Spinning the Wheel o' Intervention

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The U.S. prepares to move in to Liberia, and Cato's Ted Galen Carpenter already has a response up. Who knew a communitarian philosopher could cause so much hubbub.

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  1. Dean for 2004!

  2. But golly, I thought (at least according to the latest, revisionist justifications for the Iraq war), humanitarian intervention WAS a sufficient justification. Maybe the Brits can dig up a ten-year-old term paper, or somebody can forge a record of uranium sales, so Bush can use WMD’s to justify the war. Then when the war is over and no WMD’s in sight, Bush can say it was worth it anyway because Taylor was such a rotten guy.

  3. “humanitarian intervention WAS a sufficient justification”

    it is. so is national security. so is being able to win. liberia only scores 1/3.

  4. Dean for prez! no to Iraq, a harmless threat; yes to liberia, a dangerous menace!

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030702/ap_on_el_pr/dean_liberia_2

  5. http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2003/s891703.htm

    ?I think in order for international action to be taken ? about four things have to happen.? The state must: (1) have ?a proven record of attacks on neighbouring countries and the intention to do so again?; (2) sponsor terrorist and gangster groups; (3) be in violation of the genocide convention and/or be a major threat to the survival of one?s own people; and (4) be searching for ?weapons that violate all known non-proliferation treaties.?

    http://fareedzakaria.com/articles/newsweek/070703.html

    Responding to the deepening crisis in Liberia, Bush called on Taylor to step down. Taylor, not surprisingly, refused. Has the dictator called the president’s bluff? ? It’s easy to call for American intervention in Liberia; many commentators already have. Even from a strategic view, instability, failed states and chaos have an obvious potential to breed or house terrorists. But President Bush doesn?t really have the tools to do the job in Liberia.

  6. Wait, are you sure? Cato is opposing U.S. military action? I bet they really had to consider the situation deeply before they reached that conclusion.

  7. I agree with Ted Galen Carpenter’s viewpoint, but the one thing in that article that got me, was him describing Cuba as worse than Liberia.

    Huh?

  8. Oh, be quiet, all of you. We can’t have our military just sit around, do nothing. Those billions have to be justified somehow, don’t they?

    We don’t want it to look like we paid campaign coffer-stuffing arms manufacturers, and then not have those arms be put to “good use,” do we?

    Got to keep our miltary machine moving! All around the world, if possible. Got to keep those muscles flexed.

  9. Please, somebody just tell me – what is the mission in Liberia? I have yet to hear a coherent account of just what our military is supposed to accomplish there.

    Humanitarian reasons for intervening in Iraq are not “revisionist” – they were always part of the mix, and in fact were the particular justification that caught on with the American public.

  10. well the UN and many here think our military should be a peacekeeping force going around to solve problems in places we have no business being.

    and i guess if the peacekeeping angle doesn’t work we could accuse them of teaming up with al-qaeda. it worked in iraq.

  11. And all this time you thought the UN had their own, blue-beretted military? Those berets (made in China) were just for show.

  12. From the linked Geocities site: “Charles Taylor is a Canadian philosophy…”

    Hmmm…he’s also a tasty topping for breakfast cereal!

  13. Pluto, if the US Gubmint were imperialistic it would’ve annexed Puerto Rico, The Phillipines, Hawaii, Panama, Guam, Alaska, Irak, and a portion of Cuba by now.

    So don’t be silly.

  14. Uhhh… if the U.S. government wasn’t imperialistic, they wouldn’t have intervened in other countries in the first place. 😛

    Imperialism doesn’t necessarily mean the outright annexation of other nations; trying to destablize other countries and installing puppet governments are pretty imperialistic actions.

  15. Duh, Stephen’s got his Sarcasm Radar turned off again.

  16. Strange, no mention of Charles Taylor’s(not the philosophy prof, the other one) Al-Qaeda links.

    No, really, he actually has them. Diamond-smuggling and all that I think Taylor’s ALQ links are stornger than Hussein’s links were.

    Funny that.

  17. “Funny that.”

    Isn’t it? The right never fails to disappoint when it comes to people of African descent. If this were anywhere in the Middle East, you’d have the very same people singing the exact opposite song they’re singing right now.

    How is it possible to imagine that the US Army should find it a challenge, let alone impossible, to impose order in tiny Liberia, when France and Britain have managed to do the exact same thing in neighboring Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone? Are American troops so poorly trained that they can’t see off a few rag-tag militias? Or is it that when it comes to black people, advocates of “national greatness” suddenly lose their taste for foreign interventions?

  18. John at July 4, 2003 12:18 PM … as a military man, do you watch Star Trek?

    Why do you suppose The Federation’s “Prime Directive” was worded that way?

  19. Plutarch, if you’re naively going to use your dictionary to justify and accept the reasoning of revisionist left-wing historians that “imperialism” is bad in and of itself, and use it simply as an epithet that cuts off the discussion, like “racism” etc., then there’s no point in coming here.

  20. …nah, the US Government doesn’t seem _at all_ imperialist! How silly!

    …imperialism
    n.
    1. The policy of extending a nation’s authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political hegemony over other nations.
    2. The system, policies, or practices of such a government.

    ———————————————————
    Excerpted from American Heritage Talking Dictionary
    Copyright ? 1997 The Learning Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

    …uhhh…nevermind.

  21. We are getting away from several points. First, any notion of the US as imperialist in regards to Liberia is ludicrous….they literally have nothing we could possibly want.

    What is the role of the “peacekeepers”? The military can do two things…shoot somebody or do nothing. They (we as I am a soldier…) cannot “nation build” etc. What we can do, when necessary, is threaten or use force. For example, Bosnia, when the threat of our siding with one side or the other forced a treaty.

    As it is a civil war, and not one where one side is espousing recognizable, appropriate political philosophy, I see us as having no dog in this fight.

    While the war is a humanitarian disaster, it is not a genocide. The combatants are not deliberately targetting and slaughtering civilians…that would drive support into the other camp. An arguement can be made (I won’t make it) that in situations like Rwanda an intervention would be appropriate. However, that isn’t even the case in Liberia.

  22. I need to be persuaded that an American intervention in Liberia is a good idea. I won’t be persuaded it’s a bad one by opinion columns from writers who know nothing about the subject.

    In theory, a successful intervention could underline the shared interests America and Europe have in most of what used to be called the Third World. This is a worthy objective. Whether it is realistic to expect an intervention to be successful — for argument’s sake let’s say that means it produces a result similar to Britain’s intervention in Sierra Leone a couple of years ago and removes Charles Taylor from the region for good — is another question. I won’t suggest an answer because I don’t know enough.

  23. TJ…no, I don’t watch star trek. Please elaborate your point.

    Abiola, there is a fundamental different between “couldn’t” and “shouldn’t” The US military could impose order on tiny Liberia. That does not mean it should. Might does not make right.

    As to the different song people might be singing…you alter the cirumstances. Such instability in a place vital to global stability may matter more that someplace that is essentially irrelevant to global stability. The war in Liberia has been at war for extended periods for much of the 90s…200,000 casualties and all that. Anyone here know that before 2 weeks ago? Liberia doesn’t much matter to the US…regardless of the color of the people there.

  24. John, sorry. After reading your latest entry above, I think I may have been barking up the wrong tree.

    Star Trek’s Prime Directive is essentially Jefferson’s caveat paraphrased: “Friendly (economic) relations with all; entangling alliances with none.” But essentially, the Prime Directive bespeaks an attitude of NON-INTERVENTON.

    The reason why I now think you may be of similar persuasions can be found in your own wording: ” … there is a fundamental difference between “couldn’t” and “shouldn’t” The US military could impose order on tiny Liberia. That does not mean it should. Might does not make right.”

    Point established.

  25. “, i guess the euros who caused the various messes in africa are somehow excused from this little exercise. of course.”

    Could it be that the nation of Liberia is an artifact of American creation might have anything to do with the call for American assistance? Heaven Forfend!

    Not all messes are of “euro” creation: this one is a 100% made-in-the-USA production.

  26. “Not all messes are of “euro” creation: this one is a 100% made-in-the-USA production”
    true it was created for freed Slaves to return to africa. whether Taylor or any of the other goons are of “American creation” is questionable — going in and fixing this would cause another goon, and so on. Welfare breeds dependency.

    However, i do not think the rest of your “analysis” supports anything other than your desire to bitch and whine and complin about America without any responsibility for her actions.

    cote d’ivoire, nigeria, sierra leone, congo/zaire, congo, etc., are all of euro creation, so it should follow that those countries, forsooth, that “created” and thereby “causing” said troubles be called in to defend. And the British and French should be responsible for all of theirs. The Portugese and Dutch for theirs, and so on… None of that shows that there is any interest for America to do that. The childish “oil prices” suggestion ignores the fact that America seems to defend Israel, too. So it is not just oil. And I really don’t think that Americans give a damn whether some west africans care about them.

    Perhaps you are still bitter that Bush the First and Clinton messed up Somalia/Somaliand, too? Should they go back and “fix” that? Should we hold Italy responsible for Lybia and Ethiopia? Quick! To the batcave! Italy is losing respect from Ethiopians. Balls.

    That kind of “America caused it” bullshit makes me sick, and it comes as no surprise that the Americans reject the UN and other “international” groups that demand her strength, while the rest of us sit around and kibitz and complain that they’re not intervening in the way of our liking. Come to think of it, our two countries, if you’re not an American, haven’t done jack shit to ameliorate the problems we caused by colonization. We complained in the editorials about American lack of action in Yugoslavia, and then we complained when they went in. Cuba, come to think of it, is an American creation — so they should move in and get castro. What about that? Hell, let’s have America move in everywhere. And we can bitch about it in our editorials when they do.
    It’s not even my national day, and i’m getting all “ameri-otic” here.

  27. “Not all messes are of “euro” creation: this one is a 100% made-in-the-USA production”
    true it was created for freed Slaves to return to africa. whether Taylor or any of the other goons are of “American creation” is questionable — going in and fixing this would cause another goon, and so on. Welfare breeds dependency.

    However, i do not think the rest of your “analysis” supports anything other than your desire to bitch and whine and complin about America without any responsibility for her actions.

    cote d’ivoire, nigeria, sierra leone, congo/zaire, congo, etc., are all of euro creation, so it should follow that those countries, forsooth, that “created” and thereby “causing” said troubles be called in to defend. And the British and French should be responsible for all of theirs. The Portugese and Dutch for theirs, and so on… None of that shows that there is any interest for America to do that. The childish “oil prices” suggestion ignores the fact that America seems to defend Israel, too. So it is not just oil. And I really don’t think that Americans give a damn whether some west africans care about them.

    Perhaps you are still bitter that Bush the First and Clinton messed up Somalia/Somaliand, too? Should they go back and “fix” that? Should we hold Italy responsible for Lybia and Ethiopia? Quick! To the batcave! Italy is losing respect from Ethiopians. Balls.

    That kind of “America caused it” bullshit makes me sick, and it comes as no surprise that the Americans reject the UN and other “international” groups that demand her strength, while the rest of us sit around and kibitz and complain that they’re not intervening in the way of our liking. Come to think of it, our two countries, if you’re not an American, haven’t done jack shit to ameliorate the problems we caused by colonization. We complained in the editorials about American lack of action in Yugoslavia, and then we complained when they went in. Cuba, come to think of it, is an American creation — so they should move in and get castro. What about that? Hell, let’s have America move in everywhere. And we can bitch about it in our editorials when they do.
    It’s not even my national day, and i’m getting all “ameri-otic” here.

  28. (Sorry for the duplication. Slow connection. I should exert a little more patience next time.)

  29. Not all forest fires have to be extinguished by Man. Forest fires have been raging for millions of years — when Man wasn’t even around.

    Sometimes it is best to let conflagrations simply fizzle by themselves.

  30. “Such instability in a place vital to global stability may matter more that someplace that is essentially irrelevant to global stability.”

    Here’s some realpolitik for you to chew on: the Liberian war has already destabilized two neighbors (Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone), and almost destabilized a third (Guinea). Without intervention of some kind, the efforts of Britain (with Nigerian assistance) and France to stabilize those two countries will certainly fail in the long run.

    Nigeria, the world’s sixth largest oil producer and America’s fifth largest source of oil (and growing), has heavily invested soldiers and resources in keeping those near neighbors stable. If America turns a blind eye to this conflict, not only will it permanently besmirch America’s reputation in the eyes of all those oil-rich African countries like Nigeria, Congo-Brazzavile and Angola, to which the U.S. is now looking for alternative supplies, but it stands to directly destabilize Nigeria itself, and send oil prices shooting through the roof just when a nascent recovery seems underway.

    There, that enough “national interest” for you? It’s a shame so many Americans never bother to pay attention to Africa, or they wouldn’t be so quick to talk crap about how it matters so little to their national interests. And yes, I think racism does have a lot to do with this neglect.

  31. “However, i do not think the rest of your “analysis” supports anything other than your desire to bitch and whine and complin about America without any responsibility for her actions.”

    Typical tired ideological posturing masquerading as “bold” thinking … Frankly, you’re full of shit.

  32. so, if we’re to believe that racism has something to do with the (non) intervention, i guess the euros who caused the various messes in africa are somehow excused from this little exercise. of course. we’re content to explain how america should intervene here, not there, do it when it serves ours (or others’) interests; now we’re against their work in irak, for better or worse. and we want intervention where the domino theory apparently is alive and well. no. i don’t buy this “domino story” here. but they sure are diverse there, aren’t they? i guess there’s a justification for every selfish action.
    TK

  33. It is in America’s vital national interest to have credibility and respect in the international arena, so that our soft power can be brought to bear alongside, or instead of, hard power. One way to do this is to resolve conflicts and save lives. This establishes us an international actor who can be trusted, and as an authority who can exert pressure on inhumane regimes without having our statements of principle ignored as pretexts for imperialism.

    We have a lot of trust to rebuild. Right now, there is no reason for any nation to believe a word we say.

  34. Right now, there is no reason for us to believe a word that any other goverment says. Half of them were cheering when crazies flew 747s into our skyscrapers for cripes sake!

  35. French newspaper headline, September 12, 2001: “Today We Are All Americans”

    FRENCH!

    Poor translation mine.

  36. Today, yet another American boy lost his life by an Iraqi sniper shot.

  37. “Typical tired ideological posturing masquerading as “bold” thinking … Frankly, you’re full of shit”

    as opposed to your “thoughts”? both of you two are full of shit. America is going down this “world’s policeman path” and needs to pony up. to suggest otherwise is totally full of shit. either be that or not. none of this half-assed crap. tonio-k, maybe you should spend less time admiring america and start looking at what it’s doing. (that’s for you tonio-k with your slow connection) and AL, instead of looking at the fact that you obviously want america to intervene in some spots but not others is pretty full of shit yourself. but you did manage to get through your B level english — using “frankly” and “forfend”. did the cliffsnotes help you?

  38. “Duh, Stephen’s got his Sarcasm Radar turned off again.”

    My mistake… I wasn’t thinking when I wrote that comment. 😛

    Yes, it’s a few months after the fact, I feel like spamming an old thread! 😀

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