Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Sovereignty, Technical and Actual

 

cropped-iStock_000017452286XSmallIn this interview (hat tip to Melissa P), Senator Ted Cruz explains why he believes Senator Jeff Sessions is mistaken in the claim that the Trans-Pacific Partnership proposal would undermine America’s sovereignty.

Cruz points out that the international body a trade agreement like this sets up is merely advisory. In a trade dispute, the court would mediate between the two nations to judge whether or not the original agreement has been honored. But it would not be able to enforce its judgement. That lack of force is the difference between a government and … well, that other thing.

It’s not clear why a standing court, theoretically neutral, is superior to mediating disputes more directly or by more spontaneous mediation. I welcome arguments for why an international body might be merited.

The weakness in Cruz’s argument is that it dismisses pragmatic reality in preference for technicality. One need only consider the United Nations to understand what I mean.

The UN is similarly an international forum and mediator without direct enforcement power over member nations. It is only as powerful as national politicians make it. But they have made it into a quite significant authority!

Americans are taxed for the United Nations, if not directly by the United Nations. According to The Heritage Foundation:

The U.S. has been the largest financial supporter of the U.N. since the organization’s founding in 1945. The U.S. is currently assessed 22 percent of the U.N. regular budget and more than 27 percent of the U.N. peacekeeping budget. In dollar terms, the Administration’s budget for FY 2011 requested $516.3 million for the U.N. regular budget and more than $2.182 billion for the peacekeeping budget.

However, the U.S. also provides assessed financial contributions to other U.N. organizations and voluntary contributions to many more U.N. organizations. According to OMB, total U.S. contributions to the U.N. system were more than $6.347 billion in FY 2009. This is more than $1 billion more than total contributions as compiled by OMB for FY 2005, and it is indicative of the rising budgetary trends in the U.N. and the consequential demand on U.S. financial support.

In the 21st century, a “billion” is chump change. But the fact remains that the United States is committed to this regular expense, the appropriations of which are determined by non-Americans. That the commitment could theoretically be repealed is not different than saying any law could be repealed. Not funding the UN is as unthinkable in the District of Columbia as not publicly funding education.

More to the point, the UN has become a loosely governing body. Though American forces may act without UN approval, even Republican presidents treat the Security Council and the General Assembly as much more authoritative bodies than mere forums for consultation. Rather than deal only with select nations which share our interests on a particular issue at a particular time, our presidents look to the UN to form a general coalition with conflicting priorities. We even stomach the farce of sharia states condemning Israel for “hate” and “oppression” on our dime, and similar absurdities.

We need fewer international courts and political councils, not more. Practically speaking, we don’t create these mediating bodies to ignore them.

 

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  1. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I totally agree with this statement:

    We need fewer international courts and political councils, not more. Practically speaking, we don’t create these mediating bodies to ignore them. 

    However, a President Cruz would assert sovereignty. Sovereignty is not backed up by anything other than force of arms and the will to use them. 

    The problem is, Obama has no will (see China’s act of war against us).

    • #1
    • June 12, 2015, at 1:17 PM PDT
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  2. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    That would be great if we were assured a conservative President with the will to defend American interests every term. Usefulness now must be considered in relation to corruption, abuse, and obstruction later on.

    Even if an additional arbitration process would be useful today, is it useful enough to outweigh the inevitable harm it will cause when spineless liberals get a hold of it?

    I like Cruz. But it’s not encouraging that he is already agreeing to the institution of additional authorities/bureaucracies.

    • #2
    • June 12, 2015, at 1:23 PM PDT
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  3. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Aaron Miller:That would be great if we were assured a conservative President with the will to defend American interests every term. Usefulness now must be considered in relation to corruption, abuse, and obstruction later on.

    Even if an additional arbitration process would be useful today, is it useful enough to outweigh the inevitable harm it will cause when spineless liberals get a hold of it?

    I like Cruz. But it’s not encouraging that he is already agreeing to the institution of additional authorities/bureaucracies.

    As I said, I agree. But, when push comes to shove, it is about power and will.

    It is not the will of the POTUS, it is the will of the American people. Your real complaint is with a compliant, asleep people, that do not care about what is going on.

    • #3
    • June 12, 2015, at 1:29 PM PDT
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  4. Melissa Praemonitus Member

    I appreciate your comments, Aaron. Cruz supports the TPA but was clear that he hasn’t decided on the TPP yet.

    • #4
    • June 12, 2015, at 9:17 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  5. Al Sparks Thatcher

    The 4 libs, on the Supreme Court give deference to these international bodies when it suits them.

    I’d rather not give any recognition to these bodies in our treaties.

    Regarding the UN, the United States could emasculate it further by simply kicking their headquarters out of U.S. territory. Let them go to Brussels.

    • #5
    • June 12, 2015, at 11:51 PM PDT
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  6. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    There is a popular sentiment on the left that treaties trump the Constitution. This alone is reason to vigorously oppose any treaty too long to fit on the back of an envelope.

    Fun fact: Whether or not it does in fact or should in theory, it will become so when an active minority of progressives overpower a pantywaist majority of Americans.
    So watch for that.

    • #6
    • June 13, 2015, at 3:06 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Stad Thatcher

    Let me see if I have this right: we join this group that is merely advisory, and disagreements are mediated by a “court” with no legal standing and no enforcement mechanism. Then why bother setting up this contraption in the first place?

    The only realistic mechanism to deal with trade is to have a bilateral trade agreement with each individual trading partner. No two countries are alike, and trying to set up a normalized system of rules mediated by a neutral (supposedly) third party is (IMHO) a waste of time.

    • #7
    • June 13, 2015, at 5:41 AM PDT
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  8. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Bryan G. Stephens:I totally agree with this statement:

     We need fewer international courts and political councils, not more. Practically speaking, we don’t create these mediating bodies to ignore them.

    I’m not quite convinced. It seems to me that the more international courts and councils there are, the more diluted each one’s influence could be.

    If you have one international court, it’ll have lots of prestige and therefore lots of legitimacy, and potentially less accountability. If you have lots of different international courts, they might have to compete for legitimacy, which is probably a good thing.

    Analogy: Why do we need the Organization of American States, or the Commonwealth, or La Francophonie, etc, when we already have the United Nations?

    • #8
    • June 14, 2015, at 11:29 AM PDT
    • 1 like

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