Will America Be Caught in Clinton’s ‘Web’?
What Clinton Told the UN
President Bill Clinton made a major speech to the United Nations General Assembly on September 22, 1997 in which he set forth his hopes for the future. It didn’t get much ink then, but it’s very important in explaining his world view and how his various foreign policy initiatives mesh together into a consistent plan.
Clinton used the metaphor “web,” and it is very apt. He described the series of treaties he has signed and sent to the U.S. Senate for ratification as a “web of institutions and arrangements” that has set “the international ground rules for the 21st century,” and he urged Americans to support what he called “the emerging international system.”
Clinton enthusiastically described the treaties which are locking the United States into a network of global entanglements: the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Chemical Weapons Convention, “binding international commitments to protect the environment” (i.e,, the Global Warming Treaty), and the NATO Expansion Treaty.
Since Clinton’s speech, this rosy picture has been somewhat tarnished. The WTO decision against Eastman Kodak was followed by a layoff of 16,000 employees, people are asking why the Chemical Weapons Treaty doesn’t protect us against Saddam Hussein’s chemical and biological weapons, and the Global Warming Treaty is being ridiculed as hot air.
In his UN speech, Clinton spoke with gusto about what he called “this new global era.” He said, “The forces of global integration are a great tide, inexorably wearing away the established order of things. But we must decide what will be left in its wake.”
All of a sudden it appears that the “established order of things” being washed away is our right to decide how to spend American tax dollars. According to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, global integration requires us to spend tens of billions of U.S. dollars to bail out the bad loans made by the big U.S. banks to corrupt Asian regimes.
“Before the century ends,” Clinton told the UN, “we should establish a permanent international court to prosecute the most serious violations of humanitarian law.” That means that Clinton’s “web” includes a global court empowered to invent and adjudicate a new system of “humanitarian law” made by persons unknown.
“Just last week,” Clinton told the UN, “we lost some of our finest sons and daughters in a crash of a UN helicopter in Bosnia. Five were Americans, five were Germans, one Polish and one British; all citizens of the world we are trying to make.”
When those five Americans joined our armed services, they had no inkling that they would be transformed by presidential ukase from American citizen soldiers defending U.S. national security into “citizens of the world” and then called upon to give their lives to “make” Clinton’s new global world.
“The United Nations must play a leading role in this effort,” Clinton said, “filling in the fault lines of the new global era.” He defined the UN mission as taking over peace, security, human rights, eliminating poverty, and “sustainable development” (the code word for global control of energy consumption).
Clinton concluded his UN speech by telling us that it is “necessary to imagine a future that is different from the past, necessary to free ourselves from destructive patterns of relations with each other and within our own nations and live a future that is different from the past.” He didn’t define what will be “different” about our future, but it clear from the text and tone of the entire speech that the principal difference will be submerging what he called our “poisoned nationalism” into a “web” of global organizations.
Exploring Clinton’s mind further, let’s look at his remarks made the following month, on October 17, 1997, in Buenos Aires to Argentine reporters. “What I’m trying to do is to promote a process of reorganization of the world so that human beings are organized in a way that takes advantage of the new opportunities of this era.”
Hear that again! Clinton says he is trying to achieve a “reorganization of the world” so that “human beings are organized”! The scope of this global goal staggers the imagination.
Continuing his remarks to Argentine reporters, Clinton added, “If we can prove that you can merge integrated economies and integrated democracies, then we’ll be more likely to build a global system of this kind.” It’s clear that the “kind” of a “global system” that Clinton is trying to “build” will be based on merging “integrated” economies and democracies.
The notion of integrating the United States, either our economy or our democracy, into a “global system” has never been cleared with the American people. So how come Clinton is announcing it to Argentineans? In describing his plans, Clinton is much more forthright in talking to foreigners than he is with Americans.
When Tim Russert asked Bill Clinton on NBC’s Meet the Press what he hopes his legacy will be, Clinton responded immediately by talking about his “global” aspirations. Americans had better get busy if we want to stop Clinton’s “inexorable” march toward global “integration.”
Clinton’s Go-to-War Treaty
President Bill Clinton made the NATO Expansion Treaty his primary foreign policy objective in his State of the Union Message. It was also an essential (albeit little reported) element of his 1996 campaigning in big cities with large blocs of ethnic voters, such as Detroit.
The Washington Post explained the politics. NATO Expansion has “a major American constituency in millions of voters of Eastern European extraction, many of them in pivotal states, who would welcome closer ties to their ancestral homelands.” So why is the Republican Senate about to hand Clinton a stunning foreign policy and political victory? Especially when it will give him convenient cover for his personal scandals?
It looks like some highly-placed people in both political parties haven’t discovered that the Cold War is over and our side won. Instead of helping America to move on to meet new challenges, they want to keep the Cold War going by perpetuating its structures. These tunnel-visioned spokesmen have a “Maginot Line” mentality. They are committed to re-fighting the last war instead of preparing for the future.
NATO was the linchpin of the Cold War strategy to scare the old Soviet Union out of invading Western Europe. It succeeded. Nobody is worried any longer about Soviet troops marching into Western Europe.
The NATO Expansion Treaty would be a profound change in that mission. It is a life-and-death commitment to go to war to defend Eastern European borders, which ethnic factions have been fighting about for a thousand years. All those borders were established as a result of bloody battles. There is nothing sacred about them, and there is no reason why America should promise to go to war to preserve them.
The New York Times calls the NATO Treaty a “commitment to use American soldiers and weapons, including nuclear arms, to defend new members in Eastern Europe.” (March 9, 1998) The Washington Post calls this treaty “the most ambitious expansion of U.S. global commitments since the end of the Cold War.” (March 8, 1998)
This dramatic expansion of our commitments to expend our blood and treasure has had almost no media coverage outside the Beltway. It is irresponsible for the Republican Senate to ratify this watershed commitment without a national debate. What’s the rush? This decision is too important to be made casually or rapidly.
The supporters of the NATO Treaty admit that the admission of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic will be followed by many others. Romania, Slovenia, and Bulgaria are already lining up. On January 16, Clinton signed a Charter of Partnership at the White House with the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. It explicitly supports bringing those countries into NATO and, while not binding, Administration spokesmen brag that future administrations will not be able to back away from it.
There are no viable criteria for admitting some ex-Communist countries and omitting others. What about Ukraine? Bosnia? Even Kosovo? Refusing to admit eager applicants to the NATO club next year, and the year after, is sure to give us expensive grief.
Johns Hopkins foreign policy expert Michael Mandelbaum says that “NATO Expansion is the equivalent of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that authorized the war in Vietnam. . . . We will be unable to go backward, because we can’t expel these countries; unable to go forward, because the Europeans are not ready to expand NATO to the Russian border; and unable to stay where we are, because we have vowed to expand NATO to the Russian border, and not to do so would be to draw a new dividing line in Europe.”
New York Times foreign affairs expert Thomas L. Friedman issued this warning about NATO Expansion: “There is no bridge to cross later, there is no cost-free rest stop along the way. There is only a car with no brakes on a slippery slope to trouble.” (March 31, 1998)
“Out-of-area” has become the new jargon used by those who have visions of extending NATO’s new mission much farther than Eastern Europe. The Wall Street Journal reported that “the strongest questions focus on what sort and how many new out-of-area responsibilities NATO should accept.” (March 12, 1998) Senator John Ashcroft worries that NATO could become a “mini-United Nations with a standing army to be deployed in peacekeeping operations all over the world.”
When Madeleine Albright testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, she admitted that this treaty commits us to defend not only the borders, but also the NATO-defined “interests” of Eastern Europe. She urged that NATO extend its geographic reach beyond Europe to “the Middle East to Central Africa.” The NATO Treaty means that NATO, not Congress, will decide when America goes to war. It will burden us with one “Bosnia” after another, using our Armed Services as global policemen and global social workers in costly conflicts that are none of America’s business.
It means institutionalizing Clinton’s Presidential Decision Directive 25 (PDD 25) to put U.S. troops under foreign commanders. It will cost billions of taxpayer dollars by assuring perpetual foreign giveaways to countries that are unwilling to pay to defend themselves.
The NATO Treaty rejects Ronald Reagan’s successful strategy of peace through strength, and replaces it with the Clinton-Albright strategy of repeatedly entering foreign conflicts under NATO or UN command.
The NATO Treaty repudiates George Washington’s advice “to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world,” and instead commits us to permanent involvement in foreign conflicts. It should be called Clinton’s Go-To-War Treaty.
NATO Expansion = European Welfare
All the arguments that the Republican Congress used in order to pass welfare reform, after President Clinton vetoed it twice, apply just as importantly to the NATO Expansion Treaty. This Treaty would continue old-style welfare to foreigners that costs U.S. taxpayers dearly and perpetuates the dependency of the recipients.
Welfare handouts also create a stream of taxpayers’ money that enables many others along the way to have their hand in the till. Behind the orchestrated propaganda for NATO Expansion is the $51 million that U.S. weapons contractors have spent on lobbying in the last two years. (New York Times, March 30, 1998)
U.S. weapons manufacturers, which expect to make billions of dollars selling arms and military equipment to the new NATO nations, have funneled an additional $32.3 million to Congressional candidates. This political money (which dwarfs the donations made by the tobacco industry) went equally to Republicans and Democrats, which explains why support for NATO Expansion is “bipartisan.”
The establishment elite, the sort of men who always lobby for extravagant foreign handouts and who serve on the boards of directors of the corporations that make money out of this flow of taxpayers’ money, recently ran a full-page newspaper ad advocating NATO Expansion. The ad states: “The upcoming Senate debate on expanding NATO to include Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic is all about securing the victory of democracy and free markets.”
Let’s have a reality check. NATO Expansion has absolutely nothing to do with securing free markets to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic; instead, NATO Expansion’s immediate effect will be to deny free markets to those countries.
What the former Warsaw Pact nations really want and need is membership in the European Union (EU), which they see as the key to their economic security and future prosperity. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright ought to be pressing our European allies to admit Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to the EU.
But West Europeans don’t want to admit Eastern Europe into their exclusive EU free-market club. Western Europeans are no longer afraid of Warsaw Pact troops marching westward, but they are in deadly fear of an invasion of cheap goods and cheap labor from Eastern Europe.
So, Western Europeans are pursuing a protectionist policy in order to protect their farmers and manufacturers from price and wage competition. Running along the same line as the former Iron Curtain, we now have a Competition Curtain separating Western capitalist countries from the former Warsaw Pact countries.
It’s easy to see why Western Europeans think NATO Expansion is a splendid idea. Admitting Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into NATO gives Western Europe cover for not letting them into the EU.
Nobody can assure us of any ceiling on NATO Expansion’s cost to the United States, but it is certain that NATO Expansion will cause a steady outflow of U.S. dollars. Open up your pocketbooks for the tax collector! “Collective security” means the U.S. pays and Europe collects.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Clinton’s chief foreign policy adviser Strobe Talbott are already on record as endorsing “Marshall Plan”-style handouts for Eastern Europe. In a May 20, 1997 speech to the Atlantic Council, Talbott said: “We want to do for the Central and East Europeans what Dean Acheson and George Marshall’s generation did for Western Europe.” Sharing Talbott’s enthusiasm for a multi-billion-dollar handout plan, Madeleine Albright told Meet the Press on January 26, 1997, “We have to do for Eastern Europe what we did for Western Europe.”
The Clinton Administration claims that much of the cost of NATO Expansion will be paid by the new and current NATO members. But Western European countries, which have gotten by ever since World War II with letting Uncle Sap pay for most of their military defenses, see no reason to end their dependency now.
The Pentagon says that the NATO Treaty obligates Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to spend $10 to $13 billion to upgrade their military forces and make them “compatible” with sophisticated Western equipment. But they don’t see any reason to modernize their military. Who’s the enemy? Isn’t it better to modernize their economies?
The U.S. weapons industry has already protected itself against the inability or unwillingness of the new NATO countries to fulfill their commitments. In 1996, the U.S. arms industry lobbied a bill through Congress to force American taxpayers to guarantee loans for weapons exports. (New York Times, March 30, 1998)
The NATO Expansion Treaty will put NATO-U.S. troops right along the border of Russia, and Russia sees that as, at best, a diplomatic slap in the face, and, at worst, a military threat. So the Clinton Administration is buying Russia’s acquiescence with more handouts, which adds up to an additional financial cost of the NATO Treaty.
Western Europe, which has grown wealthy on U.S. handouts over the past 50 years, is today’s “welfare queen.” The Senate should terminate welfare for foreigners now. The NATO Expansion Treaty is a terrible and costly mistake.
Clinton Is Selling Us Down the Rivers
Can you believe the chutzpa of Clinton? Without any constitutional or Congressional authority, he is proceeding with a vast plan for the federal bureaucracy to take over our nation’s rivers and their adjacent lands.
Of course, this grab for power has a lovely label: American Heritage Rivers Initiative (AHRI). Behind that name is an attempt to institute national land-use planning and zoning over wide strips of land along U.S. rivers, starting with ten rivers this spring, and adding 20 more by the year 2000 and ultimately as many as 114 rivers.
Clinton’s Rivers Initiative would restrict the property rights of private property owners living along the banks of the rivers. AHRI would put hundreds of thousands of acres of land under the control of federal regulators with authority over the “characteristics of the natural, economic, agricultural, scenic, historic, cultural, or recreational resources of a river.”
Clinton announced his Rivers Initiative in his 1997 State of the Union Message. On September 11, 1997, he issued Executive Order 13061 prescribing its implementation.
Nothing in the Constitution gives the executive branch the authority to take over our rivers or to engage in land-use planning. Under our Constitution and system of federalism, Congress regulates navigable waters, and jurisdiction over land-use planning, water rights, and local zoning is reserved to the states.
The Founding Fathers believed that the separation of powers is essential to freedom, and that the accumulation of legislative, executive and judicial power in the same branch is, as Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers, “the very definition of tyranny.”
Even if the AHRI could pass constitutional muster, it has no statutory authority because Congress has not designated any American Heritage Rivers or authorized the President to do so. The U.S. Constitution gives Congress jurisdiction over interstate commerce, federal lands, and the appropriation of money, and Congress has not transferred any of those powers to the executive branch.
Clinton’s Rivers Initiative is a direct threat to the private property rights of Americans which are enshrined in the Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Seventh Amendments. The liberal elite looks upon private property rights as inconvenient barriers to bureaucratic planning and regulation.
The AHRI process has a thin veneer of local community participation. A local community can nominate its river to the President’s Council on Environmental Quality if the community sets forth an elaborate plan for the future of the river and for controlling the property alongside of it. Then, the Council on Environmental Quality appoints an American Heritage Rivers Interagency Committee to make recommendations to the President. That’s where the pork-barrel connection rolls into the picture.
Clinton’s Council on Environmental Quality let the cat out of the bag when it wrote in a memo that the selection committee will recommend more rivers than will actually be designated as American Heritage Rivers (AHR) in order to allow the President to choose any rivers he wants and thereby “ensure that designated AHRs serve political purposes.”
The obvious “political purpose” is designating rivers that just happen to flow through the districts of Congressmen who won by only narrow margins in the last election and therefore can be significantly impacted by a new influx of federal spending. The first three rivers expected to be selected to fulfill this criterion are the Willamette in Oregon, the Yellowstone in Montana, and the Mississippi north of St. Louis, which touches eight marginal districts.
The AHRI also purports to give Clinton the power to appoint ten River Navigators, each paid $100,000 per year, whose job is to guide the local citizens through the federal programs (i.e., to browbeat them into acquiescing in federal land management of their property and in blocking river bank development). The President can appoint ten more Navigators in each succeeding year.
Clinton is getting the money to finance AHRI by diverting funds from 12 federal departments and agencies. That means using funds that Congress has appropriated for other purposes.
Clinton’s Rivers Initiative is part of the Clinton-Gore attempt to “reinvent government.” The AHRI violates constitutional and statutory law, imposes a new layer of federal bureaucracy, reduces the domain of the states, restricts private property rights, is a political boondoggle, and will stifle economic activity.
Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R-ID), with 46 cosponsors, has introduced H.R. 1842 to stop the funding of Clinton’s Rivers Initiative by any federal agency. Congress should pass this bill before we lose any of our rivers and lands to the federal regulators.