The Corner

Re: Re: Will the Pentagon Always Be Able to Evacuate Americans from Hotspots?

Mark, let’s actually agree to agree. The point I am making, however, is that the Congress certainly should acknowledge that evacuation is no longer a responsibility of the U.S. government, and the State Department should stop encouraging every Tom, Dick, and Harriet from registering at the U.S. Embassy. What is needed is to enter into the debate with eyes wide open. When a crisis hits — for example, the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War — we should simply tell Americans that they should hunker down, and that the advantages of being citizens of a superpower are less than what they once were. When and if the defense cuts come, Congress should acknowledge that they will impact the capability to:

  • Evacuate citizens

  • Contain rogue regimes

  • Address multiple crises simultaneously

Congress may conclude that the decline in capability is worth it.  What Congress should not do is pretend that budget cuts will not undermine capabilities that many officials, rightly or wrongly, wish the military to have and then whine they did not know when, a year or two down the road, constituents demand assistance evacuating their loved ones.

You bring up a separate issue about which the American government is schizophrenic: dual citizenship. Going back to my posts of the other day, the Defense Security Services (DISCO) does not always recognize that dual citizenship is not optional. For example, the Iranian government requires an act of the Iranian parliament to revoke Iranian citizenship, even on request. This is one of the reasons why all the Iranian-Americans detained in Iran were traveling on Iranian passports rather than American passports. The Russian government still requires three or four years to revoke citizenship, even for people who fled Russia as refugees and want nothing to do with that country. That the U.S. government acquiesces to foreign governments not recognizing naturalized American citizens as American citizens is a fight that the State Department should pick up one of these days.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.


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