Chapter 35: Carrots and Sticks
Copyright© 2016 by Graybyrd
They met in the conference room of the Geneva Embassy. Ambassador Jon’a-ren stared in confusion at his distinguished guests from the United Nations. He was truly perplexed.
“Can that be correct? You have a judicial process for bringing brutal leaders to justice? Criminals who are essentially beyond the reach of their own nations, their national courts of justice, but your world court has no authority to force them to appear, to face justice?” he exclaimed in wonder.
“Ambassador,” President Lee Hang-Fyun of the International Criminal Court responded, “I sense your frustration. I also sense that the realities of Earth politics, the barriers to unity, to unified purpose, are not known on your world. I must beg your understanding. We are a world of many nations and many interests, and these conflict with one another more frequently than not.
“Our court has existed only since 2002, although the need for such a world institution has been proposed since Earth’s first Great War, in 1919. We failed to act. Then again in 1937 following horrors of terrorism, thirteen nations created a document to establish such a court, but the other nations failed to ratify it.
“Again, in 1948, after tens of millions of innocents were slaughtered outside all bounds of human decency, the newly-created United Nations Assembly recognized the need, but at that time the so-called Great Powers who were victorious in the conflict reserved judgment for themselves, and it was they who held the trials and sentenced the leaders of the losing side to imprisonment and death.
“Then the Great Powers turned on themselves, splitting into two inimical factions. The Cold War that resulted paralyzed our planet for decades. None would entertain the idea of a world judiciary that might become an instrument of judgment against themselves for crimes committed in the pursuit of supremacy.
“And now you ask us to judge crimes committed by a President and his appointees currently in power in the United States of America. Although a hundred and twenty-two nation-states are signatory to the ICC, and a further thirty-one countries, including Russia, have signed but not ratified their agreement, it is paramount to understand that the United States has steadfastly and repeatedly refused to participate. Three states — Israel, Sudan and the United States — have officially informed the UN Secretary General that they will not support a world court. The United States has consistently held that they neither recognize the authority or the judgments of the International Criminal Court.
“And that, Ambassador, as one might say in frank terms, ends the matter,” President Lee Hang-Fyun explained.
“Sir, I am confounded! Astonished!“ Jon’a-ren exclaimed. “You are telling me that a criminal leader of a nation can evade Earth’s judgment and justice simply by not agreeing to submit?”
“That is exactly what he is saying,” Secretary-General Kusnadi added. “The entire basis of international law is based on voluntary compliance of the nations, when they realize that they must bind themselves to certain commitments for the sake of themselves and for the common good.
“We — the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, the War Crimes Tribunal — none of us have a police arm or a military to enforce our rulings. Yes, if the participants agree, we can assemble a peace-keeping force, to stand between the warring factions. But again, it is a voluntary agreement. If one side decides to ignore the presence of our peace-keepers, we cannot force them to honor the cease-fire or border agreements. Too often we are forced to withdraw our men and women for their own safety. And too often they are overrun and lost in their service,” he said.
“If I understand this correctly, a nation is jealous of its sovereignty and most especially insistent upon its internal law and order. No citizen may simply refuse to submit to their nation’s legal authority and judicial rulings. Yet that very same nation, itself a member of the community of nations, will refuse to submit itself to international law and judgment?” Jon’a-ren asked.
“Essentially, yes. Nations are zealously protective of their sovereignty, their standing among the other nations. They will neither invite nor submit to outside interference. But they demand absolute submission from their citizens and the territories under their control,” President Lee Hang-Fyun added.
“So it is hopeless, then? We hold overwhelming evidence of President Stinson’s criminal actions, and further evidence that he has subverted the judicial process in his own country. But that is the end of it? No further judicial process is possible?” Michael asked.
“Not quite. There is another option. We can act if the situation is referred to the Court by the United Nations Security Council,” President Hang-Fyun said.
“But that is no option,” interjected Secretary-General Kusnadi. “Although the United States has withdrawn from the U.N., it still wields enormous influence among the Western Bloc nations, and most especially those of the NATO alliance. They would oppose any attempt to introduce the matter before the Security Council. It would never be discussed, let alone come to a vote. So as you say, Mr. Hawthorne, in practical political terms that is the end of it.”
“There are other matters we might discuss while we enjoy the luxury of your presence,” Jon’a-ren offered to their guests over an embassy luncheon. All were gathered informally around a table set up on the patio enclosure overlooking the back gardens. The sounds of the fountain added to a pleasant atmosphere of warm breezes scented with the blossoms of early summer.
“We have been deluged with requests from virtually every organization on the planet for information, aid, knowledge, technology, devices, people, documents, recordings — quite literally, anything and everything to do with Masi’shen experience and existence. We simply do not have the means or the ability to honor these requests,” Jon’a-ren explained, “and we have a much larger problem to consider. We cannot appear to favor one faction, one nation, over another. I am sure you can appreciate the difficulties that would instantly arise.
“And there is another issue. We cannot be sure that whatever we share might not, in some unforeseen manner, be turned to some military or economic advantage by one warring side against another. We are quite — anxious — concerning that possibility,” he explained.
“Yet at the same time, we have already taken the first steps toward sharing our technology, in this case our healing technology, to benefit the people of Earth. It has been received with gratitude, and hostility. Those who are saved by it consider it a miracle. Those whose financial interests are threatened by it consider it a curse.
“I ask you gentlemen, you leaders of the United Nations. What would you do in our situation? How can we remain here as visitors, guests of your planet, while maintaining a barrier between us, a necessity that prevents access to our knowledge, our technology?” Jon’a-ren inquired.
“We do not have a simple answer to your question, Ambassador Jon’a-ren. We have never encountered such a thing before, as you can guess. It is with no small fear that I consider what has transpired in our history whenever an advanced culture reached unexplored lands and encountered an indigenous people. Typically it would be a tribal culture far less advanced in resources and weapons than the invaders. As expected, the invaders were less than benign in their occupation and the indigenous peoples suffered horribly for it. Disease, rape, slavery and too frequently, genocide, was their usual lot.
“Not to say, Ambassador Jon’a-ren, that we indigenous earthlings expect such an unfortunate consequence attending your arrival here,” Secretary-General Kusnadi smiled. “yet you might consider the sovereignty issues among our many nations that we discussed this morning. They fear you, sir. They fear your technology. They fear that you might favor one nation over another, and thus bring about a great unbalancing of a delicate, tenuous balance of powers. One nation will benefit; their neighbors will not. It’s as simple and yet so impossibly entangled as that. I’m afraid we face a most perplexing dilemma, Ambassador.”
“We do have some understanding of that. We’ve tried to exercise great care in bringing our healing chambers and methods to Earth. As you know, we started with pilot installations in Canada and we are currently developing sites and agreements in your own nation of Indonesia. And already we have encountered savage and horrific retaliation at the hands of President Stinson’s government. We’ve heard reports that the large pharmaceutical corporations seek to outlaw our technology for any number of feigned violations, but principally for the fact that we are a threat to their economic primacy,” Jon’a-ren acknowledged.
“Yes, and let me pose a not-so hypothetical situation for you, sir,” the Secretary-General said. “Our great Asian neighbor to the north jealously guards its own interests, which is their right, of course. But I expect they will not look kindly upon the several conditions you say must be accepted as a condition of receiving the healing chambers and training.
“You require that free and equal access to the device and its benefits be offered to all citizens of the nation, regardless of status or wealth. I can see an immediate objection to that. The Chinese government reserves the sole right to make such judgments. Who is to say, other than themselves, that a common citizen has the same right of access as a high-ranking Party official? A regional Governor? A military commander? An important factory official?
“This will place the Masi’shen in a very difficult position. If you deny these devices to the Chinese nation for reason of non-compliance with the terms, they will say that you are interfering in their internal affairs, their sovereign governance. And when you withhold the healing chambers, then you deny the benefits to a significant proportion of the planet’s people.
“But on the other hand, if you accede to their demands, you have just given them the most powerful means of oppression that any government has ever enjoyed. As you have seen, parents of sick children will make any sacrifice, even sacrificing their lives and fortunes to save their child.
“That is an extreme example but it is realistic and I fear it is an inevitable event,” Secretary-General Kusnadi said.
“If I may comment, sir,” Michael interceded. “My father and I have discussed this very issue for many hours and with several respected leaders in our delegation. The simple answer to the problem that you’ve posed is this: we dare not submit to such demands. It would destroy everything we hope to achieve before we could even begin.
“It would be tragic to deny the gift of healing to a billion or more people, but that is not the fault of the Masi’shen. It would be the fault of their intransigent, heavy-handed leaders. We have only two options open to us: withhold the technology entirely and completely, or release it slowly under carefully controlled conditions judged most beneficial in the long run. Michael paused for a moment, and he smiled at their UN guests.
“And that is where I believe we have an offer for you gentlemen and ladies of Earth that you cannot possibly refuse!”
“Beginning with the early nineteenth century, your planet experienced a period of scientific and philosophical investigation unparalleled in human history. We’ve studied your libraries,” Michael explained. “The Masi’shen have seen it through fresh eyes. Literally overnight your peoples went from thousands of years of an animal-powered existence, to self-powered machines and beyond, to the very threshold of space. In less than one hundred fifty years, gentlemen! From hand tools and animal sweat, to all this! From sails to nuclear propulsion. From horseback to jet aircraft. From signal fires and flags to global satellite networks. Please, you should respect whatever spark or gift of creativity that was stirred in humanity at the beginning of those years. To our understanding, it was a miracle.
“Yet during that same span of years you have warred among yourselves and polluted this planet! And whatever miracle has so far prevented Earth’s nuclear Armageddon is totally beyond my understanding.
“So our offer to you good and dedicated people of the United Nations is this: we intend to plant an acorn in the soil that you have tilled with sweat and watered with blood. We see the United Nations as either the hand of your God seeking an age of peace, or as the tool of your Satan that will lead to your destruction. It is your choice. At the moment we see great good, but it is shackled with the chains of stiff-necked leaders who refuse to submit to the common good.