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Good afternoon. Welcome to the Heritage Foundation. I am John Hilboldt, Director of Lectures and Seminars and of course we also welcome those each time that joined us via the internet at our heritage.org website. We always remind our viewers that we do welcome questions via email addressed to email@example.com as well other enquiries about our program can be made at that location. In house we would ask you all to check one last time that cell phones and pagers have been turned off as a courtesy to our guest speaker and for those online, we remind every one here and online that our program will be posted within 24 hours for future reference or any quotes that you may want to specifically have for your records. Hosting our program this morning is Matt Spalding. Dr. Spalding is Director of our B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies while the event is co-hosted with Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom. You apparently dominated them this time, is that it? So we look about American Studies first. Matt has been at Heritage for some time. His most recent project for us was serving as the Executive Editor of the Heritage guide to the constitution which is, of course, available at the heritage.org website as well as amazon.com. Matt I will turn the program over to you. Thank you. Good afternoon I thought it appropriate since this is co-sponsored by my colleagues in the Thatcher Center to begin with a reference to the American Declaration of Independence. Well, we learned at sometimes in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another. And to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature has got entitled. And then later after declaring the causes which impelled them to the separation, the Continental Congress declared in the name of the authority of the good people, these colonies that these colonies are in a right, ought to be free and independent states. They absolved their bonds to the British crown, their connections and said that they are as free and independent states and as such they have the full power to levy war, conduct peace, contract alliances, establish commerce and do all other things. Acts and things which independent states may of right do. And that is in declaring our independence the Declaration of Independence lays out a certain idea of what we call sovereignty. In broad terms, of course, the theory they have found in they spoke of popular sovereignty. Governments ensued among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the government. But while the American idea of sovereignty of authority and legitimacy was rather new at least in the political course of events, crowded in natural rights and human equality they also instituted the sovereignty in a much, in a larger sense, a broader sense, a sense of autonomy of sovereign states doing what independent states may of right do. In making this argument they were building on arguments that they had inherited within a broad framework of political thought that were being significant to this day. Indeed, current debate about Iraq and American actions in fighting terrorism, so called Bush doctrine of unilateral action suggests that we today are actually re-thinking and re-learning some things that our forefathers and indeed their forefathers had already spent some time thinking and learning about. Now to put all this together for us, to parse it through and to guide us in our current discussions by helping us to relearn some of these ideas is our friend Jeremy Rabkin. Dr. Rabkin is Professor of Government at Cornell University, where he teaches international law but American Constitutional History. He has a Ph.D. from Harvard where he studies with our - our other friend there, Harvey Mansfield. He has written broadly on the meaning and concept of sovereignty in contemporary international politics and in the history of constitutional government. Indeed, his most recent book is "Law Without Nations? Why Constitutional Government Requires Sovereign States", which came out in 2005, which is still a very good book to reference is on this topic. His topic today is Iraq's Sovereignty and Ours, What The War Has Taught Us About The World's Moral Architecture and indeed you may look forward to a longer work on this topic based on this lecture to be published in our first principals and essay series later. But for now please join me in welcoming Jeremy Rabkin. Well I should start with disclaimers. I am not an expert on Iraq. I haven't even been to Iraq and all sorts of people who are not experts about Iraq and don't even know anything about it do always say, well, of course, when I was last there, so I am even below their level. But I have noticed that people who know nothing about Iraq are constantly haranguing us or at least admonishing us about the lessons of Iraq and they seem to think that you don't have to have been there recently, you don't even really have to have been there. Certainly you don't have to know a lot about what's going on, on the ground to draw the lessons. So I want to emulate their example and part of the reason for that is I am little bit stung. I have many reviews of that, the book that Matt held up. Said, yeah, well well, what about Iraq? I think their point was you are bad and I hate you. No their point was so, if there is sovereignty that means that you can act unilaterally and defy the world, but then you get stuck Iraq and Oh so that drew my attention to the topic. Plus I do read newspapers, the Internet, I have heard about it. I want to say, okay what about Iraq? It seems to me that some obvious lessons from this experience and as far as I can see the obvious lessons of this experience remind us why our earlier generations thought sovereignty was important. Let's start with the first, seems to me obvious, undeniable lesson of this experience, the world is not much of a community. In 2004 what some people think of as the highest authority in the world the Security Council called on all members oft United Nations to assist the new government of Iraq. Everybody in the world was told, every government in the world was told they had a duty to assist the Government of Iraq. What happened? Not a lot of assistance was forthcoming. Even the members of the Security Council, most of them, did not offer any assistance. Even the permanent members, they were supposed to be some how the guardians of, you know, international order and legality, three of the five did not do much at all. Germany which has, in a way, that has never been explained has now become an honorary member of the P5 on the Security Council made an offer to train Iraqi police outside the Middle East, such a contemptibly small offer that the Iraqi's to their credit treated it with contempt and said, no thank you. The world doesn't rush forward to help even when asked to do so, even when admonished to do so by the Security Council. I think what follows is if your safety depends on the global community you are not safe. I will say one other thing just on this point, I mean, the global community doesn't have a capacity to act in a very decisive or effective way. The global community has, seems to me, exhibited quite a bit of shamelessness. I mean, it says things which it then doesn't follow through on repeated, repeated admonitions to Iran, stop this nuclear program. Co-operate with the inspectors, you must do this, this is after the Iraq experience. This is now showing that you didn't need to go into Iraq because there is the Security Council, they can take care of it and just yesterday it was in the newspaper that Kofi Annan said he is very concerned that the the Iranians will end up laughing at the Security Council. Of course, they will end up laughing at Security Council, why shouldn't they end up laughing at the Security Council! It's comical and I think there is an obvious reason for this, which we are all aware of, if we think about it, which is the global community tends to be shameless because it's not very concerned about its reputation and it's not very concerned about its reputation because the global community is the only global community we have. So it doesn't have to worry about its reputation, I mean, the UN, maybe, does to some extent but to the extent that the UN is taken to be the global community. It can afford to say all right, well we didn't do that but that's not really important, because after all we are global community and you need global community, don't you? I mean it rests on complete abstractions rather than demonstrated efficacy. So it's not a good substitute for sovereignty. Second thing that, I think, is very clear as a lesson of recent experience, you don't get sovereignty by outside recognition. This is in a way the inverse of the point that the global community is not, doesn't have much efficacy in itself. It doesn't even have efficacy to say "Poof! You are now sovereign." The current government in Iraq was blessed by the Security Council. Then what happened? Well, not enough. It doesn't actually have the effective sovereignty, the effective attributes of sovereignty at home. And I think it's fairly obvious just from newspapers, big part of this is it cannot protect people, therefore it cannot command people. It is not able to exercise sovereign authority at home because there is so much violence and chaos that people think obeying the government or co-operating with the government even is maybe not a safe thing to do. When sovereign authority cannot protect you, you turn to alternatives. You seek safety in the tribe, in the sect, in the local strongman, in the charismatic chief; you regress to the history of the world before sovereignty which is look for protection somewhere. George Orville said in his column this morning there are fewer Iraqis today than there were, when we invaded the country and that seems to be so. What he meant was fewer people who think of themselves as Iraqis because more people who think of themselves fundamentally as Shia or Sunni or some other smaller group where they think they can find safety. This is very sad, it's very sobering. I do not think it's an argument against sovereignty it is a demonstration of why sovereignty is important. The alternative which they have found for themselves in Iraq is not an enviable one. Let me say a third lesson that seems to be relatively clear. The world thinks they are supposed to be international standards. But it doesn't agree on how they apply. And I think both parts of that are important. A lot of the anger at the United States, you know, a lot of it is feigned, a lot of it is tactical, a lot of it is calculated but I don't think there is any doubt that around the world there are a lot of people think the United States did something very wrong in invading Iraq. And even among countries that have assisted us, they are part of the coalition. Public opinion is at least divided and in fact in many of these countries it's predominantly hostile to the venture. They think, oh this was a mistake. That is an important fact. People think they are supposed to be rules and the rules were violated here. It is also a fact that if you press people or even ask authorities in America, I won't say authorities, professors, there is a lot of disagreement about, "Okay well, in what circumstances are you allowed to use force?" Now, as I said, I think both sides of this are important. It shows you that peoples expectation is that the world is not simply a jungle. If the world simply were a jungle then anyone who chose to use force would be justified because it's a jungle out there. We don't even think that people are incomprehensible to each other, I mean, that different states are completely different civilizations they may as well be space aliens. People have this sense that there is some how a kind of dialogue among nations that there are somehow common standards and I I am not in any way sneering at that. I mean, I think that expectation is important. It's an important fact about the world. It's not a new fact. Matt was read the opening sentence of the Declaration of Independence, it does appeal to a law above states. It might be law of nature or nature as god and the exact context of that in the first sentence of the declaration is we are entitled to a separate and equal station among the powers of the earth. That is we are entitled to be an independent nation according to these laws which everyone accepts. And then of course, what followed was a war, rather, war continued. We thought or we asserted that, well, this is generally accepted and everyone understands this. But they didn't, maybe they accepted the principle, they didn't accept the specific application over to our case in London. So there was a war that went on for many years thereafter. This also goes with sovereignty which is, on the one hand, an assertion that this is a recognizable status to be sovereign and you know, what that is. And on the other hand, part of what it is - is not to be bound by authoritative, international, adjudication or arbitration which can say in every case you must do and you can't do. And therefore it's the condition of being sovereign, that you are out there with other sovereigns and there is always the potential for disagreement, a lot of potential for agreement, but potential at least for conflict. So, I think and I honestly don't believe that anything that I have said is a leap. It's dreamed, it's it just seems to me obvious on the face of things that our experience of the last few years shows we live in a world of sovereign states and in places where they are not able to sustain a sovereign authority, a sovereign government. They have a lot of wretchedness and misery. Why isn't this obvious to everyone? I think there are a lot of reasons for this. I mean why people don't see this with the clarity that seems to me just leaps out of you, from the world. But let let me mention two. One is - and certainly if you look at academic literature, lot of talk about our Anachronistic sovereignty is, because now we have non-governmental organizations and inter-governmental organizations and Trans-national corporations. And so we have all of these different actors in international affairs and it's really own fashion, it's really anachronistic to focus just on sovereign states. We have now all of these complex forces operating in international affairs. Now all of that is true, we have more forces, if you'd like, or more certainly more actors and elements in international affairs and this sort of obvious retort to this picture is, "Well, that's good so there are all these different elements, of forces and actors and what if they disagree?" Who decides? Do we have some way of really authoritatively deciding disputes or isn't it still true as it was before we have NGO's and international organizations and all the rest. But at some point, when there is a real dispute, people look to what they regard as authoritative and that is governance." And then, I think, the second reason why people don't want to accept that "Well of course sovereignty yes, that's that's how the world is organized. At some deeper people level they hope that, we can talk away out of it. That we can talk our way to consensus or evolve our way to consensus, that fundamental differences out there don't really exits or aren't really fundamental and so we don't need to have sovereign states to protect, we don't need to have sovereignty to protect out right to say, "No, finally no. You are going to have to fight us if you want to force us. No." I think, well that's not necessary. John Fonte here, spoken of post national and post liberal understandings of the world. I think it's important to say they are Post liberal, in the sense that people who imagine that the world could now be governed by some combination of the UN and Trade Agreements and NGOs. You know there is away in which it's completely fantastic to all. Its post modern, meaning lunatic, that's what it means in college campuses. And of course, it's, and I think important to remind yourselves, you know, the post modern is like the modern and then beyond it and I do think there is a way in which people who don't want to come back to sovereignty. What what seems to them compelling about this vision, again it's vision is giving in too much credit. But this hope, this sort of mood of expectation that we can do without sovereign states in the world. I think well but, I mean, states were good at an earlier phase of history because it was good to say we don't need to argue about religion. We don't need to argue about all these things. We used to argue about it in early times, everyone will have their rights and so everyone can agree and when they don't agree, they can agree to disagree and that's what rights will do for you and we just do to that to a higher state. We just do that at a global stage. If rights help us to be peaceful and productive at home, we will have some global regime of human rights and the whole world will be peaceful and productive. I don't mean simply to mock at this, because I think there is a way in which it captures the kind of trend of expectations of the last certainly since the end of the cold war, people think that ought to be true. Well, why can't we arrange it that way? And since the war in Iraq seems to be going badly, a lot of people are in this mood of saying, uh-huh, you see that proves it, you cannot succeed on your own. You can only succeed when you work through the global consensus. It would be too easy for me to mock this. Which as, I saw someone recently say, it would be easy to mock this and it's important to do so. So let me indulge myself just for two minutes. Okay, things are not going well in Iraq now. Let's stipulate that, they are going badly in Iraq now. How are they going before the Coalition overthrew Saddam Hussein? Were they going well? How are things going next door in Iran? How are things going trying to stop the Iranian nuclear program? Are they going well? Do we seriously think that if only George Bush had not launched this ill considered scheme the world would be a happy and harmonious place? And if the world is just evolving through global consensus why do we need this International Criminal Court to go out and get the bad guys? Why can't we just evolve past the badness of the bad guys? Or if we all agree that these crimes really need to be prosecuted everywhere, how come we haven't prosecuted anyone in the five years since we have had this court? Its worth your money itself, there is something kind of escapist about thinking there is an alternative. But I want to go back to the moral point because I promised to talk about that and I think it's good to remind ourselves that this is not just a matter of accepting in a fatalistic way that we don't have good alternatives. To start with one of the things that sovereignty is about that's important is preserving the capacity to make choices. And one of the things that strikes you right away when you look at the world and see who has the confidence to make choices that go against the global consensus. Who is with us in Iraq? Who is actually with us in Afghanistan? Who is actually fighting in Afghanistan? And it's a relatively small number of countries and they have this in common which is that almost all of them speak English. I think you can stipulate they all speak English, some of them it's a second language, but they know it really well. Talk about the Anglosphere is useful, I think not just as a kind of reminder of who our friends are. It's a fact about the world that's instructive. Much of the confidence which Britain, Australia, now Canada, have is that they have been prospering in the past 15 years. Unlike, France and Germany, their economies are doing well. So they have confidence. But I think there is something deeper. Their economies are doing well, because they are open to competition at home and they are open to competition at home and competition abroad. I am speaking now economically, because they have this confidence that their governments are securely established and they are not going to fall into the kind of horrors that governments in Continental Europe fell into before the Second World War. They have the confidence that they can have debates at home, sharp difficult debates as Mrs. Thatcher sponsored in Britain and the country is not going to fall apart. They do not have to gather everyone together in consensus, so they do not have to constantly make sure that unions are happy. They do not have to constantly make sure that all these different groups are happy. They can make decisions in the confidence that the country still hangs together, which means you can allow disagreement, you can allow competition. And you look out at the world and it's not so frightening to you that there maybe disagreements in the world. I think this has something to do with a kind of moral confidence which is partly based on success. These are after all countries that were on the winning side in the World Wars. These are countries that I said have had good economic performance. These are countries that have had political stability over centuries now. But I think it's also related to a kind of confidence that we live in a world in which it is necessary to take risks and reasonable to take risks. That freedom is not simply dangerous, even though, of course, it has dangers. So I want to spend just a few minutes before I finish talking about this which seems to me really kind of fundamental thing here. I started few minutes ago to say that there is a way in which people think, "Well, we established rights and law and sovereignty, so everyone could be safer and now we will make them safer still by doing this on an international level" and I think they are missing something, which was the original project, if you want to call that, of national sovereignties was perfectly understood that if you give people liberty some people will abuse it. If you guarantee property some people will acquire a lot and other people will squander it or won't acquire it. But in setting up a free society you are not assuring happy outcomes to everyone. I think sovereignty was connected with a sense that you wanted to limit risk, channel risk, have safeguards, but you can't eliminate risk from the world that there is something inhuman about expecting people to live in a world in which there is not risk. It is striking to me that the original theorists of natural rights in the 17th century are also theorists of rights, of personal rights and these things go together on many different levels. But I want particularly here to mention this, which is personal rights involve choice. Choice involves the risks that you will choose badly and they don't at all expect to do away with that. You see this, go back briefly to the Declaration of Independence. There is the appeal to the law of nations, sorry, the law of nature and nature's god, right in the first sentence. It's our right to be independent and the thing that follows it is in the same sentence. I will read it. In the very opening sentence there is the appeal to the law of nature and nature's god and in the same sentence a decent respect through the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impelled them to the separation. So this is absolutely a right. It's fundamentally absolutely a right, but we have to explain it, and we have to explain it because we have to have a decent respect to what the rest of you will think. We can't simply stamp our feet. We have to show that we are exercising our rights reasonably. We have actually a reasonable case. On the other hand it doesn't hinge on persuading others. We have first declared independence and then said, we have an obligation to explain ourselves to show you that we are reasonable. If you are not persuaded it's too bad. But we are going to make the attempt to show you. The decent respect to the opinion of mankind seems to be rather a matter of self respect. A sense of we do have good reasons. We are not simply invoking some very abstract law which automatically gives us this benefit. We have good reasons. It is connected partly with we want you to think that we are respectable. But I think most fundamentally, is we want to reassure ourselves that what we are saying is reasonable that our self-respect is justified in this. Before I close it, I want to just call attention to how much you see this theme, this appeal to self-respect and the kind of pride. See it all through writings of the founders, but in fact you see a lot of it in the writings of James Madison which is particularly interesting because probably of all the founders, he is least rhetorical, the least passionate, the least emotional. Rather small person, not a great orator and people say not a very effective President. We associated most of all, of course, with the constitution, checks and balances, intricate arrangements. But, in fact, he repeatedly says in his writings, of course, in the end, it's important that we maintain our self-respect and our pride in being able to decide for ourselves. From his first inaugural address and he's citing all of his principles that are going to guide him and among them is to exclude foreign intrigues and foreign partialities which are degrading to all countries and painful to free ones. Degrading is very interesting word, right. It's degrading to let yourself be influenced by foreigners. Doesn't mean to say, it is painful, meaning it's dangerous harm will come, but it's degrading to start with. And to foster a spirit of independence, he said, this is what he proposes to do, which is too just to invade the rights of others, too proud to surrender our own rights. Too liberal to indulge unworthy prejudices ourselves and to elevate it not to look down upon them in others. It's not just high-minded, it's proud. A few years later, he is giving second inaugural address and he has lead the country into a war. And in explaining this he says, "We had to pursue this last appeal, it could no longer be delayed", that is the appeal to arms, "without breaking down the spirit of the nation destroying all confidence in itself and in it's political institutions. And either perpetuating a state of disgraceful suffering over gaining by more costly sacrifices and more severe struggles, a lost rank and respect among independent powers." And he wasn't a great orator. But he thought that's what he was supposed to say. We had to do this for our self-respect. I want to remind you that the war that he lead the country into lead to much more disastrous consequences than the war in Iraq. Among other things the White House was burnt in the capital. I do not know how the war in Iraq will end, but I think two things are safe to say. One, the Iraqis will continue to be wretched until they are able to establish a secure sovereignty. Second, freedom in the world will be greatly endangered if the free nations conclude from this experience that they must never take risks for freedom, for their own or anyone else's. If we are not prepared to take risks, we will live in a much more dangerous world. I think that is just obvious and I think it is also obvious when you think about it, that people who say this shows sovereignty's is a mistake, as you made a decision that it ended badly, really saying nations cannot rely on themselves. You should appeal to Kofi Annan to protect you. The Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny magic, this is really unworthy of serious people and serious people are required if you want to retain your sovereignty. Sovereignty is, in some way, as the Iraq experience is showing us particularly with regard to the Iraqis, it's a discipline, it's a challenge. It's not something that you can do automatically. It's very necessary if you want to have a decent life and a decent world. Thank you very much for your attention.