There is a growing and misinformed sense in some quarters that the United States and other countries have engaged (and continue to engage) in delegations to international institution that involve a significant threat to domestic sovereignty. Concerns about such delegations come from academics (John Yoo: “Novel forms of international cooperation increasingly call for the transfer of rulemaking authority to international organizations”), prominent politicians (Bob Barr: “Nary a thought is given when international organizations, like the UN, attempt to enforce their myopic vision of a one-world government upon America, while trumping our Constitution in the process. Moreover, many in our own government willfully or ignorantly cede constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms to the international community;” Jesse Helms: “The American people see the UN aspiring to establish itself as the central authority of a new international order of global laws and global government.”); and senior government officials (John Bolton: “For virtually every area of public policy, there is a Globalist proposal, consistent with the overall objective of reducing individual nation-state autonomy, particularly that of the United States”).
In our view the perspective evidenced by the above quotes is almost wholly a myth. But it is a myth that persists and continues to attract attention. This Essay seeks to bring forward a more realistic and accurate view of international institutions and engagement. We demonstrate that meaningful delegations of sovereignty are extremely rare and even when they do exist they are carefully cabined. Decision-making authority in all areas remains firmly in the hands of national governments.