Creeping Internationalism

In the long term, one of the greatest threats to human liberty is internationalism. There is a very real prospect that nations, including the United States, will use treaty commitments to limit their citizens’ freedom in ways that those citizens themselves would not have adopted democratically. The European Union is the most obvious current example; the Brussels bureaucracy is adopting socialist measures for the whole of Europe which few of the member countries would have approved individually, thereby nullifying democratic processes. The Kyoto treaty is another example of an international agreement that would have radically impacted American domestic policy in ways that were unacceptable to the American public. Hence the Senate’s advisory rejection of the treaty on a 95-0 vote.
Unfortunately, citizens of most countries do not seem to be as skeptical about such international commitments as Americans, perhaps because they are less committed to democracy, or because they are less conservative, or because they perceive more compensating advantages in coordinating their policies with other countries.
Haaretz reports on recently concluded negotiations relating to a “Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.” The session took place in Geneva, under the auspices of the United Nations:
“Negotiators from more than 170 countries agreed yesterday on unprecedented plans to restrict tobacco advertising, clamp down on cigarette smuggling and secondhand smoke and – hopefully – stem the explosion in smoking-related deaths….The proposed treaty says governments should limit secondhand smoke and suggests tax increases to cut consumption. It also provides for anti-smuggling measures to clamp down on the massive illegal trade in cigarettes.” A number of countries lodged complaints, including the U.S., but the draft treaty was forwarded for approval at the annual World Health Organization in May.
International agreements to control smuggling make sense, but what possible interest do foreign governments have in American policies on second-hand smoke (a bogus concept from a scienific standpoint) or cigarette taxation? The creeping tendency to cede control over our domestic policies, including taxation, to international organizations and international treaty commitments represents an enormous threat to both our freedom and to our democracy.

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