Letter to the Editor: Overseas Travel

If you have a child or a grandchild or a niece or a nephew traveling overseas, you can no longer sleep at night in confidence that their being a U.S. citizen offers that child any protection.

Three points: 1) Very few, if any, foreign governments offer individuals the legal protections that our government offers defendants. 2) Some governments will convict the innocent if it suits their purposes. 3) When you travel or do business overseas, you rely 100 percent – maybe even to the extent of your life – on the U.S. State Department to come to your defense and be your advocate.

Trump and, according to public statements by Giuliani, even the State Department have turned this on its head. They may now be your prosecutor overseas, not your advocate. Both Trump and Giuliani have openly stated – even bragged – that they have enlisted the aid of the government of Ukraine to prosecute citizens of the United States. 

We can no longer trust the Trump administration to stand by us. We, and our business and political leaders, our missionaries and our young travelers, can now expect lawless governments around the world to arrest and harass us or spy on us if they think this will incur favor for them by our president or by our State Department. You can never again have absolute faith in our government to come to your aid.

Your world, my world, the world of important U.S. business, religious and political leaders, has just been turned upside down.

P.S. USA Today published that the Egyptian government intended to arrest and try an American citizen journalist employed by the New York Times. That article said the Trump administration allowed the Egyptian government to proceed and would not intercede on the journalist’s behalf. The Times reached out to the government of Ireland, and that government did extricate the journalist. Ukraine is clearly not the only case of this, as the Egyptian/Irish government case establishes.

Jim Riead

Egg Harbor, Wisconsin