Reality Check – Sovereignty Got A Lot More Complex with Globalization

Those pesky American neo-cons have done it again!

As Peter Spiro writes over at Opinio Juris, the oh-so-very-conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation has published a new “report,” or rather “pamphlet” – to use the term adequately used by Peter Spiro – on American Sovereignty and why it is important.

The Report is presented on what appears to be (I have to admit I am not a regular visitor) the in-house Heritage Foundation blog, ‘The Foundry’. The author of the post, Anna Leutheuser, presents the purpose of the report: to raise the alarm about American sovereignty “under attack”:

As Groves illustrates, our sovereignty is still under attack today, though through less overt means: “International organizations and courts seek to reshape the international system.  Nations are to give up their sovereignty and be governed by a ‘global consensus.’  Independent, sovereign nations will be replaced by ‘Transnational’ organizations that reject national sovereignty.”  This trend is evident everywhere, and will not be halted without a renewed attachment to the idea of American sovereignty.

Oh, dear. And check out the cover of the report of Uncle Sam tied down like Gulliver by the Lilliputians (I’m guessing that’s the evil foreigners trying to force treaties down the United States’ unwilling throat…):


Why Does Sovereignty Matter to America? Report Cover

Although under no circumstances I want to defend the report, or even encourage you to read it – I have, and it’s unsurprisingly tainted by an “American exceptionalism” perspective that will give any reasonable American or any European heartburn – it is a contribution to the debate about the meaning of sovereignty in the Age of Globalization and the increasing interdependency of the international community of States. It adopts an anxious stance towards globalization, as many do, whether in Europe when confronted to the loss of Member States’ sovereignty in favor of the European Union, or just around the world when confronted to the forces of interdependency.

The problem with this report is that it over-simplifies by far a very complex subject, namely the evolving nature of State sovereignty in the 21st century.

As @OpinioJuris (on Twitter) summarized quite well:

Other reports such as these have been published by the Heritage Foundation in an “Understanding America” series, which includes a report on “What Is America’s Role in the World?” and “Why is America Exceptional?” You get the idea.

What truly bothers me about these pamphlets is – and I believe Peter Spiro picked up on it as well – that they are a propaganda tool that seems to be deliberately targeted at kids. Needless to say, if that’s the case, young students deserve a much deeper and more balanced explanation of the world – and of the evolving nature of sovereignty in particular – than this Americanized disturbingly Stalinist piece of disinformation.


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