The Corner

Adventures in Post-Americanism

Georgetown University Law School Dean Alex Aleinikoff is co-chair of Obama’s immigration transition team. Here’s what John Fonte wrote in the pre-election issue of NR on Aleinikoff:

Today, in the major precincts of mainstream American liberalism, the merely international is passé; the transnational, or global, is ascendant. As John Ruggie of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government puts it, “Postwar institutions including the United Nations were built for an inter-national world, but we have entered a global world. International institutions were designed to reduce external friction, between states; our challenge today is to devise more inclusive forms of global governance.” 

Typical of leading law-school opinion is a comment in May 2008 by the dean of Georgetown University Law School, Alexander Aleinikoff, who was general counsel of the immigration service under Clinton. Aleinikoff envisions new transnational political authorities above and beyond American constitutional democracy. He writes that we should expect the “development and strengthening of other political institutions—regional, transnational, some global . . . exercising what will be perceived as legitimate legal and coercive authority. . . . That is, a decline in citizenship in the nation-state is likely to be accompanied by new kinds of citizenships associated with ‘polities’ that tax and spend, organize armies and police, establish courts, and promulgate what are perceived to be binding norms. There is no reason that standard accounts of citizenship that link governance and a people cannot be stated at the appropriate level of abstraction to apply to new forms of political association.” Aleinikoff’s account may be read as both predictive and normative, an indication that American elites not only believe that our constitutional democracy will be subordinated to global authorities but also desire that this come to pass.

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