Monday, February 7, 2011

Treaty, Schmeaty

Santa Anna surrenders to Sam Houston
Some years ago, your humble scribbler was visiting Rumbleclan south of the border in the lovely town of Monterrey, Mexico.  Fueled with taquitos and tequila, I was engaged in an interesting dialogue with a prominent local authority who had an interesting perspective on treaties.  Upon discovering that I hailed from the Lone Star State, he remarked that I was actually a Mexican.  He further explained that in the view of many Mexicans, Santa Anna's surrender after the Battle of San Jacinto and disposition of Mexican claims to the Republic of Texas was invalid.  "He did it under duress," he said, "it's simply not valid and it's only a matter of time before we reclaim it."  Well, the Santa Anna did, at least honor the terms of the surrender - withdrew his forces from Texas and eventually a treaty was signed at Velasco that memorialized all the terms.   Treaties are made between governments via their representatives, not between individuals.

Now, my Mexican friend said what he did with the fuel of mojitos and tongue planted firmly in his cheek, but it is with some concern that I read the following exchange between Der Spiegel and Msr. Mohammed "I can't find nuclear fuels in Iran" ElBaradei:

SPIEGEL: Are you now saying that a government that included participation by the Muslim Brotherhood would continue on with Mubarak's policies toward Israel?
ElBaradei: No. Something the Israelis also need to grasp is that it's impossible to make peace with a single man. At the moment, they have a peace treaty with Mubarak, but not one with the Egyptian people. The Israelis should understand that it is in their long-term interest to have a democratic Egypt as a neighbor, and that it is prudent to acknowledge the legitimate interests of the Palestinians and to grant them their own state."

That kind of thinking is extraordinarily dangerous and will give no comfort to the Israelis at all.  ElB goes on in the interview to talk about how the Muslim Brotherhood is not aligned with Al Quida, has sworn off violence etc. etc. - the usual talking points of CAIR.  This mindset is reflective of the entire problem in dealing with the Muslim world.  

Sadat and Begin
I grew up in the Diplomatic Corps when the black passport was your life insurance policy.  International law has been completely upended ever since the seizing of the American Embassy in Iran...the last time we had a real popular uprising in the Middle East.  Now, the black passport makes you a target, and Embassies and Consulates are considered leverage points for terror.  If we are negotiating with people who disregard international standards of diplomacy, how do you get to a "deal." Treaties no longer are meaningful, only thuggery and force work.  ElBaradei's point that the peace treaty is just with Mubarak is historically inaccurate - it was originally signed by Sadat (who was murdered by the Muslim Brotherhood!) and is symptomatic of this mindset that all standards are fluid.  

Mexico under Santa Anna followed Western practices of diplomacy: agreements were made, ratified and honored.  When you are dealing with the Middle East...not so much.  Egypt has honored the treaty with Israel for 30 years and it has been helpful to both countries.  Signaling that it is invalid is irresponsible.  Let's pray for peaceful and slow transition in Egypt that allows for the development of alternative parties that are a little less cavalier with international law than ElBaradei and the Muslim Brotherhood.

No comments: