Intervention - Rwanda

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Sub-Saharan Conflict - what do?

Vote for military intervention.
4
9%
Vote against military intervention.
7
15%
Pay for government-military intervention.
2
4%
Voluntarily pay for free-market mercenaries to intervene.
4
9%
Sign up for the Armed Forces to fight there---(assume 100% certainty that you'd fight there).
0
No votes
Vote for aid.
3
7%
Vote against aid.
3
7%
Pay for government aid.
4
9%
Voluntarily pay for non-government aid.
8
17%
Do nothing, maybe express some sorrowful sentiment.
6
13%
Do nothing.
5
11%
 
Total votes : 46

Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby Serbia on Fri May 17, 2013 8:22 pm

Vote against military intervention.
Vote against aid.
Do nothing.

Bollocks.
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby Woodruff on Sat May 18, 2013 12:21 am

Been there, done that shit. Don't really care to go back. It's a truly fucked up situation. Gotta say that I lean toward just leaving them to do as they please until things start to actually affect us in a real way. And the aid won't reach the people that it should.
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby crispybits on Sat May 18, 2013 4:17 am

Where is the option for political intervention, for example getting in the face of the African Union (in a diplomatic way) and telling them to sort it out, or at least to club together and make safe zones for refugees around the edges of the conflict and provide purely humanitarian and medical aid directly into those camps? To talk with the Chinese (who hold a lot of political and economic power across Africa right now) and get them to flex their political muscles to make this happen.

Why are the only options to do nothing or to incur financial or military costs ourselves?
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby Haggis_McMutton on Sat May 18, 2013 4:33 am

BigBallinStalin wrote:
Haggis_McMutton wrote:Perhaps there should be a follow up here regarding the reasoning of the decision.

(1) What is the reason people think it would be a good idea to allow hundreds of thousands of civilians be killed when it could be stopped with little cost to the already existent state apparatus?
(2) Is it fear of being dragged in some kind of prolonged conflict or some other pragmatic reason?
(3) Or is it some philosophical notion that "it's none of our business" ?


Ah, the fun questions have arrived!

(1) Three points: "good idea," "allow" and "little cost."
Is always intervening to prevent conflict a good idea? (Not always, so in x-amount of cases, it's a good idea not to intervene).

By 'allow', it seems that you're saying one is somehow responsible for remote conflicts, and/or that one has some obligation to intervene. Suppose there's some gang war occurring on the other side of your country. Was that your fault? Are you at all obligated to intervene in any way?


No, if it's some semblance of an equal fight the pros and cons of intervention should be thought about carefully. However the tile says "Rwanda". And in Rwanda what we had was a bunch of thugs killing a million civilians with machetes while the actual conflict with the rebels was occurring in a different part of the country (until the rebels got there anyway).

I wouldn't say you're"responsible", but it's pretty akin, in my mind, to walking down an alleyway one night, seeing a crackhead committing a brutal rape and you continuing to walk and whistle unconcerned in your path cause "it's not your problem". You aren't responsible as in you couldn't be jailed for it, but it is a morally reprehensible act.

Btw. I'm gonna refer to the Rwandan example for the rest of this post as well.

BBS wrote:And regarding little cost, what do you mean? To each taxpayer, a war may be cheap in the short-run, but overall it's costly. A war/intervention can also be wasteful considering what else could've been produced/invested/consumed instead of the resources for intervention. An intervention can be especially wasteful if it becomes counter-productive because it could fail to resolve the systemic problems of the foreign conflict, or it could increase the genocide/conflict since the repressive government/rebels are being subsidized.


Again, in some other scenario this may be the case, but I don't think it was the case in Rwanda.

I couldn't find the figures on exactly how many men Dallaire had left in his peacekeeping mission, but here's what wikipedia says:

Following the withdrawal of Belgian forces, whom Dallaire considered his best-trained[6] and best-equipped, Dallaire consolidated his contingent of Pakistani, Canadian, Ghanaian, Tunisian, and Bangladeshi soldiers in urban areas and focused on providing areas of "safe control" in and around Kigali. Most of Dallaire's efforts were to defend specific areas where he knew Tutsis to be hiding. Dallaire's staff — including the U.N.'s unarmed observers — often relied on its U.N. credentials to save Tutsis, heading off Interahamwe attacks even while being outnumbered and outgunned. Dallaire's actions are credited with directly saving the lives of 32,000 persons of different races


So, with the troops he had left and without any international support he managed to cordon off entire sections of the capital and keep 30k people safe.
I'm no strategist, but it seems like a real army shouldn't have had too much trouble taking control of the whole area.

BBS wrote:Finally, supporting a pattern of interventions maintains the "military-industrial-congressional complex" (MICC), which arguably costs too much, doesn't keep the citizens secure efficiently, and causes much harm instead of good.


Sure. No disagreement there.
However, not intervening in extreme genocides like Rwanda for that reason is like witnessing said brutal rape while holding a pistol and deciding you're not gonna do anything cause you don't believe citizens should own pistols. As long as you already have the damn thing, you might as well actually use it in the small number of cases that actually warrant it.


BBS wrote:(2) Sometimes, but it's not just fear. It is also knowing one's constraints (and the constraints of a government). We can conceive of problems where one jumps into a situation without understanding what's going on and without having the requisite social networks/organizations which can alleviate that lack of understanding (knowledge problem). That kind of intervention can be well-intended yet problematic. Also the intervention occurs through an incentive structure which is not quite capable of actually resolving the conflict or even fixing the systemic problems (e.g. the US/NATO intervention in AFG, Iraq, Libya, and all the lovely examples of failed 'democracies' and sustained dictatorships through US/NATO intervention).


Yep. I agree that trying to impose a democracy in a country that isn't ready for it is a sticky business. But that's not what we're talking about here.

The Rwandan genocide lasted 100 days. ~1,000,000 civilians were killed by a couple thousand militia men, most of which were equipped only with machetes. After 100 days, the rebel army reached the capital and put a stop to it. I'm not saying Kagame, who has been president since, is all that swell, but nothing remotely comparable to the scale of the genocide has taken place since.

Additionally, there was no confusion regarding what was happening in Rwanda. The thing had pretty much been planned openly by the local political power. The UN peacekeeping mission actually managed to identify the main cache of weapons before the genocide.

wikipedia wrote:On January 12, 1994 Canadian Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire (United Nations Force Commander in Rwanda) notified Military Adviser to the Secretary-General, Major-General Maurice Baril, of four major weapons caches and plans by the Hutus for extermination of Tutsis. The telegram from Dallaire stated that a top-level Interahamwe militia trainer directed demonstrations a few days before, to provoke an RPF battalion in Kigali into firing upon demonstrators and Belgian United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda troops into using force. The Interahamwe would then have an excuse to engage the Belgian troops and RPF battalion, killing Belgian citizens and causing the withdrawal of the Belgian contingent, the backbone of UNAMIR. The Tutsis would then be eliminated.

According to the informant, 1,700 Interahamwe militia were trained in governmental forces camps, and he was ordered to register all the Kigali Tutsis. Dallaire made immediate plans for UNAMIR troops to seize the arms caches and advised UN Headquarters of his intentions, believing these actions lay within his mission's mandate. The following day, headquarters responded that his outlined actions went beyond the mandate granted to UNAMIR under United Nations Security Council Resolution 872. Instead, he was to notify President Habyarimana of possible Arusha Accords violations and his concerns and report back on measures taken. Dallaire's January 11 telegram was important in later review of what information was available to the UN prior to the genocide.[31] On February 21, extremists assassinated the Minister of Public Works, and UNAMIR was unable to gain UN approval to investigate the murder.


This was in January. The genocide wouldn't start till April.

BBS wrote:(3) So, (2) is the political economic approach. With philosophy, if one is libertarian, you'd be against coercing people to extract funds in order to pay a government-provided service to invade another country, which did not initiate conflict against you. Government-funded subsidies (e.g. foreign aid) are unacceptable as well. Of course, there's many other doctrines which can either reject or support intervention, but if they don't address the issues of #2, then those doctrines can become counter-productive (i.e. cause more harm than good).


Sure, but the gun analogy seems apt here again. If the state apparatus needed for intervention is already present and being used frequently, I don't think you can really claim intervention shouldn't happen in cases like Rwanda because the military-industrial complex needs reducing.

BBS wrote:So, in short, it is reasonable and a completely good idea to not intervene in some cases. Sometimes, we don't know what is best for others in particular situations, and even if we envision what is best (e.g. "world peace"), we don't know how to attain that goal of peace. In many cases, the well-intended means won't attain the goal. Sometimes, the well-intended voters are simply manipulated into supporting a particular foreign policy (e.g. fearmongering, guilt-tripping), and other times, the voters are completely removed from the foreign policy process after they cheered on the politicians but then change their minds (or simply lose interest).


I agree with all of that. But, as far as I can see, Rwanda was pretty much as clear-cut a case for intervention as you're ever going to have.
And yet, everyone dropped the ball.
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby saxitoxin on Sat May 18, 2013 4:49 am

If there hadn't been a civil war in Rwanda, would the tensions have arisen that led to the genocide? If France had not been arming and equipping the RPF, would there have been a civil war?

All interventions are to clean up earlier interventions that went wrong. The solution is never to intervene.
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby Woodruff on Sun May 19, 2013 12:25 am

saxitoxin wrote:If there hadn't been a civil war in Rwanda, would the tensions have arisen that led to the genocide? If France had not been arming and equipping the RPF, would there have been a civil war?


It goes back before then to colonialization and...who, I think the Belgians?

saxitoxin wrote:All interventions are to clean up earlier interventions that went wrong. The solution is never to intervene.


In general I agree, but I would change your statement to...the solution shouldn't be ever to JUST intervene (and usually not to intervene at all). I would agree that much.
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby thegreekdog on Mon May 20, 2013 2:55 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:
thegreekdog wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:
thegreekdog wrote:I need some more details. Is this in the context of our current foreign policy, in the context of past foreign policies (e.g. Clinton foreign policy), or in the context of some other, unmentioned foreign policy?


Current events. The example is happening now, and as a voter and citizen, what would you do?


Vote against government military intervention
Provide non-government financial aid.

By the way, here are 50 saxbucks for your excellent poll choices (e.g. one could vote for voting for military intervention but not vote for paying for military intervention... i.e. a weasel).

By the way by the way, I assumed there are no exploitable natural resources or other non-humanitarian reason for us to be in this country.


Good enough assumption. I'd add it to the OP, but it would create too much clutter.


Anyway, why provide aid? You want organizations to hand out blankets or whatever to people who are running for their lives?

What's your ideal vision of that aid?


I would provide aid for mercenary soldiers. Jeez.
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby AndyDufresne on Mon May 20, 2013 3:16 pm

thegreekdog wrote:I would provide aid for mercenary soldiers. Jeez.


No joke, when I first glanced at your post TGD, I read it as:

"I would provide aide for mercedes soldiers. Jeez." And then I briefly imagined trained rebel fighters zooming around in convertibles.


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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby thegreekdog on Mon May 20, 2013 3:27 pm

AndyDufresne wrote:
thegreekdog wrote:I would provide aid for mercenary soldiers. Jeez.


No joke, when I first glanced at your post TGD, I read it as:

"I would provide aide for mercedes soldiers. Jeez." And then I briefly imagined trained rebel fighters zooming around in convertibles.


--Andy


I would absolutely not provide aid for Mercedes soldiers.

I may change my answer given Haggis's questions. They seems like good ones, although BBS's response was also well done.

Basically, I would give money because I would feel bad being against giving any aid at all. And I like to be honest in these types of threads.
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby TA1LGUNN3R on Tue May 21, 2013 9:05 pm

Haggis wrote:I wouldn't say you're"responsible", but it's pretty akin, in my mind, to walking down an alleyway one night, seeing a crackhead committing a brutal rape and you continuing to walk and whistle unconcerned in your path cause "it's not your problem". You aren't responsible as in you couldn't be jailed for it, but it is a morally reprehensible act.


What if, by confronting the rapist, you get stabbed and die, and the rapist still rapes the woman. Then you've left your kids without a parent. What then?

-TG
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby Haggis_McMutton on Wed May 22, 2013 1:08 am

TA1LGUNN3R wrote:
Haggis wrote:I wouldn't say you're"responsible", but it's pretty akin, in my mind, to walking down an alleyway one night, seeing a crackhead committing a brutal rape and you continuing to walk and whistle unconcerned in your path cause "it's not your problem". You aren't responsible as in you couldn't be jailed for it, but it is a morally reprehensible act.


What if, by confronting the rapist, you get stabbed and die, and the rapist still rapes the woman. Then you've left your kids without a parent. What then?

-TG


There are a spectrum of options between "running towards the rapist shouting 'You leave her alone'" and walking on murmuring to yourself "not my problem, life's a bitch".

Stopping the Rwandan genocide would have hardly taken "all that we have". The level of international effort it would have taken to stop that thing is more akin to running out of sight and dialing 911.
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby BigBallinStalin on Wed May 22, 2013 10:11 pm

crispybits wrote:Where is the option for political intervention, for example getting in the face of the African Union (in a diplomatic way) and telling them to sort it out, or at least to club together and make safe zones for refugees around the edges of the conflict and provide purely humanitarian and medical aid directly into those camps? To talk with the Chinese (who hold a lot of political and economic power across Africa right now) and get them to flex their political muscles to make this happen.

Why are the only options to do nothing or to incur financial or military costs ourselves?


Yeah, that's still military intervention. If group X tells group Y to send its military there, then that's military intervention on X's part (recall: "proxy wars"). You won't get a war for free, so group X will usually subsidize those kinds of activities (thus the "diplomatic" move actually becomes a military intervention).

"Telling" A, B, and C to set up refugee camps counts as rhetoric. This thread isn't about rhetoric; it's about actual spending and actually doing something (hence, the Voluntarily Pay for X option).

No one here can really talk to the Chinese, and no voter actually possesses that piece to the political puzzle--the politicians do, and the US State Department, DoD, blah blah blah which are largely hands-off from the electorate. The poll asks You, the Voter, to do something, and in order for the poll to retain some semblance of reality, I omitted the extraordinary option of you and a few others asking Senator So-and-So to talk to X to do something in exchange for nothing (no subsidies--i.e. no foreign aid) so that situation D can be resolved.
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby BigBallinStalin on Wed May 22, 2013 10:14 pm

Haggis_McMutton wrote:
TA1LGUNN3R wrote:
Haggis wrote:I wouldn't say you're"responsible", but it's pretty akin, in my mind, to walking down an alleyway one night, seeing a crackhead committing a brutal rape and you continuing to walk and whistle unconcerned in your path cause "it's not your problem". You aren't responsible as in you couldn't be jailed for it, but it is a morally reprehensible act.


What if, by confronting the rapist, you get stabbed and die, and the rapist still rapes the woman. Then you've left your kids without a parent. What then?

-TG


There are a spectrum of options between "running towards the rapist shouting 'You leave her alone'" and walking on murmuring to yourself "not my problem, life's a bitch".

Stopping the Rwandan genocide would have hardly taken "all that we have". The level of international effort it would have taken to stop that thing is more akin to running out of sight and dialing 911.


If it was that easy, (i.e. if the price was so low), then why didn't any effectively 'make that call'?

(I'm thinking that it wasn't that easy, but I don't know much about the Rwanda conflict).
*(I'll respond to your previous post when I can hammer out something more serious).
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby Nordik on Wed May 22, 2013 10:30 pm

Woodruff wrote:Been there, done that shit. Don't really care to go back. It's a truly fucked up situation. Gotta say that I lean toward just leaving them to do as they please until things start to actually affect us in a real way. And the aid won't reach the people that it should.


Sometimes you have to do what is right though. There are a few situations such as this and what was Yugoslavia where military intervention is needed.

But the issue isn't so much what needs to be done "today". The issue is how to solve the underlying problems.
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby Woodruff on Wed May 22, 2013 10:33 pm

Nordik wrote:
Woodruff wrote:Been there, done that shit. Don't really care to go back. It's a truly fucked up situation. Gotta say that I lean toward just leaving them to do as they please until things start to actually affect us in a real way. And the aid won't reach the people that it should.


Sometimes you have to do what is right though.


I don't really disagree with that. It speaks to my heart. Unfortunately, if you're going to do that, then you need to be doing it everywhere.

Nordik wrote:There are a few situations such as this and what was Yugoslavia where military intervention is needed.


After what I saw in Rwanda, quite honestly, I'm happy to have that intervention be done by someone else.

Nordik wrote:But the issue isn't so much what needs to be done "today". The issue is how to solve the underlying problems.


That I absolutely agree with. Unfortunately, much of the underlying problems are the result of our colonial meanderings and the resultant tensions hatreds caused by them. (And by "our", I mean "The West's in general".) We seem to have a nasty habit of fixing one problem by creating two more.
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby patches70 on Wed May 22, 2013 10:36 pm

Nordik wrote:
Sometimes you have to do what is right though. There are a few situations such as this and what was Yugoslavia where military intervention is needed.



What's this "you" stuff? In the poll not a single person voted to join the military. It's always send someone else, but not yourself. People are all for military intervention all the time in all kinds of situations but damned if those same people will join the military and do it themselves.
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby Woodruff on Wed May 22, 2013 10:42 pm

patches70 wrote:
Nordik wrote:
Sometimes you have to do what is right though. There are a few situations such as this and what was Yugoslavia where military intervention is needed.


What's this "you" stuff? In the poll not a single person voted to join the military. It's always send someone else, but not yourself. People are all for military intervention all the time in all kinds of situations but damned if those same people will join the military and do it themselves.


Well...some of us already have. <smile>
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby patches70 on Wed May 22, 2013 11:01 pm

Woodruff wrote:
patches70 wrote:
Nordik wrote:
Sometimes you have to do what is right though. There are a few situations such as this and what was Yugoslavia where military intervention is needed.


What's this "you" stuff? In the poll not a single person voted to join the military. It's always send someone else, but not yourself. People are all for military intervention all the time in all kinds of situations but damned if those same people will join the military and do it themselves.


Well...some of us already have. <smile>



Yeah, and I see how anxious you are to "do the right thing" because you have some idea of what that actually entails. Its not so easy as others seem to think it would be.
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby Nordik on Wed May 22, 2013 11:34 pm

patches70 wrote:What's this "you" stuff? In the poll not a single person voted to join the military. It's always send someone else, but not yourself. People are all for military intervention all the time in all kinds of situations but damned if those same people will join the military and do it themselves.


I come from a country where military service is mandatory for... well not all any longer, but still...

The whole idea that I would join the military is silly. It joins me if anything.

A lot of Europe is like that.
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby BigBallinStalin on Thu May 23, 2013 1:39 am

Woodruff wrote:
Nordik wrote:
Woodruff wrote:Been there, done that shit. Don't really care to go back. It's a truly fucked up situation. Gotta say that I lean toward just leaving them to do as they please until things start to actually affect us in a real way. And the aid won't reach the people that it should.


Sometimes you have to do what is right though.


I don't really disagree with that. It speaks to my heart. Unfortunately, if you're going to do that, then you need to be doing it everywhere.

Nordik wrote:There are a few situations such as this and what was Yugoslavia where military intervention is needed.


After what I saw in Rwanda, quite honestly, I'm happy to have that intervention be done by someone else.

Nordik wrote:But the issue isn't so much what needs to be done "today". The issue is how to solve the underlying problems.


That I absolutely agree with. Unfortunately, much of the underlying problems are the result of our colonial meanderings and the resultant tensions hatreds caused by them. (And by "our", I mean "The West's in general".) We seem to have a nasty habit of fixing one problem by creating two more.


And is government capable of systemically overcoming that problem?

With regard to the US and intervention, the answer is no.

But here's the dangerous part which obviates the need for that recognizing of limits:

Sometimes you have to do what is right though.


Yeah, sometimes you just gotta do the 'right' thing. The moral rhetoric can be persuasive but is not critical and is not sufficient.

(Not directly picking on Nordik here; a lot of people feel compelled to do the right thing but don't have the resources/time to explain the means or even justify not doing anything).
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby Woodruff on Thu May 23, 2013 4:55 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:
Woodruff wrote:That I absolutely agree with. Unfortunately, much of the underlying problems are the result of our colonial meanderings and the resultant tensions hatreds caused by them. (And by "our", I mean "The West's in general".) We seem to have a nasty habit of fixing one problem by creating two more.


And is government capable of systemically overcoming that problem?
With regard to the US and intervention, the answer is no.


I believe it is. It simply requires using foresight and trajectory in planning, rather than shortsightedness. Would we always be successful in doing that? Of course not. But we certainly could have avoided many of the problems we've created, in my opinion.
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby Nordik on Thu May 23, 2013 5:59 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:And is government capable of systemically overcoming that problem?

With regard to the US and intervention, the answer is no.


Worked pretty well in Yugoslavia. Still tensions there, but at least they aren't killing each other.
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby BigBallinStalin on Fri May 24, 2013 2:59 pm

Woodruff wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:
Woodruff wrote:That I absolutely agree with. Unfortunately, much of the underlying problems are the result of our colonial meanderings and the resultant tensions hatreds caused by them. (And by "our", I mean "The West's in general".) We seem to have a nasty habit of fixing one problem by creating two more.


And is government capable of systemically overcoming that problem?
With regard to the US and intervention, the answer is no.


I believe it is. It simply requires using foresight and trajectory in planning, rather than shortsightedness. Would we always be successful in doing that? Of course not. But we certainly could have avoided many of the problems we've created, in my opinion.


If we were to form a mercenary group, and our profit was based on voluntary exchange, then I'd agree with you.

I agree that foresight and trajectory in planning would be great, but given the entire decision-making process involved, you're holding an unreal expectation about government planning and its limits.
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby BigBallinStalin on Fri May 24, 2013 3:14 pm

Nordik wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:And is government capable of systemically overcoming that problem?

With regard to the US and intervention, the answer is no.


Worked pretty well in Yugoslavia. Still tensions there, but at least they aren't killing each other.


What do you mean by "pretty well"? And at what cost? Ask qwert and sax about the Balkans. You'll love it!


And, even if I would agree with some great example, it doesn't demonstrate that the US is systematically capable of resolving this problem: "We seem to have a nasty habit of fixing one problem by creating two more." In other words, there's a difference between particular points and the overall pattern.
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Re: Intervention - Rwanda

Postby Nordik on Fri May 24, 2013 3:23 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:
Nordik wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:And is government capable of systemically overcoming that problem?

With regard to the US and intervention, the answer is no.


Worked pretty well in Yugoslavia. Still tensions there, but at least they aren't killing each other.


What do you mean by "pretty well"? And at what cost? Ask qwert and sax about the Balkans. You'll love it!


And, even if I would agree with some great example, it doesn't demonstrate that the US is systematically capable of resolving this problem: "We seem to have a nasty habit of fixing one problem by creating two more." In other words, there's a difference between particular points and the overall pattern.

To be perfectly honest, NATO stepped in too late in Yugoslavia. Things had gotten pretty damn nasty by that point. But the fact remains that they did help stop the fighting.

As long as the international community is behind an intervention, it tends to go relatively smoothly.

The issue the US has is that they seem to think that the "American way" is the only way. The sectors in Afghanistan where the British and Canadians were the major force were just as nasty as the ones that the Americans fought in, but the Poms and Canucks were much more likely to listen to the locals and adhere to local customs. Hence why they've had far fewer casualties (even per capita).

Of course that is changing now that the country is destabilising again, but there was definitely a window of opportunity there where the country could have been made to work. Sadly it wasn't taken....
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