Thinking Things Over  (#21)
Private, national & common wealth in the post-socialism/capitalism era
Bewildered by what's been happening, both nationally and globally, in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall?
I.e. where the unwittingly weakened nation-state - formerly a bulwark against plain-levelling & globalization -
no longer tempers the social, economic & other pitfalls foreseen by Marx, Gramsci, Minsky, McCulley,etc.
Where - as the Laffer & Rider Curves illustrate in the tax & the social fields - excessive poor/rich gradients
upset the social fabric, wash away fertility factors with uncontrolled erosive powers & contribute to famine.
Where indeed, as Patrick Martin pointed out, monopolistic capitalism and the associated reckless greed
are no longer kept in check by Adam Smith' invisible hand, i.e. by the balance of contradictory interests.
And where the capacity for self-correction is increasingly inhibited by loss of freedom, mooring & orientation
which led to market frenzies & false alpha birds feeding on hype & bubbles, reminiscent of the Roaring 20s.
IMF & FATF estimate black funds (drugs, tax evasion etc) to be 2-5% of world's GDP (2006: $960-2400bn).
An IMF Report indicates these funds to be increasingly chased under anti-terrorism & ever flimsier pretexts.
Courtesy by the IV Reich's Secret Service, the world has indeed been made hostage of ill-considered rules
which impede more legitimate business than crime. For big time money laundering, the US Treasury set the
standard in 2001 with its 31% confiscatory backup withholding tax on unidentified investors in US securities,
turning foreign bankers from trustees of clients into IRS agents (qualified intermediaries) subject to US laws.
Private equity & hedge funds thus found a government-sponsored access to black funds, while the latters'
entry into subprime markets was also eased by the Internet. Results: predatory lending & systemic risks.
Society's organization needs re-thinking with Plato, Gottlieb Duttweiler, José María Arizmendiarrieta etc.
For man's evolution may only be stressed by technological leaps but not accelerated beyond natural limits.
Also: return on investment rates above productivity gains & organic growth are predatory & not sustainable.
If driven by managers, lawyers & funds on the back of other stakeholders, M&As are thus Ponzi schemes
where shareholder value adepts can maraud with stacked Monopoly cards, helped by micro-economic laws.
Like compulsory social insurance systems whose doom is delayed or obscured only by inflation, war, etc.
And where the cunniest operators are state-supported by myopic magistrates hood-winked into fiscal deals.
Gary J. Aguirre's US Senate testimony details fraud & market mechanics which were at work before 1929,
e.g. Ponzi structures, unregulated pools of money, siphoning from unsuspecting mutual fund investors, and
abuse-prone market dominance: hedge funds' $1.5 trillion drive half of the $28 trillion NYSE's daily trading.
Tongue-in-cheek, Warren Buffet famously opined: "derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction";
yet, under increasing performance & compliance pressures, some bankers still see a future in fee hunting.
Society wised up against churning of accounts by undelicate trustees, but not yet against macro-parasitism
which feasts on ignorance, sucks & devours a firm's life-preserving substance, & weakens society's pillars.
Which turns economic rat races into societal tailspins with early burn-outs & senior citizens being wasted,
& instills values causing youth to be educated out of sync, resulting in drug, violence & €1000 generations.
With profit-driven quarterly thinking & cost-cuttings also eroding due infrastructure maintenance & renewal,
& democracy's promises ridiculed by Fatf, EU & UN bureaucratic lawmaking as if Berlin Wall fell eastwards.
So why not thinking things over & Revisiting Das Kapital while some dance on the Titanic”?   Iconoclast


Diplomacy - official, parallel & between

Courtesy by: International Committee for European Security and Co-operation, and
Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers, Geneva - url: www.solami.com/diplomacy.htm
e-books:../jaffa.htm ¦ ../capodistria.htm ¦ ../commercetreaties.htm ¦ ../summit.htm ¦ ../nations.htm ¦ ../europa.htm ¦ .../93-29.html
.../edouardbrunner.htm ¦ .../UNGA.htm ¦ .../a3a.htm ¦ .../rebirth.htm ¦ .../mvcindex.htm ¦ .../pelosi.htm ¦ .../ashur.htm
.../motionfrueh.htm ¦ .../warfare.htm ¦ .../diamantball.htm ¦ .../NPT.htm ¦ .../ciaprisons.htm ¦ .../iran.htm ¦ .../iranmail2.htm
.../palestineinexile.htm | .../babylon2.htm | .../homeland.htm | .../gridlock.htm ¦ .../ICESC.htm ¦ www.aemam.net
research contributed by: EDA & Bundesarchiv, Bern; ETH Zurich; Irina Gerassimova, UN Library Geneva
tks 4 notifying errors, ommissions & suggestions to: +4122-7400362 - swissbit@solami.com

28 Apr 08   Pariah Diplomacy, NYT, Jimmy Carter, comment
6 July 07   Edouard Brunner, MPD (Master of Parallel Diplomacy), obituary, Anton Keller
27 Apr 07   And if the Terminator brought back his troops?, Anton Keller
6 Apr 07   Illegal Diplomacy, Wall Street Journal, Robert F.Turner, COMMENTARY, reader comments
6 Apr 07   Logan Act 1799: comments
5 Apr 07   Pratfall in Damascus: Nancy Pelosi's foolish shuttle diplomacy, WP, editorial, 2500 comments
8 Mar 07   Henry Cabot Lodge: "for if we stumble and fall ..." (Assyrians call on US lawmakers)
7 Mar 07   Joint Resolution of US Congress on "Assyrians and their other Iraqi brethren in One God" (draft)
30 Sep 03   Interpellation 03.3487: "Wirtschaftliche Kriegsführung der USA gegen die Schweiz?"
12 Jun 03   H. RES. 272: "Expressing concern for the status of the Assyrian people in post-war Iraq"
27 Mar 03   Amsterdam Resolution: 26 Assyrian diaspora associations agree on joint platform
5 Mar 03   Some suggestions on Turkey & Iraq-related issues, GOGEL
2 Jan 03   Pro Memoria: from Iraq's Past to its Future, Iconoclast
21 Sep 02   Against some Holy Grail Mantras, Anton Keller
2002    Iraq Options: When Seasoned Diplomats are Sidelined by Flat Earth Fellows with Hidden Agendas
1992-96   NGO contributions on Iraq within the UN system: illustration of an exercise in futility
19.Mär 85  Vorzeitige Rechtshilfe durch Bundesbeamte, NR Valentin Oehen
March 84   Expansion of the US-USSR Military Dialogue, Lt.Col. Wade J. Williams
9.Nov 83   Exploratory letter by Swiss lawmaker Oehen to Generals Nikolai OGARKOV & John VESSEY
29 Feb 83   EURO-MISSILES NEED LONGER FUSES, H.Anton Keller
July 75   The NPT vs Nuclear Energy Developments, International Law Review, H.Anton Keller, et al.
March 68   Implications of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, International Law Review, H.Anton Keller




 

Inspiring successes achieved under the primacy of diplomacy

Jan 2003 - Would you also want to disarm a United Kingdom of Jordan and Iraq?  Probably not.  And if the really pressing international problems are to get the attention they deserve, Jacques’ Gaullist visions, stamina and tricks may even help out George W. on his global terrorism, proliferation and economic concerns no less than on his peculiar national objectives.  Particularly in as much as his agenda differs from that of the Flat Earth Society  and - as befits a great statesman's thinking and actions - as he also takes into consideration Saddam's Leitmotif which is said to be "honor, dignity and pride" (thus eventually being able and willing to acceed to such ideas). With your assistance, the negotiated peace formula could thus work out along the following lines:
    1.  Saddam helps defuse North Korea crisis with Iraqi oil (www.solami.com/NPT.htm);
    2.  Saddam invites Palestinians to Iraq for its reconstruction (www.solami.com/mvciht.htm);
    3.  Saddam abdicts power, dissolving Iraq into United Kingdom of Jordan & Iraq, in return of which
    4.  Saddam is granted internal asylum in the Sheikdom of Tikrit.

Nuclear deterrent - particularly mutual assured destruction – worked for some 50 years: whatever the problem at hand, it gave diplomats of the nuclear states a powerful incentive to develop and bring to bear whatever imagination and skills they were able to muster. In the post-Cold War World, with the certainties of bipolarity gone and yet to be effectively replaced, military imbalances have again enhanced the risk of diplomats to be sidelined by warriors before all non-military options had a proper hearing. In the case of Iraq, too, it deserves to be remembered that the highest purpose of even fully deployed armies is not the successful application of any quality and quantity of arms but the achievement of well-defined political objectives. A particularly instructive – and inspiring – example is the Jerusalem Peace Agreement of Jaffa of 1229 (text: www.solami.com/jaffa.htm, comments: .../jaffa1.htm, map of Kingdom of Jerusalem: .../kingdommap.pdf). Then, under the threat of fully deployed armies, the Crusaders’ essential objectives were all attained at the negotiating table without the need to shed blood. With many customs then agreed upon regarding Jerusalem and the Holy Sites still respected by the involved communities, e.g. concerning the access to the Temple Mount, guardianship of the keys, access to Bethlehem by Muslim, etc.  And with the King of France - and now its President - bearing successor rights and responsibilities.

We may thus be permitted to remind you of a memo of last September 2002(.../holygrail.htm):

    "Prior to the NPT, statesmen were expected to act on the level of responsibility entailed in their sovereign capacities and obligations, with security effectively served by the system of mutual awareness, preparedness and deterrent.  There is no apparent reason to expect such a system to have been useful only up to, and not also beyond the fall of the Berlin Wall, in Europe, the Middle East or anywhere else where human aspirations and fears are at work.
    If he wants to be seen to seriously seek to promptly and conclusively win the war already at hand – i.e. that against politically-motivated and religiously-driven global terrorism - George W, too might be well advised to rule out no option.  In this light, even Saddam might again be turned into an objective ally.  E.g. by following and indeed furthering both Yassir’s and Ariel’s legitimate agendas in an original, balanced and mutually beneficial way.  For Saddam, too could probably be prodded into offering the Palestinians a modern version of the regenerative Babylonian exile their brethren experienced some 2600 years ago.  This could take the form of a 99-year Hong Kong-type lease for Iraq’s water-rich and oil-bearing 19000 km2Diyala Province.   And it would be in exchange for getting his own Principality of Tikrit while abdicating power to suitable successors properly reflecting Iraq’s great cultural past and its more recent political, notably royal background.  Perhaps somebody could remind Switzerland of its past Good Offices functions in relation to the Middle East.  Alternatively, some suitable organization or institute of a signatory, observer or other country might be found for arranging a timely review of the genesis, current results and outlook of the Lausanne Treaty of 24 July 1923 which sealed the breakup of the Ottoman Empire with its still festering and inadequately attended wounds."

editorial, comments I, II
The Washington Post    April 5, 2007

Pratfall in Damascus: Nancy Pelosi's foolish shuttle diplomacy

HOUSE SPEAKER Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered an excellent demonstration yesterday of why members of Congress should not attempt to supplant the secretary of state when traveling abroad. After a meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, Ms. Pelosi announced that she had delivered a message from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that "Israel was ready to engage in peace talks" with Syria. What's more, she added, Mr. Assad was ready to "resume the peace process" as well. Having announced this seeming diplomatic breakthrough, Ms. Pelosi suggested that her Kissingerian shuttle diplomacy was just getting started. "We expressed our interest in using our good offices in promoting peace between Israel and Syria," she said.

Only one problem: The Israeli prime minister entrusted Ms. Pelosi with no such message. "What was communicated to the U.S. House Speaker does not contain any change in the policies of Israel," said a statement quickly issued by the prime minister's office. In fact, Mr. Olmert told Ms. Pelosi that "a number of Senate and House members who recently visited Damascus received the impression that despite the declarations of Bashar Assad, there is no change in the position of his country regarding a possible peace process with Israel." In other words, Ms. Pelosi not only misrepresented Israel's position but was virtually alone in failing to discern that Mr. Assad's words were mere propaganda.

Ms. Pelosi was criticized by President Bush for visiting Damascus at a time when the administration -- rightly or wrongly -- has frozen high-level contacts with Syria. Mr. Bush said that thanks to the speaker's freelancing Mr. Assad was getting mixed messages from the United States. Ms. Pelosi responded by pointing out that Republican congressmen had visited Syria without drawing presidential censure. That's true enough -- but those other congressmen didn't try to introduce a new U.S. diplomatic initiative in the Middle East. "We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace," Ms. Pelosi grandly declared.

Never mind that that statement is ludicrous: As any diplomat with knowledge of the region could have told Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Assad is a corrupt thug whose overriding priority at the moment is not peace with Israel but heading off U.N. charges that he orchestrated the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri. The really striking development here is the attempt by a Democratic congressional leader to substitute her own foreign policy for that of a sitting Republican president. Two weeks ago Ms. Pelosi rammed legislation through the House of Representatives that would strip Mr. Bush of his authority as commander in chief to manage troop movements in Iraq. Now she is attempting to introduce a new Middle East policy that directly conflicts with that of the president. We have found much to criticize in Mr. Bush's military strategy and regional diplomacy. But Ms. Pelosi's attempt to establish a shadow presidency is not only counterproductive, it is foolish.


COMMENTARY, reader comments
Wall Street Journal    April 6, 2007

Illegal Diplomacy
By ROBERT F. TURNER

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may well have committed a felony in traveling to Damascus this week, against the wishes of the president, to communicate on foreign-policy issues with Syrian President Bashar Assad. The administration isn't going to want to touch this political hot potato, nor should it become a partisan issue. Maybe special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, whose aggressive prosecution of Lewis Libby establishes his independence from White House influence, should be called back.

 The "Logan Act" makes it a felony and provides for a prison sentence of up to three years for any American, "without authority of the United States," to communicate with a foreign government in an effort to influence that government's behavior on any "disputes or controversies with the United States." Some background on this statute helps to understand why Ms. Pelosi may be in serious trouble.

President John Adams requested the statute after a Pennsylvania pacifist named George Logan traveled to France in 1798 to assure the French government that the American people favored peace in the undeclared "Quasi War" being fought on the high seas between the two countries. In proposing the law, Rep. Roger Griswold of Connecticut explained that the object was, as recorded in the Annals of Congress, "to punish a crime which goes to the destruction of the executive power of the government. He meant that description of crime which arises from an interference of individual citizens in the negotiations of our executive with foreign governments."

 The debate on this bill ran nearly 150 pages in the Annals. On Jan. 16, 1799, Rep. Isaac Parker of Massachusetts explained, "the people of the United States have given to the executive department the power to negotiate with foreign governments, and to carry on all foreign relations, and that it is therefore an usurpation of that power for an individual to undertake to correspond with any foreign power on any dispute between the two governments, or for any state government, or any other department of the general government, to do it."

 Griswold and Parker were Federalists who believed in strong executive power. But consider this statement by Albert Gallatin, the future Secretary of the Treasury under President Thomas Jefferson, who was wary of centralized government: "it would be extremely improper for a member of this House to enter into any correspondence with the French Republic . . . As we are not at war with France, an offence of this kind would not be high treason, yet it would be as criminal an act, as if we were at war . . . ." Indeed, the offense is greater when the usurpation of the president's constitutional authority is done by a member of the legislature -- all the more so by a Speaker of the House -- because it violates not just statutory law but constitutes a usurpation of the powers of a separate branch and a breach of the oath of office Ms. Pelosi took to support the Constitution.

 The Supreme Court has spoken clearly on this aspect of the separation of powers. In Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice John Marshall used the president's authority over the Department of State as an illustration of those "important political powers" that, "being entrusted to the executive, the decision of the executive is conclusive." And in the landmark 1936 Curtiss-Wright case, the Supreme Court reaffirmed: "Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude, and Congress itself is powerless to invade it."

 Ms. Pelosi and her Congressional entourage spoke to President Assad on various issues, among other things saying, "We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace." She is certainly not the first member of Congress -- of either party -- to engage in this sort of behavior, but her position as a national leader, the wartime circumstances, the opposition to the trip from the White House, and the character of the regime she has chosen to approach make her behavior particularly inappropriate.

 Of course, not all congressional travel to, or communications with representatives of, foreign nations is unlawful. A purely fact-finding trip that involves looking around, visiting American military bases or talking with U.S. diplomats is not a problem. Nor is formal negotiation with foreign representatives if authorized by the president. (FDR appointed Sens. Tom Connally and Arthur Vandenberg to the U.S. delegation that negotiated the U.N. Charter.) Ms. Pelosi's trip was not authorized, and Syria is one of the world's leading sponsors of international terrorism. It has almost certainly been involved in numerous attacks that have claimed the lives of American military personnel from Beirut to Baghdad.

The U.S. is in the midst of two wars authorized by Congress. For Ms.Pelosi to flout the Constitution in these circumstances is not only shortsighted; it may well be a felony, as the Logan Act has been part of our criminal law for more than two centuries. Perhaps it is time to enforce the law.

 Mr. Turner was acting assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs in 1984-85 and is a former chairman of the ABA standing committee on law and national security.

reader comments

A Quick Call for Justice
Dennis Howley - Fairfax, Va.
    It is about time someone with the experience and knowledge about this "illegal diplomacy" speaks out. The next step is for someone to actually run with this charge and make a case out of it. And I don't mean a two-year media show, I mean a quick call for justice. Ms. Pelosi's act was a calculation aimed at undermining not only the president, but our entire system of government. This was a blatant political undertaking with well-thought-out consequences. She and the rest of the Democrats are only interested in their power, not in the safety of our country. She needs to pay the appropriate price because all deeds have consequences. She had her thrill, now we need to pick up the challenge to enforce the law. She is betting that no one has the courage to do it. We cannot allow her to get away with this.

Pubbie Hypocrites
Dick Heitman - Sparta, Wis.
    As a Democrat, I hope someone tries to prosecute. Maybe our jim-dandy attorney general, huh? I wonder if they'll charge the Republicans who are there at the same time in the indictment. Are there no bounds to Republican hypocrisy?

Out of Control
Scott Wilhelm - Des Plaines, Ill.
    Hear hear! For Rep. Pelosi to go to Syria without the backing of our State Department give the appearance of a government out of control and also gives legitimacy to the Assad administration when we know they are sponsors of terrorism. How foolish Rep. Pelosi looked when Israel rebutted her statement purporting to speak for them. She is in over her head and if anything harmed the peace process by her amateurish actions. This is a leader of the Democratic Party? God help us.

Go for It
Paul Cooper - University Park, Md.
    While it is no doubt true that this issue is knee-deep in partisan politics, and while it is equally true that this administration will never find the steel necessary to bring Ms. Pelosi up on charges, that is precisely what should happen.
    The Democrats have been making great political hay over allegations of constitutional improprieties for the past several years, with Nancy Pelosi standing front and center. They, and she, should be held to the standard they themselves have proposed.
    Indict her Mr. President.

Nation of Laws?
Tim Sousley - Columbia, Tenn.
    Washington Rule No. 1: Only the political policies and acts of Republicans can be criminalized (see Bill Clinton vs. "Scooter" Libby re lying to grand juries).
    Washington Rule No. 2: common laws don't apply to Congress, even when they were instigated by acts of congressmen. So, never mind!



 

Private diplomacy, even agreements between US and foreign states, is possible,
for US exporters and businessmen abroad it is even indispensible,
and competition is anyway healthy, at Foggy Bottom, too
And if the Terminator brought back his troops?

by Anton Keller, Secretary, Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers (www.solami.com/diplomacy.htm)
+4122-7400362 - +4179-6047707    -    swissbit@solami.com    -    27 April 2007

The deadlock over the war in Iraq may be resolved by Schwarzenegger & other governors
who, in concert with Congress, may call back their state-controlled National Guards.
The Constitution & its 10th Amendment keep foreign relations in the hands of the People.
If it hadn't been for street-wise American businessmen who ventured beyond US borders
and were too busy to take notice of the Logan Act of 1799 - which also forbids talking to
foreign officials able to facilitate American exports - the economy would have stagnated,
no foreign oil fields would have been developed the way they have, and the countertrade
which made possible the sale of 33 FA-18 to the Swiss Air Force would not have happened.
So now that the Imperial Presidency is hitting the wall, those who brought us the Iraq mess
could also welcome the fact that US lawmakers are not reduced to white flag functions.
And that Congress is fully empowered to pursue practical pathways out of the blinding fog.
And if Congress isn't followed by those in denial, they have no right to stand in its way!

"Animosity is not a policy" is what Henry Cabot Lodge advised Woodrow Wilson when the latter excluded Senators from participating in the - eventually failed - post-World War I peace negotations. Today, even more powerfully, the Sentator might advise the President: "Stay-the-course is no substitute for your manifestly failed Flat Earth policies." And to his Speaker-colleagues in both chambers of Congress he might well throw a copy of the US Constitution and other useful texts, pointing to their authority and obligation to heed the voters' mid-term verdict, i.e. to "take such measures and give such directions as [they] may deem proper and effective in the circumstances." (www.solami.com/a3a.htm#obligations). The following is an out-of-the-box approach to America's biggest foreign policy headache - in the traditions of one of its foremost statesmen.

The some 2500 mostly pro-Pelosi comments on the April 5 Washington Post editorial "Pratfall in Damascus: Nancy Pelosi's foolish shuttle diplomacy" are instructive. So is the commentary "Illegal Diplomacy" by Robert F. Turner which the Wall Street Journal published a day later (.../diplomacy.htm). With its so far only 5 published reader reactions, this vindicative edpage piece seems to have escaped the attention of the Journal's usually alert audience. For Turner's reasoning flies in the face of basic export business needs, i.e. freedom for proactive, enterprising and Foggy Bottom-independent forays into foreign markets and spheres controlling them. Not to speak of the ever more pressing need for a fresh and more imaginative reading of the basic law for bringing the Iraq adventure to an end before even bigger damage is done to the Union. Indeed, the US Constitution necessarily offers more than the cumbersome impeachment road if any given White House crew has lost its moorings and orientation and shows more interest in hiding its shortcomings than in keeping the US from sinking even further into the quagmire. In other words, when those charged under the Constitution with the awesome US executive powers no longer meet the minimum standards naturally presupposed by the Founding Fathers.

The Founding Fathers'
idea of genuinely and reliably safeguarding the legitimate interests of all Citizens in all foreseeable circumstances by way of equitably shared and balanced powers has a much deeper - and much more resourceful - root than that which Dr.Turner took into consideration. On June 15, 1215, an enlightened King of England (enlightened at swordpoint that is) had set his hand under the Magna Carta, saying "We will not appoint justices, ... sheriffs, or bailiffs, except of such as know the law of the kingdom and are of a mind to keep it well." (art.45). Thus inspired, on August 1, 1291, some Elders of some valleys in the midst of the European continent set out to draw the line against any and all foreign interference in their fellow citizens' affairs. "In the name of God, the Almighty", they conluded a Federal Pact, providing notably "After joint consultations, we have also unanimously agreed, set and ordered that the People of the above-named valleys [Uri, Schyz and Unterwalden] will, under no circumstances, receive or accept a judge who is not one of us [i.e. a resident Citizen], or who has bought his judgeship with money or any kind of favor on any way" (art.4). Built around the concept of self-governing and mutually supporting communities of Sovereign Citizens, Switzerland evolved into a nation whose core characteristic was formally recognized in 1815 by the powers that be in these terms: "The neutrality and inviolability of Switzerland and its independence from all foreign influences are in the true interests of the politics of Europe as a whole."

Interestingly, while the US Constitution has relied on a system of intra-institutional balances of powers, modern Switzerland's Constitution of 1848 has adopted many features of the US Constitution while maintaining the concept of Sovereign Citizens as key balancing factor on the communal, cantonal and federal level. Even more intriguingly, the ill-considered, hugely self-damaging and thus never applied Logan Act of 1799 explicitly makes it a crime for any US citizen to commence or carry on "any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof". On the other side, the Swiss Penal Code (art.267) threatens with fine or prison only Swiss officials who, either intentionally or by negligence or incompetence, damaged Swiss interests in the course of official dealings with a foreign government. This Swiss peculiarity has given rise to a long, deeply enrooted and universally appreciated tradition of discrete Swiss Good Offices which from time to time have been carried out by Swiss lawmakers and private citizens not because but even in spite of official Swiss actions. Some such cases involve US interests concerning the USSR, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Iran, etc.

With the US system of constitutional intra-institutional balances apparently somewhat out of sync with current and foreseeable needs, lawmakers are naturally expected to be imaginative in seeking prompt and effective redress in order to avert damages to citizens and the ship of state. Exploratory personal and direct contacts by elected representatives of the people with foreign dignatories, such as those recently carried out by the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are thus not only lawful but urgently called-for. In the above light, apparent constitutional restraints in dealing with foreign powers may in fact and in law not be what they appear to be. Even if the Supreme Court, in United States v. Curtiss-Wright (299 U.S. 304 (1936)), referred to an "exclusive power of the President as the sole organ of the federal government in the field of international relations", the US Constitution nowhere specifies such an exclusivity.

Moreover, and particularly in cases of State relations with foreign powers, neither the President nor any federal entity aside of Congress, has any explicit constitutional prerogative*). For Art.1 Section 9 of the Constitution explicitly provides: "No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, ... enter into any Agreement or Compact ... with a foreign Power". What's more, the 10th Amendment specifies unambiguously: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

What, then, in consultation with the leadership of Congress, should prevent the enlightened leadership of a State like California, from entering into negotiations with the Iraqi and/or any neighboring government for, e.g. exploring promising but so far stubbornly sidelined alternatives for getting out of the Iraq mess, even for relocating troops standing under California's jurisdicion? As Henry Cabot Lodge might have said: "Hitting the wall and sitting by is neither in the American tradition nor a responsible option." And what he did say might be pondered with benefit not least by the current decision-makers all over the land: "Beware how you trifle with your marvelous inheritance, this great land of ordered liberty, for if we stumble and fall freedom and civilization everywhere will go down in ruin."
___________
*)  see also: "Negotiating Federalism: State Bargaining and the Dormant Treaty Power", by Edward T. Swaine (Assist. Professor, University of Pennsylvania, Dep. of Legal Studies, Wharton School), 49 Duke L. J. 1127