Monday, April 26, 2010

Freedom Club

America is in an unusual position.  We are weak, but we are the lone global superpower.  Recently we have acted unilaterally, and seriously injured our stature in the world.  We need a group like the UN to work with on international peace issues, but the UN has proven to be utterly ineffective.

I've been thinking about the problems with the UN (and G8/G20).  The UN does work as a place where countries can negotiate and talk with one another.  But the UN is incapable of actually doing anything.  As I see it, the fundamental problem is that we are unequally yoked.  Countries that have vastly different goals and values will never agree upon what action to take.

I think that we should establish a new global group focused on establishing a coalition that can take action together on international issues.  I call this new group the Freedom Club.

Membership in the club will be based upon freedoms within prospective members.  That is, countries can only join the freedom club if they provide the basic human freedoms to their citizens.  This begs the question of what the basic human freedoms are.  This is something that we will need to sit down and talk with our allies about.  But I would propose this list:
* Freedom of religion.
* Freedom of speech.
* Freedom of the press.
* Freedom of peaceful assembly.
* Freedom from unreasonable search or seizure.
* Freedom to participate in government (voting and holding office.)
* Equal protection under the law.
* Fair and open elections.

Any country that is borderline qualified should be excluded.  A country needs to have a solid reputation as a free and open society before joining.  And a country that descends into anarchy or one-party-rule should be publicly kicked out.

I haven't hit the factbook to check for membership, but I think that there are about 50 countries that meet these requirements.  Because of their commitment to freedoms, these nations have a moral leg to stand on that lets them set international policy and simply challenge the rest of the world to catch up.

This group needs to be image-managed carefully.  This should be a prestigious club.  This is where the real deals are made.  This is the club that manages the business affairs of the free world.  Treaties start here.

Freedom is the cornerstone for peace and prosperity.  This is a core value that these countries should be able to agree upon, and it should serve as a basis for concerted action.

This group needs to be actively involved in advocating freedom as the only reliable path to peace and prosperity.  This is the group of nations that should be involved in stopping piracy and nation-building in failed states.  This group needs to actively give preferential treatment to other member nations.  And at the same time this group needs to offer free assistance to non-members to help them achieve membership.

This group should publish an annual freedom scorecard that critiques member and non-member states, and suggests freedom-supporting reforms that individual countries should undertake.  This must be clear that it is not about being white, or European, or agreeing with America on some topic or other; but freedom itself is both a moral value that should be upheld for it's own sake AND a practical value that provides the basis for peace and prosperity.

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