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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Restore the Senate's Treaty Power

It is tempting to simply comment on the rich irony that two of the architects of the Bush administration’s extra-constitutional activities are to be found in your pages defending the constitutional process of treaty ratification (John R. Bolton and John Yoo, Restore the Senate’s Treaty Power, New York Times, Monday, January 5, 2009: A19).

More important however is their attempt to wrap ideological preferences into a constitutional requirement. Each of the treaties to which they object involve international constraints that may be to the disadvantage of corporate America. They do not mention treaties like NAFTA and the South American free trade deals that have been avidly sought by corporate America

The fact is that we live in a world much different from that of the founding fathers – a world that is much more reciprocally interdependent than was 18
th. Century America, In that world American exceptionalism and independence affected few other countries. Today as we have seen, America needs to work collaboratively with the whole world.

The last eight years have shown how much America would have gained had it been part of the International Criminal Court. In such a world, John Yoo would not have dared pen the infamous torture memoranda; America would not have lost its reputation for justice and integrity. Furthermore, if we had adhered to the Kyoto accords, America would not be eight years behind in adopting fuel efficient cars (and Detroit's consequent collapse) and in the development of new technologies to help prevent global warming (which might have been Detroit's lifeline).

In the present world, the treaties disdained by Bolton and Yoo are the foundation upon which we must build new relationships with the rest of the world.

Sent to the New York Times

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