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August 13, 2011


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It's a "sovereign" country.

Randy, surely you have more to say than that ...

It's a protectorate of the United States. Given that protectorates are no longer a recognised category in international law that just means that it's the normal Organised Hypocrisy of sovereignty. Given that under classical international law the UK would be classed as a US protectorate given that they have sovereign military bases that doesn't say that much.

I don't think the fact that the Privy Council is their highest Court of Appeal says that much unless you'd argue that Jamaica isn't sovereign either. I don't imagine the UK would do anything if the Bermudan government set up a domestic Supreme Court. Suppose for the sake of argument the Bermudans contracted, by treaty or otherwise for some other entity to run its highest Court of Appeal, Canada would be fine seeing as the foundations of the legal systems are close to identical. Would that make Bermuda more or less sovereign than it is currently?

The DEA situation, is it that different from the situation in Colombia, and would you decribe Colombia as sovereign?

All of these small countries are legally sovereign under sufferance from the USA. You could say that of practically the entire Caribbean and Central America. If you were really pushing it the sovereign states in the Latin America and the Caribbean would be Brazil and Mexico. Sovereignty isn't a binary state.

I'd say that the fact that the Bahamas issues its own widely accepted passports is a strong indicator that it's a fully sovereign country.

Sovereign-light, then.

Saying that Jamaica isn't a fully independent state given its judicial system doesn't sound off to me. Arguably, Canada wasn't a fully independent state until 1982 when the Canadian constitution was fully repatriated. Countries where the judicial system and and the monetary system are partly or wholly under foreign control, and where the government's monopoly over force is outsourced to another polity, aren't.

I guess this all relates to your ongoing interest in American empire. I don't think it applies very well to the GCC states, notwithstanding their security dependence on the United States, as they're otherwise quite able to do what they will as Bahrain shows. I do think it applies quite well to the various small and microstates of the Caribbean and the Central American isthmus, which are ultimately dependent on the United States as a security provider and an economic partner, often (as in the drug war) to their detriment.

I'd say it's sovereign. Nothing you said questions whether it has the right to de-dollarize, establish it's own supreme court, and/or pull out of the comprehensive maritime agreement. The original authority belongs to the GCOB, and it has delegated it as it saw fit. The delegation of powers doesn't make their ultimate source not hold them. Or is the US President not the commander in chief of the amed forces because of all the generals, colonels, captains... between him and any given private? (Some of those officers may even be foreign, in the case of joint command structures).

That's a good question, Eric. Two things, one general and one specific. The general one is Barry's point: sovereignty is meaningless. Puerto Rico is not legally sovereign, but it retains as much of a right to leave the U.S. orbit as does the Bahamas. In that sense, I don't think your question has much substantive meaning --- an empire with loyal satraps and loyal subjects is still an empire.

The specific point in the Bahamas case is that its arrangements with the U.S. are not truly voluntary. If the islands expelled American law enforcement, the reaction would be catastrophic, since the U.S. can (and would) strangle the Bahamian economy. We pushed our way in around 1984; the Bahamians didn't invite us, even if our presence has proved popular.

But where do you draw the line on sovereignity then? Was post-WWII Finland sovereign after being well, Finlandized by the Soviets? The Weimar Republic? Does the US give up some of it's sovereignity when it gives sweetheart trade deals to strategically valuable partners (say, Pakistan)? Nation states do things all the time because they don't like the consequences of doing them. Sometimes the consequences are more severe than others. And as another example, Americans have the legal right to tell their boss that they're a festering pustule who couldn't manage their way out of a paper bag with a flashlight and a map. Just because they fear the consequences doing so does not mean they don't have the right to free speech. Weaker nations need to compromise more, and make greater compromises than stronger ones. Weak vs. strong is clearly a continuous variable. On one end you've got the US and on the other you have the Bahamas, and in the middle Belgium and France (Belgium clearly being closer to the Bahamas' end). If you want sovereignty to be a Yes-No discrete variable, I'd put the Bahamas on the Yes side (while acknowledging that due to it's being on the extreme end of the "weak" spectrum it's policies are err... extremely US-friendly).

And pre-independence Canada or Australia might be an example from the "Strong, non-sovereign" column, while not (technically) Sovereign, the British parliament was constrained to some degree or another in dealing with them because they would become independent if they were pissed off enough...

For your original three questions: yes after 1956, yes after 1923, and yes completely.

You are daft! US currency is used in many places, and the United States has no control over the currency there. British Virgin Islands, Panama, etc. I lived in BVI and can tell you, US banking regulations absolutely are not in force. When the bank makes a gross error, loses your money, etc, there is no agency outside the country to complain to, it is all local control.

Stop you silly, ignorant, uninformed and typically European bias of making the U.S. to be some big bad bully pushing everyone around. Most times the truth is, the resources and wealth of the U.S. are envied and desired and then asked for. Then we get nagged unendingly by ignorant people like you, which just continues the gross misperceptions.

Why, hello, Gloria! Very nice to meet you.

Now, I am a bit confused. Could you explain what banking regulations have to do with the argument in the above post? It says that if a country adopts your money, then it also adopts your monetary policy. Which means that it loses the ability to have its own monetary policy. Isn't that sort of obvious?

I would also like to know why you think I am European. After all, in the immortal words of the great Todd Smith, "Born and raised in New York, that's where I come from."

Obviously, only a true American would quote Todd Smith. But you can check by clicking on the "New York" link in the tag cloud! There are even pictures of me at age 16. Plus other stuff that I'm sure you'll find fascinating.

Of course, perhaps you think New York is in Europe? Many people do. I'll add that I served in the U.S. Army National Guard, which Europeans really aren't supposed to do. I am, however, of European descent. Might that be your issue? I would like to know.

I have lots of family in the same Florida county that you're posting from! Do we know each other? They have the Maurer last name. Please, look them up! They can vouch for my super-American Americanicity. Hooah!

Now, I am also curious as why you say that the post makes the U.S. seems like a "big bad bully." Honestly, I'm curious! After all, the supreme court of the Bahamas is in the U.K., which is not the same thing as the U.S., although I can see how the one-letter difference might throw you. And I did write that OPBAT "prevented any chance that the Bahamas might become a narco-state" which kind of seems to me in my ignorance to be a good thing.

Right! That reminds me. It would be very nice if you would apologize for the "ignorant" tag. It's rather intemperate! Makes it sound like you're ranting, instead of presenting what I am sure is a well-thought out argument based on a clear reading of what I wrote.

Thanks greatly, Gloria! I very much await your reply. Looking forward to meeting you the next time I'm in Florida!

Me? I'm offended by the implicit assumption that empire is a _bad_ thing! I'm an imperialist, through and through.

What implicit assumption? Not seeing it, sir.

Gloria's implicit assumption, not yours. Sometimes the world needs big, bad bullies.

Hello all. I would have to say that the Bahamas is a fully sovereign state, with Queen Elisabeth II as head of state. The Bahamas tightly controls its own legislation and other laws etc. Her Majesty's Privy Council is the highest court in the land but it only functions primarily as a last ditch court of appeals. It has the power to over turn the Bahamas Supreme court rulings. The British system ( the Bahamas still being a Royal Realm) works differently from the American system, you should research the differences.
And speaking of the differences, the Bahamas defence force and Police force is trained in the common tradition along British lines with Bahamian tones.

The Currency is the Bahamas Dollar and it is controlled by the Central Bank of the Bahamas. It was pegged to the US dollar as a strategic move to lure and to make it easier for US tourists to shop and visit. And it is a successful move. In Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) the currency IS the US dollar. And the same for the Turks and Caicos.
The Bahamian Dollar is a separate currency, with its own history, and it can be uncoupled at any time. It used to be the Bahamian Pound.

I know your article makes for good reading. But like Fox news it is a merely sensational.

Due to the OPBAT agreement, the USCG and DEA are allowed operate under Bahamian supervision.

The Bahamas has its own passport controls , education system etc.

And I don't know if you've noticed but the Bahamas is more interested in its partnership China now. Why because it is more beneficial.

China as a partner actually develops infrastructure. Building roads, hotels, schools etc. The Bahamas is not dependant on the US, because the US hasn't done anything for the Bahamas. It is not in America's nature to assist in the type of way that the Chinese will.

Everything in the Bahamas US history, has been by choice on the part of the Bahamas.
In the short time the the Bahamas has partnered with China, the Chinese have given more to the Bahamas than the US ever have.

The Mega container Port in Freeport. The National Stadium.
The relevant issue here is the Bahamas is more dependant on China than the US.


The judges in the Bahamas supreme court is call Chief Justice and they wear the red robes and are called My Lord/ Lady.

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