Enter Stage Right)

Liberals aren’t likely the only ones who will argue with the conclusions of many of the essays presented in Redefining Sovereignty. While most are hostile to transnationalism and the erosion of sovereignty, many argue American intervention in the internal affairs of other nations as justified. Judd himself argues that George W. Bush’s mission to reshape the Middle East in a democratic image isn’t at odds with the history of American foreign policy and is indeed necessary to preserve American security. It’s doubtless an argument that will have paleoconservatives and the libertarian wing of the Republican Party less than pleased, arguing as they did against interfering in the Balkans and Iraq because they were sovereign nations dealing with internal issues.

Not surprisingly it’s in between these two camps — the transnationalists and sovereignty absolutists — that Judd pitches his tent. Echoing Ayn Rand when she famously wrote that a state was only legitimate when it protected the rights of its citizens, Judd writes that “Americans have moved on to a paradigm that requires that a regime only be recognized as sovereign if it has democratic legitimacy.” Where previously the test consisted only of international recognition of sovereignty, the new test includes the nature of the state claiming the sovereignty.

Small wonder that new test has generated no small measure of controversy.

It’s at the printer–the new hardcover came last week and looks awfully good–and will be available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble & bookstores by the end of March.


I'M JUST A LONELY PILGRIM….:

January 23, 2006

Redefining Sovereignty. Ed. by Orrin C. Judd. Mar. 2006. 520p. Smith & Kraus, $29.99 (Brendan Driscoll, Feb. 1, 2005, Booklist)

Editor Judd is the more prolific half of brothersjudd.com, a neoconservative blogsite as dedicated to providing up-to-the-minute political commentary as it is to skewering various works of the modern literary canon for being too socialistic (Dreiser), relativistic (Faulkner), or confusing (Joyce). In this book, Judd collects his own canon of opinionated experts on the topic of the future of national sovereignty. Aware that world political structures are evolving away from traditional Westphalian notions of the state, Judd fears “transnationalism,” the possibility that citizens’ rights will be infringed by international bureaucracy and their security achieved at the price of individual liberty. This timely issue will attract many readers. Those seeking robust debate will, however, be disappointed: Though some of this selection’s contributors (such as Kofi Annan) defend the spirit of international cooperation, the majority of the 30 excerpts (including those from Ronald Reagan, Walter Russell Mead, and several National Review commentators) boisterously celebrate American exceptionalism while shouting down isolationism and multilateralism alike. An argument disguised as a debate, this book will likely resonate with Judd’s many internet followers.

Neoconservative? Followers?

MORE:
-PROFILE: Sovereignty Redefined (Edward B. Driscoll, Jr.,
11/03/2005, Tech Central Station)


WE DECIDE WHAT SOVEREIGNTY YOU HAVE:

December 30, 2005

Italy’s Pursuit of CIA Operatives Stalls: Resistance by Berlusconi government and apathy about being able to keep the U.S. from infringing sovereignty fetter case of imam spirited abroad. (Tracy Wilkinson, December 30, 2005, LA Times)

The pro-U.S. government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is refusing to forward the extradition requests and instead has asked for more documentation, a highly unusual request that prosecutors regard as a delaying tactic.

Berlusconi has repeatedly denied that his government knew about or authorized the abduction, even as former CIA officers in Washington said the operation was conducted with Italian government cooperation.

Berlusconi shrugged off the contradiction. Last week, he justified the operation, saying governments should not be expected to fight terrorism “with a law book in hand.”

The ease and openness with which the operatives acted in Milan suggest that they knew they had the green light from Italian authorities. Among other activities, they ran up bills totaling more than $150,000 at some of Milan’s best hotels.

“Berlusconi was an accomplice,” said Giusto Catania, a leftist Italian member of the European Parliament who sits on its civil liberties committee. Catania is one of a group of EU lawmakers spearheading a continent-wide investigation into alleged CIA activities, as reports of secret prisons and flights mount.

It is not in the prime minister’s interest for the Italian inquiry to advance, Catania said, because of his apparent role in permitting the rendition.

Berlusconi believes he will weather any domestic criticism, said a senior advisor to the prime minister, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. [...]

Italian prosecutors said the CIA operation was an egregious violation of national sovereignty, a call taken up by some members of the political left. [...]

Italian prosecutors have tried to broaden the prosecution of his captors. But, in addition to official roadblocks, they are confronted with a general sense of resignation among Italians, another obstacle to the criminal case. Outrage over the abduction has been tempered by a feeling among many Italians that the Americans will do as they choose on national territory, and nothing can be done about it.

“In a certain sense, Italians expect Italy to be taken for granted,” said Giuseppe Cucchi, a retired army general with Italy’s civil protection office who is familiar with intelligence operations.

It’s a very good thing for the Right to fret about the threat of transnationalism, but the reality is that America, as Crusader State, is the far more significant threat to national sovereignty.


SOVEREIGNTY REDEFINED:

December 11, 2005

The Promise of Democratic Peace: Why Promoting Freedom Is the Only Realistic Path to Security (Condoleezza Rice, December 11, 2005, Washington Post)

President Bush outlined the vision for it in his second inaugural address: “It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.” This is admittedly a bold course of action, but it is consistent with the proud tradition of American foreign policy, especially such recent presidents as Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan. Most important: Like the ambitious policies of Truman and Reagan, our statecraft will succeed not simply because it is optimistic and idealistic but also because it is premised on sound strategic logic and a proper understanding of the new realities we face.

Our statecraft today recognizes that centuries of international practice and precedent have been overturned in the past 15 years. Consider one example: For the first time since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, the prospect of violent conflict between great powers is becoming ever more unthinkable. Major states are increasingly competing in peace, not preparing for war. To advance this remarkable trend, the United States is transforming our partnerships with nations such as Japan and Russia, with the European Union, and especially with China and India. Together we are building a more lasting and durable form of global stability: a balance of power that favors freedom.

This unprecedented change has supported others. Since its creation more than 350 years ago, the modern state system has always rested on the concept of sovereignty. It was assumed that states were the primary international actors and that every state was able and willing to address the threats emerging from its territory. Today, however, we have seen that these assumptions no longer hold, and as a result the greatest threats to our security are defined more by the dynamics within weak and failing states than by the borders between strong and aggressive ones.

The phenomenon of weak and failing states is not new, but the danger they now pose is unparalleled. When people, goods and information traverse the globe as fast as they do today, transnational threats such as disease or terrorism can inflict damage comparable to the standing armies of nation-states. Absent responsible state authority, threats that would and should be contained within a country’s borders can now melt into the world and wreak untold havoc. Weak and failing states serve as global pathways that facilitate the spread of pandemics, the movement of criminals and terrorists, and the proliferation of the world’s most dangerous weapons.

Our experience of this new world leads us to conclude that the fundamental character of regimes matters more today than the international distribution of power. Insisting otherwise is imprudent and impractical. The goal of our statecraft is to help create a world of democratic, well-governed states that can meet the needs of their citizens and conduct themselves responsibly in the international system.

Precisely the argument of our book: for its sovereignty to be recognized as legitimate a regime must be liberal democratic or we, as we always have, reserve the right to intervene on behalf of the liberty of its people.


FINAL COVER:

December 2, 2005

Here’s the final version of how the book’s cover will look. Thanks to Julia Gignoux.


SLOW TRAIN COMING:

November 14, 2005

Press Release (Smith & Kraus Global, 11/14/05)

Smith and Kraus Global announces the publication of:

Redefining Sovereignty: Will the citizens of liberal democracies retain the right to determine their own laws and public policies or will they yield these rights to transnational entities in the quest for universal order and justice?

Edited by Orrin C. Judd (Pub Date: FEBRUARY 2006, 520 pages, $29.99, HARDCOVER, ISBN 1-57525-416-6)

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