Ming the Mechanic:
U.S. to invade the Netherlands

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 U.S. to invade the Netherlands2003-03-13 23:07
by Flemming Funch

David Weinberger mentions an article on Human Rights News about a new U.S. law.
U.S. President George Bush today signed into law the American Servicemembers Protection Act of 2002, which is intended to intimidate countries that ratify the treaty for the International Criminal Court (ICC). The new law authorizes the use of military force to liberate any American or citizen of a U.S.-allied country being held by the court, which is located in The Hague. This provision, dubbed the "Hague invasion clause," has caused a strong reaction from U.S. allies around the world, particularly in the Netherlands. In addition, the law provides for the withdrawal of U.S. military assistance from countries ratifying the ICC treaty, and restricts U.S. participation in United Nations peacekeeping unless the United States obtains immunity from prosecution.
The Hague is obviously located in the Netherlands, and the law pretty much adds up to declaring war on the Netherlands, and on anybody else who supports the International Criminal Court.

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13 Mar 2003 @ 23:26 by shawa : We saw it coming.
This is crazy. And we┬┤ve been fore-warned.  

14 Mar 2003 @ 10:51 by sharie : Code Red
And Bush has got all those reservists and National Guard soldiers on the move now. Pardom me, my alarm is going off.

I appreciate the post, thanks Ming.

Contradictions, lack of integrity... when will we wake up? http://www.house.gov/appropriations_democrats/caughtonfilm.htm


As for Bush's Coalition of the Willing:

Ex-Soviet bloc states line up with U.S. against 'old' Europe
Central, Eastern European governments back anti-Hussein efforts

Steven C. Johnson
Chronicle Foreign Service
Thursday, March 13, 2003

Riga, Latvia -- Brushing aside French tirades that they should "shut up," the nations of Eastern Europe are flexing newfound diplomatic muscle, and nowhere is this more evident than in their strong support for President Bush in the confrontation with Iraq.

While continental heavyweights such as France and Germany, along with Russia, remain staunchly opposed to a U.S.-led attack, neophytes such as Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia -- all of whom recently emerged from the Soviet yoke -- are standing by Washington. In the Security Council, it was Bulgaria that joined the United States, Britain and Spain in pushing resolutions setting a deadline for Iraq to surrender its weapons.

Indeed, these nations may figure in what President Bush likes to call the "coalition of the willing" in the campaign to disarm and topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary reportedly have offered military bases as staging areas for an attack.

If called upon, they are ready.

"For us and the other countries of Central and Eastern Europe, foreign policy has a moral element," Latvian Foreign Minister Sandra Kalniete wrote in a recent newspaper article in which she called Hussein a modern-day Stalin. "We know dictatorship first hand, so we must fight it."

Facing French and Russian vetoes in the United Nations and mounting opposition worldwide, the United States may find itself growing even closer to the countries Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld famously dubbed "new Europe" in his slap at the recalcitrant "old Europe" countries of Germany and France.

Indeed, many in Western Europe worry that an expanded European Union and NATO -- augmented by the pro-United States newcomers -- will end up bolstering U.S. dominance and dashing the dream of Europe as an influential international power in its own right.

"There is some paranoia about the Easterners, that they're some sort of Trojan horse for America," said Andres Kasekamp, director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute.

But in Eastern Europe, there is little sympathy for the age-old French ambition to craft a European Union, led by France and Germany, with a global reach that can stand up to and frustrate U.S. unilateralism.

"I hope everyone realizes that a secure Europe is not possible without strong and friendly ties to the United States," said Aivars Ozolins, a political columnist with Diena, Latvia's biggest daily newspaper. "We need a U. S. presence in Europe, and if EU policy is going to be based simply on anti- Americanism, then it has no future."

Eastern European leaders say their stance on Iraq stems from the gut feeling that "the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing," as the 18th century British political philosopher Edmund Burke put it.

The 20th century was not kind to these countries, which endured two world wars, Nazi and Soviet atrocities and brutal occupations.

Still fearful of a restive and unpredictable Russia, Eastern Europeans see the United States as their only true guarantor of long-term security.

"We are proud that the United States is our strategic ally," said Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski. "My countrymen understand that the brotherhood of arms that binds American and Polish soldiers serves to defend the global order and our civilization against the forces of barbarism and hatred."

Said Ozolins: "Everyone remembers Ronald Reagan's branding of the Soviet Union as 'an evil empire.' Of course, to us, he was stating the obvious, but there were deep feelings of gratitude."

But the Eastern Europeans' gambit is also aimed at keeping the United States engaged in Europe in the post-Sept. 11 world. They were deeply troubled by the recent rift in the NATO alliance in which France, Germany and Belgium blocked Turkey's request for military reinforcements along its border with Iraq.

Their pro-U.S. stance has won them no points with France, a key member of the EU. French President Jacques Chirac, in addition to telling them to know when not to speak, warned the Easterners in late February that they had a lot to lose from blindly supporting Washington on war in Iraq, not least their chances to join the EU in 2004.

Slovakia's Pravda newspaper summed up the response to Chirac around Eastern Europe with an editorial that read: "We do not want to join the EU to be quiet,

but to express our opinions more forcefully. The EU is not simply France and Germany."

While Rumsfeld and others in Washington have encouraged the rift between "old" and "new" Europe, there has been an attempt lately to mend fences between Europe's east and west and to play down the transatlantic rift. Poland's Kwasniewski said on a recent visit to Hungary, "We love the United States and Europe with the same feelings and the same engagement."

Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General George Robertson has been at pains to dismiss speculation that the United States is planning to close long-standing military bases in Germany and elsewhere and move them east into the Baltics and Poland. "I know of no U.S. plans to move forces based in Europe," he said in Latvia recently.

And despite the public statements emanating from Eastern Europe, it isn't clear just how deep the pro-U.S. sentiment there goes. As in Britain, Spain and other countries where governments have taken a hard line on Iraq, citizens in Central and Eastern Europe are overwhelmingly opposed to war.

In recent polls in Latvia and Estonia, for instance, 75 percent were against the war; in Poland, 50 percent oppose a war no matter what U.N. inspectors find, and only 6 percent give unconditional support to an invasion.

More cynical observers say their governments' support for the United States is the payoff for last year's NATO invitations.

"Iraq poses absolutely no threat to Lithuania, but politicians are obliged to invent threats to justify their support of the United States," said Edgunas Racius, director of Vilnius University's Asian and African Studies program. "Lithuania cannot be seen as an untrustworthy partner for NATO."

Atis Lejins, director of the Latvian Foreign Affairs Institute, cautions that Eastern Europe needs to keep its long-term interests in mind when choosing sides.

"We must recognize that Europe is emerging as a more independent entity than ever before," he said. "When it finds a common policy on key issues, we'll have to join it. We can be allies of Washington, but we don't have to be more American than the Americans themselves."

from: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/03/13/MN20705.DTL  

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