Transparency and Scrutiny in International Relations

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This NY Times article on the Hatoyama government’s determination to fully expose various “secret” Cold War-era U.S.-Japan security accords seems like a timely complement to the current turbulence in U.S.-EU counterterrorism cooperation. Like the U.S.-Japan agreements, many of the U.S.-EU agreements that followed 9/11 operated either entirely covertly (black site detention centers) or else under the radar (data sharing programs), for the simple reason that they would not have withstood popular scrutiny. That kind of pragmatic trade-off, though, comes with costly deferred maintenance, as demonstrated by the Japan article. When these agreements are fully exposed and recognized, even after they’ve […]

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