"Sovereignty, that’s a loaded term," said CNN's Jim Sciutto on Tuesday's CNN Tonight, commenting on President Donald Trump's references to national and state sovereignty during a Tuesday address at the United Nations.
Sciutto was joined by The New Yorker’s Robin Wright in deriding sovereignty as an archaic value in the contemporary period.
"Sovereignty," said Sciutto, "is a term cynically deployed by authoritarian states to shield themselves from foreign criticisms."
Partial transcript below.
WRIGHT: What was kind of curious about the whole speech was that it went in counter to almost every major trend of the 21st century. This is a moment of globalization and connection, and [Donald Trump] was talking about, “We need greater sovereignty,” as if we’re all threatened. As if every country needs borders to cut them off from the rest of the world, and that’s the only way to provide security.
And I think this is what’s so shocking to so many people; coming together at the United Nations, this institution built in the aftermath of World War II, to try to find means of preventing conflict and working together. And the president was in some ways saying, “The world be damned. We are going to act in our own interests, you act in your interests,” and it’s not an issue of values or democracy, it wasn’t a picture speech, it was very focused, and it was in many ways not just a Trump doctrine, it was a Trump war doctrine. Whether it was threatening the North Koreans on the verge of talking about regime change in Iran, it was critical of Russia and China, threatening military action in Venezuela, this had an aggressive undertone throughout. …
SCIUTTO This idea of sovereignty, that’s a loaded term. This is a favorite expression of authoritarian leaders from China to Russia to African dictatorships. It’s about, “We all have different values. Don’t preach to me about human rights.” You’ve often heard that kind of rhetoric pushing back at America saying, “Democracy, open society is the way forward.”
So to hear an American president, that’s a real departure from the public comments [of previous presidents], and really a tenet of US foreign policy — Democrat and Republican — for decades about, not just the U.S. as a democratic example, but supporting democracy abroad.
Watch Wright's and Sciutto's comments below.
Sovereignty has been the pillar of international relations since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, with earlier iterations across previous times and in other regions. Undergraduate students studying politics typically learn this concept in their first year of university or college study.
Democrats and the broader left essentially oppose national and state sovereignty in pursuit of international centralization of power. Communist ideology prescribes and foresees international global governance and the destruction of nations and states in pursuit of a singular unification of humanity; national and state sovereignty are incrementally eroded toward this end.
Leftists leverage international organizations such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank to erode national and state sovereignty in pursuit of further convergence of global governance.
Sciutto is CNN’s chief national security correspondent, focusing on foreign affairs and international relations.
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