Brisbane, January 23, 2017 (Alochonaa): The January 3rd introduction of the ‘American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017’ by Republican Congressman, Mike Rogers of Alabama, was one of the first acts put to the new American Congress. Unsurprisingly, like most bills proposed in the American system, it was referred immediately to the relevant committee; the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Given the current political climate enemating from America with the assumption of Donald J. Trump to the Presidency, along with the heightened fears that American foreign policy for the most part will not be ‘business as usual’, and it’s easy to see how this bill has also come to the attention of the general public.
The actual text of the bill calls for the repealing of the United Nations Participation Act of 1945, the domestic law enabling the United States’ participation in the international organisation, along with the immediate termination of the USA’s membership in the United Nations and the subsequent closure of its diplomatic mission in New York. Furthermore, it would force the United Nations Headquarters to leave New York City, and the United States entirely and cancel the rights of diplomatic immunity in the United States of UN officials. It would also see the United States remove itself from all subsidiary bodies of the United Nations and cancel any involvement in all United Nations Conventions and Agreements.
Obviously should such a bill become legislation, the results would be disastrous for the international organisation. Indeed, the United Nation’s predecessor, the League of Nations suffered due to the absence of the United States, which had emerged from WW1 as a recognised great military power alongside being the world’s largest national economy. A United Nations without the United States would face many of the same dilemmas. Indeed, it would require a fundamental re-negotiation of the American-inspired international order that has existed since the end of the Second World War, and of which the United Nations is the primary component thereof. That this re-negotiation would be to America’s detriment is often lost on those who propose this bill.
However, in one of the many quirks of the American political system, this bill is somewhat older than what its current name would suggest. A version of this bill, with all but identical text, has been proposed at the start of every new Congress for the last 20 years. Like this year’s version, 2015’s was also proposed by Rep. Rogers. In 2013, Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia was the sponsor, while those bills proposed from 1997 to 2011, were all made by the old Libertarian warhorse, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. All three of these men are Republicans, and every time they have sponsored their bill, it has languished in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, or its sub-committees, rarely rating a mention and never being even brought to a vote. It also means that fears circulating within the general public at present that the United States is about to leave the United Nations are rather unfounded. It does however mean that people are distracted from what the inexperienced mob that comprises the new American administration are actually doing.
The next four years will require unparalleled vigilance from not only Americans, but also those of us that are in the wider world, to ensure that the world’s most powerful country does not lose its last pretenses of participatory democracy or any of the myriad of other ways it could potentially cause irreversible damage. You can however rest at least a little easier in knowing that the American political system is unlikely to pass the now 10-time recycled ‘American Sovereignty Restoration Act’.
*The writer was a former Editor of Alochonaa and he writes from Brisbane.
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Categories: American Politics