In his1796 Farewell Address, George Washington cautioned the new nation:
Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.
Washington’s advice has been forgotten by the U.S. Senate, which continues to enter into entangling U.N. treaties that sap our national sovereignty and mold this great free nation into a subservient member of the family of nations subject to the global governance of the U.N.
In George Washington’s day, treaties were negotiated by the affected parties with the expectation that benefits would accrue to each of the parties. In modern days, environmental treaties are negotiated by a third party among nations with “common but differentiated” responsibilities imposed to benefit some of the parties at the expense of the others.
The Law of the Seas Treaty, or LOST, the most recent to parade before the U.S. Senate, after having been rejected in 1982 by President Reagan, is one of many treaties that seek to bind the United States in a web of entanglements that threatens to transform our “republican government,” into a homogenous world governed by the United Nations.
The LOST, integrated with the Convention on Climate Change, The World Heritage Treaty, the Convention on Desertification, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on Ozone Depleting Substances and its Montreal Protocol, the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species and a host of other environmental treaties, agreements, protocols and statutes, all arise from a non-government organization – the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Membership in this unique organization consists of nearly 800 other NGOs and more than 120 governments and government agencies. Six departments of the federal government, and 44 U.S. environmental organizations are members of the IUCN. This organization is the threshold through which every environmental treaty in recent times has entered the world.
This organization drafts the treaties it wishes to impose on the world, then introduces the treaty through an appropriate U.N. agency or conference, and then its member organizations lobby their respective governments to ratify the treaties. Once ratified, these same environmental organizations quite often then contract with the U.N. or their national governments to help implement or monitor implementation of the treaty.
The Law of the Sea Treaty has reappeared in the U.S. Senate because John Turner, assistant secretary of state for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs, wants the treaty ratified. The State Department is a member of the IUCN and contributes more than $1 million annually to the NGO. Turner was the CEO of the Conservation Fund and has served on the boards of the Land Trust Alliance, the National Wildlife Refuge Association, the Trumpeter Swan Society and is affiliated with other environmental organizations.
Turner is also a life-long friend and fly-fishing buddy of Vice President Dick Cheney, so when he wants something done, his wishes carry the implied weight of the administration. When the LOST was presented to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the skids were greased, no opposition voices were allowed to speak, and within three weeks after presentation the treaty cleared the Foreign Relations Committee, destined for the “consent” calendar so it could be ratified without debate or a recorded vote.
Turner has said the he wants to “revisit” the Convention on Biological Diversity, which was withdrawn from the Senate calendar in 1994 after a vigorous campaign by treaty opponents.
These environmental treaties have profound implications for domestic policy, beginning with the integration of these treaties with the World Trade Organization. At U.N. meetings where these treaties are discussed, the most frequent answer to the enforcement question is to use the WTO, with its power to impose penalties, as the enforcement mechanism.
These treaties all have language such as “shall adopt laws” or “shall bring laws into conformity,” which binds the U.S. to enact laws acceptable to the dispute-resolution mechanism of the particular treaty body. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 says in Article 2(4) that it is enacted to meet the requirements of several U.N. treaties.
These treaties are, indeed, “baneful foes” of a republican government, each of which further erodes national sovereignty and extinguishes a little more of our individual freedom. We need a modern-day George W. who will stand up and say “no” to any further surrender to the United Nations.