Friday, June 5, 2015



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 Bipeds don't miss this opportunity. Recently my pal Pope Francis gave our editor Johnas Presbyter apoplexy when the Vatican states recognized the Palestinian State.   For a while old Johnas seemed more outraged by the Vatican recognition of the Palestinian State than  Obama's recent unilateral withdrawal of Hamas from the U.S. official list of terrorists organizations. Had the Pope lost his mind and was he drinking the same cool aid as Obama who Johnas is certain is a "Mussee/Commie"? I don't think so. Try to remember that the Catholic Church has had a pope since St. Peter, that's well over 2,000 years of an organized papacy. For hundreds of years the papacy has simultaneously been a governing authority for the world's largest religion and a state within the meaning of international law. I have been around in my giant catfish form for 3,000 years. I've seen it all. I've seen international law evolve and I've seen pope guys step up and intervene in worldly politics. Sometimes these pope guys have been pretty ham handed, but not so much in the last 400 years. The Vatican is very mature as a state, and a state it is, with all rights as such found in international law. The Vatican can send and receive ambassadors, address other heads of state and governments, address the United Nations, enter into treaties, and sue in international tribunals. Indeed the Vatican may well have the longest continuous practice of state craft of any other nation on earth and the longest time under an unchanged system of governance ever recorded.


 In short Pope Francis has a pretty astute set of diplomatic and international legal advisers and a unique view point on world events. So why, why , why on God's green earth would Pope Francis recognize a state governed by a freely elected terrorist organization? Johnas Presbyter wasn't the only staffer totally baffled and disappointed by this turn of events.  Johnas nearly went protestant over the Vatican recognition of the Palestinian State. 

 However, I have a different perspective that I'd like to share with everyone. To understand what the Pope may be up to you have to keep in mind a couple finer points of international law. "States" exist separately from "governments". In Great Britain their view of "separation of powers" includes a very important division that the U.S. founding fathers ignored when drafting the U.S. constitution , so famous for its prudent "separation" of the executive, judicial, and legislative powers. In Britain the monarchy is head of state and the prime minister, himself a member of the legislature, is head of government. The Crown sends and receives ambassadors, hosts head of state diplomatic events, opens and closes Parliament. The people can and have on occasion ended a "government " very suddenly with a vote of "no confidence". During the reorganization of the legislative and executive branches of government the State remains active in the world and recognized by other states and governments. The duty of the Crown after a vote of "no confidence" is not to govern but to assure that a government is rapidly formed. This is pretty much how constitutional monarchies like Britain, and the Netherlands, or Japan work. Constitutional monarchs are important diplomatic players on the world scene and something of a straightening hand on the tiller of state. 

 Some nations divide the role of government and state into two elective officers; a President as head of state usually serving a longer term than the "prime minister" ,who heads "government" ( a mix of the legislative and executive functions). France, and Russia follow this pattern. Still others combine the role of head of state and head of government into one officer, most often called "the President" and commence worrying incessantly that the incumbent is becoming "an imperial president" . Most despots follow this model but minimize the separation or independence of the legislative or judicial branches. The United States has somewhat minimized the "imperial presidency" by maintaining a real element of separation between the judiciary and the legislative bodies, and the executive element which clearly has the President as head. But it is hard to master "Statecraft" when statesman like experience is a rare quality in a U.S. Presidential candidate. 

The Popes have always led a theocratic government of both the universal church organization and the Vatican State. The Pope is both head of state and head of government. However with over 2,000 years of institutional operational experience the Church and the Vatican may have the trappings of an absolute monarchy, but they are running something far more sophisticated and experienced.  The Pope and his adviser's, diplomatic corps, deliberative bodies, all have a distinct appreciation of the difference between "government, and state". At some level so do most western governments even that of the United States just not within the U.S. administration at the moment.

 When Germany was utterly defeated the Nazi government was utterly destroyed, Hitler had committed suicide. All executive functions and legislative functions had virtually ceased. Yet the allies still sought out someone in authority to sign the unconditional surrender document. The last element of the state left standing in Germany was the military so general and flag officers were sought out. These officers were the sole surviving organizational element of the German STATE. Germany was a defeated state , but a state nonetheless. The allies wished to make it clear to the German people that they continued to be part of a State which was about to be held accountable for unlawful and inhumane behavior. Some officers of the defeated Nazi government would be tried for violations of international law or crimes against humanity and imprisoned or executed. All of the German people however formed the state and would be held accountable for the reconstruction of the State, making war reparations, and preparing to enter anew into the discourse of nations.  

 In Japan the Emperor survived as traditional head of state and General MacArthur  recognized him as such and dealt with him as such even as he went about the business of putting on trial and even executing some of the emperor's generals. The emperor in fact had ceased being both head of state and government some years before WW II broke out. The American Army of occupation assured that the role of the Emperor was reduced officially to head of state. But by having the traditional head of state visible as an agent of the Japanese people obviously dealing with the occupying forces , the people of Japan were much more easy to pacify with the promise that they would emerge with a quite different government but with their state intact. 

"The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: a ) a permanent population; b ) a defined territory; c ) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other statesMontevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States ..."

When a government fails, the state generally remains possessing a permanent population, a defined territory, even if disputed and subjected to subsequent adjustments.Some remnant of government, and a recognized capacity to enter into relations with other states,even if it is limited to signing an unconditional surrender remain. The United Nations Charter makes war the exclusive province of nation states, and all signatories to the UN Charter have signed into codified international law the elimination of war making as a state prerogative except in response to attack. By codified international law, only states may conduct "war" and only in self defense. Present international law no longer recognizes "conquest" as establishing a right to expand the territory of the winning belligerent at the expense of the losing belligerent. So the violent actions of Hamas and other Islamic terror organizations are the unlawful acts of unlawful combatants. The present state of international law makes it very difficult to react to the mass destructive , paramilitary crimes of these organizations without a large element of "police tactics and considerations".

Police in free societies are governed by "use of force policies", while military units conduct armed operations under the international law of armed conflict and locally prepared "rules of engagement". Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda, ISIS, et al have all declared 'war" on Israel, the United States,and much of the "West". No nation has yet responded by issuing a declaration of war on these non state organizations. But first ISIS and now the Pope are offering the Western alliance the opportunity to truly defeat the Islamofascists movement.

The codified international legal requirement that states can only declare war on other states and then only after attack doesn't limit the definition of "State" to those with a recognized and respectable government. The Nazi "government" was never considered "legitimate" by the allies. The Vatican may recognize a Palestinian State without recognizing or approving of its specific government of the day. In a similar vein the United States and others are not prohibited by present international law from qualifying a declaration of war by adding adjectives to the state named in the declaration. For example while no civilized nation will recognize ISIS as anything other than an organized gang of perpetrators of crimes against humanity their claim of "statehood" in conjunction with actual effective control of territory would allow any legitimate state to refer to them in a declaration as
a "de facto state" and incorporate such a description into a modern and acceptable declaration of war. The same goes for a"Palestinian State". There is only a need to name a state in a declaration of war,
the declaring state may add adjectives such as "de facto", "aspiring", "illegitimate" etc.and even declare disparaging remarks about the :government" of such states.What is necessary for a declaration of war is that it must be by a state against a state, This is important to the international community to help confine hostilities somewhat to the geographic territories of the belligerents and their vessels at sea and aircraft over their territories or within their seaward declared air defense zones.

Thus the Vatican's recognition of a "Palestinian State may well be a reminder to the Palestinian people that they comprise any Palestinian State and are responsible for the actions of its government. As long as there is no Palestinian State Israel has been forced to deal with the actions of HAMAS, the terrorist government much like a police action. If Palestine is a state it must act like a state and accept the liabilities of statehood. The declarations by the PLO and backed by Hamas that Israel shall be "pushed into the sea"become not the rantings of a family of non governmental organizations but the clearly unlawful war intention of an unlawful government of a state. Israel's forces have been responding within very restrictive use of force rules similar to law enforcement use of force policies. If Israel decides to follow the Vatican in recognizing "Palestine" as a state Israel is free to conduct operations under the international law of armed conflict. Here is how the situation on the ground changes.

Under the international law of armed conflict Israel may attack without "provocation" the entire war r making capacity of "Palestine" both tactical and strategic including most all industrial capacity, communications systems, and transportation infrastructure."Collateral damage" such as civilian deaths, damages to homes, and other unintended targets is to be avoided but is not unexpected, and usually not a "war crime". There are no equivalents to "Miranda warnings" . The enemy use of prohibited targets such as medical facilities, places of worship, hospitals relieves combatants largely of their obligation not to fire into these prohibited targets. Israel is constantly subjected  to Hamas fire from behind women, children, from school yards, hospitals. Because Israel has treated the Palestinians as an ethnic element within Israel borders that aspires to statehood IDF operates under some very restrictive rules of engagement. If Palestine was recognized formally as a state and the Palestinian declaration of war responded to formally the gloves could come off.

Hamas and the PLO before it has always maintained that Israel has no right to exist and that it is their intention to to "push Israel into the sea. As many have observed, if Israel put down its arms it would cease to exist. If Palestine put down its arms there would be peace. The rest of us who live outside the region but are affected by the constant violence don't really care if Palestine moves to a negotiated peace, allowing Israel to live in peace behind secure borders. or if Palestine becomes a glow in the dark parking lot. Recognition as a State with as yet to be determined borders allows the world and the IDF to hold Palestine to a responsible standard and allows the ultimate sanction, war to unconditional surrender" if they don't start acting responsibly.

In a similar vein recognition of ISIS as a de facto state at war with the United States would allow the "war clause" in many of our laws to be invoked. American Muslims giving financial aid and support directly to ISIS related entities could be held guilty of treason. No longer could the local mosque collect for ISIS money laundering "Islamic charities" invoking religious freedom arguments against close scrutiny. "Aiding and abetting the enemy" in war trumps such defenses. If you aid the enemy your motivation has no legally defensive weight, you've committed treason. A formal declaration of war does not commit a nation to a particular course of war or obligate it to even fire a single shot in anger. But provides us with stronger border and sea frontier controls, prevents enemy infiltration and communications with fifth columns, and cuts sympathetic funding of the enemy by traitors. Entire dangerous population elements can be identified and interned. Enemy aliens among us can be rounded up and detained for the duration.

So to Johnas and other Christians fear not. Yes, you are only too aware of the fact that Hamas is in fact an anti Jewish, anti Christian, Muslim terrorist organization. Hamas was freely elected as the government of "Palestine"and yet the Pope, the world's most visible Christian has chosen to diplomatically "recognize the "State of Palestine". This is not a recognition of any legitimacy for Hamas, or any other Muslim terror groups. This may well be a final offer for a chair at the peace table for Palestine. A responsible state would take that opportunity. But a state, any state must accept the consequences for their actions and the Palestinians have been conducting in one way or another acts of war since 1948. One view of Vatican recognition of Palestinian statehood is that it is meant as a gentle, face saving final warning that a mailed fist will descend upon them soon if they don't accept the reins of civilized behavior. Building access tunnels to Israel's kindergartens using humanitarian relief money was only the latest example of manifestly evil behavior by the people who want to be the "Palestinian State".

I'm NANAZU and I wrote this message.

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