Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Posted by MEC on February 21, 2008

The Republicans say that we should vote for them instead of for Democrats because only they, the Republicans, can keep us safe from bad guys all over the world.If that’s the case, why couldn’t the Republican Bush Administration keep the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade safe from being invaded and vandalized by protesters?

Masked attackers broke into the building, which has been closed this week, and tried to throw furniture from an office. A blaze broke out but firefighters swiftly put out the flames.


In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the U.S. ambassador to Serbia was at his home and in contact with U.S. officials.

Serbia has “a responsibility now to devote the adequate resources to ensure that that facility is protected,” McCormack said.

Excuse me? Serbia has a responsibility to keep the U.S. Embassy safe? A U.S. embassy is officially U.S. territory. Why didn’t the U.S. government devote adequate resources to ensure that its territory is protected?

My guess is, because Bush paid as much attention to the warning signs of Serbian outrage over his recognition of Kosovo as an independent country as he paid to the August 6, 2001 security briefing. He expected that everybody would just accept that Kosovo is independent because he said so.

4 Responses to “What’s Wrong With This Picture?”

  1. EoH said

    Actually, it’s longstanding law that the host state is responsible for maintaining order. Just as the US is supposed to do that in New York for the UN and foreign consulates. That’s why there are New York police and not their colleagues from Moscow or Rome outside the grounds of the UN, and Beijing police in front of the US or Canadian embassy there.

    A lot of states can’t meet that obligation at all or from time to time. When that happens, it’s the foreign mission’s job to take care of its people, but not to maintain order on the streets of a foreign country.

    If the riots were predictable, the best thing to do temporarily was to close or vacate the mission, then seek reimbursement for damages from a host government that failed to fulfill its obligation to maintain order. But then Bush and his hired hands, like John Bolton, are proud of knowing nothing about international law, which they consider a contradiction in terms.

  2. MEC said

    “Bush and his hired hands, like John Bolton, are proud of knowing nothing about international law, which they consider a contradiction in terms.”

    IOW, they want it both ways. They want to ignore any international law they don’t like, but enforce the laws that require other people to do things for them.

  3. Charles said

    The servicemen and State Dept. people who ensured that secret papers at the Iran embassy didn’t fall into the hands of Khomeini wouldn’t agree with you, EoH.

    Of course, that was back before duty and honor were privatized.

  4. EoH said

    I assume Charles is talking about the 1979 Iranian revolution, where mission staff did whatever they could to protect US nationals and government assets in the midst of violent chaos, when no responsible host government existed that was capable of meeting its obligations.

    I agree with the snark about private contractors being more interested in their bucks and in avoiding liability. Mercs will never be an adequate substitute for a national military. In the midst of lawless chaos, it’s all hands to battle stations. But that wasn’t the situation in Serbia and rarely is anywhere else.

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