by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine
Barack Obama’s address to the U.N. General Assembly was so insubstantial, so full of airy platitudes, and so adulterated with the gaseous clichés of bankrupt internationalism and progressive bromides that I thought at any minute he might just float away.
First was the obligatory call “to renew the purpose of the U.N.’s founding,” which apparently is “to observe and enforce international norms,” the most important being “to ensure that no nation can subjugate its neighbors and claim their territory” and to promote “the path of diplomacy and peace and the ideals this institution is designed to uphold.” Such phrases are so common and uncritically received that we forget “international norms” do not exist. Different peoples have different “norms” about, for example, the use of violence to achieve their aims. Nations will sign treaties that seemingly express our norms, but that doesn’t mean they believe in them. More often, such treaties are mere mechanisms for one nation to get what it wants from another. The sorry history of U.S. arms-control treaties with the Soviet Union and then Russia, treaties the Russians violated for decades to improve their nuclear arsenal at our expense, is just one example.