The Globe & Mail gives us today's dose of how those awful Americans are oppressing the world - this time through ITAR restrictions on military contracts.
The article states:
Despite Charter provisions that prevent discrimination based on nationality, the citizen of Canada and Syria -- along with 23 other dual-national colleagues -- was told he will never be able to work on U.S. military contracts at his workplace in Mirabel, Que.
Mr. Nahas was the latest Canadian to fall afoul of Pentagon rules that prevent people from certain countries from coming into contact with U.S. military data.
"I feel like a second-class citizen. It's discrimination, pure and simple," said Mr. Nahas, a technician who assembles helicopters.
I don't particularly agree with Mr. Nahas's assessment of the situation.
The issue is not that he is a second class citizen at all.
The issue is that he is also a first class citizen - of Syria.
I don't know Mr. Nahas and I have no reason to believe that Mr. Nahas is anything but an honest and upstanding citizen of Canada. His status in Canada is not in question, doubt or jeopardy.
If Mr. Nahas would like to renounce his Syrian citizenship, he would be allowed to perform work on the above mentioned contract. But alas, that option is never discussed when addressing the dual citizenship issue. If one chooses to hold two citizenships, then one should expect to have to play by the rules that apply to each - at the same time. You don't get to "cherry pick" from both sets. If you lose on one, its game over.
The terms of the contract were quite clear going into it. If you want to build US military aircraft, certain nations (and by extension their citizens) need not apply as it will be deemed an unacceptable security risk. Bell knew this going in. The other option is of course, to not bid on US defence work at all and lose the income that Bell Helicopter will get from the contract. If you want to do work for another country's military, you better be ready to play by its rules. That has always been the case and will be for the foreseeable future.
The US has decided that it does not want to share the designs and blueprints for its military helicopters with Syria. Few would have an issue with that decision and fewer still would have an issue with their right to make that decision. US ITAR law is written, for very good reasons, such that a transfer of information to a person is considered a transfer to all countries in which he holds citizenship. Why? Simply because that person any at any time and move to any country in which they hold citizenship and bring that information with them. If one holds a citizenship with a country, there is obviously some sort of tie or allegiance to it.
I am not saying we should do away with dual citizenships.
Sometimes these things have wonderful advantages. Other times that have disadvantages.
Be prepared to accept one with the other.