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Jewish World Review
July 29, 2008
/ 26 Tamuz 5768
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's single most
illuminating statement in the course of a just-completed overseas tour
was his self-description during the stop in Berlin as a "citizen of the
world." Widely interpreted as nothing more than an innocuous expression
of solidarity with his adoring, post-nationalist hosts, this declaration
is actually just the latest indication that Senator Obama embraces a
vision of his own country and its role in the world that should be
exceedingly worrisome to America's citizenry.
The appellation "Citizen" has a checkered past. French
revolutionaries used it first to distinguish the common man from the
reviled aristocracy, then to enforce their reign of terror on both.
Orson Welles entitled his classic film modeled on the life of William
Randolph Hearst "Citizen Kane" - depicting an unscrupulous demagogue
who, despite his privileged background, nearly obtained high elective
office on a populist platform.
Now Citizen Obama uses a turn of phrase with no less
troubling overtones. The notion of world citizenship has become a
staple of transnationalists who seek to subordinate national sovereignty
and constitutional arrangements to a higher power. They are working to
replace, for example, our directly elected representatives operating in
a carefully constructed system of checks-and-balances, with rule by
unaccountable elites in the form of international bureaucracies,
judiciaries and even so-called "norms."
Citizens of the world can have their rights circumscribed or even
eliminated without their consent. For instance, in March the
Organization of the Islamic Conference - what amounts to a Muslim mafia
organization - demanded that the UN Human Rights Council (dominated by
the OIC's members) amend the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The
effect was to alter the foundational freedom of expression so as to
prohibit speech that offends adherents to Islam.
World citizens embrace the idea that the United Nations and other
multinational organizations are imbued with a moral authority not found
in nation-states like ours. When he was the Democratic Party
standard-bearer, Senator John Kerry famously described American foreign
and defense policy as only being legitimate when it passed a "global
test" - in other words, approval by the international community.
Today, the Democrats' incipient nominee subscribes to the view that, as
he put it in Berlin, "The burdens of global citizenship continue to bind
us together." Global citizenship amounts to code for subordinating
American interests to our putative responsibilities as a member of the
international community. The former can be pursued only to the extent
our fellow global citizens - or, more precisely, their unelected,
unaccountable spokesmen in Turtle Bay, Geneva, The Hague or other seats
of "world government" - approve.
To further such a subordination of American power, the transnationalists
have long sought to enmesh the United States in a web of treaties and
institutions. These include: the World Trade Organization (which now
routinely rules against U.S. companies and economic interests while
giving a pass to Communist China's); the International Criminal Court
(which has just established an ominous precedent for U.S. officials by
indicting the sitting - albeit opprobrious - president of Sudan); and
the Law of the Sea Treaty (described by its admirers as a "constitution
of the oceans," it assigns unprecedented responsibilities for control of
the oceans and even activities ashore to international organs).
Of course, the notion that there truly is such a thing as an
"international community" is a conceit of the transnationalists. In
practice, decisions are made by majorities usually dominated by the
world's authoritarians - Russia, China, the so-called "non-aligned" of
the developing world and, increasingly, the Islamist states. The
subordination of U.S. freedom of action, let alone national security, to
such a world citizenry is a formula for disaster.
A riveting insight into this reality was provided a few
months back when the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre
addressed a meeting in New Orleans, the scene following Hurricane
Katrina of the forceful disarmament of law-abiding U.S. citizens. Mr.
LaPierre showed a video which included a chilling statement from a
senior UN official to the effect that, while she understood Americans
were reluctant to part with their firearms, they had better get used to
being "citizens of the world" just like everybody else.
For many in Sen. Obama's audiences, references to "global
citizenship" must sound about as benign as his mantra about promoting
"change we can believe in." It all has a sort of Rodney King-like
quality to it: "Can't we all just get along?"
In fact, the terminology Citizen Obama uses reveals an
attachment to a radical transformation of not just our foreign policy
but of the nature of our country itself. The "change" he has in mind
could prove fatal to our sovereignty and constitutional form of
Questions about the appropriate role of America in the world
and how it conducts its relationships with foreign powers are, of
course, essential topics in any presidential campaign. That is
particularly true at a moment when the United States finds itself
engaged in a global war with a totalitarian ideology, Islamofascism,
that has embedded itself in many allied countries and enjoys strong
support from most of our foes.
It falls most immediately to Senator John McCain to
highlight Citizen Obama's radical answers to these questions and
ultimately to U.S. voters to determine whether they want a global
citizen in the White House or a president of, by and for the American
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JWR contributor Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. heads the Center for Security Policy. Comments by clicking here.
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© 2006, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.