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Author Topic: Against "humanitarian" intervention
Michelle
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Babbler # 560

posted 17 September 2004 10:50 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
A humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in the Darfur region of Sudan. A quarter of the population has been displaced. People are dying or living in desperate conditions. Thousands have been slaughtered with the complicity of the Sudanese government. Some human rights activists are now calling for UN-backed military intervention. The editors of Canada's New Socialist make their case against that approach.

New Socialist


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Lefty
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posted 18 September 2004 06:42 PM      Profile for West Coast Lefty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think this article makes a persuasive case against military intervention as a moral response to humanitarian crises. I well remember how even people like Svend who should know better got caught up in the "we gotta do something so let's bomb the bad guys" hysteria over Kosovo, and my understanding is that the original genocide allegations were very overstated and that the bombing of Kosovo killed nearly as many people as were actually slaughtered by the Serbians prior to the bombings. Obviously the situation in Sudan is an utter horror but to think that a military invasion would make things better is naive in the extreme.
From: Victoria, B.C. | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
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posted 19 September 2004 01:17 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Certainly, the traditional American D-Day invasion, softened up by dropping bombs on everything, would make things much worse. (Why can't old generals figure out that bombs = terror regardless who sets them off?) However, an International police force might have better results. I say might. Sometimes, dysfunctional societies get into a cycle they can't stop by themselves.
From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
xrcrguy
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posted 19 September 2004 10:50 PM      Profile for xrcrguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The above article left me with more questions than answers. It also appears to contradict itself, on one hand telling us that the Bushist regime is trying to foster closer ties with Sudan and on the other, saying that they are argueing for intervention.

IMHO the US hasn't actually been that enthusiastic about intervention in Sudan and perhaps has been dragging its heels.

I think Cougyr's suggestion is the best option to explore and I would agree that a widescale assault would only worsen the humanitarian crisis.

My only question would be as to what an international police force might look like. Simply sending over the RCMP and over police units won't do the trick I'm afraid. Logistically it won't get off the ground, there are supply issues to deal with such as water and food, as well as protection concerns. Civilian police simply aren't able to cope with the use of heavier weapons and the militant factions.

If any deploymet is to occur, it should be with troops, perhaps under police command, as they're probably the only ones who have the armour and firepower sufficient enough to deter militants.

But then we start down the slippery slope as to what qualifies as intervention vs. occupation.

Any other thoughts?

[edited for grammar]

[ 19 September 2004: Message edited by: xrcrguy ]


From: Believe in ideas, not ideology | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Agent 204
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posted 19 September 2004 11:12 PM      Profile for Agent 204   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, my ideal would have the UN actually have a full time force of its own- instead of sending troops from various countries, it would send its own troops under a UN flag. Since that's not likely to be politically possible in the forseeable future, we have to make do with what we've got. The best we could do would be to send in troops that have no strong ties with either side. They also should not be American, simply because the policies of the Bush administration have tainted the very notion of humanitarian intervention by the US for a long time to come. Unfortunately, it will require another, more humble US administration to admit that they are no longer qualified for the job, if indeed they ever were.
From: home of the Guess Who | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
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posted 20 September 2004 12:41 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Canadians understand the concept of a peace keeping military force. The Americans don't; it's too slow, too difficult for them. While they have the force, they lack the necessary restraint; thus they get into so much trouble.

I think Africans should be heavily involved in keeping the peace in Sudan. Having ones neighbours as part of the solution has got to count for something.


From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 20 September 2004 08:29 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Americans also don't get the idea of a peacekeeping force being neutral. They don't see that there's any point in being there if they don't get to designate the winner--or at least a loser or two. That's what got them in trouble the last time they poked their troops into Africa. Notice that on that occasion, our troops also seem to have been brutal and unsuited to peacekeeping, but while they did scandalous things they did not get involved in a larger bloodbath because at least their command hadn't decided to take out such-and-such a warlord.
From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Bernard W
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posted 21 September 2004 12:54 AM      Profile for Bernard W        Edit/Delete Post
The reality is sometimes, military force is required to stop thugs, dictators and other abusers. WWII was a case in point.

More often than not the thugs only understand force.


From: Algonquin Park, Ontario | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
Canadian_State_of_Denial
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posted 07 October 2004 07:57 PM      Profile for Canadian_State_of_Denial        Edit/Delete Post
On the issue of Sudan and "humanitarian intervention, read this solid piece by Toronto-based activist Justin Podur:

http://www.blackcommentator.com/108/108_podur.html

[ 07 October 2004: Message edited by: Canadian_State_of_Denial ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
BLAKE 3:16
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posted 07 October 2004 11:41 PM      Profile for BLAKE 3:16     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think the New Socialist editorial and Justin Podur's articles make sense in a lot of ways, but the question that comes up is what do we actually do? Should folks be supporting Doctors Without Borders? UNICEF?

Not to conflate the two, but there are similarities between Sudan and Afghanistan. Is a non-judgemental anti-imperialism OK? What alternatives to UN/NATO intervention exist? How desirable are they? Is the African Union viable to make a positive contribution? I couldn't find anythng relevant on the ANC's web page but I'm no Einstein at these things. Perhaps others have better proposals.


From: Babylon, Ontario | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Boinker
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posted 10 October 2004 03:50 PM      Profile for Boinker   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think the argument against humanitarian intervention is an "ad hominum" argument. It is not intervention "per se' that people are against at New Socialist. It is who's doing it the're against.

Suppose for example, there was a different methodology and the UN was a truly world body. Suppose the troops were all South African troops or even say, Lybian. And suppose the mandate was protection of the citizenry and distribution of aid. Perhaps "micro loans" could be used to facilitate some sort of stability in the economy.

I am in favour of UN intervention and believe it could succeed if it was not merely a proxy for European and American interests.

The problem is that the US is isolated now under Bush's extremist right wing approach to diplomacy and the left wants the US to stay there so they oppose any operation that would let them in out of the cold.

I think that is the real reason they oppose UN intervention. I don't think it is justified in itself but I also don't think UN intervention would necessarily be perceived as imperialist if properly done.

In fact it is necessary to defeat the US claim that their brand of "benign" imperialism is better than anything else.

[ 10 October 2004: Message edited by: Boinker ]


From: The Junction | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 10 October 2004 06:40 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
My question about this whole issue is has anyone of the parties in the civil war, actually asked for UN interevention, or the intervention of any outside body?
From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Boinker
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posted 11 October 2004 10:03 AM      Profile for Boinker   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
My question about this whole issue is has anyone of the parties in the civil war, actually asked for UN interevention, or the intervention of any outside body?

This is different than Haiti where the paramilitary types were opposed to Aristide and his democratically elected government. It is different than Venezuala where the right wing lost to the populists in the recall vote. It is different than even Cuba where the state as paranoid and oppressive as it is in the politcal field loves its people and looks after them better than most countries in the world.

Here you have the state supporting genocide against its own population to feed the interests of the oil lobby. The US is simply biding its time and licking its chops, waiting for justification to move in. Tens of thousands have been killed a million displaced but somehow this is not "terrorism" but "genocide". It almost seems that "terrorism" is worse than "genocide" in the minds of the Bush administration.

I am sure 100s of thousands of refugees have called for aid. But who are they to appeall to? Their own government is killing them.

The UN must move in an help these people immediately.


From: The Junction | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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