To preview the release of my book, The Sovereignty Wars: Reconciling America with the World, I recently sat down with CFR Senior Vice President and Director of Studies James M. Lindsay.
We discussed American sovereignty, a word President Trump mentioned 21 times in his speech at the United Nations last month. Few ideas are as sacred in U.S. politics as sovereignty. Unfortunately, current debates over how to exercise and defend American sovereignty are confused and overheated. Contrary to what a lot of people claim, international organizations, treaties, and law do not endanger U.S. independence or American self-government under the Constitution. But globalization does require Americans to think more clearly about sovereignty’s different dimensions. To shape its destiny in a global age, the United States will sometimes need to make “sovereignty bargains,” voluntarily trading off some freedom of action to cooperate with like-minded countries. My book explores the history of American sovereignty and current debates across international law, the use of force, global trade, immigration and border security, and U.S. cooperation with international organizations.