There can be few sights more humiliating for the American people than that of a US president kowtowing to a foreign leader or to supranational institutions. Continental Europeans are used to this sort of thing after decades of dominance by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, and have grudgingly accepted over time the gradual and undemocratic erosion of their freedoms. But most Americans fiercely defend their national sovereignty, and find the idea of giving international organisations a say over their laws and lives completely unacceptable.
The Obama administration however has submitted a report to the UN Commissioner on Human Rights, South African judge Navanethem Pillay, which makes direct reference to a popular Arizona immigration law aimed at tackling illegal immigration, which is fiercely opposed by the White House, and is the subject of legal action by the Justice Department. The report references
A recent Arizona law, S.B. 1070, (which) has generated significant attention and debate at home and around the world. The issue is being addressed in a court action that argues that the federal government has the authority to set and enforce immigration law. That action is ongoing; parts of the law are currently enjoined.
The highly controversial reference to the Arizona law serves only one purpose – to gain UN and international support for the Obama administration’s position in the face of mounting opposition from Arizona legislators and a majority of the American people. A recent Rasmussen poll showed 61 percent of Americans backing Arizona-style laws for their own states, and just 28 percent supporting a Justice Department challenge .
By doing so, Obama officials undoubtedly hope to stir up international condemnation of the Arizona policy in advance of the UN General Assembly meetings in September, which they believe will increase pressure on Arizona to back down. It is a highly cynical move that speaks volumes about the Obama team’s willingness to undercut American sovereignty and popular will on the world stage.
This approach has rightly been strongly condemned by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who described the Arizona reference in the government report as “downright offensive”, and called on it to be removed. The State Department has just announced that it will stand by its decision to include Arizona in its UN submission, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton strongly in favour of it.
It is important to note that the Obama administration’s report to the United Nations will go before the UN Human Rights Council, which includes in its current membership some of the world’s worst human rights abusers. The likes of China, Cuba, Libya, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, will have a right to pass judgment over the Arizona immigration law, a humiliation for a great superpower before some of the most brutal regimes on the face of the earth.
Over the course of the last 19 months, Barack Obama has bowed before Emperors and Kings, and apologised for his country on numerous occasions, from Cairo to Strasbourg. By deliberately placing the immigration policy of a US state before the Human Rights Council, he is now bowing before the United Nations, and undercutting the sovereignty of his own nation. This is not leadership but a surrender of US interests before a declining world body that is a hotbed of anti-Americanism, and a bully pulpit for many of the world’s most odious tyrants. It is also yet another example of an imperial-style presidency that is increasingly out of touch with the American people and public opinion.