After the Republic

by Andrew Stuttaford

This weekend’s Wall Street Journal is running an interview of former Sen. Jon Kyl by Sohrab Ahmari. Its topic is the danger that the current evolution of  international law could represent to America’s self-government.

The whole article is well worth reading, but this passage, in particular, caught my attention:

 To be clear, transnationalism isn’t a conspiratorial enterprise. In the legal academy, its advocates have openly stated their aims and means. “International law now seeks to influence political outcomes within sovereign States,” Anne-Marie Slaughter, then dean of Princeton’s public-affairs school, wrote in an influential 2007 essay. International law, she went on, must expand to include “domestic choices previously left to the determination of national political processes” and be able to “alter domestic politics.”

That doesn’t sound very democratic to me.

Ahmari notes that Ms. Slaughter held a top job in the State Department during Obama’s first term.

And then this:

For proof that the transnationalist threat isn’t merely theoretical, look no further than the European Union. Says Mr. Kyl: “What they have now is a situation where their sovereignty has largely been supplanted by others who are not accountable to voters in individual European countries.”

It was in Europe where these ideas were first implemented, and it is to the EU that transnationalists look as a model. Today over half of the regulations that affect Europeans’ lives are made by administrators in Brussels, not by national legislatures.

Ms. Slaughter, of course, took to the FT in April (as I noted here) to attack Mrs. Thatcher for her critique of the EU.

Connect the dots.

Discussing the same article (and referring back to an earlier book by Ms. Slaughter) John Fonte concluded as follows:

Slaughter maintains that global-government networks “can perform many of the functions of a world government — legislation, administration, and adjudication — without the form.” Therefore, a “world order out of horizontal and vertical networks could create a genuine global rule of law.”

The crux of the matter is existential. Thatcher was about self-government and nation-state democracy; Slaughter is about rule by global elites.

And, no, it does not take too much imagination to see how neatly global environmental regulation (environmental problems are, of course, no respecter of borders) fits into all this.