Conversations (2)

Thank you both again for joining us, if I may pose one final question to each of you.

Bodo, there is a notion that member countries must have domestic support and compatibility with NATO's stated goals. Yet, the latest polls out of Montenegro presenting mixed results from the general population, with roughly 40% polling each for vs. against.
Isn't there a risk of lowering standards for membership?

And to Jeffrey, you've written at length about your vision and strategy for detente - how leveraging Georgia & Ukraine present an opportunity to smooth over the rising tensions between Russia and the West. Those countries specifically are clearly the most at-risk of needing military assistance to protect their borders, and therefore couldn't the argument be made that they are actually more deserving, or in need, of NATO's backing?
In an attempt to bring back the conversation more directly to the topic of the day with the US Senate vote scheduled for Monday.

I note, we could go nary a single question without a lengthy discussion on how this decision effects Russian relations? Is Montenegro then, in this instance, just a pawn in a larger game?

Is there any room at all to parse the country out of the bigger picture where we can question, as US Senator Rand Paul suggests, what is the value Montenegro adds to the Alliance as a whole? Or is it like Sen. McCain declares, that anyone who does not support their accession is "working for Vladimir Putin?"

Hi Fiona,

No worries at all -- I hope that the roundtable has been productive and informative for all participants. this will likely be my last email until tomorrow morning as I am off to give a lecture this evening, and my ability to type lengthy messages on my phone has significantly decreased since being forced to leave (my beloved) Blackberry and move to an android phone!

I think that you have raised two points that really are the flipside of the same coin -- the interrelationship between law and politics. On the one hand, laws and legal mechanisms are being deployed owing to the refusal or failure to use political methods to address state involvement in terrorism. On the other hand, states may well choose not to engage with the legal mechanisms and laws, depending on their political ability and willingness to take such a route. And of course all actors involved know the political and legal games being played.

This, of course, goes back to the central question asked by many law scholars -- is international law anything more than politics? Of course it is, but the degree to which it is law as understood through a national lens is debatable.

Going to your points about friends and allies in terms of counter-terrorism, how do you think this might affect the relationship between the US and key allies? Or indeed between other friends and allies should other countries follow suit and enact similar legislation? If trust is such a crucial component (another topic that I find fascinating in terms of research undertaken by psychologist and philosophers) then what is the effect of laws and policies of this type? 

Also, I am willing to show my ignorance on these matters in order to delve deeper into the counter-terrorism aspects -- what is the Five Eyes Agreement? 



Good morning, Fiona

Thank you for that latest email, and particularly for the Obama quote that succinctly summarises many of the key issues. I do think that the US will be exposed to even more liabilities for 'the work' it does around the world, even if those court cases are symbolic and unenforceable. Of course, the US has paid money to victims of drone strikes and other unintended consequences of its 'work' around the world, and by doing so has accepted some liability or responsibility. There are many people who feel strongly that the US ought to be held accountable, legally and/or politically, and perhaps JASTA will lead to similar legislation elsewhere that will provide for 'lawfare' cases (ones brought  for advocacy or political purposes rather than because there is any hope of winning or enforcing them).