Chao warns of dangers to U.S. from NGOs

Jan. 22, 2004 at 7:17 PM

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Non-governmental organizations should "be at the top of every conservative's watch list," U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao said Thursday.

Speaking to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Chao delineated the growing relationship between NGOs and multi-lateral organizations and the way that relationship helps undermine U.S. law.

The NGOs, she told the audience, "are undermining the achievements that your advocacy here has won.

"There is nothing inherently wrong with non-governmental advocacy," Chao was careful to say, citing Alexis de Toqueville's pioneering study of a young United States. "It is one of the cornerstones of U.S. democracy."

Nevertheless, she continued, NGOs are increasingly active in their attempts to influence U.S. public policy, often making common cause with liberal groups in the United States.

"NGO and multi-lateral organizations are becoming key players in global public opinion and global standard setting. They are patiently laying the groundwork in international law, standards and practices that the United States will one day be pressured to adopt," she said, adding that they were all too often exposed to just one side of any particular argument.

"We must constructively engage these organizations if we are to win the worldwide battle of ideas," she said.

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