by John Hawkins | July 1, 2003 8:29 pm
Ask The Evil Hegemon For Help, They Help Everybody: I knew this sort of thing was going to happen, it was just a matter of time…
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION is coming under considerable international pressure to contribute to a United Nations-backed intervention in the West African state of Liberia — and understandably so. Founded by freed U.S. slaves, Liberia has been a close U.S. ally for most of its history, and now it is living through one of the worst moments in those 150 years. Its warlord president, Charles Taylor, is holed up in the capital city, Monrovia, besieged by rebel armies. Mr. Taylor agreed to step down peacefully as part of a cease-fire agreement last month but then reversed himself; the result has been heavy fighting in the capital that has left hundreds dead. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has called for an international peacekeeping force to prevent further bloodshed, and he has implored the United States to lead it. Britain and France have publicly backed the idea, and several West African nations have offered to contribute 3,000 troops if they are matched with 2,000 Americans. Both sides in Liberia say they would welcome a U.S.-led force. Faced with such unanimity, the Bush administration should strongly consider acting.”
You know, when I hear about people pleading for us to help out somewhere like Liberia, I think back to the build-up to the war in Iraq. Back then we were called Nazis, hegemons, imperialists, & Fascists. The American people & our President were impugned daily by nations that we had helped over and over again for decades. We were told that America was rabidly unpopular and that many people thought we were a bigger threat to the world that Al Qaeda. But now a few short months later when Europe & the UN have started to get skittish about going into the middle of a civil war it’s, “Hey Uncle Sam old buddy, could help us get rid of this dictator who’s causing problems in Liberia?”
Let me ask the obvious question, “Why the Hell should we get involved in Liberia?” We have no national interest at stake there, right? And let’s be completely honest, no one is going to genuinely appreciate our help. Not the Western Europeans who could care less that we helped liberate them from the Nazis and then defended them from the Soviets, not Africans who show zero gratitude for the billions we give them, & not even the Liberians themselves who will care for no more than a few years at best.
Moreover, by even getting involved it’s likely we’ll get all sorts of grief from the “I hate America crowd” on the left in America & Europe. We’ll have international lawyers trying to figure out how to charge our men with war crimes when we accidentally kill civilians, NGOs complaining that we’re not doing enough for the people of Liberia, the press painting the whole thing as a disaster & a “quagmire” until we win the day, paranoid libs & Paleocons claiming we’re acting like imperialists again, & ungrateful allies complaining about how we’re conducting the military campaign — as if they could do better.
Why should we put ourselves through that for Liberia or for any country that has no strategic relevance to us? Were it up to me, we wouldn’t. In fact, I think we shouldn’t go to places like Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo, & Bosnia again. We get no benefits from those sorts of missions other than the opportunity to pat ourselves on the backs and tell ourselves we’re good people even if the rest of the world refuses to see it.
So instead of America getting involved, why don’t we send Kofi Annan down to Liberia and let him demand that Charles Taylor step down in the name of the UN and international law? That could work right? Then there are the Canadians — don’t some of them claim to be a “moral superpower”? Let them go down to Liberia and see what they can do. Even the French could help — just look at the bang-up job they’ve doing down on the Ivory Coast — OK, maybe the French aren’t such a good idea. But in the end, it doesn’t really matter to me who goes to Liberia as long as it isn’t us. America has done enough good deeds for the world in the last century to last for the rest of human history. If America has no stake in the fight, we should let some other nation or power get involved…
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