National Security & Defense

The Corner

The Sovereignty Theme in Trump’s Foreign Policy

President Trump’s United Nations address stressed the importance of sovereignty as a principle in international affairs. Because some are unsure about what a sovereignty-focused foreign policy would look like, John Fonte explains and expands on Trump’s U.N address here.

I, for one, am glad to see the renewed emphasis on sovereignty. The undermining of national sovereignty by an over-reaching European Union is at the root of many troubles there. Similarly, too many American elites look to international bodies and agreements as a way of constraining this country’s freedom of action. Ultimately, sovereignty is about democratic self-government. That is what’s at stake, for example, in the debate over how much influence foreign law ought to have over the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court.

When it comes to sovereignty, John Fonte knows whereof he speaks. Fonte’s book, Sovereignty or Submission: Will Americans Rule Themselves or Be Ruled By Others? which features a forward by John O’Sullivan, is the best and most comprehensive treatment of the issue you’ll find by a “pro-sovereignty” conservative. I reviewed Fonte’s book here.

True, the emphasis on sovereignty doesn’t address every aspect of foreign policy. It’s not a comprehensive key. Nonetheless, Trump’s renewed stress on sovereignty represents a welcome reversal of Obama-era policy. Certainly, the sovereignty issue cuts sharply against the “global governance” internationalism favored by Obama’s U.N. Ambassador, Samantha Power. For Trump to highlight sovereignty at the United Nations, home to the global governance crowd, was a bold and welcome move.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He can be reached at

Stanley Kurtz — Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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