On the last day of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, as Benjamin Franklin was leaving Independence Hall, a lady asked him, “Well, doctor, what have we got?” Franklin pointedly responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.” James Madison, chief architect of the Constitution, defined a “republic” to be “a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices … for a limited period, or during good behavior.” In other words, in our constitutional republic, the people possess the power to govern themselves by laws they enact through elected representatives.

Today, the most serious threat to our nation’s sovereignty and the republican form of government we cherish is the United Nations and other international organizations that work through ill-advised treaties and irresponsible bureaucrats to usurp the power of the American people to govern themselves. Unfortunately, more than a few politicians in our country are willing to cede power to foreign control.

One of those powers is the right to control the oceans and seas. The president’s proposed budget for 2009 includes a request for nearly $5 million to support the International Seabed Authority, an international tribunal established by the Law of the Sea Treaty. For years this treaty has been rejected by the U.S. Senate because it would take power away from the U.S. government and give an unfair advantage to countries like China, which uses the treaty’s vague language to make claims about the waterways it controls far beyond its proper jurisdiction. This treaty would also impose a global tax on U.S. companies if ratified by the Senate.

The presumptive Republican nominee for president, Sen. John McCain, wrote a letter in 1998 to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in favor of the Law of the Sea Treaty. As late as 2003, McCain submitted written testimony to the committee in favor of the treaty. But since seeking the Republican presidential nomination, McCain has been telling conservatives that he will “probably” vote against the treaty because its terms negatively affect U.S. sovereignty.

Other politicians want the U.S. to fund welfare programs for the rest of the world. The leading Democratic candidate for president, Sen. Barack Obama, is presently sponsoring S.B. 2433: the Global Poverty Act of 2007. This bill would sanction spending as much as $845 billion in taxpayer money to reduce global poverty to meet the “U.N. Millennium Summit Goals.” In addition to calling for a reduction in global poverty through unconstitutional foreign aid, the Millennium Summit Goals urge nations to sign many other dangerous treaties like the Kyoto Protocol and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child – both of which the Senate has rejected for many years.

The Kyoto Protocol sets limits on the amount of “greenhouse gases” that nations can emit while specifically excluding countries like China that it categorizes as “developing nations.” It also subjects participating nations to penalties for exceeding those limits. Japan, Italy and Spain face penalties totaling over $33 billion for failing to meet their obligations under Kyoto. Each of those countries admits that the cost will be covered by taxpayers and businesses. Thus, joining Kyoto would subject the American people and U.S. businesses to a global tax.

As for Obama’s rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton, her husband formally signed the Kyoto Protocol on Nov. 12, 1998, at a global conference in Buenos Aires. In February 2005, Sen. Clinton gave a speech on the “Future Role of the United Nations” in which she openly supported then-Secretary General Kofi Annan and the U.N.’s Millennium Summit Goals. Clinton has also long supported the adoption of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child even though the treaty would wreak havoc on parental rights.

One thing all the leading presidential candidates for both major parties support is continued financial aid to the U.N. despite its dismal record of fraud and mismanagement. An audit last month discovered that the U.N. has wasted tens of millions of dollars in its “peacekeeping operations” in Sudan. Last year, a task force uncovered “multiple instances of fraud, corruption, waste and mismanagement at U.N. headquarters and peacekeeping missions … with an aggregate value in excess of $610 million.” A series of audits from 1996 to 2003 revealed “gross mismanagement” in the U.N.’s $100 billion oil-for-food program in Iraq. Yet, Clinton in her speech about the future role of the U.N. stated that she “deplored” Americans “who have sought to weaken, undermine and underfund the U.N.” Actually, given the corruption and mismanagement of the U.N., monetary support for the U.N. is un-American.

The obstinate support of the U.N. and continual reliance on treaties with foreign powers to solve our problems is reminiscent of the time when ancient Israel depended upon Egypt instead of the Lord for its protection. Isaiah prophesied:

Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord! … Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen [helped] shall fall down, and they all shall fail together.

The leading presidential candidates have repeated Israel’s mistake: They are looking to other nations for guidance and have failed to seek guidance from God – the one upon Whom our nation was founded and our ultimate security depends. In the process, “We the People” are losing our right to self-determination and representative government through the encroaching influence of the international community.

George Washington declared in his First Inaugural Address that “the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, and finally staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.” If the American experiment fails, republican government falls with it. We must call on our leaders to fight for America and to rely upon God.

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