What price popularity?

Other than the racial angle, the thing that has Barack Obama’s supporters most excited is the prospect that, thanks to ascension, America will once more be liked and respected around the world. Those aroused by this prospect can be divided into two categories. The first are the folks who believe, with the naivety only a certain type of liberal can possess, that a gesture (the election of Obama) can transform, lastingly and without cost, the way the world views us. These people are fools.

The second category are those who believe that Obama will take substantive positions that please foreigners and that, in particular, he will back measures that limit U.S. sovereignty. These people are on to something.

In the November 17 issue of the National Review (not available online to my knowledge), John Fonte of the Hudson Institute identifies four “transnational power grabs” that Obama is likely to push for They are: the Law of the Sea Treaty, the Rights of the Child Treaty, the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and the International Criminal Court. Agreement by the U.S. to these arrangements would make us more popular with foreigners, but only at a cost to our national security, our right of self-governance, and our rights under the Constitution.

As Fonte explains, the Law of the Sea Treaty could result in maritime disputes involving U.S. defense forces being arbitrated by an international panel composed of 21 judges, some of whom would be chosen by the likes of China, Russia, and Cuba. The Rights of the Child Treaty would require uniform penal codes for minors in all 50 states. It would abolish the death penalty and life imprisonment for everyone under the age of 18. And it would limit parental rights, for example by granting children the legal right to correspond with anyone, anywhere, without interference from their parents.

According to Fonte, CEDAW would likely result in the imposition of gender-based preferences in multiple spheres, including elective offices. He says the U.N. committee that monitors compliance with CEDAW has called on the Republic of Georgia to return to its Communist-era policy of gender quotas in public offices. Britain has be told to adopt the “comparable worth” standard of “equal pay” under which bureaucrats set pay rates. Fonte also warns that CEDAW would provide a method for “overturning a vast array of federal and state laws that [feminists] do not have the votes to defeat through democratic means.”

The ICC, according to Obama foreign-policy advisor Sarah Sewall, “represents an acid test for America’s commitment to international and universal concepts of justice and human rights.” The problem is that under the ICC American soldiers could be charged with war crimes and tried by a court comprised of judges whose interests and values are foreign to our own. Thus, the ICC is indeed an acid test. . .of our commitment to national sovereignty and self-governance.

Fonte points to a Harris poll taken for the Bradley Foundation in which by a margin of 63 percent to 16 percent, Americans said they see the U.S. Constitution, not international law, as the highest legal authority for Americans. 83 percent think of themselves as U.S. citizens, rather than citizens of the world.

To Obama, these views may signify a bitter population clinging to archaic concepts. But they also signify a challenge. To achieve what I take to be his transnationalist agenda, and to ensure our popularity among foreigners, Obama will have to risk some of his popularity among Americans.

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