‘We see an epic ideological and political struggle that is global in scope and will last for decades, perhaps for most of the twenty-first century,” John O’Sullivan writes in the introduction to John Fonte’s new book, Sovereignty or Submission: Will Americans Rule Themselves or be Ruled by Others? “The outcome of this struggle is uncertain,” O’Sullivan continues, “but one thing is for sure: like all political conflicts from time immemorial, it will not end in a fashionable non-zero-sum scenario. On the contrary, there will be winners and there will be losers. Particular institutions and individuals — nation-states, subregions, supranational organizations, multinational corporations, international lawyers, soldiers, clerics, U.N. officials, EU commissioners, the judges of the International Criminal Court, American citizens — will either gain more power or lose power. Liberal democracy will either expand or shrink. The idea and practice of a free society will either advance or retreat.”
Fonte, a senior fellow and director of the Center for American Common Culture at the Hudson Institute, talks to National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez about how to advance rather than retreat — and what the odds are we will.
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: Is “submission” a bit dramatic?
JOHN FONTE: Not really. The goal of the globalists (including many American elites) is the subordination of the United States to what they call the “global rule of law.” The current legal adviser to the State Department, Obama appointee Harold Koh, when he was dean of Yale Law School several years ago, said the United States was part of an “axis of disobedience.” He meant “disobedience” to international law and global norms. This so-called “disobedience” was related to parts of international law to which America had never agreed, or had interpreted differently than some other nations and international institutions. However, “state consent” is a core requirement for legitimate international law.
LOPEZ: Is your book essentially about American exceptionalism?
FONTE: The main obstacle to the advancement of the global-governance project is American sovereignty and all that it entails in terms of American exceptionalism — as both an empirical and a normative concept — in politics, economics, religion, culture, foreign policy, and law. At the same time, the book argues for the principle of democratic sovereignty for all nations.
LOPEZ: Have we gone too far down the road to “global governance” already, so that your case for “Philadelphian sovereignty” is really a case to turn back the clock?
FONTE: The book is a warning that we are at the beginning of a decades-long political struggle over sovereignty; that is to say, over American democratic self-government. In the name of global “interdependence,” powerful and influential forces abroad, but most importantly at home, are seeking to limit American independence.