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New pact with Netherlands means Aruba jaunts


(Shoun A. Hill)

Pack your bags for Aruba! Or St. Maarten, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, whichever picturesque destination floats your boat — they’re all covered under the new pact.

The obscure-sounding “Status of Forces Agreement” (fun acronym: SOFA) is one of many such pacts that allows U.S. military troops overseas to... well, legally be wherever they are. Sharing a SOFA might just be one of the best ways for two countries to get close: “There are few agreements that demonstrate the closeness of diplomatic relations between countries better than a Status of Forces Agreement,” said Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary for the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, during the signing ceremony.

We’d like to volunteer for service in the region, which the State Department called “strategically important” (but we describe as “primo vacation destination”). Can we get an assignment sometime in January, perhaps? Meanwhile, we’re off to scour this SOFA for provisions on umbrella drinks...

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