Economic globalism, beloved of many on the contemporary right, may be the major threat to the national and cultural identity of American civilization in the coming decades, but its logical counterpart is the political globalism, long beloved of the left, that marches under the banner of “one world.” As the economic dependence of the United States on foreign trade, investment, and credit waxes, the political autonomy, legal sovereignty, and national independence of the country will wane. The architects of the new world order understand this, and they are quietly pushing a series of treaties, laws, and new international arrangements intended to diminish national independence and construct a transnational regime to which American laws, jurisdictions, and citizens will be subordinated.

The major achievement of political globalism in the United States in recent years has been the ratification of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the enactment of implementing legislation by the US Congress to bring federal law into conformity with the convention’s terms. Largely forgotten until revived by Ronald Reagan on the eve of the 1984 presidential election, the genocide treaty originally provided for the trial and punishment of persons, including US citizens, who were accused and convicted of the crime of genocide. American citizens, that is, could be extradited to foreign countries to stand trial for a crime unknown to their own laws until the treaty created it. “Genocide” under the original language of the treaty was so broadly defined as to be absurd. Telling Polish jokes might have been construed as genocidal under its terms if they caused “serious mental harm” to sensitive Polish egos.

Mainly through the efforts of Senator Jesse Helms, the genocide treaty was amended and its most flagrant abuses neutralized before a Republican Senate adopted it. In 1988 the Congress passed legislation that put the treaty into effect and created the new crime of “genocide” for the first time under US law. Regardless of the changes the Senate approved, however, the principle of the treaty remains as obnoxious and harmful as ever, enacting the fundamental premise of political globalism that the domestic laws of a nation must yield to conventions passed by other states or by international organizations.

One of the major reasons there was any conservative opposition to the treaty at all was the concern about its effects on the state of Israel, which treats Palestinians in a way that might plausibly be interpreted as genocidal under the most generous reading of the definition contained in the treaty. I know of one conservative aide in the Senate who actually checked with the Israeli embassy to find out if it was all right for her and her principal to oppose the pact. Concern for the security of an ally is of course a legitimate reason to adopt or oppose a proposed act of statecraft, but it would have been refreshing if conservatives in the 1980’s could have mustered similar solicitude for the fate of their own country.

Reliance on the treaty-making powers of the Constitution to change domestic laws is an old and favored trick of the one-world lobby, and it was to squelch such tricks forever that Senator John Bricker sponsored his famous Bricker Amendment in the 1950’s. The measure would have restricted the treaty-making powers of the President and was a favorite hobbyhorse of conservative statesmen well into the 1960’s. Unfortunately, they failed in their efforts, and today with Republicans and conservatives embracing virtually unrestricted presidential power in foreign policy, we may soon expect to see some of the worst nightmares of Senator Bricker and Robert A. Taft take flesh and come to life. The executive branch and its diplomatic bureaucracy in the State Department are already pushing several treaties that bind or alter US domestic laws—on labor relations, torture, human rights, and other subjects of intense emotional appeal and closely connected to the internal institutions and legal preferences of this or any other country.

But nothing offers more opportunities for one-worldist mischief than environmentalism. Since the “environment” extends across national borders, managing it cannot be restricted to a single state and has to be undertaken by several governments. The result of the “global environmental crises” now routinely discovered every year will be the regulation of the social, economic, and political life of particular nations in accordance with environmental rules promulgated (and presumably enforced) by a supranational authority.

Writing in the lead article of Scientific American‘s September 1989 issue devoted to the topic of “Managing Planet Earth,” William C. Clark of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government announced that one requirement for “adaptive planetary management” is:

the construction of mechanisms at the national and international level to coordinate managerial activities. . . . In fact, a dozen or more global conventions for protection of the environment are now in effect. . . . [But] the immediate need at the international level is for a forum in which ministerial-level coordination of environmental-management activities can be regularly discussed and implemented, much as is already done for international economic policy.

The kind of transnational management of the natural environment that Mr. Clark advocates would indeed complement the similar arrangements already in place for global economic management. As libertarian scholar Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. recently pointed out, “Under the aegis of the Bank for International Settlements . . . banking is now regulated on a global basis. And the Bush administration is pushing for world regulation of the stock, bond, and futures markets. The administration is also promoting—with the other G-7 industrialized nations—international cash controls, international financial police, international tax collusion, international fiscal controls, and a UN treaty to make confidential banking a crime.”

If global management of the environment doesn’t polish off the nationstate, managing the global economy certainly will. The New Republic senior editor Robert Wright, in a recent essay in explicit defense of one-worldism, argues that global economic interdependence and the resulting “policy coordination” are pressures for the kind of “institutional subordination of national autonomy to international will” that he envisions for the planet of the future. “As the leaky national economy becomes hostage to international forces,” he writes, “we can either seize control of these forces in concert with other nations-, or surrender a good measure of control altogether.”

The obvious but seldom-asked question, of course, is: who is “we”? Those who will gain from the evanescence of the nation-state and of the concept of nationality itself will be those elites able to preserve and enhance their own power in the new, denationalized order that the globalists anticipate—those who will be managing the environment, planning and running the world economy, and enacting, administering, or enforcing the transnational laws and treaties by which the planetary regime is to be governed and the human proclivity to differentiate into distinct groups restrained. The cultures, religions, languages, and nations from which this elite emerges will be largely irrelevant to its powers and interests. They will in fact present an obstacle to the furtherance of its powers and interests and will therefore need to be reduced or eliminated entirely if the emergent transnational managerial elite is to flourish. The elite may retain some quaint vestiges of nationalism, just as we today conserve places like Williamsburg, and it may even find nationalist imagery useful in gaining the confidence of patriotic types who fail to see the glories of the new age. But whatever the merits of the globalist argument that the world had just better get itself together or else face disaster, the logic of the new elite’s interests will increasingly ensure that nationality—and the legal and political claims and cultural identities that go with nationality—is extinguished and its own global technocratic regime perpetuated.

Americans, who began their national history by severing the bonds that connected them to a dying civilization and who ventured into history determined to build a new civilization politically independent of and culturally unique among the powers of the earth, will find themselves reduced in both power and identity by the emergent world order that both the “right” and the “left” today like to celebrate. They will eventually find themselves delivered back to the mercies of whatever glorified pencil-sharpeners from Europe or the Third World happen to be in charge of their future this year, and they may become indistinguishable from the rest of the cattle in the global barnyard who provide the fluctuating, mobile populations of the planetary economy and government. Americans who don’t want to become such cosmopolitan coolies need to start thinking about what they can do to preserve their nation, its heritage, and themselves from the managerial colossus that now begins to straddle the globe.