A large African nation is ruled by a brutal dictator. One region of the country mounts a successful rebellion and secedes from the country.
How would the United States react?
Our country, which was founded on secession, generally applauds secession movements abroad - despite our deification of Abraham Lincoln. Remember that Bill Clinton compared Milosevic to Hitler and slaughtered Serbian civilians in order to aid Kosovo's secession movement. And so it is likely the U.S. would applaud this successful rebellion and recognize this new country.
Imagine that this rebel leader is not like most third-world warlords. In his words and actions, he reminds us of George Washington. Indeed, he's committed to having the new country adopt the Constitution of the United States.
And he follows through.
A Constitutional convention is called. The new country adopts, sometimes verbatim, the Constitution of the United States. Executive, legislative, and judicial powers are separated. And as time goes by, there appears to be an actual commitment to following the letter of the Constitution.
Our rebel leader becomes President of this new "Africania."
Americans applaud, at first. Finally, a foreign country is doing what we want it to do!
But then American politicians grow concerned.
That's because the federal system is adopted, favoring local autonomy to central control. Pretty soon, the international community expresses its concern that drugs which are illegal in most of the world are legal in Africania.
The President of Africania says that, according to the letter of the Constitution, Africania's federal government has no power to stop the production of drugs, or to ban possession or use of drugs. He goes on to say that even if it did have that power, it shouldn't be used because no government is qualified to prevent people from medicating themselves or from having spiritual or pleasurable experiences with drugs. He quotes from the Declaration of Indepenedence that all persons have unalienable the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
He also is confronted about the monetary system. Africania's Constitution copies America's Constitution, saying that no state can "make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts." The President also says that while the Constitution authorizes Africania's federal Congress to "to coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin," he says that the federal government's silver and gold reserves are very limited and that individuals and banks should be free to transact in any form of money they find mutually agreeable.
The President's statements, made in his native tongue, would be translated in the American major media as defiance of international standards and norms. Africa's George Washington would be tarred as a "drug warlord" and "money launderer."
When confronted about the "backwardness" of local practices, such as girls getting married at younger ages than what the West finds acceptable, the President says that these are matters for the state governments of Africania and he has no power to regulate family life. In the Western media, he would be tarred as endorsing pedophilia and is probably a pedophile himself who provides a haven for human sex-slave trafficking.
If an epidemic or natural disaster strikes the country in this still-undeveloped country, the President would be blamed for "callous disregard" for the nation's suffering, even though he would lack the resources to take immediate action.
Within a year of the adoption of a U.S.-style Constitution, Africania would be branded a "failed state" and its President, thoroughly committed to the liberal values of Western Civilization, would be branded as a Saddam Hussein. Calls would be made for an invasion and overthrow that would give the Africania a more "democratic" Constitution with "social rights" that guarantees a large and ever-present government beholden to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
This would be done because, if left alone, within two to three years foreign investment in Africania would skyrocket since it would be the most business-friendly environment in the world.
And when the invasion is accomplished, progressive and neoconservative pundits on the PBS Newshour would look back on Africa's George Washington and say, "Sure, the Constitution he had was good, but he made the mistake of following it literally."
In their eyes, belief in the rule of law makes you a barbarian.