Friday, June 24, 2005

Ecuador Refuses to Sign U.S. Immunity Pact

Tío Sam no longer swinging the big stick in his own hemisphere, it appears.

From the AP, posted on Yahoo news
Ecuador will not sign a pact to grant U.S. military personnel special immunity from the International Criminal Court, even if that means more aid cuts from Washington, the foreign minister said Thursday.
The issue of the immunity of U.S. troops abroad is a major focus of Chalmers Johnson's The Sorrows of Empire—terrific book, disturbing topic—an adaptation of which is available here. A country refusing to accept what was heretofore "an offer you can't refuse" is rather big news.

I guess an optimist could see an unexpected good consequence from all the indiscriminate multidirectional sabre-rattling by the current adminstration: many countries are dismissing it for what it is—sheer bluster.

In this article from February, Time's Tony Karon discusses why Europe is yawning in the face of Bush's bellicose noises. Not to mention the OAS circling the wagons around Hugo Chavez in June as he told Condi, in so many words, "I fart in your general direction."

A piece of analysis here from PINR, the Power and Interest News Report. I am unfamiliar with the group that publishes it, but a quick look around their site failed to turn up any affliations with, say, Lyndon LaRouche, the WSJ editorial page, or the American Enterprise Institute.

PINR describes itself as "an independent organization that utilizes open source intelligence to provide conflict analysis services in the context of international relations. PINR approaches a subject based upon the powers and interests involved, leaving the moral judgments to the reader." Fair enough.

Here's a snippet from "The Coming World Realignment" by Michael A. Weinstein, a Purdue University political science professor:
"The scenario of U.S. power dominating in every region of the world for generations to come was always an ideological construction that was bound to be contradicted by the rise of regional power centers with interests at variance with Washington's aims; the difficulties encountered in the occupation of Iraq simply hastened the awareness of competing power centers that Washington could be opposed effectively without incurring unacceptable costs. . . .

The most dynamic of the regional power centers is Brasilia, which has been emboldened by the rise of left-center governments in the southern cone of South America that do not acquiesce in Washington's neoliberal economic model, and by the stabilization of the Chavez administration in Caracas that has opted for a more socialist approach to globalization, to bid for dominant influence in its region against Washington. Leading the movement for south-south cooperation, advancing a trade agenda adverse to Washington's, offering Mercosur as an alternative to the Free Trade Area of the Americas and experimenting with industrial policies that undercut Western pharmaceutical and software multinationals, Brasilia need simply follow the course that it is taking to achieve its geostrategy aims.

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