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Author Topic: War for Peace? It worked in East Timor.
Whazzup?
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1471

posted 26 February 2003 05:35 PM      Profile for Whazzup?     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
At least that's what José Ramos-Horta, East Timor's minister of foreign affairs, says.
quote:
The United States and other Western nations contributed to this tragedy. Some bear a direct responsibility because they helped Indonesia by providing military aid. Others were accomplices through indifference and silence. But all redeemed themselves. In 1999, a global peacekeeping force helped East Timor secure its independence and protect its people. It is now a free nation.

. . . .

So I follow with some consternation the debate on Iraq in the United Nations Security Council and in NATO. I am unimpressed by the grandstanding of certain European leaders. Their actions undermine the only truly effective means of pressure on the Iraqi dictator: the threat of the use of force.

Critics of the United States give no credit to the Bush administration's aggressive strategy, even though it is the real reason that Iraq has allowed weapons inspectors to return and why Baghdad is cooperating a bit more, if it indeed is at all.


[ 26 February 2003: Message edited by: Whazzup? ]


From: Under the Rubble | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Black Dog
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posted 26 February 2003 05:38 PM      Profile for Black Dog   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the global peacekeeping force didn't help free East Timor by bombing Jakarta into rubble, now did they?
From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
sheep
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posted 26 February 2003 05:46 PM      Profile for sheep     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well maybe not, but they certainly didn't help the people of East Timor by holding giant peace rallies either did they?
From: Vancouver | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
ronb
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posted 26 February 2003 06:07 PM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
they certainly didn't help the people of East Timor by holding giant peace rallies either did they?

Actually, I'd have to say that the valiant efforts of folks like ETAN to keep public attention focussed on the plight of the East Timorese were crucial. They may not have been giant, but there were definitely rallies, and they definitely kept East Timor from disappearing off our radar screens altogether.


From: gone | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Whazzup?
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posted 26 February 2003 06:16 PM      Profile for Whazzup?     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
One problem I see with his argument is its overestimation of UN resolve in such matters. At the end, he says that a
quote:
respected Kosovar intellectual once told me how he felt when the world finally interceded in his country: "I am a pacifist. But I was happy, I felt liberated, when I saw NATO bombs falling."

Of course, the "world" didn't intercede in Kosovo. Certainly the UN didn't authorize the use of force. It was NATO who acted, led by the US.


From: Under the Rubble | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
sheep
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posted 26 February 2003 06:26 PM      Profile for sheep     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Actually, I'd have to say that the valiant efforts of folks like ETAN to keep public attention focussed on the plight of the East Timorese were crucial.

This point I will gladly concede. I recall my activist lefty friends being very concerned with what was going on in East Timor back around 89/90, when most people, myself included, had never heard of the place.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
ronb
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posted 26 February 2003 07:10 PM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
If not for Chomsky, I probably wouldn't have.
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Black Dog
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posted 26 February 2003 07:19 PM      Profile for Black Dog   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Well maybe not, but they certainly didn't help the people of East Timor by holding giant peace rallies either did they?

And west sure didn't help by turnng a blind eye to the whole affair for almost 20 years. Not to mention certain countries that supplied arms and economic aid to Suharto, a dictator at least as evil as Sadam Hussein. Why. Well, Suharto was, in Bill Clinton's words "Our kind of guy" In other words he was the brutal dictator of a resources-rich nation, but since the resources in question were benefitting U.S. companies, no one said boo.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
swallow
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posted 26 February 2003 07:21 PM      Profile for swallow     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Can't get to the NYT, but from another article:

quote:
Horta, however, said he questioned whether there was "enough reason to go
to war" even if Saddam was found to haven't fully complied with U.N.
Security Council resolutions.

"I argue for the U.S. as a superpower in the world...to be more patient,"
he said.


So no one should think that East Timor favours war. Several other cabinet ministers sent words of support to the antiwar rally in Dili, in fact.

But they can look at Saddam Hussein, see that he is very much like Suharto, and be unimpressed with the posturing of M. Chirac, unimpressed with his apparent affection for dictators, and unimpressed with anyone who says the world should just leave Iraq alone.


From: fast-tracked for excommunication | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
John K
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posted 27 February 2003 01:01 AM      Profile for John K        Edit/Delete Post
Thanks Whazzup for posting this. A thought provoking op-ed.

As much as I respect Ramos-Horta and was a strong supporter of East Timor's quarter-century struggle for nationhood, I don't agree with his central thesis in this instance. If there is a historical parallel, it's between Indonesia's forcible annexation of East Timor in the mid-70s and Iraq's forcible annexation of Kuwait in 1990, not with the current conflict.

In East Timor's case, not only did it take 25 years to reverse the annexation (compared to 6 months in the case of Kuwait), but it also took the overthrow of Suharto and the election of a democratic government in Indonesia. The UN intervention in East Timor then became more of a peacekeeping operation designed to oust some rogue elements in the Indonesian military.

So like I said, I don't really know what to make of the parallels Ramos-Horta is trying to draw. Reminds me of the wisdom contained in the historians' Guardian article that warns us against historical analogies.


From: Edmonton | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
swallow
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posted 22 March 2003 01:11 PM      Profile for swallow     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Here is the official posiiton of the government of East Timor:

quote:
REPÚBLICA DEMOCRÁTICA DE TIMOR -LESTE


OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER

STATEMENT TO THE MEDIA


The Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste watches with
consternation the diminishing of possibilities to find a peaceful and
consensual solution to the Iraqi crises. The Government shares the opinion
that more time ought to have been given to the UN to complete their work.

Timor-Leste is a country that has suffered and had to wage a war to free
itself and, above all, suffered its consequences, experienced the
indifference of the world and the complicity of the greatin the genocide
against our defenceless People.

Every East Timorese patriot called for an intervention from the civilised
world; this intervention came twenty years later after the death of over
200,000 of our beloved people.

Our country was equally a victim of the UN apparatus, a slow-moving system,
which is unable to accompany the major changes worldwide and proves to be
incapable of preventing and dealing with conflict thus, adopting belated
Resolutions, which often are not implemented.

Such a system enables the deepening of internal conflicts of Member States
and turning them into major humanitarian tragedies of which Rwanda is but a
striking example.

However, this system, when willing to act and to accelerate procedures has
proven to be able to restore international law, to safeguard human dignity
and to rescue people as was the case of Timor-Leste during the dark days of
September 1999.

We are a peace-loving country that urges for the build-up of wide consensus
within the community of Nations, seeks for a negotiated solution of
problems and, as a small country, greatly values the multilateral nature of
decision-making.

The UN system must work in a way that it does not enable unilateral
decisions by any one country or groups of countries when trying to find
solutions for problems that have an impact on all Humankind.

Because we reject war and look towards the implementation of Peace we are
profoundly committed to cherishing a good neighbourly relationship with
Indonesia, a country we know is a fraternal one. We follow the on-going
democratisation process in Indonesia with great interest.

We are committed to the national reconciliation process and consider it to
be the sound foundation for social harmony and the stability of our young
Nation as it is undertaken based on Justice.

Timor-Leste was accepted as a member of the United Nations on 27 September
2002.

The time has come for us, the Member States, to seriously examine conflict
prevention strategies.

It is time to perfect the UN system, to seek an ever-greater involvement of
all, small and great, Muslims, Christians, Hindus & in the quest for humane
solutions, for peaceful solutions.

It is time to wage a vigorous battle against all forms of terrorism.

It is time to act.

To act as we wished the International Community had when Timor-Leste was
fighting for Freedom, Justice and Democracy.

To act in view of the right to intervene for humanitarian reasons against a
regime that leaves no room for Peace, that oppresses its People, commits
genocide against minority ethnic groups, invaded and occupied Kuwait and,
attacked Iran.

To act for the democratisation of the UN system so that every State,
without exception, may be equal and that there is a genuine search for
consensus and the building of a multilateral will.

It is time to assist the children, women, youth, the elderly and the men
suffering in Iraq. It is time to reflect upon how to render support to the
new Iraq after the intervention that will lead to inevitable destruction
and mourning.

It is time, finally, to help build Peace in Iraq and bring justice to the
Middle East, in particular, to the Palestinian People.


Mari Alkatiri

Prime Minister



From: fast-tracked for excommunication | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Moredreads
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posted 22 March 2003 06:37 PM      Profile for Moredreads     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Har, har, har Whazzup. Have a nice war.
From: Canada | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged

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