Trade agreements are as old as Solomon, and every sovereign nation forms such pacts. The U.S. Constitution provides for such accords by a clear, though difficult, process — securing a two-thirds vote in the Senate for treaties that the President proposes. The Constitution also provides a clear method for making war: only the Congress — not the President — may declare war. It is clearly unconstitutional for any President to take it upon himself to send U.S. troops to fight and die without that constitutional sanction.
Beyond that, the officers of the federal government who ensure that these constitutional actions — making treaties and declaring war — are carried out properly are all subordinates of the President, who is himself subject to the Constitution, and can face censure or impeachment for acting in an unconstitutional manner. In short, the Founding Fathers held a wide view on international relations, and saw no reason to surrender one smidgen of U.S. sovereignty in the process of conducting these relations.
The idea that a collection of thugs, cheats, and robbers who rule wretched peoples around the world would be allowed to come to America's largest city, gain all the protections of diplomatic immunity, and purport to govern the planet would have appalled Washington and Jefferson. These early American leaders could have told us what to expect from the rest of the world: tyrants and bullies. The fact that such repressive regimes in the United Nations have been made members of the UN Council on Human Rights may be viewed as the almost inevitable consequence of ever creating a United Nations.
This UN’s first Secretary-General was an American, Alger Hiss, who was also a Soviet spy (code name: “Liberal”). The United Nations' silence about the tens of millions murdered by Mao, as well as the tens of millions murdered by the Soviet Union, has been deafening. Yet the UN is quick to jump on notional human rights "violations" in America, such as capital punishment for the perpetrator of grisly mass murders (after, of course, endless appeals and stays of execution).
It should surprise no one today to learn that even as the Middle East is embroiled in violent rioting and protests against dictators (which despots will be replaced, almost certainly, with other savage tyrants), the United Nations is about to place Syria, one of the most brutal of all repressive regimes in that part of the world, on the UN Human Rights Council. This should come as less of a shock when one realizes that among the other members of that Council are Cuba, China, Libya, Pakistan, Russia, and Saudi Arabia — all nations which are well known to actively suppress human rights.
Human rights activist Anne Bayefsky, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, notes:
Syria knows a good deal when it sees that the like-minded countries in the Asian regional group that nominated Syria are just as enthusiastic about the U.N.’s idea of a 'human rights" body. So the question for the Obama Administration is not how do we keep Syria out, but why is the United States in?
That is an excellent question. Why is our nation sitting down on the Human Rights Council with the cutthroats and knaves who set themselves up to instruct other nations about how to treat their citizens? Bayefsky notes one of many reasons why Syria’s selection is almost certain:
The [UN] Secretary-General is focused on securing his reappointment. He doesn’t have time for protecting human rights, at least when it runs the risk of offending potential supporters among the fifty-six state members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Syrian Ammar Abdulhamid, who fled his homeland in 2003 to escape the Assad dynasty’s wrath, has entreated Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "[T]o have a greater sense of decency and courage, and to realize that his position gives him a certain moral authority and puts him exactly in the position to tell the Assads that their candidacy is unwelcome." Abdulhamid, who heads the Tharwa Foundation, the purpose of which is to bring decency to government in the Middle East and North Africa, declares of Syria's pending election to the UN Human Rights Council, “It’s absolutely disgusting. We hope that there is still a way to avert this tragic situation.”
So what should honorable people do who want basic human rights respected around the world? First, they must accept that the solution to human rights violations is not another layer of government. In fact, government itself is almost always the perpetrator of such abuses. Second, they must recognize that the human condition changes for the better only when the hearts of men change for the better. Christian missionaries carry the seeds of that change into places such as Pakistan and China. This is not “bureaucratic” work; it requires real courage and commitment. Finally, we must accept that mankind is not perfectible. Men are sinners.
All ordinary Americans, in their families, neighborhoods, churches, and synagogues — without dreaming that they have the power to make the world into Heaven, yet as children of the blessed Creator — have a duty to do what they can to bring peace, love, and hope to others.
Photo: Bashar al-Assad, the President of the Syrian Arab Republic