Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Humanitarian hawks as "trigger hippies"

That's probably a term that deserves to catch on. From Chase Madar, Hawks for humanity Aljazeera America 01/21/2014 on the disturbing trend of human rights activists being shills for wars:

Liberal hawks respond to skepticism over their bellicosity with an invented pedigree of successful humanitarian wars, wheeling out India’s armed intervention in East Pakistan in 1971, which halted a genocide and created Bangladesh, or Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia in 1978, which ended the Khmer Rouge, or Tanzania’s invasion of Uganda in 1979, which brought down Idi Amin. What they fail to mention is that these wars weren’t simple humanitarian interventions but attacks motivated almost entirely by national self-interest, conducted to stem massive, destabilizing influxes of foreign refugees from a bordering nation.

But the past is past. Supporters of humanitarian warfare tend not to dwell on their ventures’ failures for very long. Remember the carnage when the U.N. ventured into Somalia, with war crimes committed by both sides? The 200,000 Serbs and Roma ethnically cleansed from Kosovo during the NATO bombardment of Belgrade? The dictatorship of the militias in Libya and the excruciating pacification campaign in Afghanistan, which some have confused with a feminist Peace Corps project?
Realistically, militarism and warmongering is much more a pastime - and sometime profession - for rightwingers than it is for serious human rights groups.

Still, Madar is making an important point: "The itchy trigger finger of the human rights industry is symptomatic of the atrophy of diplomacy and dealmaking in favor of the militarization of statecraft. Do human rights professionals really want to be party to this?"


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