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April 29, 2003

Keep the United Nations out of Iraq – and America


by Rep. Ron Paul

As the heaviest fighting in Iraq comes to a close, questions about what kind of government will be established dominate the news. Looting and lawlessness are the order of the day in the inevitable vacuum created by the removal of Saddam Hussein. Not surprisingly, the United Nations – at the urging of France, Germany, and Russia – wants to fill that vacuum and play the central role in postwar Iraq. If the Iraqi people ever hope to enjoy any measure of self-determination, UN occupation must be resisted.

Is the UN demand to oversee postwar Iraq remotely justified? An increasing number of Americans say “No.” In fact, more and more Americans are rejecting the very legitimacy of the UN, openly calling for the US to withdraw from the organization. Even mainstream Washington pundits on the right have begun to question the wisdom of continued US participation in the UN.

I happen to agree with these new critics of the UN, having advocated getting out of the organization for twenty years. Obviously many Americans now want out of the UN because they resent its refusal to sanction our war in Iraq, and certainly America should never let its national security become a matter of UN consensus. But this growing anti-UN sentiment provides an opportunity to make a larger point, namely that participation in the UN is fundamentally incompatible with American sovereignty and the Constitution.

Our current approach of alternately using and ignoring the UN results in the worst of all worlds. When we play along and cite UN resolutions as justification for our actions, we give credibility to the concepts of international law and global government. We give up precious sovereignty not only to the UN, but also through trade agreements and organizations like the WTO and NAFTA. Yet while we cede more and more of our national identity to the globalists, we gain little in exchange. Other nations see us as willing to ignore the global rules when it suits our purposes, and we remain hated and mistrusted by much of the envious world. America would be far better off simply rejecting global government as a concept, and openly embracing true sovereignty.

Americans should seize the chance to expose the myth of so-called “international law.” Neither the UN nor any other international body has authority to make laws that bind the American people. Simply stated, just laws are derived from the consent of the governed, and Americans have not consented to be governed by foreign individuals or bodies. Constitutionally speaking, only Congress can craft our federal laws. While constitutionally-ratified treaties can be legitimate, no treaty can usurp the basic function of Congress by transferring legislative authority to an international body. When the UN attempts to dictate our domestic labor, environmental, trade, tax, and gun laws – as it already has – we need to remember that only the representative US Congress has authority to make our national laws

I recently reintroduced the American Sovereignty Restoration Act, H.R. 1146, in the House of Representatives. This bill will end US participation in the UN, stop the terrible waste of $300 million tax dollars in annual UN dues, and ensure that American soldiers never serve under a UN command. I have asked the House leadership for its help in bringing the bill to a quick vote, so Americans can see where their representatives stand on the issue.

Although I strongly believe our foreign policy should be based on the philosophy of our Founding Fathers – open relations with all nations that seek the same, and entangling alliances with none – I certainly don't believe the UN should be involved in our policy decisions at all. Our foreign policy and our domestic laws can be crafted only by the American people and their elected representatives.


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    Ron Paul is a Republican Congressman from Texas. He was the 1988 Libertarian Party candidate for President.

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