Fletcher Features

Prof. Glennon Presents at American University of Sharjah: 'American Government Today - What Would The Founders Say?'

Professor Michael Glennon

At an academic conference sponsored by the American University of Sharjah, Professor of International Law Michael Glennon presented his paper ‘The American Government Today: What Would the Founders Say?

“For anyone with even a passing familiarity with our government's functioning—if that's the right word for it—it's easy to conclude that the Founders would not be all that happy. Washington, all know, is polarized and paralyzed,” remarked Prof. Glennon, citing a number of domestic and international issues including healthcare reform, campaign finance, and NSA surveillance as major concerns.

He continued: "The traditional checks and balances that were supposed to control the United States' national security bureaucracy have all but collapsed. (I have written a book describing this, National Security and Double Government, to be published in September.)"

Despite these challenges, Professor Glennon noted that democracy continues to thrive in America in one very important way: the freedom of expression, specifically, the right of Americans to criticize their government. He went on to describe his personal experiences investigating, reporting on, and testifying about the serious human rights abuses committed by the US-government backed 'contras' in Nicaragua 30 years ago.

“However much may be wrong with the American government today, and there is a lot wrong with it, the most important thing is still very much right with it: the United States government continues to respect the constitutional right to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and the right to travel—the right to listen and to learn, and to inform others—the rights on which the survival of all other rights depends.”

Read his full remarks