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.


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.


December 2, 2005

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


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)



November 10, 2005

As we did with the previous profile — The Brothers Judd—The Adventure of Great Literature (Edward B. Driscoll, Jr.,1/16/02, Catholic Exchange) — we thought it might be interesting to publish the raw interview that Ed Driscoll managed to turn into a far more coherent and readable essay, Sovereignty Redefined (Edward B. Driscoll, Jr., 11/03/2005, Tech Central Station):

An e-mail interview about Redefining Sovereignty with Orrin C. Judd (Ed Driscoll, 10/29/05)

Ed: What is transnationalism?

OJ: Like, I suspect, many of the people reading this, I first came across the notion of transnationalism in John Fonte’s terrific essay, Liberal Democracy vs. Transnational Progressivism, which we include in this volume. Though there are a number of ways to define it, in the book I chose to frame it as “the movement on the intellectual Left which views the nation itself as a hindrance to the realization of certain social goals.” Transnationalists wish to see nations sacrifice their sovereignty and electorates sacrifice self-government to expansive central institutions and the bureaucrats who run them, who will then establish and enforce liberal, or progressive, policies irrespective of the objections of discrete majorities.

Ed: How did it coalesce as a major component of the left?

OJ: It’s perhaps easiest to understand the attractiveness of transnationalism to the Left by using one issue as an example: the death penalty. Recall that the death penalty was banned in the United States by the one branch of government that isn’t accountable to the electorate, the courts. What elites had been unable to win in the democratic sphere they did win, at least temporarily, when they had a liberal majority on the Court.

Now that a conservative Court has reinstated the death penalty, what is the argument that opponents make? In a recent case concerning capital punishment for juveniles, even the reasonably conservative Justice Kennedy wrote that “the overwhelming weight of international opinion [is] against the juvenile death penalty” and went on to say that “the opinion of the world community, while “not controlling our outcome, does provide respected and significant confirmation for our own conclusions.” Once again, having failed to convince a majority of Americans via normal democratic processes, they resort to external standards.

What’s especially revealing in this regard is that the opinion Justice Kennedy is referring to isn’t popular opinion in the rest of the world–opinion polls consistently show that large majorities of the British people favor reinstating their own death penalty. Rather, abolition of the death penalty is a requirement of membership in the European Union, irrespective of the opinion of a nation’s people and the EU is, of course, a model transnationalist institution.

The Left embraces transnationalism because it enables it to impose unpopular laws and policies on unwilling majorities.

Ed: Is this a relatively new development in international politics?

OJ: Not only is the desire of unelectable intellectual elites to control the masses of people who disagree with them not a new thing, it’s nearly an eternal thing. The important thing to consider though is that it’s not a bad thing, per se, is indeed part of the entirely understandable human desire for security, and is part and parcel of the original reason for adopting the sovereignty standards that had prevailed in the West from the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 until just recently.

On the most basic level it’s helpful to think of mankind as being torn between two competing and rather evenly matched desires. On the one hand, each of us wants freedom for himself. On the other, each wants security from his fellow men. In broad terms we might say that to be of the Right is to have a preference for tilting the scales in favor of the former, while to be of the Left is to prefer more of the latter. Viewed through this lens, human history comes into focus as a long and unending struggle among men over where to draw the line between these two impulses. Tilting too far to either side always yields disastrous results and often produces just as unsatisfactory reactions.

Classical sovereignty, or Westphalian sovereignty, came about as a way to end a long period of religious wars between the states of Europe. After a period when princes attacked each other under the color of universalist religious claims, it promised to ends those wars, to provide some level of national security, by enshrining the principle that whoever effectively controlled a political territory would have the corresponding right to determine all matters of governance, religion, etc. within that territory. Each regime would be a left a free hand within its own borders, provided it didn’t violate those borders. While this obviously did not end war in Europe, it did provide an accepted legal framework for leaders to refer to in their disputes.

What we think of as transnationalism today got jump-started by the two World Wars, which obviously represented a complete breakdown of peace in Europe, dragging pretty nearly every state into the respective conflagrations. Institutions like the League of Nations and then the United Nations and the notion of One World Government and the like were not unreasonable attempts to deal with the realization that classical sovereignty had finally failed to provide the desired security. Europeans in particular, after tens of millions of deaths in the wars, were willing to trade some considerable measure of their freedoms in order to obtain the peace and security that transnational government seemed to offer. [It’s worth noting here that America, which escaped much of the devastation of the wars and has always been more strongly oriented towards freedom than other nations, did not much succumb to the transnationalist sales pitch, even refusing to join the League of Nations.] It’s hardly surprising that the transnationalists having ceased the upper hand generally should have sought to extend the types of policies and laws that they favor on specific issues, nor that the more nationalist Right, which holds the transnational project in such low regard, should have failed to have its preferences reflected much in the transnational institutions, laws and treaties that were subsequently erected.

Ed: Who are some of the major figures in the movement?

OJ: There are some folks, like University of Chicago Law Professor Martha Nussbaum, who are associated with the idea of transnationalism more closely than others (see her essay Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism). But it’s important to recognize that we are almost all transnationalists when it suits our own ends. Even many on the libertarian Right would like to see us adopt global free trade schemes that provide a transnational legal framework and turn over enforcement of the rules to unelected bureaucracies. And the hawkish Right wants to be able to enforce the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty against enemies like Iran and North Korea, even though that means we acknowledge that we’re subject to it. However, the strongest transnationalist sentiment is found on the Left, where even democratic presidential candidates and other party leaders insist that we should yield American sovereignty and democracy by joining things like the Kyoto Accords and the International Criminal Court and arguing that the Iraq war could only be legal if the United Nations passed yet another resolution approving of it.

Ed: Why did you choose to edit a book and write introductions to speeches and papers, rather than write your own book?

OJ: There were really two main reasons for that, one lies in the format itself and the other in the content. First, the book is intended to resemble a blog to some extent. These are almost all essays and speeches that we’d posted at our own blog (http://www.brothersjudd.com/blog/) and several of them were posted on darn near every blog that existed when they were written (Mr. Fonte’s essay for example was ubiquitous in the blogosphere, likewise Lee Harris’s Our World-Historical Gamble.) Here was an opportunity to gather some of the most interesting pieces on a contained theme, present them in their entirety instead of just in excerpt, and tie them together with introductory essays. Others will have to determine whether I’ve succeeded, but I’d like to think that this is a blog in book form.

Second, and more important, one purpose of the book is to convince Americans in general, but reluctant conservatives in particular, that George W. Bush’s expansive mission of democratizing the Middle East is not just vital to the future of the region and our own national security, but entirely consistent with American history, is indeed quintessentially American.

The section of the book on transnationalism will appeal to everyone on the Right and hopefully awaken even those who aren’t, because it shows how our own sovereignty and capacity to govern ourselves democratically is threatened. The second section though shows that we Americans and our allies represent an even greater threat to the sovereignty of others and to the very idea of classical sovereignty, because of our willingness to impose liberal democracy abroad, to effectively hasten what contributor Francis Fukuyama has dubbed the “end of history.” The essays here add up to the argument that we have ourselves redefined sovereignty so that the right to govern a nation now depends on a regime’s conformity to liberal democratic norms.

The isolationist, or non-interventionist, Right has been quite hostile to this development, which does of course involve us in the internal affairs of states from Syria to Burma to Somalia to Haiti. However, in the third section the essays show that this is not in the least a departure from our American past. Americans after all settled the continent all the way to the Pacific, fought a Civil War at home, and abroad fought Imperialism, Nazism, and Communism successively, all the while requiring other peoples to adopt our own foundational principles.

Whereas some argue that we have no right to tell others how to govern themselves, we always have and our Declaration of Independence makes universalist claims that there is a duty to organize regimes as we’ve organized our own:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

So, in these essays, and in an appendix that features a series of historical documents starting with the Mayflower Compact, I offer the evidence that holding other nations to a standard of democratic legitimacy is the very essence of Americanism and should be a cause that unites patriots of every stripe.

In keeping with both the form and the content, we’ve set up a Sovereignty blog (href=http://www.sovereigntyblog.com/) to go with the book, with further posts on the issues it addresses and links to other essays by and info about the contributors. People are warmly invited to continue the conversation there.

Ed: How long did it take to collate and edit?

OJ: I went into the project with a pretty clear vision of what I wanted to say: classical sovereignty is dead; our own sovereignty is threatened by transationalism; we’re a greater threat to others, having redefined sovereignty so that it requires democratic legitimacy; and that requirement is the end to which American history and ideology has always been leading us. So I had a good idea of what kinds of essays I was looking for, plus I’d written about most of them at the blog previously. Putting the pieces together and writing intros and a conclusion took about three months.

Ed: Was it tough getting permission to use any of these essays and speeches?

The hardest part of the permissions was actually just figuring out who held some of them. Every single author who I was able to contact personally was very co-operative and most of the permissions were granted free of charge. I passed the most difficult–like navigating the UN bureaucracy for a Kofi Annan permission–on to the publisher, Smith & Kraus Global, and they did the heavy-lifting.

It’s an amazing world we live in though, I was to find contact information for most everyone on-line and got prompt, courteous responses from everyone I contacted.

The only disappointment was that there was an ideal essay from Britain’s Spectator by Mark Steyn with which to end the book, one that contrasted how we deal with local problems here in small town New Hampshire on a personal level as opposed to the EU red tape you have to go through now to deal with a local problem in Britain. He was very nice about it but asked that we not use it because townfolk hadn’t been thrilled to have Europeans reading about them, which reticence too is typical of Hampshiremen.

Ed: Which one is your favorite?

OJ: I’d not like to say I have a favorite, but there is one I’m proudest to have in the book: Ronald Reagan’s speech at Bitburg Air Base on May 5, 1985. Lost in all the controversy over his visit was one of his very best speeches, one that stands in especially strong contrast to JFK and the prior American policy of mere containment, as President Reagan declared:

“Twenty-two years ago President John F. Kennedy went to the Berlin Wall and proclaimed that he, too, was a Berliner. Well, today freedom-loving people around the world must say: I am a Berliner. I am a Jew in a world still threatened by anti-Semitism. I am an Afghan, and I am a prisoner of the Gulag. I am a refugee in a crowded boat foundering off the coast of Vietnam. I am a Laotian, a Cambodian, a Cuban, and a Miskito Indian in Nicaragua. I, too, am a potential victim of totalitarianism.”

Recall that as he said this we were arming the Afghans and the Miskito and helping them defeat totalitarianism.

Ed: Will people be surprised by the breadth of the worldviews in the book?

The essay that seems to surprise folks the most is the one from Kofi Annan, but, despite his failure to rally the UN at the time of the Iraq war, he’s been an important voice for the idea that we have to concern ourselves with the injustices that occur within given countries, even if it means we have to violate the sovereignty claims of their regimes in order to vindicate the democratic/humanitarian rights of their people.

As to the general worldviews, I’d hope that readers would be surprised at the consistency they’ll find in the American worldview, from the Pilgrims landing until the latest speech by George Bush. We are and have been, though we don’t all always like to admit it, the Empire of Liberty that Thomas Jefferson suspected we might be.

Ed: Where do you see transnationalism going?

OJ: I think transnationalism is a more serious threat to our friends and allies than it is to Americans and I think it’s doomed even there. When I finished the manuscript, in March 2004, people assumed the EU was an inevitability, but we’ve seen several countries that were supposedly its biggest backers reject the constitution and when Tony Blair announced that Britain would vote on it he was understood to be killing it. Similarly, folks thought that the United States would be isolated by our refusal to join Kyoto, but instead nations like Australia and Japan have joined us in an alternative Asia Pacific Partnership on Development that focuses on developing technologies to control emissions and Tony Blair recently announced that Kyoto was pretty much a dead letter in light of this new agreement. And one of the most important reactions to the stabbing death of Theo Van Gough in the Netherlands and the British bombings of this past July has been a wholesale reconsideration of multiculturalism, which is an important element of transnationalism. If multiculturalism, rather than affording security, is going to provide a breeding ground in which people with no common culture lash out violently against their neighbors then this aspect of the transnationalist project is toast. Just as World War I shocked Marxists because it revealed that nationalism ran deeper in the working class than the economic security promised by socialism, so too are transnationalists likely to find that the need for a distinctive national culture runs deeper than the desire for the social peace promised by multiculturalism. And the preservation and defense of one’s own culture and national identity is antithetical to transnationalism.

Ed: Can America stop it? Is it in her best interest to do so?

OJ: That’s the interesting thing—it’s not necessarily in our narrow national security interest to stop the transnational project so long as we hold ourselves outside of it. After all, Europe may be dying –economically, demographically, and geopolitically — but it’s also rather quiet these days and pretty insignificant. After a 20th Century in which we fought three world wars in Europe, there’s something to be said for a Europe that we can safely ignore.

But American policy has never primarily been driven by such Realpolitik calculations. We are much more what Walter McDougall has called a Crusader State, engaging in a kind of “global melliorism,” whereby we intervene in the affairs of other nations to make them conform to our own standards of what makes a decent society. This tendency is so deeply imbued in the religiosity of America that I doubt we can stop ourselves from taking on both transnationalism and Islamicism, even if we wanted to. And history suggests that if we do choose to stop them we will. This is likely to be, as George Bush has vowed it will be, Liberty’s Century.


November 2, 2005

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

We were due to go to press this month, but the publisher has decided to do the book in hardcover, so I’m efforting information on when and where it will be available.


November 2, 2005

Mark Steyn, SteynOnline:

In a unipolar world, the principal threat to America comes not from any other great power but from a rival ideology ­ transnationalism, a philosophy that allows other countries to pass off their weakness as virtue, with profound dangers for them and for the United States. Orrin Judd’s splendid collection of essays provides an excellent guide to what will be the principal challenge to the American idea and to liberal democracy in the years ahead.

Steven Martinovich, Editor of Enter Stage Right:

A forceful hammer blow on the belief that America’s sovereignty and ideals can and should be negotiated away for the utopian dream of world peace through foreign intervention in American policy-making. Orrin Judd’s Redefining Sovereignty is one of those rare examples of an anthology that delivers on what it promises: it thoroughly investigates the danger of transnational progressivism and demands that patriotic Americans take action to defend liberties paid for by generations of sacrifice. Just as importantly, Redefining Sovereignty argues Americans must never forget their noble heritage of working to extend the fruits of liberal democracy to world. Easily one of the finest efforts in the study of American sovereignty.

Peter Berkowitz, Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute

For those who believe that the September 11 attacks marked the emergence of a new era in international affairs, Orrin C. Judd’s timely collection of writings will provide a valuable guide to the increasingly urgent debate between those who wish to promote an international order based on liberal and democratic nation states and those who seek a transnational alternative in which power is increasingly exercised by international organizations. For those who doubt that Sept. 11 marked the emergence of a new era, this book is indispensable.


November 2, 2005

Daniel Philpott is Associate Professor of Political Science at The Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame and the author of Revolutions in Sovereignty: How Ideas Shaped Modern International Relations (Princeton University Press, 2001) .

James Kitfield is Senior Correspondent for the National Journal Magazine and author of War & Destiny: How The Bush Revolution In Foreign And Military Affairs Redefined American Power (Potomac Books, 2005)

Vaclav Havel is a playwright, poet, essayist, former president of the Czech Republic, and was one of the leading dissidents and outstanding moral voices of the Cold War. He is the author of, among many other works, The Art of the Impossible : Politics as Morality in Practice (Knopf, 1997)

Criton M Zoakos is president of Leto Research, Inc. and was a formerly a columnist for the Asia Times.

Kofi Annan is the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, in which role he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.

John Fonte is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and Director of the Center for American Common Culture.

Marc F. Plattner is coeditor of the Journal of Democracy, a quarterly publication that addresses the problems and prospects of democracy around the world, and co-director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies.

Roger Scruton is an Academic philosopher, Writer, Freelance journalist, Political activist, Editor, Publisher, Composer, and Broadcaster. He writes regularly for The Spectator, New Statesman, Times of London, Country Life and numerous other publications. He is the author of The West and the Rest: Globalization and the Terrorist Threat (ISI Books, 2002)

Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, ambassador to the United Nations during the Reagan administration, is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. She is the author of Legitimacy and Force: National and International Dimensions (Transaction Publishers, 1988)

Fred Gedrich is a senior policy analyst at Freedom Alliance and a former State and Defense Department official.

Jeremy A. Rabkin is associate professor of government at Cornell University. He is the author of The Case for Sovereignty: Why the World Should Welcome American Independence (American Enterprise Institute Press, 2004), Law without Nations? : Why Constitutional Government Requires Sovereign States (Princeton University Press, 2005) and Why Sovereignty Matters (American Enterprise Institute Press, 1998)

Paul K. Driessen is a senior fellow with the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise , nonprofit public policy institutes that focus on energy, the environment, economic development and international affairs. He is the author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death (Merril Press, 2003)

Stuart Taylor Jr. is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institute, a columnist at National Journal, and a Contributing Editor at Newsweek.

James Kalb is the proprietor of On to Restoration!, the center on the web for counterrevolutionaries, restorationists, and the unreconstructed.

Yoram Hazony is Director of the Shalem Center, an institute for Jewish social thought and Israeli public policy based in Jerusalem and a frequent contributor to its quarterly journal, Azure. He is the author of The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel’s Soul (Basic Books, 2001) and The Dawn: Political Teachings of the Book of Esther (Shalem Press, 2000)

Francis Fukuyama is Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy and
Director of the International Development Program at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of
The End of History and the Last Man (Harper Perennial, 1992) and State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century (Cornell University Press, 2004)

Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters (USA, Ret.) is a columnist at the New York Post and a member of USA TODAY’s board of contributors. He is the author of numerous books—both novels and non-fiction—including Fighting for the Future: Will America Triumph? (Stackpole Books, 1999) and his most recent, New Glory : Expanding America’s Global Supremacy (Sentinel HC, 2005)

Lee Harris is a Contributing Editor at Tech Central Station. He is the author of Civilization and Its Enemies : The Next Stage of History (Free Press, 2004), which expands greatly on the essay included herein.

Michael Walzer is Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, and co-editor of Dissent. He is the author of Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument With Historical Illustrations (Basic Books, 1977) and some of his recent writing are collected in Arguing About War (Yale University Press, 2004)

Robert Cooper, Director General of External and Politico-Military Affairs for the Council of the European Union, is one of Britain’s most senior diplomats and an influential advisor to British Prime Minister Tony Blair. He was chosen one of the Top 100 Public Intellectuals –along with Vaclav Havel, Michael Walzer, and Francis Fukuyama–by Foreign Policy and Britain’s Prospect magazine. He is the author of The Breaking of Nations: Order and Chaos in the Twenty-First Century (Grove Press, 2004)

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review.

Jonathan Rauch is a senior writer for National Journal magazine.

George W. Bush, former Managing Partner of the Texas Rangers Baseball Team and former Governor of Texas, is the 43rd President of the United States of America.

Walter Russell Mead is Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow in U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of Power, Terror, Peace, and War : America’s Grand Strategy in a World at Risk (Knopf, 2004) and Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World (Routledge, 2001) which further elucidates his argument about the Jacksonian tradition.

David Warren is a columnist for the Ottawa Citizen and Sunday Spectator and writes the Idler essay for Crisis magazine.

Jed Rubenfeld is Robert R. Slaughter Professor of Law at Yale Law School. He is the author of Freedom and Time: A Theory of Constitutional Self-Government (Yale University Press, 2001).

Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911-2004) was a baseball broadcaster, film and television actor, Governor of California, and the 40th President of the United States of America. In his eulogy at the National Funeral Service for Ronald Reagan, President George W. Bush remembered his thus: “He was optimistic that liberty would thrive wherever it was planted, and he acted to defend liberty wherever it was threatened.”

Jesse Helms represented North Carolina for five terms in the United States Senate before retiring in January 2003. As Chairman of the Foreign Relation Committee he was a leading advocate for United Nations reform. He is the author of Here’s Where I Stand : A Memoir (Random House, 2005)

John Lewis Gaddis is Robert A. Lovett Professor of History at Yale University. He expanded upon the essay included here in his most recent book, Surprise, Security, and the American Experience (Harvard University Press, 2004).

Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies and a columnist for Frontpage magazine and the Jewish Press. She is the author of The Death of Feminism : What’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)

Donna M. Hughes, Ph.D. is a professor and Eleanor M. and Oscar M. Carlson Endowed Chair in the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Rhode Island.

Orrin C. Judd is the writer-in-residence at BrothersJudd.com. He lives in Hanover, NH with his wife, Brooke, and three children: Griffin, Avery and Archer.


November 2, 2005

Does America need the permission of the United Nations before it declares war?

Must the United States adopt the Kyoto Treaty on greenhouse gases?

Should the United States Supreme Court look to the legal precedents of other countries when it applies the Constitution?

Is the European Constitution dangerously tilted towards free markets? Or is it dangerously anti-democratic?

Do detainees at Guantanamo Bay have rights under American or international law?

Does the world have a right, or even an obligation, to intervene in Darfur to stop genocide?

These are just some of the sovereignty questions that have become political battlegrounds in recent years. Hovering over all of them is one central question: do the citizens of liberal democracies retain the unique right to determine their own laws and public policies or must they yield to the dictates of unelected transnational bureaucracies for the sake of the “greater good”?

Redefining Sovereignty is a collection of extraordinary essays, speeches, and historical documents that examines these issues and the struggle between democrats and transnationalists to seize the moral high ground on the issue of whether the people should govern themselves or be governed by unaccountable elites. Contributors range from Francis Fukuyama, who famously declared liberal democracy to be the end of history, to Walter Russell Mead, who has identified a stubborn strain of democratic Jacksonianism in American history, to Vaclav Havel, who having helped defeat the Soviet Union has become a leading voice for humanitarian intervention around the world, to George W. Bush, whose defense of American sovereignty and declaration that this will be Liberty’s Century has placed him on the front line of these battles. Taken together they provide an invaluable framework for understanding the most vital controversies of the day.


December 31, 2003

American Diplomacy And the New Shape of the World: Critics who accuse the United States of a strident new unilateralism often have an agenda of their own: to keep America’s power in check. (Clive Crook, 12/31/03, Atlantic Monthly)

The past year has seen a momentous change in the way the world is ordered—a change very much for the worse, according to a good deal of supposedly informed opinion in the United States and the great majority of commentators everywhere else. To assert and advance its own interests, America has repudiated the institutions and the very principle of lawful cooperation among nations, it is argued. This would be immoral, the charge continues, even if it were not directly counterproductive—but it is that as well. America’s new posture, the critics agree, has made the world a more dangerous place, not least for America itself.

The destruction of Saddam Hussein’s regime was the most forthright demonstration of this new thinking. The Bush administration explicitly rationalized the war in terms of a new security doctrine that calls for pre-emptive action against emerging threats. This is a policy that, to put it mildly, is difficult to square with current understanding of international law. […]

Some of the administration’s critics are willing to admit that the U.N. has its faults, and even to acknowledge that America’s government owes its first duty to America’s citizens. Nonetheless, they argue that the United States, in its own interests, should lead efforts to reform the U.N.—and to breathe life into multilateralism more generally. With American goodwill, and not without, a global order based on law and international cooperation could be built. That is the claim. By the same logic, the Kyoto accord may be flawed, but America should strive to fix it rather than merely walk away. And again, despite safeguards already built in, some supporters of the International Criminal Court concede that it may leave Americans unfairly exposed to unwarranted or malicious prosecution; so strengthen the safeguards, they insist, rather than trying to wreck the whole process.

This kind of argument is based on two very serious mistakes. The first is a delusion about goals. The premise here is that the United States and its putative U.N. partners have the same priorities, or at any rate that the goals they have in common matter more to them than the aims that divide them. After September 11, in fact, one might have hoped that this were true: The whole civilized world, it is clear, really does face a terrible common foe. Yet many countries still see the main purpose of the U.N. and its satellites as not to meet such threats but to contain the power of the United States. French diplomacy before the Iraq war made it plain that France sees untrammeled American power as a greater threat to its interests than Saddam Hussein ever was. France is not alone in this. […]

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that intelligence and good faith prevailed around the world, and that different countries’ goals and priorities were sufficiently well aligned to make formal and institutionalized multilateral approaches at least feasible. Would that clinch the argument? Not at all, because the multilateralists’ second fatal error is to suppose that structured multilateralism is intrinsically superior to the unilateralist alternative of ad hoc “coalitions of the willing.”

Why is this a mistake? Because the kind of institutionalized multilateralism that the U.N.’s champions dream of is inescapably undemocratic. America’s government can be ultimately accountable to the American people or ultimately accountable to the U.N.; it cannot be accountable to both.

Mr. Crook here captures quite nicely the two great challenges to traditional sovereignty, that by the Left–transnationalism–which seeks to bypass democracy and impose a global elites’ agenda; and that by the Center/Right, which holds any regime that does not meet liberal democratic standards to be illegitimate. Each new vision is revolutionary to a degree we don’t yet seem to realize.