Many people believe that membership in and involvement with international regimes — such as The United Nations or, for European states, the European Union — involves an abdication of sovereignty. Whereas this is technically true, in actuality states do not actually give up their sovereignty as they theoretically should.
A state’s sovereignty is jealously guarded by the state’s government and people. There is a fear, some of it not unjustified, that giving up sovereignty, especially giving it up to someone or something, will open the doors of exploitation and slavery.
What states end up doing is either saying they will give up some of their sovereignty but then not do it (such as the UN and its impotent resolutions) or they use membership in international regimes to bolster the state’s interests, sacrificing sovereignty in trivial matters in exchange for a bigger gain. The latter is often what happens in the EU: although states are supposed to be on an equal level, practically every state ensures exceptions are made for its interests.
Unfortunately, this state of affairs (or, rather, of reality) is not apprehended or comprehended by progressives, who only see states giving up sovereignty for international peace and cooperation. Seeing what they want to see, they then try to convince states and governing authorities to actually give up sovereignty. One place where there is a lot of such discussion is in The United States, perhaps because the people and the government thereof are extremely reluctant to cede any authority to any external body or to give up sovereignty to any external body. And whereas The United States are a member of the UN, progressives want their membership to be genuine: that is, to actually give up sovereignty instead of throwing their weight around.
Frankly, it’s not going to happen. American citizens are almost paranoid in their suspicion of foreign or external bodies, as they should be. The claim that membership in such bodies will only improve things, or that such bodies promote and improve international peace and cooperation, is simply untrue. All what such bodies do is force policies on states stupid enough to cede their sovereignty, and provide a forum wherein less powerful states can try to further their interests against others’. There’s a reason, for example, why third-world states want the UN’s clout to expand so as to force more powerful states to agree to their demands: it would be only through the UN, or other such bodies, that such insignificant states could exercise power, control, and influence over otherwise more powerful and significant states.
This is not to say we should withdraw from such bodies. Like tin-hat dictatorships who use such bodies to further their state’s interests, we ought to exploit such bodies for our national interests. But such should be our policy and objective: we must remain firm in exploiting such bodies and not give in to them. The moment these bodies — any of them — threaten our sovereignty by forcing their will on us, we should threaten to withdraw. I am confident that even the dumbest UN bureaucrat is aware that if we leave the UN, the UN will collapse. (Truly and honestly: we bear the world on our shoulders, and see the thanks we get from the world’s states?)
I do hope voices of reason, caution, pragmatism, and opportunism will prevail in American foreign policy (Strange, is it not, that such voices tend to be conservative or neo-conservative?) and that voices of hallucinating progressives will not become our policy.