Domestic & Foreign Policy: Punishing a Population to Force a Change in Goverment Is a Failed Policy

Some states (nations) do not like the governments of other states. On tactic used by these states to coerce a change, is to place pressure on the population. The hope is that the population will hate suffering the lack of government services, that they will reject their government.

This tactic ultimately does not work.

Gaza and Israel


Israel hoped that pressuring the Palestinians in Gaza to endure deprivation would cause them to reject their government elected to run Gaza. Instead, the wall separating Gaza was broken, ending the deprivation.

But Israel’s recent effort to further intensify the closing of Gaza, by cutting off nearly all supplies and forcing the extension of rolling power cuts to more than 12 hours a day, clearly backfired, giving Hamas a kind of moral pretext in the Arab and Palestinian world to break through the Egyptian border. As the daily newspaper Haaretz said in an editorial on Friday, “The siege of Gaza has failed.”




“The experiment blew up in their faces,” said Shlomo Avineri, a political scientist at Hebrew University. “The whole theory of putting pressure on a population to put pressure on their government doesn’t work. It didn’t work in Lebanon in 2006, and it didn’t work now.”


Washington, D.C.


The tactic of causing the population of a government disliked by the powers that be occurred in the District of Columbia during the Mayoralty of Marion Barry.

Becton lobbied for $36 million in supplemental funding to reroof more than 60 schools in response to the Parents United lawsuit. Among those he solicited was U.S. Rep. Charles H. Taylor, a Republican tree farmer from North Carolina, who chaired the appropriations subcommittee on the District. “His comment was, ‘I’m not going to give you a goddamned thing until you get rid of that mayor,’ ” Becton recalled.


“I said, ‘Hey, I am the superintendent; I don’t have a cotton-picking thing to do with the election of that mayor.’ He said, ‘Until he goes, you get nothing.’ ”


Taylor did not return calls seeking comment.

I was always wondering why the Congress did not help D.C. more back then.

Also, the deprivation tactic did not work, Mayor Barry served four terms as Mayor and is currently a DC City Council Member for Ward 8.


US Foreign Policy: Condoleeza Rice, Egypt, & Gaza

On the BBC News website, there is a story regarding the destruction of a border wall between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. This event allowed the residents of Gaza to go to Egypt to buy food and supplies and return to Gaza.

Egypt, acting on a statement from the US, first acted to close the border in part, then allowed people from Gaza to cross.

However, there was a quote from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice which re-emphasized my concern about her seeming indifference to social justice issues (discussed in a previous post).

The move by the Egyptian authorities came only hours after the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, urged them to secure the border with Gaza.


On Thursday evening, Ms Rice said she understood Egypt’s position was “difficult”, but said: “It is an international border, it needs to be protected and I believe that the Egyptians understand the importance of doing that.”

It is true that it is a border and crossings should be monitored. But, it does not necessarily mean that the border requires an impenetrable wall.

There is an possibility for negotiation and cooperation between the Palestinians and Egypt to regulate the movement of people and goods across the border between Egypt and Gaza. After all, Egyptian businesses on the other side of the border also benefitted from the commercial activity that occurred.

U.S. Foreign Policy: Strait of Hormuz Issues Require Careful Scrutiny

In The New York Times’s Opinion section, David Crist, a columnist, presented his view on the recent event in the Strait of Hormuz between the Iran Navy and the United States Navy. The Strait of Hormuz is a critical body of water as oil is transported through it.

The central concern of Mr. Crist involved the protection of the shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz.

After the 9/11 attacks, several European navies (as well as Australia’s and Canada’s) sent large forces to augment the United States effort in safeguarding the sea lanes of the Middle East from terrorism. The Bush administration should harness this coalition by asking them to let Tehran know through their own diplomatic channels that any attempt by the Revolutionary Guards to interfere with the free navigation of international waters will be treated no differently from a terrorist attack.

Strait of hormuz
Strait of Hormuz (Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin)


However, the issue regarding the Strait of Hormuz is not as clear as Mr. Crist argues in his article. According to Dr. Kaveh Afrasiabi, in The Asia Times, there are no “international waters” in the Strait of Hormuz. The shipping lane is in Iran’s territorial waters.

Moreover, Dr. Afrasiabi explained that the United States Navy was citing advantageous provisions of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, which the United States has not ratified, while not considering provisions that are within Iran’s territorial interests.

Given that the approximately three-kilometer-wide inbound traffic lane in the Strait of Hormuz is within Iran’s territorial water, the US Navy’s invocation of “transit passage” harking back to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, (UNCLOS) is hardly surprising.


Although the US has yet to ratify the UNCLOS, it has been a strong advocate of its provisions regarding navigational rights, thus explaining the US officers’ availing themselves of “international law”.




However, irrespective of how Congress acts on the pending legislation on UNCLOS, the fact is that the US cannot have its cake and eat it. That is, rely on it to defend its navigational rights in the Strait of Hormuz and, simultaneously, disregard the various limitations on those rights imposed by the UNCLOS – and favoring Iran.

Dr. Afrasiabi explains the conflicting provisions of the UNCLOS as it applies to the Strait of Hormuz. The major issues involved are the ability to navigate through the Strait of Hormuz and the right of a state to protect land and waters within its territory.

As a result of events occurring in the Strait of Hormuz, people of good will must apply careful scrutiny of issues involving this area.

Judicial Nominations: Getchell, Nominee to the Fourth Circuit, Withdraws

According to The Virginian-Pilot, E Duncan Getchell withdrew his name from being considered as a nominee for a seat on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Getchell recognized that political reality would prevent his nomination from being confirmed.

‘Recent press reports indicate that despite the support I have received, the Senate Democratic leadership will not allow a hearing to go forward and so, after prayerful consideration, I have determined to withdraw my name from consideration.’

I disagree that the Senate Democrats are to blame. In reality, the finger of accusation must point to the President.

Fed. Govt.: President George Bush Issues 2008 Federal Employees’ Pay Schedule; Federal Judges Receive COLA

President George Bush issued Executive Order 13454, which provides the pay schedule for federal employees for 2008. The recent appropriations bill provided for cost of living adjustments for several classes of federal employees.

One group is the one for federal judiciary (see schedule 7 of Executive Order 13454) (amounts in chart are in dollars).

Judicial position Annual Salary in 2007 Annual Salary in 2008 % Increase
Chief Justice of the U.S.




Sup. Ct. Associate Justices




Circuit Judges




District Judges




Judges of Int’l Trade Court




Also in Executive Order 13454, Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S Senate will receive $169,300 in 2008, an increase from $165,200 in 2007.

Contrary to Chief Justice John Roberts, I feel that the federal judicary is already well compensated (click on the federal judiciary tag in the right column for my previous posts on the federal judiciary pay issue).

ACRI Ballot Initiative (Missouri): In a Potentially Precedent Setting Case, Court Rewrites Ballot Title; Secretary of State Carnahan Plans to Appeal

In Asher v. Carnahan (see this post for background information) , the court rewrote the ballot title for the ballot initiative proposed by the American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI). The new ballot title as the court wrote it is:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:


Ban state and local government affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment in public contracting, employment, or education based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin unless such programs are necessary to establish or maintain eligibility for federal funding or to comply with a court order ?

The court determined that a portion of the ballot title is insufficient and unfair, citing the court case, Missourians Against Human Cloning v. Carnahan. The court reasoned that the second part of the ballot title was not consistent with the first part of the ballot title.

The second bullet point in the Secretary’s summary states that the proposed amendment will:


“allow preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin to meet federal program funds eligibility standards…”


It is this second bullet point which the Court finds troubling because it suggests that the proposed amendment is first going to do away with one class of preferential treatment programs, i.e. affirmative actions programs, and then replace the affirmative action programs with some other kind of preferential treatment programs.

However, in the Human Cloning case, the Missouri Supreme Court also advised that courts must exercise caution in acting in pre-election ballot titling issues.

Our role is not to act as a political arbiter between opposing viewpoints in the initiative process:When courts are called upon to intervene in the initiative process, they must act with restraint, trepidation . . . .


Courts are understandably reluctant to become involved in pre-election debates over initiative proposals.


Courts do not sit in judgment on the wisdom or folly of proposals. Missourians to Protect the Initiative Process v. Blunt, 799 S.W.2d 824, 827 (Mo. banc 1990). “Before the people vote on an initiative, courts may consider only those threshold issues that affect the integrity of the election itself, and that are so clear as to constitute a matter of form.” United Gamefowl Breeders Ass’n of Mo. v. Nixon, 19 S.W.3d 137, 139 (Mo. banc 2000).




The purpose of the ballot title “is to give interested persons notice of the subject of a proposed [law] to prevent deception through use of misleading titles. If the title gives adequate notice, the requirement is satisfied.” Union Elec. Co. v. Kirkpatrick, 606 S.W.2d 658, 660 (Mo. banc 1980).

The court did not address this part of the Human Cloning case in deciding to rewrite the ballot title.

The question now is whether the court’s action to rewrite the ballot title is allowable under the Missouri statutes, sec. 116.190.4, given the Missouri Supreme Court’s rule of caution.

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan stated that her office intends to appeal the court’s decision.

This is an interesting case, as this case represents the first time that a court in Missouri rewrote a ballot title.