Sovereignty Is Far from Dead

Sovereignty Is Far from Dead

In his latest book, How Barack Obama Is Endangering Our National Sovereignty, John Bolton lays out what has become a consensus view on the American right. Those who argue that the United States must engage with international organizations to address global problems, he argues, are really saying we should "cede some of our sovereignty to institutions that other nations will also influence." And that, warns this U.N.-bashing former Bush administration ambassador to the United Nations, "is unquestionably a formula for reducing U.S. autonomy and reducing our control over government."

One wonders just where Ambassador Bolton has been for the past 362 years. Here’s the truth: The United States regularly contravenes the 17th-century view of countries as autonomous entities, free of outside interference, and instead works with other countries to bring opportunity and greater safety to Americans. Asserting independence remains a preoccupation of some U.S. politicians-not to mention authoritarian leaders around the world. But their brittle interpretation of sovereignty is an old-fashioned, and even dangerous, notion in world affairs.

This article was originally published in Foreign Policy.