Military, Defense & International Affairs
The US Department of Defense should create a new branch of the military just like the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, etc., but which specializes in information warfare. This Information Branch of the military would reflect the growing importance of information in warfare and organize its coordination for both defensive and offensive purposes.0 Comments
Far too many documents are classified and withheld from the public than should be the case. The number of classified documents have been exploding beyond what is rational, espcially within the last decade or two. The security classification system for government documents needs to be overhauled. There needs to be a system that automatically sets certain documents to be declassified so that there is not a perpetual increase in the number of documents classified. Basically, a report entitled “Transforming the Security Classification System” published in 2012 has a good set of suggestions that would dramatically reduce the number of classified documents and provide the world with more accurate information which can be used to study history.
This report proposes a 14 point solution. I have omitted some of the more procedural points.
1. Documents should be classified into only one of two classification categories.
2. The level of classification should match the level of harm if the information were to be released.
3. Specific protection for sources or methods need to be rationalized.
4. Documents with short-term secrecy value should be set to automatically become declassified at some date in the future.
5. To help counter the over-classification bias of today, classifiers would undergo extensive training on the proper standards to use to justify a classification. Classifiers who adhere to rigorous risk management practices and determine in good faith to classify information, but are in error, would be protected from prosecution by the classification agency. This protection is necessary to counter the over-classification bias and to balance the need for secrecy with the fundamental civil need for a transparent government to pacify the population, among other policy objectives (such as facilitating the sharing of information between government departments). Furthermore, a continued tendency to classify or reclassify dubious documents would result in significant, resource-intensive future costs associated with revisiting the documents and making further determinations.
6. Storage and stockpile information about nuclear weapons from WWII through the end of the Cold War should be systematically reviewed for declassification. Most of this information is obsolete anyway but valuable for historical studies. (This category of classified materials is not covered under current declassification regulations, thus this special mention is necessary.)
7. The National Declassification Center should have greater authority to streamline the declassification system within and among various agencies.
8. Historically significant documents (those which are judged to be in highest demand by agency policymakers and historians) should be prepositioned for review (placed on a short list) by historians at the classified level. Because of the severe backlog of classified documents in line for review, most documents are not able to be reviewed and declassified at their 25 year age mark as required by Executive Order 13526, so creating a “short list” of documents that the original reviewers have judged to have a significant public interest, would result in finding such records on time for their release at the 25 year age limit.
9. Require agencies to better organize their records so that as documents near the age of review for potential declassification, they could actually be found.
Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA)
FOIA requests should be allowed for any documents that are still under a classified status. Such a request could be for purposes of partially declassifying a record to certain individuals for investigative or research purposes or could be a request for full declassification in a time frame sooner than that which would normally occur under the normal declassification timetables. Documents having been declassified would obviously not need a FOIA request. A non-refundable fee should be filed for each application and a response should be given within 60 days as to whether the request is able to be satisfied or not. Six months should be allowed for the fulfillment of a request, measured from the original date of the request.
Defense Department Approval for Sensitive Information
The US Defense Department should have plenary authority to approve or deny the trade, transfer or divulging of any type of information, product, or service from any entity to any entity, both foreign and domestic, due to national security concerns. However, such information and its reasoning must be divulged to selected high-level personnel with direct Defense Department oversight in both the Executive and Legislative branches of government.
Satellite & Launch Vehicle Information Transfer
As a rule, the United States should launch all of its own space satellites which contain significant classified technologies. Any domestic company (or foreign company) launching such satellites for the U.S. should be required to have appropriate safeguards in place to prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands. Information should be intensely compartmentalized to minimize the risk of unauthorized transfer.
Since it is highly impractical to accurately assign cutting edge technologies with the proper level of classification so that it balances the economic needs of the parties, the national security of various entities, the desire of engineers to share information and engage in problem-solving, and the urge of human nature to collaborate and push the technological envelope, the best solution would be to allow market forces to regulate the flow of information but only under the framework of a comprehensive (and strictly enforced) international military treaty in which all countries agree to be bound by rulings related to internal and external territorial disputes and agree to deprive themselves of all significant offensive military capabilities in exchange for the guaranteed security of their own territory from any external threat.
This way, the exchange of information of a military nature could be shared without the potentially severe consequences that currently exist because of the provision for surprise inspections of absolutely any facility in any country that is a member to this treaty. The potential for only peaceful uses of the various otherwise dangerous technologies will be virtually assured.0 Comments
Soldiers, fighter pilots, and other military personnel whose duties include having direct contact with the enemy should all be intensively trained professional who have chosen this job as a long term career (lasting at least 10 years after completion of training). Maintenance training should obviously continue constantly throughout an individual’s career.
No important positions, such as these, should ever be given to untrained people or people not committed to a long-term career nor should such jobs be advertised as just a way to pay for going to college or other short-term commitments. For people who would not like to choose a long-term career in the military but do want to join the military either for various job benefits offered, or as a relatively short-term (less than 10 years) endeavor while they decide upon a new long-term career move or any other reason, they could be employed in non-frontline positions, especially in the area of logistics. If people in important positions are cycled through the military often, not only is it an inefficient use of military resources spent for training but the benefits provided by individuals holding years of experience is lost as well. Military operations would progress more smoothly with more personnel having greater experience.
For people who are not certain about whether they would like a particular military position enough to commit for a minimum of 10 years, they could spend more time studying what the job entails or perhaps, if practical, sign up for a short period of ‘shadowing’ an actual willing worker in the field for a few days to get a better idea about the job. Or they could possibly interview people who actually work in the field about the job.
All soldiers should be required to attend mandatory counseling sessions at least once a month so that the stigma often associated with such counseling sessions is eliminated. Such counseling would also help reduce the degree of irrational hatred soldiers often feel towards the enemy and civilians during the normal course of their duties, but especially after an attack by the enemy or casualties inflicted by the enemy. These counseling sessions should encourage the development of the empathetic and caring qualities of the soldiers.
Additional Penalty for Misbehaving
Soldiers and all other personnel who commit crimes while acting on behalf of the United States on foreign soil should be punished more than they would otherwise due to the additional humiliation of the US in the eyes of foreign observers. Perhaps a penalty twice as severe as a normal one would be a good rule of thumb.0 Comments
Military personnel serving in areas away from their homes, spouses, or families should have more predictable schedules informing them of their dates of departure and return. Before leaving for a term of service, every military personnel should be told the date that they will return home. Of course, the military should retain the right to keep any personnel beyond their original deployment times during times of war or other emergencies, but overtime must be paid to all people staying over their terms if the military has asked (or forced) them to stay. If, instead, a person volunteers to stay over his/her deployment term, and the military agrees, that individual would not receive overtime pay.
If the military needs to retain personnel beyond their deployment terms, the first thing to do would be to offer overtime pay to all personnel volunteering to extend their deployment to perform jobs for which there is a shortage of workers. If still more personnel are needed, the military could force deployment extensions to personnel without significant obligations back home (such as marriage, etc.). If still more personnel are needed, the military could force deployment extensions for all workers, including those who are married or have other significant obligations back home. Of course, exceptions would be made for those with extreme hardships or obligations.0 Comments
The executive and legislative branches of the government should keep to a minimum, direct interference into certain military activities such as weapons purchases and target selections. Only the military should have the right to determine which weapons it will or will not need in the future. And during the course of a military campaign, civilian planners outside of the military should not regularly demand whether or how certain targets should be struck.
Of course, the military should always be entirely under civilian control, but the proper place for civilian control and where it would be most effective would be in the areas of constructing and formulating the principles by which military plans and operations are decided, such as how many major and/or minor conflicts the military should be designed to adequately respond to, how far to go in the prosecution of a war (i.e., conditional or unconditional surrender), the use of unconventional weapons and tactics (such as nuclear weapons, torture, etc.), the execution of medium or long term military activities on foreign lands as well as deciding whether or not to use certain bases in foreign countries for certain missions. Virtually everything else should be left up to the military to decide. This will allow the military more efficient control of its resources so that it could accomplish its objectives more quickly. Proper civilian control over the big picture would make civilian micromanagement unnecessary. So while civilian control should be shifted away from the lower levels of military planning and operations and dwell mostly at the higher levels of planning and operations, civilian control would still be allowed to overrule any military decisions at any level.0 Comments
One way of maintaining higher military morale out in the deployment area and lowering the level of dissent in a deployed military force would be to allow individuals to opt out of service in a particular area in exchange for a reduction in pay. For example, instead of going to Iraq, a soldier could opt to stay home (and continue training) in exchange for a significant reduction in pay. Of course, if the military really needs all the personnel they can get, the military would have the right to order the dissenting soldier into the deployment area and resume payment at the regular rate.
A soldier has to have a very good reason based on some fundamental disagreement with the military mission to object to a military deployment. During the period of time that the soldier is permitted an absence from the original deployment area, that soldier must be forced to undergo an education process explaining why the mission has been approved by the government, what the goals are and the fact that everybody can’t always have their way and that when people work for others they must sometimes do things with which they may not fully agree.
For small scale military missions, such as Somalia, where only a small force may be necessary, perhaps the military could implement some sort of advertising campaign where individual soldiers or perhaps individual military units could sign up to form a special task force composed of people willing to participate in the mission. This type of setup may be unworkable because it would require strangers to rapidly get to know and trust each other. It would also leave several traditional military groups without some of their members. However, perhaps individual military groups could vote on whether they would like to join the task force, with the majority ruling.0 Comments
Military organizations (or any other organization) should be prohibited from using immoral, racist, or any other type of human-degrading training tactics or mental conditioning on its soldiers or other personnel. For example, having personnel repeat chants, such as, “Killing is what we do best,” or “Rape, maim, kill babies, hooah,” or “Swing your guns from left to right, we can kill those guys all night,” all these kinds of things should be prohibited.0 Comments
Independent nations should voluntarily enter into a treaty obligating themselves to shift their authority and ability to wage military war to an international military organization that is itself committed to enforcing the simple principle declaring the right of significant culturally distinct groups of people to independently govern themselves. The actions taken by this international military organization would be both in accordance with this principle and decided by a democratic vote of a proportionate number of representatives from each of the member states to this treaty. This treaty would also set up an international territorial court so that a mechanism for the peaceful resolution of territorial disputes exist.
For its success, it is imperative that this treaty and the international military organization it creates be limited to defending the member states against all military threats (both internal and external) as well as enforcing progress on only these stated principles relating to the self-determination for distinct people groups existing within the member states. Every other sphere of human activity including political, economic, social, etc., must not be infringed upon. For example, trade wars, the closing of borders, etc., should all be permitted without any interference by this organization. This international military organization would only interfere if a military threat exists against any member state.
Adoption of this treaty would impose limitations on the nature of the approved weapons that member states can own without any restrictions.
This would result in a much lower potential for violence, especially across international borders, between member states as well as between member states and non-member states. The ability to carry out surprise inspections is the most critical enforcement tool that would help put the rest of the world at ease. By the member states pooling together all of their intelligence, military, and financial resources, this international military organization can threaten or actually carry out more accurate, more forceful, and all-together more effective enforcement efforts and military campaigns than any state individually could possibly have hoped for doing on its own.
No state should be admitted into this treaty unless it first agrees to abide by and support the following several points inherently related to the fair treatment of significantly distinct cultural groups and, ultimately, to a peaceful coexistence among nations.
- Agree to Principle of Self-Governance
Member states must agree, in principle, to the idea that distinct cultural groups (as defined below) must have the right to independent self-governance exercised within their historical territories.
- The potential separatists must possess a culture which is distinctly different from that of the rest of the population of the country. Possible cultural differences may include one of the following: language, religious history, political evolutions, etc.
- The potential separatists must be native to the land which they wish to form into their country.
- The potential separatists must have been living on the land which they wish to form into their country continuously for at least the last 200 years and must not have forcibly displaced the previous population.
- The potential separatists must win at least 50% of the votes cast by all permanent residents which live on all parts of the land which the separatists wish to incorporate into their country. Forced immigrants and their descendents within the last 200 years may not vote. Forced emigrants and their descendents within the last 200 years may vote. Immigration resulting from government policies expressly designed to encourage people to settle on lands currently in dispute would be classified as forced immigration. (People with a native blood quantum of at least 1/4 qualify as voters.)
- The potential separatists, including emigrants, must currently number at least 250,000 people of any age.
- Territorial Dispute Court
Member states must agree to resolve any territorial disputes within the assembly of representatives of this international military organization. They must also agree to take concrete steps to resolve any domestic independence movements or separatist activities and, whether a decision is for or against independence for any particular group, convincing reasons must be given for such a decision.
- Offensive Military Ban
Member states must agree to relinquish their sovereign right to offensive military capabilities. Maintaining an army, navy, air force, etc., would only be allowed if, in the eyes of the other member states (through the assembly of representatives), they do not constitute a significant offensive military force. States may retain such forces which could primarily serve other important social purposes like security during civil unrest, support aid operations during times of emergencies, etc. Member states would be allowed to possess sufficient small arms, riot gear, police aircraft, and any other weapons which are designed for policing its own population, including under conditions of mass uprising.
Member states are entitled to send one delegate for every 10 million residents of the state to the international military assembly to take part in the proceedings. Each member state, regardless of how small its population, will be entitled to have at least one delegate. These delegate would not be chosen by a direct vote of the people, but by the national legislative branch, or it’s equivalent, of each member state’s government from a pool of people deemed qualified by that government to work in such a capacity. These delegates would also function as treaty compliance inspectors, so they would need to be professionals in the fields of history, weaponry, and diplomacy so that they would be able to quickly and accurately understand territorial disputes, identify potential violations, and communicate effectively with their colleagues and the public, when necessary. This job would be a lifetime appointment and these people would need to agree to live under constant surveillance due to the sensitive nature of the job. The penalty for spying or divulging unauthorized information should be death.
- Allow Inspections
Member states must agree to allow a team composed of any number of members of this treaty’s governing body (inspector representatives) free, unrestricted, and unannounced visits to every square meter of its territory and at any time, including all research labs, manufacturing facilities, storage locations, and all other places such a team may wish to visit. Though every representative of every member country would be eligible to go on these inspection trips, for convenience and logistical reasons, this body could assign a certain, limited number of individuals from among themselves to go on such trips. The only authority for authorizing any given inspection trip would be by a majority vote of all the inspector representatives themselves. No country, including the country who is the target of such an inspection trip, has any right to veto or in any way restrict the movement of the inspectors.This body of inspector representatives must be sworn to secrecy and not divulge any information to the public concerning findings gathered during a mission, unless this body votes that such findings prove or cause great suspicion about treaty violations. Any violation of this commitment to secrecy by any inspector would be punishable by death. Any refusal by a member country to allow free, unfettered access to any site or any proven violations that are uncovered would automatically result in sanctions and the initiation of planning for military actions designed to force inspections or otherwise bring about compliance.Member states may perform military-related classified experiments or activities provided that members of the international military organization body of inspector representatives deem such activities as non-threatening to the peace and security of the region. Experiments that may be detected by neighboring countries may require that those countries (at least just the high ranking political and military officials) be notified of any relevant effects they may detect so as not to be surprised. Generally, merely conducting experiments would not pose a security risk. Though actually manufacturing significant numbers of weapons based on the technology gained through those research experiments may pose a security risk, generally, the gaining of information should not be restricted.
Member states must agree to assume a portion of the cost of maintaining this international military organization according to a progressive and smooth algebraic formula based on a percentage of each state’s per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP). While this exact ‘tax’ rate would be agreed to by a vote of all the states who are members of this treaty, the funding schedule should reflect something similar to that shown below.
- Proposed International Military Organization Funding Rates
Maximum GDP Tax Rate $100 billion 0.25% $250 billion 0.5% $500 billion 1.0% $1 trillion 1.5% $2.5 trillion 2.0% $5 trillion 2.5% $7.5 trillion 3.0% $10 trillion 3.5% $15 trillion 4.0%
- Military Base Requirement
Every member state must allow at least one military base for every 20,000 square kilometers of territory under the ownership of that state. However, other than providing this land and paying the required treaty tax, no state would be required to directly support, in any way, any military installations on their territory or military operations undertaken by this international military organization.
- Right to Refuse Military Operations
Member states reserve the right to refuse any military operations within their boundaries, so long as those objections do not infringe on the normal military operations of any base or so long as those objections do not significantly interfere with the duty of the international military force to keep peace and stability in the area.
- Military Service Requirement
Member states would not be obligated to provide personnel to participate in the armed forces, except under emergency situations as declared by a majority vote of the international military organization representatives.
- Preemptive War
This international military, under the control of the member states, would have the right to enforce its obligation to provide security by conducting preemptive offensive military actions to disable an aggressor, whether that aggressor is a member state or non-member state.
- Prohibition On Entering Other Military Agreements
Member states may not enter into any form of military alliance with any other state.
- Autonomy Retained In All Other Areas
Member states would still retain autonomy in all areas except those specified under the terms of this treaty.
- Ratification & Withdrawal Vote Threshold
It would require a majority vote of at least 75% of a state’s total eligible voters to ratify this treaty, and a 75% majority to withdraw from this treaty.
All countries bordering the ocean and other large, natural bodies of water should be entitled to own and claim territorial waters up to 100 kilometers from their shores.
If there are bays or gulfs or other such bodies of water where their entrances are narrower than 200 kilometers, then the boundary should be drawn in the middle of the passage halfway between the two shores.
Countries with shorelines along straights or entirely inside bays or gulfs or other such bodies of water but with no territorial water directly connected to international waters, should be given the right to access international waters by establishing a semi-international corridor through the middle of the passageway with a width of no less than 4 kilometers to be jointly managed exclusively by the countries from which the waters in this corridor were taken and the country for which this corridor was created. None of these countries would be able to veto the other from using this waterway. If the narrowest point between dry land along this passageway is less than 10 kilometers wide, the international passage at that point should be 2 kilometers wide, and if the straight it is between 2 and 5 kilometers wide, the international passage should be 1 kilometer wide. If the natural passage at its narrowest point is less than two kilometers wide, then there should be no special jointly managed corridor and any country on the inside of the bay or gulf would be considered landlocked and would need to seek permission from either of the countries owning the territorial waters in order to pass through the passage. Furthermore, if the width of the passage is less than 2 kilometers wide, the country or countries bordering this passage should not be required to yield anything less than 100 kilometers of territorial waters to any ‘landlocked’ third country. International waters should never be closer than one kilometer from land above sea level at its lowest natural tide.
If bays, gulfs or other bodies of water with entrances narrower than 200 kilometers but with pockets inside which are farther than 100 kilometers from the nearest land, and if the land around the bay or gulf is surrounded entirely by only one country, then that same country can claim the entire bay or gulf as its own sovereign territory. If two countries surround the same type of bay or gulf, then the entire bay should be divided proportionately between the two countries according to their shorelines.
Manmade canals should not be forced into being classified as international waterways against the will of the canal’s owners because they are artificial waterways and usually too narrow. However, special treaties could be entered into voluntarily permitting passage through such waterways (either for a fee or for free) to countries which would otherwise be landlocked.
Every country should be entitled to the full, sovereign control of all airspace located over its territory, including over its territorial waters, up to a height of 100 kilometers above sea level. Airspace above this altitude should be open to everyone.0 Comments
No national government, especially the US government, should ever object to recognizing and having diplomatic relations with any foreign government (or group in control) regardless of whether or not we agree with whether or not they are the legitimate government, how they came to power, or what their policies may be. The reality is that such governments, regardless of what we think or what we wish may be the case, are, in fact, the ruling government of that country or portion thereof. To cut off diplomatic relations, a significant channel of public communication, with such regimes is childish and foolish. Talking and holding open any regular channel of communication does not mean that we approve of their policies. There are other, far more effective ways to bring about the desired change.0 Comments
Political asylum, using a relatively slightly more narrow qualifying criteria (i.e., if a person’s life or physical safety is severely threatened due to circumstances completely beyond that individual’s control), is a human right.
However, the primary method of dealing with situations that produce significant numbers of political asylum seekers should be for the appropriate international authority to intervene within the asylum seekers’ country to rectify the situation, as discussed further below.
For asylees seeking entry into the US, but also more generally for asylees seeking entry into any other country, the following rules should apply. Political asylum, when granted, should always be granted for a temporary stay. Granting asylum claimants ‘green cards’ or other permanent documents should be prohibited. Political asylees should be granted protection for as long as necessary but ending when the offending condition(s) that lead to their seeking asylum have been corrected. The case of each asylee should be reviewed every one or two years, or at any time in between, if needed, or as conditions warrant. Asylees would have up to 12 months to return to their original country once conditions have been deemed acceptable.
In order for the controlling international authority to authorize/mandate the transfer of the asylees back to their country of origin, the offending country must formally accept the return of the refuges, and promise to abstain from persecution which caused them to seek asylum.
The qualifications for granting asylum to individuals who may be related to a person who has already been granted asylum should not be changed or reduced. Each person must be granted asylum based on his/her own merit.
A fee of perhaps $100 should be charged with each application submitted. Upon approval of the application, the asylee should be charged a few hundred dollars more to cover (or help cover) the cost of processing his/her claim. Payment would not be due until the claim has been processed, at which point interest would begin to be charged. The opportunity to work must be provided to each asylum seeker who has been relocated to another country and who cannot otherwise find employment.
Enclave Creation for Persecuted Minorities
An international political organization with binding authority should have the right to create small enclaves within the territory of a member state (preferably along its periphery) if a significant number of individuals who emigrate from that state claim political asylum and are found to need protection for life and/or property due to violations of fundamental human rights by the government or any other entity within the offending country.
However, necessary co-requisites to the creation of enclaves by an international organization would be the following. Upon recognition that a significant exodus from a country is taking place due to some unreasonable persecution that the government of that country either performs or does not adequately prevent, the international organization should take it upon itself to investigate and assess the situation. If the members of this organization find (through a vote of all member states or by the conclusion reached by a special task group that has been elected by the members and charged with investigating the matter) that, indeed, people are leaving that country due to some form of persecution or harassment by either the government and/or other groups, then the international political organization should have the obligation to require the offending country to correct its behavior. If such appeals fail to bring about the required changes, this international body should authorize the use of any means necessary to bring about the required changes, including sanctions followed quickly by the use of military force and invasion, if necessary.
The preceding steps should be the first course of action. However, if for some reason these measures fail or are not utilized, but more likely, until these measures work and bring about the required change, land, ideally within the boundaries of the offending states or perhaps land within member states who are nearest to the source of asylum seekers, should be temporarily set aside and its borders should be treated as new, temporary international borders. These enclaves would serve as the places of refuge for the emigrants. In essence, the offending country would have lost its entitlement to control these enclaves created by this international organization and set aside for protecting these refugees.
The international political organization would bear the ultimate responsibility for governance including organizing for the provision of work, food, and other necessary goods and services for these people. These people would be required to build their own shelters, or at least pay for their building. The ultimate responsibility for governance of these enclaves belong to the international political organization, but much political authority should be given to the asylees. They should hold their own elections and decide their own rules, as long as those rules lie within the general framework of respect for human rights, the environment, and general fairness and justice. The surface area of these temporary enclaves should be sufficient to allow a fairly comfortable living space for the asylees. It should at least be equivalent to half the per capita area available in the asylees’ region of origin. If possible, land suitable for farming could be supplied if farmers are a significant percentage of the asylee inhabitants, but it should not be mandated.
When the offending country corrects its behavior, these people would be required to go back to their places of origin, being allowed, of course, to take all their belongings, including their houses if they so desire. Or they can leave their houses there and the international political organization would compensate the owners, at market prices, for their houses (i.e., improvements on the land), but not the land.
These enclaves should last only anywhere from a few months to a few years. Any length of time longer than 5 years means that not enough is being done to rectify the original situation. After their use as enclaves for this purpose is finished, the international political organization would be required to clean up the land according to the standards set forth by the country that is the original owner of the land, usually the formerly offending country. Then full control of the land would be returned to its original owner and the original international borders would be recognized again.0 Comments
Commercial parties involved with fishing, harvesting, or gathering any natural resources in international waters (or international airspace or astronomical object) should be required to obtain permits from an international organization that is responsible for regulating all activities taking place in international spaces. Income generated from such activities should be taxed at a rate equivalent to the business income tax rates proposed elsewhere in these Policy Proposals. The revenues generated would mainly go towards funding this international organization with smaller portions being given to countries ecologically nearer to or surrounding the specific bodies of international water or airspace in which the activities are planned.
Resource distribution between territories should naturally be based on where the resources are located.
This principle often seems to be the most difficult to apply on the contentious issue of water rights because of its fluidity and rapid natural transport. The most logical way to resolve these issues is to define ownership largely as to where the water originally fell from the sky.
For example, in Egypt and the entire Nile River watershed, as in most parts of the world, water falls in vastly different amounts throughout the watershed. Just like any natural resource distribution, territorial ownership of vastly differing amounts of a resource must just be accepted as a natural fact. Thus, Ethiopia, which is responsible for the generation of nearly two-thirds of the the lower Nile river’s flow, should be entitled to use virtually this entire amount. Egypt, on the other hand, contributes very little precipitation within the Nile watershed, and thus, is entitled to use very little. All the water that flows in from upstream neighbors should rightly belong to the country into which it flows unless the upstream country has explicitly reserved the right to designate that water for some restricted use, such as in-stream, non-consumptive environmental uses. Egypt’s creation of facts on the ground (large population size, irrigation infrastructures, or other water dependent activities) should not be regarded as valid reasons to claim a larger amount of water than rightfully falls on its territories or flows freely into the country.0 Comments
14. Foreign Intervention – Some Justifications for Intervention to Prevent Childhood Prostitution, Female Circumcision & Corruption
An international governing body should demand that each individual country, with a significant prostitution industry, especially involving child or forced prostitution, and/or countries with significant female circumcision activities, take aggressive action to arrest and punish all individuals working in or otherwise associated with such industries.
If a nation does not act quickly enough, and if no other relatively quick or effective way of dealing with these situations proves worthwhile, external military or police intervention, should be an option for stopping such practices. This international governing body should coordinate or authorize any such military or police actions. Military or police actions could be undertaken either under the direct managerial control of the international governing body, or the international body could give its permission to one or a group of willing nations to undertake the military or police actions, but always under the direct and unimpeded observations and plenary veto powers of the international body.
Such soldiers or international police could go into the target country either in uniform or undercover and arrest and capture the individuals involved. If the arrested people cannot get a fair trial in their own country, they should be taken to a country who is both willing to try them and capable of providing a fair trial. Their punishment should include restitution set to recover all costs associated with their specific crimes. These costs would include a penalty for enslavement, minimum wage for duration of enslavement and cumulative total earnings by the prostitute (such earning would be treated as theft). In addition, a punitive multiple, determined by the courts, but up to several times the restitution amount, would be applied.
In any case, a clear majority of the population of the country or area targeted for intervention must express consent towards the country or coalition that will intervene.
When the proper international military authority finds that corruption within a country has become so widespread and systemic that the rule of law is effectively nullified, this would constitute another valid reason for international military intervention.0 Comments
Comprehensive or even targeted economic sanctions or embargoes are generally too blunt an instrument and too passive in nature to be relied upon as an effective long term (greater than 5 years) policy of discouraging or rectifying the various ‘inappropriate’ policies that may be implemented by dictators or other governments that are particularly unresponsive to their own domestic public pressures. The long-term affects of broad economic sanctions are felt most severely by the general population and have far less of an impact than desired on their real targets – government leadership. Economic sanctions in general are most useful when placed upon countries whose governments are responsive to public pressures.
The first step in addressing any conflict (whether it be a dictatorship or true democracy) will, often correctly, be the imposition of certain economic sanctions. Simultaneously, however, when we are dealing with dictatorships or other such relatively insensitive forms of government, preparations and firm plans should be made for further, more intense actions (namely, internationally supervised military intervention) designed to permanently resolve the situation and enforce compliance with international rules. All the while, hope should be held that economic sanctions would have the desired effects and that these further military plans would not be needed. Economic sanctions should be targeted towards the specific goods and services that directly support the dictatorship or enemy government. Sanctions targeted towards dual-use goods could also be implemented if deemed necessary, but since this is a category of goods that also most often penalizes the general population more than it hurts the government, international policy makers should insure that plans are being made for a rapid resolution of the crisis so that such sanctions, especially for dual use items, need not be implemented for a long-term basis.0 Comments
Macro-Scale Economic Stimulus Package
Advanced, industrialized and developed countries (esp. the US and European Union because of their big markets) should either individually or as part of a group of nations, attempt to create a temporary (20-50 years, perhaps longer) economic trade structure (tariffs) biased to benefit one or a few undeveloped/poor countries that agree to abide by certain principles and rules concerning important aspects of democracy, human rights, law enforcement, economic policy, anti-corruption, etc. Only countries that agree to abide by such important principles should be chosen (adopted) to participate in such programs, otherwise the effort would be largely wasted. Adoption periods would vary with each case, but they should last on the order of decades, with maybe 100 years being an upper limit.
One way (perhaps the best way) developed countries (esp. former colonizers) could help bring this about (simultaneously helping to rectify their past abuses) would be to institute temporary, but long-term trade tariff schedules with poorer countries so that trade goods from the developed/sponsoring countries entering the selected underdeveloped/poor country would be assessed the full tariffs, whereas trade going in the opposite direction would either be tariff-free or have reduced tariffs assessed. The spreads in these biased trade tariff schedules would gradually be reduced to zero at the end of the adoption period, at which time, it is hoped, the formerly poorer countries would have developed their economies and societies to the point where no further unfair economic benefits are needed to keep their economies stable and healthy.
The main goal of this proposal is to better the economic situation as well as other general social and civil aspects of the populations in these selected poorer countries so that domestic production in these countries are better able to compete globally, or at least not be hopelessly wiped out by super-efficient imports from more developed countries. The overall goals of this proposal are geared towards allowing poorer countries the time and economic cushion needed to educate their populations, develop the necessary infrastructures, learn and implement the appropriate means of production, and grow their economies in a healthy fashion in order to create sound, well-rounded, largely domestically supplied economies that would be able to permanently endure a normal integration into the global economic system.
This same principle could also be used to help political jurisdictions of any size and within any country recover more quickly from the effects of any man-made or natural disaster, as well.
Debt Payment Options for Countries
Countries holding foreign debts should be given the opportunity, with the creditor nation’s permission, to pay off some or all of those debts by agreeing to set aside lands, at market prices, for environmental preservation to various degrees. These governments should be encouraged to use this opportunity to preserve natural and historical sites and/or restrict and regulate industrial, commercial, and residential developments on them.
Creditors Required to Naturalize Some of Their Projects
A partial solution to Third World debt could be to require the creditors of projects (such as dams) with negative environmental and/or social impacts to pay for their ‘naturalization’ or the removal of those projects they had funded, and change the area back to how it was before that project was constructed. In addition, the creditor country should pay back to the poor country an amount equal to the amount the poor country agreed to take out as a loan to fund a project. In addition, all the interest charged on that loan since the year the loan was made should be paid back. The estimated positive and negative economic effect of a project should also be factored into the final payment amount.
Countries Assume Debts and Require Justification by Creditors
Another way indebted countries could lighten and even potentially eliminate their debt loads would be to have very respected, powerful, and influential countries like the United States, European countries, Japan, etc., assume part or all of the indebted countries’ debts and then hold hearings with all parties to the debt (creditor and debtor countries) inquiring about the nature and the details of the loans. If it is determined that the creditors made these loans while ignoring blatant warning signs related to whether the loans are justifiable given the lack of infrastructures to support productive economies, the lack of an educated population, a thoroughly corrupt leadership (often under military rule), etc., or if the projects that were advertised by the creditors were not really necessary, adequate, or feasible under the circumstances, or if an indebted country had a record of wasting money on projects the common people would likely never benefit from, all the while knowing that these same people and their future generations would bare the burden of repayment, with interest, then the original creditor country would be required to cancel all such loans it has made to that country. Since a third country bought the loan from the indebted country, they would be the people to whom it would need to be paid back (at current, inflation-adjusted, dollars). In addition, that original creditor country should be required to pay a multiple on such loans (perhaps 150%) in order to make the whole process worthwhile.0 Comments
Consumptive water rights for each country (as well as any other political jurisdiction) should be based upon a calculation of an amount of water precipitating over that county’s watersheds in an average year, minus the estimated evaporation and transpiration. In other words, countries would be able to consume a volume of water equal to the total volume that falls within their territory minus that portion which naturally evaporates or transpires into the air. Said another way, every country could consume a volume of water equal to its naturally occurring runoff. Water which is not consumed (i.e., injected into the atmosphere by any means) but used for any off-stream or even in-stream purposes, must be equivalent to the quality of the water that was withdrawn.
Countries which do not consume all of their allotted water should have the right to sell their unused water to downstream countries which have already exceeded their natural allotment of water, but they should not be allowed to artificially reduce or cutoff natural flows to raise prices or otherwise threaten downstream users.
Perhaps the rate of the consumptive increase of water (including water withholdings to fill reservoirs) in countries which share watersheds with downstream neighbors should be limited to a maximum annual increase of 10%. This would help reduce the potential for strife induced by dramatic reductions in water flow to downstream countries within relatively short periods of time.
Evaporation from artificially increased water areas (such as artificial reservoirs created behind dams) should be treated as consumptive use by the state or political jurisdiction in which these artificial water surface areas are located. A certain amount of water from the Colorado River, for example, is allocated to each state in its watershed. Therefore, each state should count the volume of water that is evaporating from artificial reservoirs along the Colorado River towards its allowable quota for consumptive use. (Idea from ML Rudee 1-1-01 Letter to the Editor, LA Times.)
After this fundamental principle of water rights is understood and implemented, countries can then negotiate with each other about whether or how much they are willing to trade, sell or negotiate their water resources with their neighbors.0 Comments
There should be at least one, but better yet, a series of international districts with sizes of up to 100 square kilometers each that would serve as locations in which to headquarter international organizations such as the UN, WTO, the International Red Cross, international courts, and others. Each of these districts could be located in different major geographical/cultural regions of the globe (North America, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa/Southwest Asia, Europe, Asia, Oceania, etc.).
In addition to each location perhaps headquartering different international organizations, they could also serve to headquarter regional organizations, like the OAS, CIS, OAU, APEC, AL, ASEAN, etc.
Organizing such significant international institutions in this manner would diminish the perception of inequality, and even racism, among various global groups than would otherwise be the case if such organizations were based almost exclusively in the United States, Europe or other areas historically viewed as being large scale domineers.0 Comments
‘Twin communities’ (communities that were split up by the imposition of the international border) should be united through the creation of a political enclave that encompasses a small territory (such as a town or small city) on both sides of the border. These enclaves would allow, for example, Americans and Mexicans to cross the true international border with little or no restrictions to do business with people or visit relatives on the other side, or just to travel around. The perimeters of these free crossing zones would be completely surrounded with an impervious boundary and lined with checkpoints. It is these perimeter boundaries that would take on the full responsibilities associated with the true international border. Essentially, all people within these enclaves, even American citizens residing on the American side of the true international border, but on the inside of these special enclaves, would need to go through a full customs search before they are allowed to enter the US mainland through one of the perimeter checkpoints. However, US citizens within these enclaves need not apply for a travel visa or any other entry related documentation that is not required of regular American citizens.
These special enclaves would need to have their own emergency vehicles because vehicles from the mainland will not be able to get through the perimeter border quickly, due to security checks, etc.
Taxes would be collected and funds would be distributed in the same way as before, with the true international border being relevant for tax purposes. If needed, there may possibly be a small additional tax on businesses and all people living within the enclave to make such a setup financially self-sufficient.
The above model should be used around the world because many countries have far more seriously disrupted ‘twin communities’ than does the United States.0 Comments