You know, it’s not the fact that we’re apparently on the verge of toppling another foreign government that bemuses me, per se; toppling foreign governments is one of those things that the United States of America simply does, as a byproduct of our very existence. Whether or not that’s an inherently good thing is going to be a matter of some debate – particularly if you’re somebody who’s never lived under one or another of the unpleasant regimes that we’ve absentmindedly obliterated, over the years*. So I’m not particularly startled at the thought that it may be about to happen again.
Crockwell tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD that Bermudians are very concerned about the potential threat the Uighurs pose to the security and economy of Bermuda, and are outraged by the secretive and unilateral manner in which Bermuda premier Dr. Ewart Brown decided to accept the detainees.
“There’s a great deal of anxiety right now,” says Crockwell. “We have not received any information at all in terms of who these individuals are.”
“We hear reports that they have been associated with al Qaeda … that they were trained in terrorist camps,” as well as reports that the men are innocent. “So we don’t know” how much a security risk the former detainees pose. Crockwell says that the Bermudian people and members of parliament don’t know where the Uighurs are now being housed by the government.
“We think the premier, who made a unilateral decision, has put this country at risk. We believe that when there’s uncertainty we have to err on the side of caution,” Crockwell adds. Crockwell’s United Bermuda Party has already moved a motion of no confidence against Brown to remove him as the leader of parliament. He says that a “member of the backbench has stated not even the cabinet was informed of this decision,” which Crockwell described as a “unilateral autocratic decision made by one man who has created a national crisis for the island of Bermuda.”
The Weekly Standard follows up here; what is concerning the Bermudans – and it’s also what is concerning the population of Palau – is that becoming known as a dumping ground for al-Qaeda-trained Gitmo detainees is unlikely to be good for tourism, which is pretty much the primary thing that keeps either country economically solvent. Meanwhile, of course, the British are (properly) angry that the US President acted like a – what’s the term? Ah, yes: “unilateralist cowboy” – by not recognizing that the United Kingdom is actually responsible for Bermudan foreign policy, and negotiating accordingly. See also the Independent for more details on that particular wrinkle; the British government is apparently coming to the conclusion that the United States government is being deliberately offensive, and that should be sufficiently worrisome for anybody. For what it’s worth, I don’t think that this administration is deliberately trying to infuriate our closest ally: I think instead that the executive branch of the government has a mindset reflective of a group of people who are reasonably bright, chock-full of self-esteem, and serenely convinced that being smart and self-confident eliminates the need to plan things out ahead of time.
Note: this is not actually an improvement over the ‘they’re doing this deliberately’ theory.
PS: The Tempest. Act I, Scene 2.
*For some reason, an American academic seems to default to a much different opinion on the subject than, say, a Pole. Or, for that matter, a Kurd.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.