I'm working on a Natasha vid, which has led to me rewatching Civil War and Winter Soldier, and trying to convince myself to rewatch Ultron. Civil War makes me so angry, but a thing in particular that bugged me the most this time around is the presentation of the Sokovia Accords. "Here is the thousand page document," says Ross to the Avengers, "It's going to be ratified in three days. Surprise!"
Sorry I am still hung up on this, I know some of you have heard multiple rants about the Sokovia Accords.
1. Who wrote the Sokovia Accords and why didn't they consult with the Avengers while doing it? Surely there were public hearings! Surely there were high level government to government negotiations that can't possibly get done overnight! How could this possibly blindside them? And even if they could do it in secret, why would they want to? Nobody has the lived experience of being a superpowered person besides the Avengers [ and some villains they've arrested, a few weirdos, the Skrulls and Kree and Inhumans and the Hand and... but none of those people are talking to you), so surely their input on how the law applies to them would be useful? I just don't understand the process by which the Sokovia Accords were drafted.
2. What about treaty ratification and execution? There are literally dozens of treaties negotiated by the US president that Congress still hasn't actually passed into law. Okay, I don't know about dozens, I just know there's some numb... nope, definitely dozens
. The ratification doesn't mean everything legally on its own, principles of national sovereignty means that the treaty doesn't say how countries actually enforce a treaty, it leaves that to each country's domestic laws. And there are over a hundred national signatories to the Accords, each has to figure out how they're going to implement the treaty. So they sign the Accords and then... What, they suddenly have full contingency plans for what to do in the specific scenario that an unregistered superpowered individual of US origin starts an action in Berlin in particular? There must be a million contingencies in that 1000 page Accord, all of it needs to be turned into legislative language in a hundred countries before you can start enforcing it.
3. Of course as I've written a bunch of times, national sovereignty doesn't really seem to exist in the MCU. Sharon Carter is working as a CIA agent in Berlin, helping to hunt down the Winter Soldier. Not under cover, just openly working as a CIA agent. Ultimately, it's US secretary of state(!) Ross (!) who supervises the capture and interrogation of the Winter Soldier. (Even though in the real US he wouldn't even be in the chain of command for such a decision, the Secretary of State is not a law enforcement figure, let alone an international law enforcement figure.) So the Sokovia Accords basically seem to amount to an international agreement that if anything bad involving superheroes happens, the US government and its agents will step in to try to resolve it. Why the hell would Germany agree to that? Did China sign the Accords, too? Russia?
Imagine you're China and you don't have any superheroes until Shang-Chi finally airs next month. You also have fairly shitty human rights policies and have been interning a massive population of Uyghurs in brutal re-education camps. And you have also been employing soft power around the world to increase your global influence and political power, building infrastructure across Asia and Africa. The Avengers have been acting around the world as super-police, with very little oversight. You are of course concerned that they will pop into your country to do things you don't want, like liberate your camps or free Tibet. Of course they won't, because the Avengers are tools of neoliberalism, but they could! Or maybe the Avengers will pop into your country to do things you want, like provide aid after a disaster, but they will interact badly with your bureaucracy and make things worse.
A diplomat from Wakanda comes to you and says "By the way, some countries are getting together to regulate the Avengers, do you want to participate?" China says absolutely, we definitely want a rule that says the Avengers can't come into China without our permission. So China starts looking at the drafts being circulated and sees that all superheroes, not just the Avengers, are proposed to be regulated. And China says "Wait a minute, we don't have any superheroes yet, but we might get some. We have lots of toxic waste for them to fall into! We have to be very careful not to agree to something that might restrict us from deploying our own Chinese Avengers into somewhere in Africa in the future." So they push for a carveout in the Accords that lets them have a Chinese Avengers that they can exert greater control over. [And maybe Nigeria says hold on, we definitely would like to be able to choose whether the Chinese Avengers or the US Avengers come into our country in an emergency, write that into the Accords too!]
And then they look at the Accords closer and see that they don't actually say that you can't send the Avengers to China, they just say that before you send the Avengers to China, you need the World Security Council to sign off on it. And China starts to worry that this Accord doesn't actually protect their ability to oppress their Uyghur population. So China pushes to make sure it has permanent representation on the World Security Council, ideally with a veto like they have on the UN Security Council, to make sure other countries can't just get a quorum and vote to send the Avengers in to free the camps. And the US of course agrees to this, because they equally don't want Steve Rogers to go off liberating equally evil immigrant detention centers. Of course this means the Sokovia Accords reifies oppression, but reified oppression is the name of the game with the Sokovia Accords and nobody can tell me otherwise.
This kind of detail has to be in the Accords or there would be no need for them to be a thousand pages long. I'm pretty sure the reason the Sokovia Accords are a thousand pages long is because the prop masters understand that international treaties are that long and they wanted it to have that look, but that didn't actually result in the writers thinking about what would be in a thousand page treaty.
4. On the other hand, in The Winter Soldier, Alexander Pierce needed approval of the World Security Council to execute Project Insight, which you would think he would just be able to build as a US defense project. So perhaps the US has also subordinated its national sovereignty in an absolutely batshit crazy way. The only way I can fanwank the World Security Council approval of Project Insight and preserve US sovereignty is to say that perhaps a) Project Insight only works as a defense project if it can be deployed both domestically and internationally to minimize gaps in its data network and b) therefore the US government won't sign off on deploying it unless they get pre-approval from international authorities that they will allow Insight to operate worldwide. Which is crazy, the US doesn't go seeking international authority before building weapons even when they will use them overseas. So maybe China's okay with the Sokovia Accords because they have other agreements that let them keep oppressing their citizens, and in exchange they promise to let the US keep oppressing its own citizens.
5. With all that said, the dumbness of governance in the MCU does not actually comprise a reasonable apologetic for Steve's position. People need to be subject to laws! (This is why I make Enlightenment Philosopher Natasha jokes) Ever since SHIELD collapsed, the Avengers have just been running a private military bankrolled by Tony Stark and refusing to obey any local laws they disliked. And nobody could stop them. So clearly the Sokovia Accords make no sense as a solution to this problem, but there has to actually be a solution to this problem. The Avengers have to agree to be subject to some laws regulating their military actions, or they have to be eliminated, it's pretty simple.
Okay, it's not simple, nothing is simple if I don't want it to be. The third option is the Avengers refuse to become subject to any jurisdiction, nobody can stop them, and the world devolves into a libertarian wonderland. And everyone is happy because the Avengers will stop any oppression from happening. That feels like an appropriate ending for this silly post.
This entry was originally posted at https://seekingferret.dreamwidth.org/383694.html. Please comment there using OpenID. There are comments