The EU

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

National Elections

The UK, the Netherlands, the Sudan and now Belgium.  The national elections in Belgium, probably in June, are being triggered by a dispute regarding a bilingual voting district near Brussels.  The likely new Prime Minister, Marianne Thyssen, laid out her view:
"We do not support the end of Belgium, but a reform of the country," she told reporters. "We are not for chaos, but for responsibility. Not for extremism but ... serenity."
Good luck with that.

Then there is Puerto Rico, which, if legislation passes the US Senate, will be allowed to vote on its future status.  The bill has passed the US House of Representatives.  This would be a two step process, with the first round of voting being to see if the residents wish to change their status. The second round would give the choice amongst four options:
  1. Statehood,
  2. Independence,
  3. The current commonwealth status, or
  4. Sovereignty in association with the United States.
Personally, I think the two round option seems a little much, but I like the idea of giving them an up or down vote on statehood or independence.  I am personally opposed to the current commonwealth status, as being a form of neo-colonialism for an island big enough to stand on its own two feet (population of 4 million).  If the residents vote for independence, we need to provide a path for those who wish to move to the US (or remain in the US) to solidify their US citizenship.

UPDATE:  Updated to include the interesting election in the UK this month, on 6 May.  Here is a report on the front runner in The Times.

Regards  —  Cliff

2 comments:

kad barma said...

Regarding potential secession, I can't quite get my head around the "now you are, now you aren't" implications regarding US citizenship. Maybe we'll decide citizenship should remain grandfathered in the case of independence, but wouldn't the foreign-born "children of citizens" rule continue to make this an administrative nightmare?

We fought a civil war to deny the right of secession to the Confederacy, so it seems to me to be sort of inconsistent to allow it for Puerto Rico, even if the island isn't quite a state in the traditional sense. We'd essentially be allowing a political process to alter the citizenship rights of individuals who don't agree with that process, and our tradition of protecting the minority against the will of the majority would seem to make this some sort of wrong.

In any case, I'd be in favor of fully protecting the citizenship rights of individuals no matter what the outcome of the voting. I'd hope the country would do the same for me.

C R Krieger said...

I take Kad's point about being "kicked out".  No citizen of the US should be kicked out.  On the other hand, given the fact that we picked up Puerto Rico as booty after the Spanish American war and the fact that the status is somewhat anomalous and has even been the subject of UN discussion, back in 1953.   And given the fact that Insurgents from Puerto Rico tried to kill President Truman and also shot up the US House of Representatives, these is some sense in the Island that it should be free and independent.  If the residents of Puerto Rico wish that, good for them.  But, if, after a vote for independence, individuals wish to retain their US citizenship and come to the mainland, that is fine with me.  I am saying that if the Commonwealth votes for independence, they we should happily cut them loose, but should accept each and every one who wishes to retain his or her US citizenship—but no "dual citizenship".

I don't see this as the same as secession by a state.  In my mind it is more like the fact that Cuba was fairly quickly made an independent nation after the US defeated the Spanish and about 50 years later (4 July 1946) the Philippines were made independent.  Independence for Puerto Rico would just be further liquidation of our Spanish American War results.

On the other hand, I think that if they are going to remain with the United States they should regularize their relationship and become a state.  That is just my opinion.

Regards  —  Cliff