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Bush's "With Us or Against Us" Foriegn Policy and "The Great Border Wall"

by XicanoPwr Thu Mar 9th, 2006 at 05:49:23 PM EST

Since coming into office in 2001, the Bush administration has consistently opposed to having the International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, hold US military and political leaders to a uniform global standard of justice. The court was set up to prosecute individuals accused of the world's worst atrocities -- genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity -- in a belated effort to fulfill the promise of the Nuremberg trials, which tried Nazi leaders after World War II. The Bush argues that the court, could be used for frivolous or politically motivated prosecutions of U.S. troops.

BushCo has aggressively negotiated bilateral agreements with other countries to insure immunity of US nationals from prosecution by the Court. Sadly, BushCo is willingly to play the school yard bully to dozens of other poor countries by cutting off foreign aid, foreign trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) for defying the US because of their support for the International Criminal Court.

Last fall, Mexico became a signatory to the ICC making them the 12th country from the Latin America-Caribbean area to be punished under the U.S. American Service-Members' Protection Act. This law prohibits US military assistance to countries that have not signed "Article 98" agreements. An "Article 98" agreement is the agreement between the US and those countries who pledge not to seek the prosecution of US citizens in the International Criminal Court.


Countries that refused to sign and ratify Article 98 agreements lost the military aid and those countries who were not willing to stand up to the US were not sanctioned. The following are the types of aid BushCo will cut off: International Military Education and Training (IMET), Foreign Military Financing (FMF), Excess Defense Articles (EDA) and non-drug Emergency Drawdown Authority funds (506(b)). Section 574 of the 2005 Foreign Operations Appropriations law (P.L. 108-447), a provision that adds an economic-aid program, Economic Support Funds (ESF).

U.S. military aid is a key component to Mexican security in combating drug trafficking. The U.S. did warn Mexico that joining the ICC would lead to the cut of an $11.5 million program to help its justice system deal with drug trafficking. According to the Seattle Times, Mexico could lose almost 40% in US economic aid if it decided to defy the US.

It is interesting that last December, Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) and his anti-reconquista rough rides of the House passed their fascist "getting tough" immigration policy, HR 4437 - the bill that would build a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border - rather quickly. It just proves that ignorance can only be accompanied by bliss. And it is also interesting, Congress voted to give themselves a $3,000-a-year pay raise, which became effective just in time for the holidays.

The obvious question is, how was that possible, if this (un)free nation is in debt? Another question that could be asked, what programs got cut. Since October, when Mexico decided to defy BushCo, the relationship between Mexico and the US have been strained. One possible explanation, the US did cut foreign aid to Mexico. According to the Houston Chronicle, today, "the sanctions have been imposed without an official announcement." Not only will BushCo take their marbles and go home, but they don't have to tell anybody when they are going home. Mexico is not the only country try in Latin America that Bush decided to punish.

ICC-related sanctions have cut the roster of trainees from the hemisphere by almost 800 over the past few years, eroding the traditionally deep ties between the U.S. and Latin American militaries.

Worldwide, about two dozen countries have been sanctioned by the U.S.

Despite being cut off and suffering the consequences, Mexico will not back down and sign the "Article 98" agreement. President Vicente Fox's spokesman, Ruben Aguilar, said
"Mexico will be irrefutable in supporting the protocols of the international court, whatever the cost. Nobody in the world should be immune from the action of justice."
One has to wonder, if the sanctions didn't force Mexico to sign the agreement, was HR 4437 the next move by BushCo? In July 2004, the House attached an anti-ICC amendment, the Nethercutt Amendment, to the FY05 Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act (H.R. 4818). The Nethercutt Amendment was named after the Congressman who introduced it, the amendment would cut ESFs to all countries that belong to the ICC but have not signed  the "Article 98" agreement with the US. The Nethercutt language has again been included in the House version of the Fiscal Year 2006 (FY06) Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill, H.R. 3057.

The Nethercutt provision in FY06 provides waivers for NATO Allies, key non-NATO allies, and other countries if the President determines that it is in the national interests of the US. Like the American Servicemembers Protection Act, the Nethercutt threatens to withhold military aid to countries that are party to the ICC. According to the Citizens for Global Solutions, Bush has not invoked any waivers yet.

And according the Chronicle, Bush will be meeting with Mexico's President Vicente Fox at the end of the month. Once again, the school yard bully is kicking sand, sign the agreement or the wall will be built.

[x-posted on ¡Para Justicia y Libertad!]

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The EU should step in and make up for the shortfall in US aid. Same thing when they withdraw funding for development programs, as has happened with AIDS prevention programs because they were not "adstinence only".

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 9th, 2006 at 07:04:33 PM EST
I would like to see that happen, but you know us, we like to throw out our little Monroe doctrine every now and then and remind the folks across the pond to stay the hell out of the Western Hemisphere. Which really pisses me off. We can go any where we want, but nobody can assist Latin America.

Most likely, Chavez will pick up the tab and I can't wait for that to happen. That will really piss off the Rethugs.

Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today. - Gandhi

by XicanoPwr (chicanopwr at gmail.com) on Thu Mar 9th, 2006 at 09:04:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Won't happen in a million years, though.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 10th, 2006 at 05:33:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd like Chavez to pick up that tab, while simultaneosly turning off the spigot of free oil for the US. No hard feelings you yankies I hope, it's just a matter of priorities.
by high5 (high5104@gmail.com) on Fri Mar 10th, 2006 at 10:00:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
None taken. I guess everything depends on this years election. And the things are looking down there, Mexico may also be following the same patterns as the other Latin American countries, electing a progressive president.

The latest polls as of February continue to show López Obrador in the lead. If he does win, things will change drastically in the Western Hemisphere.

Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today. - Gandhi

by XicanoPwr (chicanopwr at gmail.com) on Fri Mar 10th, 2006 at 10:41:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
turning off the spigot of free oil for the US.

free?

In any case turning it off to just the US - to the extent that there's a world market in the stuff, who cares. To the extent that Venezuelan oil needs specific types of refineries that exist in the US but not elsewhere, that means a reduction in oil exports, which means hurting the US and the rest of the world oil importers while hurting the Venezuelan economy even more.  Or if you're talking a shutdown of oil exports altogether, Venezuela goes down the tubes. So either you're talking about a meaningless symbolic gesture, or you're suggesting that Venezuela commit economic suicide.

by MarekNYC on Fri Mar 10th, 2006 at 11:10:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant to write 'cheap' but when I looked at my post after submitting it came out as 'free'. And I thought about it a while, and yes 'free' isn't as wrong as it seems. If you would have to pay market prizes for the Venezuelan oil you'd get a lot less for your money than when paying Chavez' generously subsidized prizes. The oil making up the difference between those two amounts, can be considered to be, well, free.

And don't boast to much, I've heard China is also making the rounds for Venezuelan oil.

by high5 (high5104@gmail.com) on Fri Mar 10th, 2006 at 11:33:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
subsidized? Yes, Chavez is providing a tiny bit of cheap oil to some poor Americans, but that's a drop in the flow of the oil exports. As far as China goes - so? Same global market applies. China will already have a bit higher costs than the US for Venezuelan oil due to the somewhat greater transport distance. Is Venezuela going to subsidize China with lower prices?. Is China going to subsidize Venezuela with higher prices than it could pay elsewhere?
by MarekNYC on Fri Mar 10th, 2006 at 11:47:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Chavez is big on barter agreements, and could enter one with China.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 10th, 2006 at 11:51:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody can assist Latin America?

Photo taken at a San Fernando Valley fast-food restaurant.


"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819

by Ritter on Sun Mar 12th, 2006 at 07:07:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's an other option for Mexico.
U.S. military aid is a key component to Mexican security in combating drug trafficking. The U.S. did warn Mexico that joining the ICC would lead to the cut of an $11.5 million program to help its justice system deal with drug trafficking. According to the Seattle Times, Mexico could lose almost 40% in US economic aid if it decided to defy the US.
Funny kind of aid, when you think about it.

Essentially the US is "helping" Mexico to fight the US "War on drugs" on Mexican territory and deal with the nasty effects in Mexico of this US policy. It's not really Mexico's problem if US kids love to stuff their nose with coke and if US politicos love to send kids in jail. But it's Mexico's problem when this situation in the US creates a ultra-violent and extremely rich underworld in Mexico.

If the relations get really bad with the US (already the Wall, aid suspension in the making, etc), the Mexican government could take a different tack: just say "Screw it!" and sign a truce with drug gangs to legalize their activities in exchange for civil peace, an end to corruption and paying their taxes. What would the US do? Invade Mexico? Given the many remarkable successes of the US Army in recent times ...
by Francois in Paris on Fri Mar 10th, 2006 at 08:41:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it is indeed funny that "aid to the judicial system" is classified under "military aid". Makes you wonder what kind of judicial system Mexico is runnning with US money (I am tempted to say 'running on the US' behalf').

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 10th, 2006 at 08:51:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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