Would You Agree to This?
Imagine this: A powerful foreign nation has presented your government with a treaty to be signed. They propose a long term alliance with your nation. Among its many provisions, the treaty includes the following:
- The foreign power would get a dozen or more permanent military bases in your country.
- Their troops and contractors would enjoy complete immunity from your local laws.
- They would be able to attack other nations from their bases in your land without your government’s approval or even prior knowledge.
- They would have complete control of your nation’s airspace.
- They would not be required to defend your nation from foreign attack.
Some alliance. How many people would want their government to agree to this treaty? Is there anyone who would think this is a good idea? This doesn’t sound like an alliance, this sounds like agreeing to be an occupied country at best. Though even that is not accurate, because by international law occupiers are supposed to respect local law and defend the territories they are occupying. This is basically agreeing to be a colony.
Yes, this is the agreement the Bush administration wants the “sovereign” government of Iraq to sign. As I have said before, Bush wants Iraq to be our bitch. I am curious how the people who still claim we are in Iraq to help the Iraqi people would justify this agreement, because this is the USA helping itself to whatever it wants, not helping Iraq. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise, but this treaty is not going over well in Iraq or Washington.
The people of Iraq object for all the obvious reasons. And in fact this is leading to calls for the USA to leave Iraq and destroying what support there was for a US presence in the country. Japan and Germany didn’t have to agree to anything even remotely as humiliating as this treaty, pretty much putting the lie to the Bush administration’s constant comparisons to the USA’s post World War Two relations with those countries.
And in the USA a lot of legislators are concerned about the Bush administration’s claim that this agreement with Iraq isn’t a treaty and thus doesn’t require the approval of the senate. Yes, that’s right, the Bush administration is claiming that they can sign this long term agreement with a foreign power…but without the approval of the Senate. Let’s review the US Constitution:
“[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur;…”
—United States Constitution Article II, Section 2, paragraph 2
Seems pretty clear to me, but it’s also been clear for the past eight years that the Bush administration does what it wants and then finds legal justification for its actions no matter how tortured. In fact I suspect the Bush administration’s lawyers were formerly ENRON accountants. When Bush’s lawyers are asked for a legal opinion, they give the legal opinion their bosses want. So much for the rule of law.
This whole situation is frankly absurd and almost surreal to me. The media is as usual pretty much ignoring this proposed treaty, as they pretty much ignore anything about Iraq these days. There should be a national debate on our future relations with Iraq, instead all we are doing is griping about the price of gas and conducting an election that is increasingly a dog and pony show. Bush is trying to get this agreement signed before he leaves office, in fact before 31 July they claim. Then he will have his “legacy” so to speak. It will all be worthwhile if we get Iraq as a permanent USA toehold in the Middle East. Not that he has any regrets in any event.
Personally I suspect this agreement (if signed) will have the staying power and significance of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. That was the treaty in early 1918 where Russia surrendered to Germany and the Ottoman Empire, ignominiously surrendering and ceding them vast territories. Less than a year later Germany surrendered to the Allies and the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk went into the dustbin of history. If the Iraqi government is forced into signing this treaty with Bush, it will almost certainly end what little legitimacy they have with the people of Iraq, and very likely drive segments of Iraqi society into open revolt again.
And of course this treaty is most definitely making every other despotic country on the planet review their options and how they can avoid being “liberated” by the USA. So with any luck Bush scores a trifecta with this one. He shreds the US Constitution, destabilizes Iraq, and inspires Iran to develop nukes. Bush’s talent for making a bad situation worse never ceases to amaze me.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post. I don’t know who to attribute it to, if anyone does please let me know. I had connection problems today so this post may be a bit rough around the edges.)