- Capitalism and Alternatives -

The US is not the Mafia

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( EFZ, MA, USA ) on April 21, 1999 at 14:42:12:

In Reply to: War and Reason. posted by Red Deathy on April 20, 1999 at 17:02:38:

: We must be careful, on all sides, when discussing this war, not to neglect reason, and thus fall into naked prejudice on either side, with that in mind, may I present something of a reasoned analysis:

: Lets start with some basic principles:
: 1:The basis of NATO intervention is in alleged accordance with the international Decralation of human rights, i.e. they claim humanitarian intervention- however.

This IS humanitarian intervention. Between 100,000 and 500,000 Kosovo men are missing, presumed dead. We don't really have time to think up some bettwer alternatives, we need to deal with Serbia NOW.

: 2:the US's track record does not give them much of a basis for humanitarian intervention- Arming Suharto, the Khmer Rouge, refusing to clear up bombs in Laos dropped by the US in the seventies, and killing people today, their continued support for Turkey dispite the treatement of the Kurds, the parrallel situation in Israel with the Palestinians, etc. We could throw in most of central America- but, as some rejoinder, perhaps this is the first time, perhaps they now are genuinely engaged in humitarianism. Well...

All of what you say is true, however,
1) the US has killed very few people domestically, its domestic human rights record is pretty good, lots of political refuygees come to America
2) if it's backed some unpoleasant governments, so has almost every other country
3) it has intervened for humanitarian reasons sometimes, look at Somalia, Haiti, the semi-effective samnctions on South Africa and Rhodesia, etc.
4) the US has given humanitarian and development aid to even avowedly socialist countries as well as capitalist ones, e.g. Ethiopia, Mali, Cape Verde. Without our help those countries would ahve suffered even more.
5) the US pushed for land reform in El Salvador and reforms in Paraguay, and they threatened to attack England to defend Egypt's self-determination in 1956
6) the US did get rid of Diem and Trujillo
7) some ostensibly "capitalist" wars in fact also were morally justifiable. Korea, for example. Do you really think taht the people of South Korea would be better off today if we had let North Korea take over?

: 3:If that were so, we must square it with some other factors- an escalation of the ethnic cleansing was a for-seeable consequence, and yet NATO tactics were not geared towards atttacking the forces in Kosova, and there was no, even secret preparation to manage refugees. NATO's primary aim has been to secure teh capitulation of Milosovich, and this contnues to be the aim, despite its failure to stop the flood of refugees. This is either gross incompetence, or it is cynical mendacity. But we can't talk to these people, they wouldn't deal, so...

what do you recommend, since talking appears to have failed? anyway, any "negotiated" solution taht woudl leave Milosevica free hand in Kosovo, or woudl leave Kosovans without their freedom, does a desservice to the people. Peace under slavery is not peace at all- int's better to gfight and destroy your slavemaster than to live peacefully under oppression.

: 4:Noticeably the Isreali peacetalks with the Palestinians are seriously bogged down, and despite US impatience, I see no rush to bomb Isreal. Further, we discover, as my link for SDF's post shows, that Serbia actually voted in its parliament to accept most of the peace deal, but wanted to alter the sections on NATO peacekeepers to look at alternative international options. NATO wouldn't accept anything less, in fact, Rambouillet was not talks, it was an ultimatum- the argument was clear, and made in public, secure the backing of the Kosvars (whom we can't bomb into submission) and then threaten Serbia with bombing. it was an imposition, not talks. but, but, something had to be done.

yes, we made an imposition. 'Murder is wrong" is an imposition. i see no reason to accept anything else. If Milosevic doesn't agree with thsi then we ought to punsih him.

: 5:This is politicians logic, as follows:
: Serbian atrocities in Kosova are appalling.
: We must do something.
: Bombing Serbia is something.
: therefore we must bomb Serbia.

: Not quite logical. Further, who gave NATO the right to do this something?

Unilateral action is justified when teh UN is unable or unwilling to do something, as often happens. The point is not who inetrvenes, but whether intervention is right. If it si, tehn it doesn't amtter who intervenes. Therefore India was right to intervene in East Pakistan (1971), Tanzania in Uganda (1979), Vietnam in Cambodia (1979) the US in Haiti (1994, France in Chad (1980s) Cuba in Angola (1970s) etc. I would like you to address some of these interventions. Were they wrong or right and if so, then how is the US intervention any different?

: Why was not the UN asked to endorce military action, and by ot Consulting the UN, isn't NATO in breech of its own constitution?

i DON'T KNWO WHAT NATo constitution says, however, I have no problem witha country acting teh hero all by itself.

: 6:Wars are expensive, dangerous, and wasteful, most countries will not enter a war unless some interest were threatened, specifically since we can see that the Humintarian justifications for the war are so weak, we must assume a western interest somewhere.

No, we had no interest in Somalia, we had little immediate interest in Haiti, our interest in Korea was marginal at best. These interventions were done for idealistic reaosn. Note that we didn't take over North Korea, we withdrew to the established border. What about WWII while we're on teh subject, i suppose you think e were wrong to take out Hitler?

: Now, imagine in your home town, that a gang was terrorising a local ethnic group, brutually torturing them, etc. And then, the Mafia stepped in, and decided to sort them out, and did so, with the full knowledge and expectation of undermining and replacing the authority of proper law. Further, what if the Thugs in question were actually mafia employees anyway, that had got out of line? And the Mafia's intervention were intended to put them back into line, but not to remove them- would you support it?

The US isn't the mafia, see above. Their human rights record is no worse than most otehr regional powers and substantially better, in domestic affairs, than most. We HAVE OUR OWN PROBLEMS IN THSI COUNTRY, BIUT PRIMRILY TEHY ARE THE PROBLEMS OF ECONOMIC STRUCTURE AND NOT TEH GOVERNMENT. In spite of whatever racism we have, we are still far more racially tolerant than most European countries (can you say Le Pen, the Africans in France, teh Turks in Germany, etc). We have intervened for humanitarian reasons on several occasions. We ahve sheltered many political refugees from all over the world. We never went into imperialism to teh extent that European countries did, we acquired colonies later and fewer and released them earlier than most otehr countries. We have total free speech here, teh only restraint on free speech is monetary and is again due to the structures of capitalism. We have a better welfare system than most non-socialist developing countries, more racial/ethnic integrationa and tolerance than most European countries, and more democracy than most former East European countries. I'd say teh US is actually very far from being the Mafia, thank you very much. I';m hard pressed to find a country that has even been humanitarian to teh extent that teh US has, with a few exceptions.

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