Monday, October 25, 2010

Reflection (Week #9)

*This is a reflection in response to Toby's most recent reflection.*

Specifically, Toby, I would like to reference your claim that the United States should limit its commitment to international organizations for the reason that the resulting commitment to international law would “undermine the Constitutional principles our nation was founded upon.” The United States Constitution would likely not conflict with any international regulations that the United States would be obligated to obey by committing itself to international organizations.

The United States Constitution creates only federal jurisdiction, meaning that the Constitution applies to only domestic issues and makes no explicit reference to the the norms the United States should follow when participating in the international community. Additionally, the US Constitution refers only to individuals, specifically citizens of the United States that within the borders of the United States (federal jurisdiction). Therefore, the claim that international regulations referencing maritime law would contradict the Constitution because they undermine the Constitutional right to property is false because Constitutional principles reference only individual citizens of the United States, not individual states.

Although the Constitution should not be cited as a reason to reduce US involvement in international organizations, the current state of the United States as a hegemonic power means that over-involvement in organizations such as the United Nations could make the United States more vulnerable. Because the United States is a hegemonic power, any agreements made in the context of an international organization would likely benefit other state more than the US, effectively lessening the power of the United States in the international system, opening the door for additional threats to US security. Therefore, large US commitments to the world's international organizations threaten security because it threatens to change the status quo of the international system, not because international regulations contradict Constitutional law.

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