President Obama gave a speech last week at the Air Force Academy that reminded listeners of the importance of treaties in the national interest. In addition to remarks about well-known treaties in areas like defense and the law of the sea, he had this to say about lesser-known treaties that help facilitate everyday life and commerce:
We don’t always realize it, but treaties help make a lot of things in our lives possible that we take for granted—from international phone calls to mail. Those are good things. Those are not a threat to our sovereignty. I think we can all agree on that.
He also noted the importance of treaties to the national interest of a great power like the United States in which some like to think we can simply have our way by fiat, in perpetuity:
And we lead not by dictating to other nations, but by working with them as partners; by treating other countries and their peoples with respect, not by lecturing them. This isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s in our self-interest. It makes countries more likely to work with us, and, ultimately, it makes us more secure. So we need smart, steady, principled American leadership.
Great words for the beginning of the meeting of the Special Commission on the Judgments Project, which began this month in The Hague.
Continue reading The Judgments Convention: In America’s Interest