- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 1, 2007

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The cost of friendlier skies It’s clear that passengers are fed up with the state of air travel. Long lines, endless delays and crowding greet them every step of the way. As noted in “Delays and the FAA,” (Editorial, Saturday) our air transportation system is stretched to the breaking point. Unless we act now, it’s only going to get worse. The Federal Aviation Administration has estimated that the number of annual air passengers will jump to 1 billion by 2015.

There has been a lot of debate around the potential benefits of a new “next-gen” air-traffic control system. Ironically, this debate on funding technology seems to lose sight of one critical point: Technology to guide aircraft from point A to point B will have little impact if there isn’t sufficient infrastructure on the ground.

Airports estimate they will need to invest $87.4 billion over the next five years to build runways and terminals to meet surging passenger demand for air travel. To help fund this massive investment, Congress has proposed a modest increase in the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) that is collected from travelers. PFCs — by law — fund projects that improve airport infrastructure and promote competition. Unlike the fees airlines charge (from paper tickets to curbside check-in to bag of chips) PFCs will deliver real benefits to future passengers.

Without more runways and larger terminals, airports literally will become choke points, and our aviation system will grind to a halt.

GREG PRINCIPATO

President

Airports Council International

North America

Washington

War and peace

Chuck Woolery, in discussing the Iraq war, calls for “an enforceable global system of government … that can … protect human rights and effectively eliminate war as a means of solving problems” (“Global rule of law, not law of force,” Letters, Sunday).

Well, how very peachy — if all nations would just agree to abide by it. The key word is enforceable. When a country doesn’t wish to submit itself to this global system (think Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia or many African countries — and, I hope, the United States) what shall be done? Unless alternatives can be created (let’s all try to envision an effective United Nations) we’re pretty much left with war. You can’t spell enforceable without “force” and that’s also known as war.

No global system can exist as long as countries operate differently, which they’ve been doing for a while.

What if that global system of government was dominated by hard-line Islamic radicals who enforced what they considered human rights? Or Swedish socialists who would spend the nations’ riches on “free” government handouts?

Not me. Put me down for war.

JACK WEBB

Springfield

m

I believe Chuck Woolery came to some mistaken conclusions when critiquing Thomas Sowell’s column (“Morally paralyzed,” Commentary, Thursday). Mr. Woolery wrote that we “need to create an enforceable global system of government.” He implies that the United Nations should be such a transglobal government. Besides spelling the end of the United States as a free and independent nation, the concept suffers from several other fallacies.

The United Nations is philosophically incompatible with the United States. The Constitution of the United States is a practical effort to apply the principles stated in the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution does not grant anyone any rights. Instead, it assumes we already have been granted our rights by a higher power than civil government. Therefore, the U.S. government is granted some specific and limited powers and denied others so that those rights may be protected.

If one rejects the view that rights come from God, the only alternative is that rights come from civil government. The corollary to that view — and there is no logical way to affirm the one and deny the other — is that if government grants people their rights, government also can take them away. This is precisely the viewpoint the United Nations takes. The United Nations first gives lip service to the idea that people have rights, then asserts that civil government has the authority to place restrictions on those rights or even to rescind them. This renders the whole concept of rights meaningless, and people are left only with whatever privileges those in power magnanimously decide to grant.

This viewpoint stems, I believe, from a misunderstanding of the nature of government. A government is an organization that has a legal monopoly on the use of force in a given jurisdiction. The phrase “enforce the law” means exactly that: to use force to make sure the law is obeyed. As George Washington once said, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

Nationhood helps curb the ambitions of would-be dictators. For there to be “an enforceable global bill of rights,” the “enforceable global system of government” must be strong enough to force all nations to do as it says and therefore would be strong enough to impose a global tyranny. Even if some refuse to attribute bad motives to the founders of the United Nations, if that much political and/or military power is ever assembled, sooner or later, some person or group will succeed in gaining control of it. The world will be much safer if such power is never assembled.

THOMAS M. CRAWFORD

Laurel

m

Chuck Woolery wisely asserts the need for the global rule of law (“Global rule of law, not law of force,” Letters, Sunday). How can the United Nations be made capable of helping us achieve that goal?

Global problems require global solutions. Global warming cannot be addressed if action is taken only by those nations that are willing to join in the effort. Global terrorism cannot be dealt with effectively if some members of the United Nations are permitted to aid terrorists without economic or other sanctions.

The time has come for the creation in the U.N. General Assembly of additional power with a system of weighted voting so that when confronting global problems, and only global problems, it would act as the world’s legislature. At Philadelphia in 1787, the Connecticut Compromise solved the problem of legislative representation with a bicameral Congress. The General Assembly does not need a House and a Senate but does require an equitable weighted voting plan. Weighted voting is used in different forms in all international financial and certain other specialized organizations.

The binding triad was devised by the late Richard Hudson, founder of the Center for War/Peace Studies. Decisions using the binding triad would still be made with the one-member one-vote system but with three simultaneous majorities within that vote. A computer would report whether the resolution had the support of: (1) two-thirds of the nations present and voting; (2) nations representing an agreed upon majority of the world’s population; and (3) nations representing an agreed upon majority of the U.N. budget. The General Assembly’s present ability to pass nonbinding resolutions and to control the internal affairs of the United Nations by the one-member one-vote system would be retained. Also, the binding triad provides that no member nation would have more than a vote of 15 percent on either the population or the contribution leg of the triad.

All structural, radical changes in the United Nations, such as the enlargement of the Security Council and of the Economic and Social Council in 1965 and the creation of the International Criminal Court in June 1998, have originated with the developing nations (Group of 77 or G-77) and at first were opposed by at least four of the Permanent Five: the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom. For that reason, representatives of the Center for War/Peace Studies have been meeting for 18 months at the U.N. missions of the G-77’s key players to explain the proposal and then visit their respective foreign ministries, where policy is made.

In September 2003, then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for radical reform of the core U.N. organs. The General Assembly has been working actively on the problem since 2005. Victor Hugo wrote: “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”

MYRON W. KRONISCH

Counsel to the Board

Citizens for Global Solutions

Washington

Vice Chair

Center for War/Peace Studies

New York City

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