Sunday, May 21, 2006

Neo-conservative watch

This is what Andrew Moravcsik has to say about Jeremy Rabkin warning in The Case for Sovereignty about 'the European threat':
Rabkin is not a conservative so much as a legal reactionary. He believes that the American federal government should be scaled back to its role in 1930, before the new deal decisively expanded its domestic role. He would have the US government return to an exclusive focus on national defence, trade policy and a few infrastructural activities. The federal government, Rabkin has written in detail elsewhere, has no business regulating the environment or social policy. Over the past century, in his view, the supreme court has betrayed the traditional American anti-statist ideal.

It is because international norms might impede this process of reaction that Rabkin so viscerally opposes them. This is why he is so selective in his criticism. Free trade and defence alliances, he believes, do not threaten sovereignty—even though they unambiguously restrict the legal and political autonomy of nations. Rabkin has only positive things to say about Nato, as well as traditional Gatt/WTO trade liberalisation. Only "left-wing" policies, in Rabkin's view, restrict sovereignty. Thus he viciously criticises the WTO appellate body's recent efforts to regulate the relationship between free trade and environmental policy.

In the end Rabkin all but admits that it is not Europeans he fears. It is other Americans—Americans who do not share his libertarianism.
From Prospect magazine. Rabkin is 'a former protégé of John Bolton's at the American Enterprise Institute. The book comes splashed with effusive praise by leading conservative intellectuals such as Robert Bork, Robert Kagan, and George Will'.


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