McCain wants “League of Democracies”

posted at 8:15 am on May 1, 2007 by Bryan

Senator John McCain will call for the creation of a “League of Democracies” at a speech in Palo Alto today. On the JYB I developed an idea along those lines which I called the Council of Democracies. It’s something we ought to look into, provided it exists in lieu of the United Nations, and provided it lives up to the name by keeping dictators out and true democrats in. As such, a league or council of democracies could curb the ability of tyrants the world over to use their influence within the UN to hinder our national security efforts and interests. No more China vetoing our ability to act in Darfur or anywhere else. No more Libya chairing the world’s Human Rights Commission, since Libya as it’s run now wouldn’t be in a league of democracies. Unfortunately, Sen. McCain doesn’t seem to be promoting his League as a way of fostering US interests; instead, it seems to be a way to increase other democracies’ influence over us.

“We Americans must be willing to listen to the views and respect the collective will of our democratic allies,” McCain says, according to excerpts his campaign provided. “Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want, nor should we assume we have all the wisdom, knowledge and resources necessary to succeed.”

“To be a good leader, America must be a good ally,” he adds in the speech, another in a series of policy addresses as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination.

That’s wrong-headed. McCain’s League would end up replacing a Chinese veto with a French one; my Council would kick the Chinese out and minimize France in favor of stronger democracies like Japan and India, who also happen to see the world more like we do than France does. But still, it’s good to see a major presidential candidate coming around to a good idea.

The Bush administration has already built the foundations of a League of Democracies, in an ad hoc working group called the Proliferation Security Initiative. The PSI was built to blockade Kim Jong-Il, and it’s still one of the few unblemished successes of the Bush administration’s foreign policy.

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


I have argued for something along these lines for years as well. Why should some tinhorn dictator of some little nation have the same vote as us in the UN? They won’t even give a proper vote to their own citizens. My idea was for the member nations to be free market capitalist societies, have human rights built into their constitutions, and some form of democratic republic since there really is no true democracies thank God.

Kahuna on May 1, 2007 at 8:25 AM

And where would Russia fit in? It seems more a thugocracy, though it’s a democracy on paper.

meep on May 1, 2007 at 8:42 AM

Meep has a point. There are plenty of “DINO”s–Democracies in Name Only out there. The proper qualifications for joining this League would eliminate all but a handful of countries. Think Coalition of the Willing, and maybe a few more.

common sensineer on May 1, 2007 at 9:15 AM

I don’t buy into the League of Extraordinary Democracies. McCain’s version would bind us to laws that would remove the USA’s autonomy, and supercede the Constitution.

I also believe it would used as a carrot dangled in front of prospective countries to get them to say they would comply. How long before they would allow China into the League?

Who would pay the lion’s share of the bill? Instead of foisting this load of crap on American’s how about McCain come up with a way of reducing our tax burden by defunding the U.N.?

Rode Werk on May 1, 2007 at 9:31 AM

I would like to see something like this come together as well. The UN is completely useless. The new entity would have to be tightly managed so as not to devolve into the same thing. The PSI and NATO would be a good start as either models or components thereof.

BTW, Rode Werk – as I understand it, foreign treaties already supercede the Constitution.

CP on May 1, 2007 at 9:45 AM

With the UN having morphed from benign incompetence (and corruption) to active adversary, I’m not going to argue over the details of any reasonable proposal for an alternative international entity. Almost any alternative to the UN would be an improvement, but it needs to be developed quickly, before the UN gets even more powerful.

Let’s get it up and operating in such a way that it can be refined by experience. But let’s get it up ASAP.

petefrt on May 1, 2007 at 10:00 AM

McCain has become as senile as Murtha.

Wade on May 1, 2007 at 10:02 AM

Ha, need I add, it may already be too late. Proposals like this may already be moot. If/when the Dems next get enough power (2008?), the UN will be resuscitated and strengthened, probably beyond our wildest nightmares. And Dems will cast those changes in concrete, such that undoing them will be nearly impossible.

After all, the UN is the Dems back door to power in this country.

Sovereignty is an endangered concept.

petefrt on May 1, 2007 at 10:09 AM

Pretty relevant to the topic:
Human Rights Nightmare – Banned Speech

Aylios on May 1, 2007 at 10:12 AM

The “League of Actual Democracies that Like Us” is smaller than the “League of Actual Democracies”, which is smaller than the “League of Democracies”. =)

Lehuster on May 1, 2007 at 10:18 AM

Wasn’t there already some sort of groundwork laid by Powell on this when he was SecState? I know we’ve done a lot of good work on the PSI (only to have the democrats hand the program oversight to the UN, IDIOTS)

I know there was something similar to what he was proposing bandied about.

Kai on May 1, 2007 at 10:37 AM

PS: McCain is a damn idiot.

Kai on May 1, 2007 at 10:37 AM

I like the idea of a democratic union of nations but only if we kick the UN out of the US. Among other things, that’ll free up some real estate for this new organization.

CliffHanger on May 1, 2007 at 11:25 AM

Hehehe…..“League of Democracies”

Sounds too much like the “League of Doom” with McCain playing the part of Bizarro.


GT on May 1, 2007 at 12:13 PM

Even the name is inane. And this from a so called republican who should be the champion of republican government – not democracy. We all know the inherent downfall of ‘mob rule’. GW is no better.

It just goes to show how far we as a nation have fallen in our implementation ‘of the people, by the people & for the people.’

Don Suber has a great take on all of this:

locomotivebreath1901 on May 1, 2007 at 12:18 PM

Mr. McCain is listening too much to his buddy John Kerry, forgetting why Mr. Kerry lost.

A good friend, other than Kerry, needs to have a heart-to-heart with Mr. McCain. It’s over. He is a great American and needs to reflect on retiring or continuing to serve in the Senate. All other is a waste of time, effort, resources, including money.

Entelechy on May 1, 2007 at 12:23 PM

Quit tiptoeing around the idea of booting the “united nations” out of the United States and just DO IT!
What to do with the building and property can be decided later.
Low-income housing for Americans is just one thing that comes to mind.

tormod on May 1, 2007 at 12:43 PM

Democracies like the one that elected Hamas?

P. James Moriarty on May 1, 2007 at 1:28 PM

A few things to keep in mind: (1) If countries junk the UN, a lot of things will arguably be made more difficult. Would the League have the motivation or authority to have rescued non-democratic countries like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, etc.? It is arguable whether the UN does more harm than good. But calling it “completely useless” seems rather naive. (2) If the League insists on members being out of the UN, would you need more than one hand to be able to count members of the League? (3) If League countries determine who stays and who goes, what are the odds that both a majority of EU countries and Israel would coexist in the League?

The way to guard against (3) would be to make sure Israel gets in near the beginning and make it difficult to kick countries out. However, making it difficult to kick countries out would assure than countries like Russia, Zimbabwe, and Pakistan, which at times appear democratic but eventually reveal themselves not to be, would eventually be entrenched in the League. Even if it were easy to kick countries out, there would be a lot of pressure to keep in countries like Russia and Pakistan, lest the West upset such critically important countries.

Perhaps best would be to have an amalgamation of democratic-institutional organizations. Latin American democracies could have one organization. Eastern Asian countries could have another. The EU could be another. And the U.S. and its closest allies and neighbors (Israel, Canada, Australia, Mexico) could be another. True, that might worsen some of the above problems. But at least then Russia couldn’t be offended that it wasn’t in the League, since it wouldn’t be a League of all democracies, but a League of well-connected democracies. Just a thought.

calbear on May 1, 2007 at 3:16 PM

We’ve probably all had this idea at one time or another. Here is my post on a political forum from 2003. I called the UN replacement the “Qualified Union of International Democracies, or QUID for short”. I still kind of like that acronym.

JackOfClubs on May 1, 2007 at 3:43 PM

Way to close to a step toward World Government… Another bad idea, and a lib one from our Donkey in Elephant’s clothing, McVain.

tickleddragon on May 1, 2007 at 7:03 PM

How about forming a League of Usually Fairly Rational Nations…

Lets see, that would be US, Australia, Japan, Switzerland, with Britain and Canada as adjunct members with half a vote each.

More proof that McCain is not someone I want in the Senate, much less President.

LegendHasIt on May 1, 2007 at 7:20 PM