Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Civis Romanus Sum

Seems that Hallel Yaffa Ariel, the Israeli girl killed by a terrorist as she slept in her bed, was an American citizen.  From the State Department, we get the usual mawkish half-hearted condolences.  President Jimmy Carter set the tone back in 1979, when some Iranian terrorists took the staff of the U.S. Embassy in Teheran hostage and Carter allowed the situation to continue, literally until the last day of his term in office.

Once upon a time, there was an international perception that America would protect its citizens abroad.  In 1904, President Teddy Roosevelt had the State Department send the famous "Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead" telegram to secure the release of Ion Perdicaris, an American (or, as it turned out, a former American) held hostage in Tangier.  [Never mind that Raisuli's political demands were met; at least Roosevelt sent in the Marines.].

Genghis Khan had no patience for those who harassed his subjects.  And in 1850, the Don Pacifico affair boosted the political career of Henry John Temple, the Viscount Palmerston, who would become British Prime Minister five years later.  As Palmerston noted in his speech to Parliament, in the days of the Roman Empire a Roman citizen's declaration of his status as such ("Civis Romanus sum") would bring various privileges and protections not only from the Roman governmental authorities, but from the governments of other nations as well.

This questionable ability and resolve of the State Department (which, you will recall, utterly failed to protect its own Ambassador in Benghazi) is not sitting well with the American expatriate community here.

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