Petros asks, What if a prominent dual citizen was required by his second nationality to serve his nation. What then?
Since the recent escalation of the war against rebels in East Timor, the Indonesian government has decided to conscript their most prominent dual citizen, President Barack Obama, into their armed forces. Furthermore, they have demanded that Barack Obama employ the full military might of the United States to aid them in their fight against the rebels.
Barack Obama’s Indonesian step-father moved him and his mother to the country when he was six years old. Obama also has a sister who is an Indonesian citizen. His citizen name in Indonesia was “Barry Soetoro”. The official reply from Barack Obama is that he only lived there as a small child and never really intended on keeping Indonesian citizenship. He has therefore declined to fulfill his military obligation. The Indonesians declared that if he wished to relinquish his citizenship, he had to do so at one of their consulates between the ages of eighteen years and eighteen years and six months. Since he never took this step, the Indonesians maintain their right to press him into military service. They have now taken the further step of trying him in a national court in abstentia. The court found him guilty of failure to fulfil his military duty. The conviction has resulted in a $100,000 fine per year of recalcitrance and a five-year mandatory prison sentence.
International law experts say that this conviction has no merit whatsoever. Furthermore, they claim that if President Obama never again visits Indonesia, he would not have to pay the fine nor serve his prison sentence. Secretary of the State Hilary Clinton said, “It is absolutely ridiculous that the Indonesians believe that they have any claim over President Obama. He left the country when he was nine years old and has only ever been back there one time. He only has a child’s knowledge of their language, and he was never really a citizen in the first place.” The Indonesians claim, however, that his father registered him as a citizen in a local school, and that makes him a citizen for life. They are not budging from their stance.
President Obama’s chief of staff said in a press conference, when reporters asked about Obama’s conviction and prison sentence, ”Get a life. Next question?”