Jump to content
  • entries
    8
  • comments
    21
  • views
    3,653

Treaties and You: Part Two, Drafting in Action


VIdiot the Great

116 views

 Share

As it so happens, some friends of mine proposed a treaty recently. In this entry of 'Treaties and You' I'll take you through my thoughts and revisions regarding what some call a simple ToA.

"Preamble:

This ToA is signed in the spirit of good faith, friendship, and cooperation, in an effort to further the ideals of peace, understanding, and a better future for both alliances.

Sovereignty:

All signatories of this ToA are sovereign nations, and said sovereignty is not violated by any of the terms of this agreement.

Non-Aggression:

No member nation of either alliance will declare war on any member nation of the other, or provide aid (be it financial, technology, military or information) to any known enemy of the other. No member nation of either alliance will engage in acts of espionage against the other. Alliance leaders are expected to alert the other signatory alliance's leaders to any violation of this treaty's terms as soon as they become aware of it.

Friendship:

Signatory alliances and their members will treat each other with respect and good will. Healthy debate and constructive criticism are encouraged, however. All efforts will be made to settle disputes through normal diplomatic channels.

Smiley Trade:

Signatory alliances will exchange [# of Smileys] with each other as a sign of peace and prosperity for months to come.

Assistance:

In the event of international disputes or conflicts, neither alliance is committed to assist the other, though it is encouraged. Any information gathered by one alliance that has an impact on the other alliance's security or well-being will be promptly and privately shared with the other alliance's leaders. All information about Rogues will be shared, and their status as Rogues will be respected by both signatories.

Withdrawal:

Either alliance can withdraw from this treaty upon providing the other signatory with express written notice forty-eight (48) hours prior to the cancellation."

Pretty standard stuff, right? Now here's my first go through with comments:

Ok, here's my suggested edits and why I suggest them. Original is in black text, my changes and comments in red.

Preamble:

This ToA is signed in the spirit of good faith, friendship, and cooperation, in an effort to further the ideals of peace, understanding, and a better future for both alliances.

Now first of all, I absolutely hate to call treaties by their initials. Why? Because then folks impute all this other stuff into them that isn't in the actual agreement. I would suggest the following revision:

"This treaty is signed in the spirit of good faith, friendship, and cooperation, in an effort to further the ideals of peace, understanding, and a better future for both alliances."

Sovereignty:

All signatories of this ToA are sovereign nations, and said sovereignty is not violated by any of the terms of this agreement.

This is another standard phrase that drives me batty, specifically the 'not violated by any of the terms of this agreement." In fact, that is precisely what this treaty does, is abridge the sovereignty of both alliances by disallowing the declaration of war on each other (a sovereign function if there ever was one). I would suggest the following revision:

"All signatories of this treaty are sovereign alliances, and said sovereignty is not violated except for the terms listed below. To the degree that this treaty is silent regarding a topic, both alliances retain sovereignty with respect to that subject matter."

To me, this is a clearer, and more accurate, depiction of what is actually going on here.

Non-Aggression:

No member nation of either alliance will declare war on any member nation of the other, or provide aid (be it financial, technology, military or information) to any known enemy of the other. No member nation of either alliance will engage in acts of espionage against the other. Alliance leaders are expected to alert the other signatory alliance's leaders to any violation of this treaty's terms as soon as they become aware of it.

This phrase is perfect. It lays out exactly what is expected from both signatories. I wouldn't change a thing.

Friendship:

Signatory alliances and their members will treat each other with respect and good will. Healthy debate and constructive criticism are encouraged, however. All efforts will be made to settle disputes through normal diplomatic channels.

Ok, this is another one of those 'touchy feely' terms we see in many treaties. It needs to be cleaned up. First of all, I'd ditch the first sentence completely. Of course we're going to treat each other with respect and good will. Otherwise, why the hell sign a treaty. The second sentence also is inartful and doesn't really add anything. Now the third phrase is ok, but could be clearer. I would suggest the following:

"All efforts will be made to settle disputes privately with the other signatory." Why? What the hell is a 'normal diplomatic channel?' OWF? That's Opethian's normal diplomatic channel. I think what we're getting at here is that we will approach each other privately before 'airing and dirty laundry' which is what we do anyway (and I know you do the same.)

Smiley Trade:

Signatory alliances will exchange [# of Smileys] with each other as a sign of peace and prosperity for months to come.

:angry: I hate smileys, but the phrase is fine.

Assistance:

In the event of international disputes or conflicts, neither alliance is committed to assist the other, though it is encouraged.

This is another standard phrase and it sucks like most standard phrases. Basically it says 'yeah, we might help each other.' If one believes in the sovereignty of alliances, as I do, then I am free to assist whether or not we have a treaty. This is one of those phrases that needs to go away.

Any information gathered by one alliance that has an impact on the other alliance's security or well-being will be promptly and privately shared with the other alliance's leaders.

Now this phrase is useful, but needs an addition after 'leaders' as follows: 'to the extent that such exchange does not violate any existing treaties. Why is this needed? Let's say you have info that DE, your protector, is going to attack my protector (TOP). Clearly, you're not going to be allowed to share that information with me by DE, because I'd be compelled to share that information with TOP. The converse is true. Therefore, I believe an exemption needs to be made to the term.

All information about Rogues will be shared, and their status as Rogues will be respected by both signatories.

This phrase works fine.

Withdrawal:

Either alliance can withdraw from this treaty upon providing the other signatory with express written notice forty-eight (48) hours prior to the cancellation.

Now, this is one of those pseudo legal phrases that has no place in CN. 'express written notice?' Am I sending it certified mail return receipt requested as well? No, of course not. The phrase should be amended as follows:

"Either alliance can withdraw from this treaty upon providing the other signatory notice in the form of a government official informing a government official of the intent to cancel forty-eight (48) hourse prior to the cancellation."

The above changes yield the following:

"Preamble:

This treaty is signed in the spirit of good faith, friendship, and cooperation, in an effort to further the ideals of peace, understanding, and a better future for both alliances.

Sovereignty:

All signatories of this treaty are sovereign alliances, and said sovereignty is not violated except for the terms listed below. To the degree that this treaty is silent regarding a topic, both alliances retain sovereignty with respect to that subject matter.

Non-Aggression:

No member nation of either alliance will declare war on any member nation of the other, or provide aid (be it financial, technology, military or information) to any known enemy of the other. No member nation of either alliance will engage in acts of espionage against the other. Alliance leaders are expected to alert the other signatory alliance's leaders to any violation of this treaty's terms as soon as they become aware of it.

Friendship:

We are friends, which is why we are making this treaty. All efforts will be made to settle disputes privately with the other signatory. Need we say more?

Smiley Trade:

Signatory alliances will exchange [# of Smileys] with each other as a sign of peace and prosperity for months to come.

Information:

Any information gathered by one alliance that has an impact on the other alliance's security or well-being will be promptly and privately shared with the other alliance's leaders to the extent that such exchange does not violate any existing treaties.. All information about Rogues will be shared, and their status as Rogues will be respected by both signatories.

Withdrawal:

Either alliance can withdraw from this treaty upon providing the other signatory notice in the form of a government official informing a government official of the intent to cancel forty-eight (48) hours prior to the cancellation."

But this is not the end of the inquiry. I decided to go through it again and tighten up some language.

Preamble:

This treaty is signed in the spirit of good faith, friendship, and cooperation, in an effort to further the ideals of peace, understanding, and a better future for both alliances.

This looks good. It's to the point, and gives the background necessary.

Sovereignty:

All signatories of this treaty are sovereign alliances, and said sovereignty is not violated except for the terms listed below. To the degree that this treaty is silent regarding a topic, both alliances retain sovereignty with respect to that subject matter.

This also looks good.

Non-Aggression:

No member nation of either alliance will declare war on any member nation of the other, or provide aid (be it financial, technology, military or information) to any known enemy of the other. No member nation of either alliance will engage in acts of espionage against the other. Alliance leaders are expected to alert the other signatory alliance's leaders to any violation of this treaty's terms as soon as they become aware of it.

I'm satisfied that this relates our intent.

Friendship:

We are friends, which is why we are making this treaty. All efforts will be made to settle disputes privately with the other signatory. Need we say more?

A little redundant with the preamble, but the language holds and gets the point across.

Smiley Trade:

Signatory alliances will exchange [# of Smileys] with each other as a sign of peace and prosperity for months to come.

I've covered smileys.

Information:

Any information gathered by one alliance that has an impact on the other alliance's security or well-being will be promptly and privately shared with the other alliance's leaders to the extent that such exchange does not violate any existing treaties.. All information about Rogues will be shared, and their status as Rogues will be respected by both signatories.

Almost there.

Withdrawal:

Either alliance can withdraw from this treaty upon providing the other signatory notice in the form of a government official informing a government official of the intent to cancel forty-eight (48) hours prior to the cancellation.

Ah, something I missed. The phrase should read 'a government official informing a government official of the other signatory...' As I previously edited it, theoretically, I could say to a fellow gov official of my alliance 'we're canceling the treaty' and it would comport with the clause. Clearly, that's not the purpose of the phrase, however, I think it should be spelled out.

Which brings me to another matter that I'll cover at some point: "Breaking Up is Hard To Do: Why So Many Cancel Treaties So Wrong."

 Share

2 Comments


Recommended Comments

ToAs are just glorified PIATs, therefore pretty much useless other than to say "Hey, we're friends with [insert alliance here]".

Actually, they are more than that. If you actually abide by the terms as written, this treaty:

1) Prevents either signatory from attacking the other signatory. This may not seem like a big deal to many, but it does provide a level of security to an alliance that did not exist prior to the execution of the treaty; and

2) Creates an affirmative obligation on the parts of both signatories to provide the other with any information that may be in its possession regarding threats to either signatory's security. Again, this may not seem like much to you, but the exchange of information regarding threats to my alliance is pretty darn important to me.

I would assert the reason most folks don't think these treaties are worthwhile is because they don't actually follow them to the letter, especially with regards to information regarding threats to security.

Link to comment
Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...