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If you are debating intervention in Syria ...

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Pangur Bán, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. Pangur Bán

    Pangur Bán Deconstructed

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    If you are debating intervention in Syria, and not war-related human rights in Congo, or apartheid in Israel, or civil rights in Saudi Arabia, or the fact that the US-backed military regime in Egypt has just overthrown the leader of a new democracy and is as we speak killing the democratically-elected leader's supporters, then you are a passive agent of the US Corporate State. Discuss.

    I don't necessarily endorse that view myself, but our reality has a curious logic. In the USA, UK and so on, it's an interesting fact that the media seem to stress certain events at the expense of others, endorse and support a certain types of cause, but ignore lots of other similar ones for no immediately apparent reason. The BBC are currently pumping out lots of propaganda / documentaries on atrocities in Syria, just as they did about Iraq close to the lead up to the overthrow of Saddam. Yet I don't remember similar propaganda efforts in the lead up to Rwanda, or the Congo civil conflict, or so on. The BBC are of course serving the political establishment of which they are, unknowingly and knowingly, a part.

    As your media would have it, the world of international politics is basically a kind of goodies-versus-baddies super realist version of Holywood where modern history is a series of spontaneous reactions by selfless Western elites to moral crises as they occur throughout the world. But if you think about it, that makes it hard to explain the reactions of Obama et al to a comparatively puny crisis of Syria (where a recent alleged death toll of 1000 odd compares so unfavourably to tolls that happen with many multiples in Africa but don't even get reported). And if you are slavishly following the corporate media's lead by focusing on such a moral crisis at the expense of others, whose agenda do you serve? When we see the Borg on Star Trek, or Daleks on Dr Who, do we just see dark reflections of ourselves? Soul-lessly or unknowlingly fighting against the human spirit when parroting to ourselves the 'greater good' nonsense bucketed down by our masters?

    Assad's downfall would indeed weaken the anti-American block in the middle east but almost certainly lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions. Yes you can probably keep the price of oil lower as a result, but is it worth it, even from an entirely self-interested US or UK stance? Not just those deaths, but the hatred towards your children that will follow?

    Assad was always a baddie for the West, but only the 2008 economic crisis and its effects gave him enemies strong enough to invite overt US/Nation aggression like we are currently seeing. So the US wants to take its chance, that's understandable. But do you feel comfortable signing the death warrants of so many thousands of people to serve the interests of the US elite? Surely if you want to save lives and so on, you need to focus on something you can actually understand. Surely its better to campaign for road safety, better regulation of the drugs industry, and so forth? No?
     
  2. Gucumatz

    Gucumatz JS, secretly Rod Serling

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    Why not both? Thousands of people will die with or without the US. In the short term more people will die and while the situation will still be a mess after US intervention, if handled well can shorten the period of instability.

    And by being a citizen of any state, you are a passive agent of the corporate, political, and national interests of that state in nearly anything you do. Discuss.
     
  3. Gucumatz

    Gucumatz JS, secretly Rod Serling

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    Also - the UN has a mandate in the Congo right now. Its pretty much the first offensive war the UN has truly authorized for themselves
     
  4. Joecoolyo

    Joecoolyo 99% Lightspeed

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    I mean, we could intervene everywhere atrocities are occurring. But everyone makes such a hissy-fit every time the U.S. so much as farts in their direction. We have to pick and choose our fights.

    That, and there are areas of the world that are father away and more isolated than others. Which makes intervention, or, public knowledge of atrocities, harder to come by and harder to do. It's why Syria will receive more attention than the Congo.
     
  5. Defiant47

    Defiant47 Peace Sentinel

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    This answers it.
     
  6. Pangur Bán

    Pangur Bán Deconstructed

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    This kind of assumes the view that modern political history is a series of spontaneous reactions by selfless Westerners to moral crises as they occur throughout the world. But the same people wanting to 'save' a few a few thousand lives in political conflicts they do not understand elect governments who impose sanctions and trade 'agreements' on third world countries that kill millions every year. Are you really 'picking your fights' for moral betterment, or are your social betters picking the fights that they want for economic betterment and telling plebs like us that it's 'all in a moral cause' so we will legitimise it? Seriously ask yourselves, why is your media debating Syria at the time it is and not, now or at more pertinent times, deaths in Congo, Rwanda, Cambodia, etc, or rights violations in China or Burma, or even in US puppet states like Saudi Arabia. The US government while warmongering in Syria is even now actively backing a regime in Egypt killing democratic activists. This is not some cold war era stuff either. It's occurring right now as it is warmongering in the name of democracy for Syria, under the noses of us and our media.
     
  7. Gucumatz

    Gucumatz JS, secretly Rod Serling

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    Of course its not selfless. So the point is then, why are you arguing like it is?
     
  8. Pangur Bán

    Pangur Bán Deconstructed

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    But our discourse says it is 'selfless'. The public debate is framed, here and elsewhere, as the [potential] act of a 'world policeman' enforcing the 'good' and taking the baddies to task. Assad has crossed a 'moral line', so this is why we have to take him down and not the dozens of other dictators (which would be awkward, since half of them are otherwise completely dependent on US support). Obviously a lot of us recognize that's a lot of bull, but recognizing that enables us to debate the more interesting questions. How and why are we arguing this in these terms, at this point in time. And who's actually pushing it. And are we happy with serving those interests. And so on.
     
  9. Defiant47

    Defiant47 Peace Sentinel

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    Where it is necessary for us to intervene.

    Where the UN is already dealing with it.

    That is so complicated that the smartest historians and political minds have been unable to solve it.

    That are terrible but not as bad as in other countries, and not as bad as the genocide or gassing of civilians.

    Overthrowing a corrupt regime is not always going to be rosy. And the situation there is much more complicated than that.

    Or you misconstrue my aims. I condone none of those, but we have to consider all of these realistically.

    There's no doubt political influence to provide such support, but a significant portion is also related to "what sells". If the US doesn't have any idea what to do in Egypt, and is not going to get involved, then it makes sense to report on the situation in Egypt every now and then, while fixating entirely on the Syria situation that has a direct impact on us.

    If you fall for the media bias and propaganda. Which many people do.

    The death toll is much greater than 1000. So much greater. And worse.

    But wait, that doesn't make sense - it is literally just ~1500. But the use of chemical weapons crosses a line.

    This isn't a mere 1000 deaths, this is the deaths of 1000 in agonizing pain as a result of illegal and immoral chemical weapons.

    This isn't a mere 1000 deaths, this is a precedent that barbarians such as Asaad can use chemical weapons on their own people with impunity.

    This is completely unacceptable and you can't boil it down to simple numbers due to these complicating circumstances.

    The agenda of humanity. Some of us don't look at just the main headlines.

    This is not a fair comparison.

    What if this actually is the greater good?? Just because the media has played up the situation, doesn't mean necessarily that it is a farce.

    And letting Asaad reign supreme will "not" lead to so many deaths? People like to talk about the terrible consequences of intervening. Sometimes, the consequences are even greater when not intervening. It really is about selecting the lesser of two evils.

    It would be immoral to pursue wartime operations to maximize profits by maintaining the price of oil at a particular level. Humanity must be an end in and of itself, and humanity should never be a means to an end that does not constitute a "greater" humanity.

    No, the Arab Spring spreading to Syria resulting in protests, Asaad slaughtering protesters, and the ensuing civil war resulted in the current situation. Don't pretend as if it's just a complicated orchestrated plan by the US to serve their interests.

    I do not feel comfortable signing the death warrants of Syrian civilians, just because they're Syrians and presumably American lives are more important.

    Those are also things we need to address. We can focus on more than one thing at once.

    And in the international theatre, we have to accept our limitations:
    • We do not have the manpower, resources, or military hardware to control all areas that need "assistance"
    • We do not have the external political "capital" to engage in multiple wars - for example, it's already running out as we're trying to intervene in Syria as well
    • We do not have the internal political "capital" to engage in more wars - the people are already, rationally or irrationally, abhorring wars regardless of the details at hand
    • Some interventions would have more unpredictable effects than others
    • Some interventions would have worse collateral effects than others
    • And so on...

    Therefore, we come to the conclusion:

    We have to pick and choose our fights.
     
  10. DemonicAppleGuY

    DemonicAppleGuY King

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    Ideological intervention is silly and useless.

    Ideology and humanitarianism are (generally) excuses for intervention, not the actual reasoning for it.

    EDIT: That is not to say that the outcomes of interventions are not sometimes "good".
     
  11. Defiant47

    Defiant47 Peace Sentinel

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    The US government is not perfect, and not a paragon of all that is good and right in this war world. The nation of US, and any other nation, are all flawed in some way or another. But some nations are arguably much worse.

    The UN mission is already involved in Africa. And Western allies have already engaged in interventionism here or there when a conflict in Africa would turn too bloody.

    It would be supremely inefficient for us to try to "butt in" and intervene somewhere that's already being addressed, however ineffectively, by the international community or Western allies.

    I do not see the US giving weapons to these groups for the purposes of slaughtering people. You may be connecting a few too dots here.
     
  12. Defiant47

    Defiant47 Peace Sentinel

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    Unfortunately so.
     
  13. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    Meh. M23 is a tiny fraction of the problem in the Congo. The UN force will beat them up a bit and make them run back to Rwanda. Then it'll sit around Goma doing nothing particularly useful for several months, and then the rest of the world will stop giving a crap and they'll leave without having accomplished virtually anything. Then the endemic war in the Kivus will restart, along with the Katanga and Ituri wars that are still going, and the people of the eastern Congo will continue to be assboned by the world.
     
  14. Winner

    Winner Diverse in Unity

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    You're nuts.

    Discussion closed.

    For the record, I am against intervening in the Syrian civil war unless Western interests/countries are directly threatened.
     
  15. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    I think that by now a very large number of people are getting quite sick of the ludicrous "policeman of the world" mentality (as a facade covering worse ends) of some governments (aka USA). I don't see this ending well.
     
  16. Commodore

    Commodore Deity

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    Umm, no. The Egyptian Army removed from power an Islamic extremist who tried to set himself up as Egypt's new dictator.
     
  17. Pangur Bán

    Pangur Bán Deconstructed

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    Yeah, in China they label democratic activists as 'mad' and put them in mental institutions. If I am 'nuts' for comparing Israel to Apartheid, then myself, Bishop Tutu and hundreds of other intellectuals will have to go into mental institutions.


    :lol: What you mean to say is that Egyptians overthrew their US back dictator, elected an Islamist, so it's ok that the military overthrew him. I doubt you'd like if the US military overthrew Bush because of his Christian fundamentalism, though. ;)
     
  18. CavLancer

    CavLancer This aint fertilizer

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    I think we should leave his nuts out of this.
     
  19. Pangur Bán

    Pangur Bán Deconstructed

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    Hardly.


    The US knows exactly what to do in Egypt. It lost a relatively pro-Israeli secularist during the revolutions and wants to get one back. US aims in Egypt are not a mystery.


    The point of the thread is that when you say this stuff, you may be looking 'beyond the main headlines', but you're still letting your betters in the polticized media to dictate what you think. In truth, if you had looked beyond the surface media BS and ignored the ideological rhetoric and unsupported assertions, you'd know there's no evidence that Assad used such weapons. And as G Galloway and Rand Paul have both pointed out independently, it's a bit bizarre in terms of timing if you assume Assad has any brains. Like those evil CHinese blowing up Japanese railway lines and just as Japan was preparing for a war of conquest.



    Yeah, there is rationale in fight-picking, but don't think it's moral. The moral bs is the stuff fed to us plebs so we'll consent to economically-driven wars. Think of it as like advertising. A Mcdonalds advert will say it wants to feed people with nutritious food; of course, all it wants to do is make money.
     
  20. CavLancer

    CavLancer This aint fertilizer

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    Realpolitik
     

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