When Madison wrote this portion of his defense the Constitution and Constitutional government, it is easily understood that he could not perceive a situation in which the United States was, by an unconstitutional action, joined in union (as each of the Republican States were) of other nations in a body whose purpose was to moderate between nations of the world.
What can easily be construed from what Madison said, however, is that if the participants in any form of government are truly free, then any enactment must apply, equally, to all participants. If a law were to be passed which would affect only one, or a few people, or nations, it is a law which would be repugnant to the entire concept. It would be the means by which the United States or the United Nations would degenerate into Tyranny.
At the conclusion of the Azores Island Conference (March 16, 2003), in which George Bush, Tony Blair and a handful of leaders from some relatively small and ineffective nations, praised the conclusions that they came to (absent, of course, the major powers and the United Nations Security Council), and continued to iterate the call for war that has been pushed by the Administration for the passed few months. A common thread among the speeches of righteousness was a call for the “Rule of Law”. But, would not that law apply to all?
Suppose the Congress of the United States enacted a law that prohibited Arizona from maintaining a National Guard unit because the Arizona National Guard had been called, by the Governor of that Republic (See Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution), into active service to guard the Southern border and prohibit illegal immigration. Any other state, however, would be allowed to maintain a National Guard consistent with the Second Amendment, and many other aspects of the Constitution.
Similarly, as the treaties around the world continue to, by voluntary ratification, prohibit the use of Nuclear Weapons, Chemical or Biological Weapons or Land Mines, each nation is allowed to decide whether, or not, to ratify those treaties. However, once ratified, the treaties act equally on all of the treaty participants.
Why is it, then, that Iraq, which has had no more wars than most nations – and far less than many – is bound by a set of rules established by the moderating body (United Nations) which preludes it from having certain weapons, most of which would be determined to be defensive rather than offensive weapons? What has been prohibited them by the moderating body is far in excess of the limitations imposed upon Germany and Japan after World War II.
Suppose, also, that the same moderating body which imposed these prohibitions felt that the compliance to the imposed rules was sufficient, or, at least sufficient to demonstrate intent to abide by the restrictions. Would it be appropriate for just a few of those member nations to dictate to the remainder that they were not satisfied with the general interpretation of what was required by compliance? If a few nations were unwilling to accept the interpretation of compliance by the moderating body, by the rules of that body, and insisted, under the guise of presumed authority to make the final determination chose to begin a war and the killing that its always among war’s attributes, would not those rogue nations be guilty of the very same tyranny that Madison spoke of?
A final thought: If those nations which express self-righteous indignation against going along with the rules of the body are capable of tyranny on an international scale, would they also be capable of tyranny on a national level?
George W. Bush (King George III), March 16, 2003