FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Austin Dacey
Phone: (212) 504-2945 ext. 3
U.S. Must Embrace Obligations of Global Citizenship and Ratify and Apply International Treaties, Says Leading Humanist Organization
Amherst, New York (March 31, 2008)—The recent United States Supreme Court decision in Medellin v. Texas, allowing the State of Texas to ignore a judgment of the International Court of Justice, highlights the country’s shameful failure to live up to its obligations as a global citizen, according to the Center for Inquiry, a leading humanist organization.
The Center for Inquiry's representative to the United Nations, Dr. Austin Dacey, commented, “If the United States has made a unique contribution to the world, it is the foundational American idea that the power of nation-states is shaped by norms that come before and go beyond the nation-state.”
The International Court of Justice had ruled that the convictions of José Medellin and other Mexican nationals be reviewed because they had been denied their rights under the Vienna Convention—a treaty to which the United States is a party. The Vienna Convention requires foreign consulates to be informed when one of their citizens is arrested.
The Supreme Court’s decision forms part of a disturbing pattern in recent years in which the United States has either repudiated or refused to honor its international commitments and obligations. Since 2000, United Nations members have committed themselves to 929 new treaty actions. In that same period, the United State reversed its support for at least five major treaties, including the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty and the International Criminal Court.
In a recent editorial in Free Inquiry magazine, Center for Inquiry chairman Dr. Paul Kurtz observes that this stance represents a betrayal of America’s commitments. “Following World War II, there was great support in the United States for a new kind of world order based on cooperation among nations,” Kurtz said. “This country was in the vanguard of those proclaiming and defending explicit visions of human rights. By contrast, U.S. foreign policy in recent years has been unilateral and preemptive, costing us friends worldwide.”
Refusal to honor our obligations to the global community squanders this country’s moral capital around the world.
As an expositor of humanist values that transcend boundaries of state, ethnicity, and sect, the Center for Inquiry calls on the United States to honor our international commitments and implement fully the provisions of the Vienna Convention and all other international treaties and covenants to which the United States is a party.
The Center for Inquiry also calls upon Congress and the leadership of both major parties to work to ratify other important treaties that have been accepted by the vast majority of the international community.
There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:
1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?
America the beautiful, I must protest, is exactly that...even if its aesthetic and political heart seems driven by vile 'ignorantists' or should I say 'vulgar profiteers', 'immoral politicians' and 'bat-crazed loons'. I could easily furbish a polemic or even, dare I say, balanced essay in response to this criticism arguing clearly that this is the exact case of American trends ever since it opened up the hinterland and commited mass genocide in the process, but not the dream or the potential quality of the nation as we perceive 'nation'.
However much I actually agree with the general terms of the above peice and whilst in the manner of an aside, I'm sure many here will actually follow and accept I have a point when saying...America must find itself before we all perish. The problem is the manner in which 'Federalism' has been applied, practised and ammended.
Texas is not the United States.
Those who originally drew up 'The Constitution', however flawed in its 'perfection', as originally defined, could not foresee the fragmentary nature of allowing each state to define its own laws, nor the socio-economic differences that an unforeseen mass immigration and the resultant dichotomies would produce. Nor did they address the fragmentary nature of allowing a 'rational pygmy' such as George Bush the entitlement to power.
Until the federal system becomes perfectly confederal in law and political practice, such anomalous contradictions, when referring to the original founders 'vision' will remain. We mistake America and its 'purpose' at our own peril until we understand its internal crapitude.
It is the government in Washington that has failed, not the corrupt and lazy arseholes in Texas; they just can't help being what they are - 17th century 'cowboys' looking for the next Injun to scalp.
Again, it is the system which allows such decrepitude into office because it is deliberately skewed in favour of the most ignorant political classes in the entire Western hemisphere. Yes, I think perhaps another Great Depression might sweep those from office forever, who actually created the disaster in the first place, but just like Islam - it needs major reform.
But having briefly stated all of this, yes once more I agree it is now time to start treating the American government as a pariah in the world and restore the values of the Wilsonite Dream, however much he declined to follow through with his vision because of the ignorance that actually celebrates itself within.
I once had to leave my cat with a friend who already had two cats living with him. They were all fairly deferential to one another until my cat discovered that the other two did not have claws. Suddenly the cat society in that house became dictatorial, unilateral, and bent towards the whims of the dominant cat.
This is exactly what happened in the wake of WWII, and to a larger extent after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Bush II showed up right when it appeared that U.S. military dominance was unbreakable. Vietnam's lessons had been undone by Gulf War I, and the extent to which our economic leverage was waning hadn't yet dawned on us.
Part of the ferocity and blind lashing we have done in response to 9/11 has been indignation that someone would DARE attack the world's only superpower. But such a worldview is of course woefully ignorant of new information. In the 21st century, as we have seen, military power is not the status magnet that it used to be. Indeed, its misuse has economic consequences which we are now feeling. Money is the engine of the world, and in that arena, we are being rapidly outgunned by China and the EU. We are no longer the world's only superpower, and our military focus hangs ponderously around our necks, dragging us down like a gigantic, foetid albatross.
We must learn to play nice. We've done it before (relatively speaking), but lost the knack when other nations lost their claws. 2008 is not 1998, and we are not the biggest cat in the house anymore.
Yes, we are identified with the worst president in United States history, regardless of the fact that he was born in Connecticut. But we have also been home to Molly Ivins, Ann Richards, Jim Hightower, Bill Hicks, Lyndon Johnson (not perfect, but signed the Civil Rights Act), and maintain a fairly large liberal population. GWB only won re-election here by 60%, and 40% of Texas is a larger group of people than many states' entire populations.
Texas' image problem has been largely due to the fact that when we raise a nutjob, they have a propensity to be extremely LOUD. This holds true in other states, but a loud-n-proud Texan can generally out-bellow anyone in the room, regardless of their IQ.
I have a whole lot of problems with my home state. But having lived in such supposedly liberal environs as Manhattan, I can honestly say that stupidity and intolerance is hardly a regional problem, at least not in the U.S. There's plenty of idiocy to go around, as I'm sure British citizens are aware. Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair are no more representative of all UK citizens than Dick Cheney is of all Americans. Politics is and always has been the refuge of scoundrels and egotists. It is an international constant, not a Texan one. We just have bigger lungs...
I've been on two trips to Texas with my scout troop, mainly in a city called Mission, right on the Rio Grande, but I also took some trips further north to Houston, Austin, San Antonio etc. It's not what people generally expect. Rather than the hillbilly shotgun-toting idiots you see on the Dukes of Hazzard, I found a generally fairly intelligent group of people, most of whom looked hispanic. They were, however, VERY American (by which I mean BBQ's, high protein diets, lots of whooping and high-fives all round) and VERY Christian. My younger brother, who was going through his nihilist stage whilst I was still a devout Catholic, let it slip that he didn't believe in heaven. The mother of the family he was staying with refused to speak to him for 3 days until he took it back.
If you were by the Rio Grande, it's not surprising that most people looked Mexican. That part of the state is practically Mexico (for the second time), save for some Minutemen and gabacho ranchers. Even up into San Antonio, there is a definite Hispanic majority. In fact, it's projected that our population will be over 50% Hispanic by the next census, which is only 2 years from now.
With that comes some religious shifts as well. The vast majority of Hispanic households are Catholic rather than Protestant, though often no less conservative. But I have to think that as the non-white population gains dominance, a lot of the WASP cultural protectionism is going to be entirely untenable. The recent vehemence about curtailing immigration, in fact, sounds like WASP Majority death throes to me.
Which brings us back to the OP topic. The more diverse this country is, the more difficult it becomes for any one group to claim exceptionalism, which is a hallmark of recent American history. Perhaps that loathsome doctrine is being browned out as we speak.
And my favourite Texan put down: "All hat and no cattle"
I know that you can spend all day on buses trying to get from Stonehenge to Avebury and never quite get there. My wife and I finally gave up and went to see a pub band play AC/DC covers in Salisbury. The bass player had a big "ARSE" sticker on his instrument. Good times.Nick wrote:This talk of Texas reminds me of the story of a Texan boasting that Texas was so big, that you could board a train in Texas, and still be in Texas the next day. To which the reply came "We have trains like that in England too".
And my favourite Texan put down: "All hat and no cattle"