Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The European Union ignores Federalist Paper #15

For a long time I’ve thought that support for the United Nations in America was based on an inductive error or a false analogy that saw the UN as just a larger version of the states coming together to form America.  Further, apart from it lacking that understanding that constitutes a people, the fatal flaw of the UN was that it lacked an enforcement mechanism. 

More recently I read Margaret Macmillan’s Paris 1919 on the negotiations to end WWI.  There are sections in the book which are in a dry way funny as Woodrow Wilson proclaims that the League of Nations will handle one issue after another, while at the same time the behavior of the nations in question is making it very clear why the League won’t work with one country after another going after territory and the troops supposedly in place to preserve the peace being quite unwilling to stand in their way since it isn’t their land that is in question.

Which brings me to today’s essay on NRO that points to at least one of the fundamental errors in the project that is the European Union.  Michael Greve argues that while the Union has been looking to Alexander Hamilton as support, it has ignored his most pertinent warning against just such a construction.  The point Greve makes is that Hamilton argued not for just any confederation of states but a particular one and its key principle was that the government had to be a government of the people, that is have direct authority over the people, rather than a league of states where the federal government would make laws for the respective states.  The former would allow for the laws to be backed by the authority of the courts and the justice system, while the latter would only be enforceable by the sword.

The whole thing isn’t very long and is well worth a read http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/285584/eu-misses-hamilton-s-moment-michael-greve and if you have The Federalist Papers handy it’s also worthwhile to read it in the original which is Hamilton’s paper #15. 

On a side note, this is why I sometimes refer to The Godfather as the greatest foreign policy movie of all time.  The families are akin to nations and since they operate outside of the law, the only enforcement for their agreements is the sword or in their case guns.  Thus you have the agreement in the bank conference room and a scene or two later Tessio complaining to Michael that the Barzini family is chiseling his territory.  The only way to redress this ‘wrong’ is to go to war.

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