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Thread: Does Article 1, Section 8, Clause 10 give the authority for overseas interference?

  1. #1

    Question Does Article 1, Section 8, Clause 10 give the authority for overseas interference?

    I am in argument with a neocon who is saying that "Article 1, Section 8, Clause 10" gives the US the right to interfere abroard when injustice happens, e.g. Darfur Genocide, which Paul was against.

    Clause 10: To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
    I am currently stumped. Please help form my response.

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  3. #2


    If a US citizen is accused of a violation of international law, or piracy, or if the victim is a US citizen, the US retains original jurisdiction over the case.

    If the accused of a violation of international law or piracy which takes place in the US or in international waters is in US custody, then the accused may be tried by the US.

    Extending the power to invade other countries in order to enforce international laws against non US citizens as accused or victim, is not authorized by this section of the Constitution.
    Out of every one hundred men they send us, ten should not even be here. Eighty will do nothing but serve as targets for the enemy. Nine are real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, upon them depends our success in battle. But one, ah the one, he is a real warrior, and he will bring the others back from battle alive.

    Duty is the most sublime word in the English language. Do your duty in all things. You can not do more than your duty. You should never wish to do less than your duty.

  4. #3


    To the meaning of the former, I would say is quite apparent and to the intention of latter clause, it was clearly inspired by the French book “The Law of Nations” [1758]. See at:

    Regardless, the federal government cannot conscript its own citizens to fight the advancing causes, revolts, and internal/civil wars of other nation-states; although to a certain degree if citizens should desire to volunteer then such would be an obvious exemption. However, I would tend to think certain exception would be lent to instances where our allies are calling upon us, or through treaties, for necessary protection from eminent invasion; similarly as to how the French (however little), came to our aid during our own revolution, yet still it should not be compelled through the conscription of its own citizens.

    Put simply, “Offences against the Law of Nations” does not translate into a limitless governmental power of interference over the private affairs of foreign nations.
    “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding one’s self in the ranks of the insane.” — Marcus Aurelius

    Consilio et Animis de Oppresso Liber

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