Sunday, January 11, 2009

Is Isolationism All Bad?

Debatable Opinions; Letters to the Editor
(originally published by OpEdNews)

There were two letters to the editor of The Boston Globe stating that “more must be done” to end the civil war in Sri Lanka. One letter writer wants “President-elect Obama to reach out to allies to promote UN intervention”. The writer says that the civil war “has rendered the Tamils as refugees in their homelands”.

The second writer thinks more should be done by the Sinhalese led government to make the secessionist Tamil Tigers “irrelevant” because when provinces in Sri Lanka are freed from their “clutches”, democratic institutions emerge.

These two letters were written in response to a Globe editorial entitled “Sri Lanka's ignored war”.

When one writes that the UN should intervene, one is committing Americans to the cause. The US is part of the UN and Americans inevitably make up whatever contingent of UN forces intervenes in any global conflict.

While reading both the letters to the editor and the piece upon which the letters were based, I couldn’t help thinking of the fact that 2 million people have died in Sudan and 4 million have been displaced since that nation’s independence in 1956. What’s been happening in Darfur has been called genocide. This is why there has been a call for a “multinational military force” to be sent to Sudan to “secure access by the people of Darfur to the humanitarian relief that the government has blocked”.

“An international police force backed by some troops will be needed to build long-term security” in East Timor, according to the web site Foreign Policy in Focus.

The Council on Foreign Relations states that the US must insist upon an “expanded UN peacekeeping mandate in The Democratic Republic of Congo”.

And, of course, there’s the Israeli/Palestinian “conflict”.

I bet one of the points I’ve tried to make thus far in this column is obvious, even to the most casual of readers. There are a lot of so called “troubled spots” in the world and there are many Americans who want us to either intervene or talk our “allies” or the UN into intervening which, as mentioned, would involve sending Americans to a particular person or group’s favorite trouble spot.

It took The Regime, aka, the Bush Administration, three tries, but it eventually settled on “bringing peace and democracy to Iraq” as its reason for killing Iraqis and destroying their country. Many awakened Americans knew that this wasn’t the reason why 4,223 American soldiers have, to date, died in Iraq. I didn’t believe it in 2002, when The Regime started floating the rumor that we might invade Iraq, in 2003, when The Regime actually sent the military to invade Iraq or in 2009, when The Regime has been bragging about how much better Iraq is now than it was right after we invaded. I know that The Regime’s reasons were disingenuous then and will always remain that way. I don’t believe that anything that history, real or concocted, will reveal will ever convince me to believe otherwise. I know that I’m not the only person who feels this way.

One of my early responses to the “democracy” garbage was to question why The Regime suddenly chose Iraq for its democracy injection. It said that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant and tortured and killed his own people, but, in the grand scheme of things, wouldn’t it have been better to start big? Thinking back on the horrors that happened in Tiananmen Square in China, a country with a population of 1,330,044,544 people, wouldn’t it have been better for the US to inject democracy into China? Bam, right off the bat, we would have had a new ally with over 1 billion people and “ready to fire” nukes. The ROI on a slaughter in China would have been much greater than it has been on the slaughter in Iraq, a country of only 29 million people.

Of course we didn’t invade Iraq to help them to become democratic in the image of America. Most all Americans know that now, although there are still some who will never learn that.

Am I implying, then, that those who wish us to “become involved” in Sri Lanka, like one of the letter writers, are disingenuous? For some reason, I don’t believe that they are. In fact, among the people who want to see either US or UN military intervention in some of these “troubled spots” are Progressives, like me, who were aware of The Regime’s war crimes. Yet, they want to see military action in areas where, like Vietnam and Iraq, the landscape is known to the natives but would be completely mystifying to any US military personnel who might be sent to save one side or the other. In most of the troubled spots, English isn’t spoken well if at all and written words aren’t written in the Latin alphabet. Consequently, wherever we send American troops, they will more than likely be in Vietnam and/or Iraq-like environments and stand little to no chance of escaping without suffering traumatic losses. We can never come away from such a situation with what could be called a “victory”. As the first woman to ever be elected to The House of Representatives, Jeannette Rankin, once said, “You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.”

Another question might be on whose behalf would the “peacekeepers” be keeping the peace? It sounds like a curious question as one might believe that peacekeeping would be somewhat like officiating a sporting event. The peacekeepers should be neutral and become aggressive to whomever it is that tries to break the peace.

It only takes a look at Korea to understand the improbability that peacekeepers can remain neutral. There are still American troops in Korea who serve as peacekeepers, but we can be certain that, should unrest break out, those particular peacekeepers have already decided that The North will be the culprit and they will keep the peace by participating, non-peaceably, in the defense of South Korea.

Whose side would American peacekeepers be on if sent to the Gaza Strip? We all know the answer to that question, but is it the right answer? One death is one too many under any violent circumstance, but would The US defend those whose death toll from the conflict is 573 or would it defend the nation who has suffered “several” casualties?

Lest I seem cold and uncaring, my heart breaks and my blood boils even though I cannot fathom 45,000 people dying per month in a war, as is happening in Democratic Republic of Congo. However, when it seemed as though The Regime was going to send troops to almost every sovereign nation in The Middle East to give them the gift of democracy in return for a few million barrels of crude, didn’t those awakened Americans wonder how it was going to produce enough American soldiers to fight all of those wars? Didn’t we oppose the war in Iraq because it was not a war of necessity but a war of choice?

If we send troops into Sudan, wouldn’t that be our choice? If we send troops into Sri Lanka, would that not be our choice?

We can all agree that The Regime lied about Iraq, but that those who sincerely want to end real bloodshed and suffering genuinely care about those who are dying and suffering. Nonetheless, we don’t have the resources to stop all of it, if any of it. Our citizens, those who we should care most about, would become victims of the same bloodshed and suffering. We would never have an agreement among our population whether the side for which our kids were fighting and dying was the righteous side or the villainous side. Most importantly the past has shown us that, once we leave, remnants of the “defeated” population could very well reemerge and the fragile peace that may result from the violent war would cease.

Are we trying to force the alcoholic to stop drinking? Isn’t the first step in a 12 step program admitting to having a problem in the first place? No matter how many troops we send to any “troubled spot” in the world, we will never change the minds of the tyrants who are causing the pain and destruction. They have to come to the realization that what they’re doing is wrong and, considering the magnitude of what the tyrants are usually doing, the probability of their coming to that realization is slim to none.

Enter Plan B. When the tyrannical leaders fail to realize the evil of their ways, the people have to become intolerant enough of those ways to rise up against the tyrants and overthrow them. This, too, is no guarantee, as the blackness that people see can become so intolerable that dark gray begins to look good and dark gray is just a shade from black.

Another quote comes to mind. John Quincy Adams is credited with saying, “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.”

To friendship,
Michael

“Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right.” - Isaac Asimov

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<a href="http://www.buzzdash.com/polls/adams-america-does-not-go-abroad-in-search-of-monsters-to-destroy-142919/">Adams: America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.</a> <a href="http://www.buzzdash.com">BuzzDash polls</a>

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