Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk - A weekly Column

October 8, 2001

America Retains its Sovereign Right to Respond to Attacks

The tragic events of September 11th have led to renewed calls for the expansion of global government. Terrorism, we are told, is an international problem- and therefore the United States must subordinate its interests and defer to the international community before taking military action. Of course it's certainly commendable that President Bush is trying to build an international coalition to fight terrorism, and we should be enormously grateful to our allies for their support during these trying times. Yet we must never allow our national sovereignty to be eroded in the name of international cooperation. We cannot forget that our Constitution grants Congress and the President complete authority to provide for national defense and declare war. International support for our efforts against Bin Laden is desirable, but we do not need anyone's permission to act. Remember, the terrorists attacked on American soil and killed mostly American citizens. No international coalition can or should attempt to dictate our response.
However, the United Nations already is working to position itself as the international body responsible for addressing terrorism. UN secretary-general Annan has called for a worldwide treaty against terrorism, as though suicidal terrorists would honor such a treaty! Many supporters of global government, even some in America, believe that the US must present its military plans to the UN for approval before we act. The underlying premise is obvious: according to the globalists, we are all part of one big nation- and America has no sovereign right to use military force unilaterally.
Similarly, the unconstitutional UN international criminal court is being touted by many globalists as the appropriate forum for trying terrorists charged with crimes against humanity. Remember, the ICC would attempt to exert jurisdiction over every American, without affording them constitutional due process rights or 4th and 5th amendment protections. The ICC is a dangerous idea that directly threatens our constitution and our sovereignty, and we must not let the recent tragedy blind us to these dangers.
Furthermore, would you as an American be satisfied to see the ICC deal with Bin Laden? Do you think he deserves legal counsel and a trial, without the threat of a death sentence (as the UN is opposed to capital punishment)? What legal standards would apply? Would you accept his acquittal if it happened? If not, do you want your tax dollars to pay for a lifetime of meals in his prison cell in Brussels or Geneva?
UN defenders seem to forget that the organization lacks credibility as a neutral arbiter of disputes. If anything, the UN acts as a forum for anti-American sentiments. Last week, after New York mayor Giuliani spoke eloquently before the UN general assembly, a parade of speakers from various Muslim countries followed him with denunciations of American policy. Some made veiled threats about the likelihood of more terrorism if the US does not work for "social justice," which really means they want more money from American taxpayers. Clearly, the UN is not an organization that we can sensibly consider an ally under any circumstances.
We should remember that the image of the United Nations as a benevolent peacemaker is a myth, as evidenced by the sad history of its military actions over the past 30 years. In virtually every instance its so-called "peacekeeping missions" have done nothing but intensify regional conflicts. Kosovo and Somalia are poignant examples of UN policy gone bad, creating lasting resentment and instability rather than peace. The truth is that the UN cannot create peace or end terrorism, but it can vastly expand its power over the lives of US citizens. We must resist any attempt by the UN to advance its agenda in the wake of the September 11th tragedy.