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usually means military intervention, because of the assumption that diplomacy has run out of options. I don't think that Power is against diplomacy. Just not with infinite patience.

However I'm against military interventions or the use of military for anything else than defensive purposes in general.

  • The black swan: War is a major intervention in an extremely unstable social framework. The outcome is pretty much unpredictable. Whatever you do, you shouldn't escalate a situation, because the result is chaotic and unpredictable. The only exception from that would be a case, where one side in a conflict is already out for maximum escalation. WW II is the only occasion, where I can easily see this
  • The arms race: For defending your country, you need a smaller army than for attacking. Even with a security buffer the general dynamic is deescalating. When you maintain a military, that can do interventions, others have to scale up their military, too. How can a country, lets say like Iran, ever by sure, that an intervention force will not be abused to attack it? There may be times, when there are major aggressive powers, when one has to show some strength. Currently the NATO is the uberpower in world and could reduce its military. A guarantee for never ever abusing the infrastructure for intervention isn't credible.
  • Inefficiency and structural suffering: If you say, you maintain the military to avoid genocide and mass killing, it seems the prime goal is to save lives. But there are more efficient ways to save lives. Why don't you have an army of doctors curing easy to medicate, but deadly diseases? Why don't you have benenutrition programs? A lot of people in the world die for reasons, that are quite easy to prevent. Structural suffering, just doesn't produce that spectacular pictures as killing by humans. An informed judgement shouldn't be confused by that. That costs of war are really enormous, when you consider, that even when currently nothing is going on, you still maintain the troops.

Some other stuff
  • who makes sure comittment lasts? Can you really punish  a nation that says e.g. after a change of gov't in elections, that they don't want to prolong the operation, despite it is of critical importance in the other country?
  • who wants to be part of such an army? You don't get enough volunteers - at least not, if you have social system, that allows poor people of your society to take other chances. The only way this can work is, rich nations pay poor to do the dirty work. Not exactly a great thought.
  • are the interventionists responsible for the long run, e.g.  if ten years after the intervention a conflict seems to be the result of previous agreement?
  • who what have to agree on intervention? Is the redefinition of international law something, that some states can do to others without their agreement?

So, yes, all diplomatic means, and occasionally some trade sanctions etc. (but even those are overused. ~400000 humans died in Iraq due to sanctions, for what?); but military use isn't a good idea.


Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 9th, 2009 at 09:03:54 PM EST
All excellent questions.

About Power and infinite patience, I'm talking about a specific peace plan in 1992, not the dawdling that happened after that which allowed the killings. The three principals agreed to it. In fact, Karadzic was pushing hard for it since it would secure 51% of Bosnia for the Serb Republic.

James Baker and Samantha Power thought that you couldn't reward the aggression and ethnic cleansing which had already occurred in 1992. That's why the plan was killed. (Well, not because of power, but because of Baker, though Power concurred that the plan was highly beneficial for the Serbs).

by Upstate NY on Mon Mar 9th, 2009 at 10:47:02 PM EST
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