OxBlog

Saturday, July 21, 2007

# Posted 9:32 AM by Taylor Owen  

OBAMA'S IRAQ-DARFUR ANALOGY: Yesterday, Obama caused bit of a blogospheric stir by drawing a link between US genocide prevention in Iraq and unilateral invasions of the DRC and Sudan. His attempt to explain this position in a 10 second sound bite, and the reaction to, and interpretation of, his statement marks a telling example of a position missing from much of the Iraq foreign policy debate - that of liberal internationalists, and supporters of international humanitarian interventions.

So here is what he said:
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn’t a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there.

“Well, look, if that’s the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now — where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife — which we haven’t done,” Obama said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“We would be deploying unilaterally and occupying the Sudan, which we haven’t done. Those of us who care about Darfur don’t think it would be a good idea,” he said.

As I agree with the position he is espousing, let me try to both translate and elaborate.

First, the intro paragraph to the report is incorrect. I do not think that Obama believes that US force should never be used to stop a genocide (and since Samantha Power is one of his principle FP advisers, we can pretty much rule this position out), but rather, that it is often an ineffective tool for doing so. What's more, using the military for humanitarian operations often does more harm than good. This is an equation, learned though decades of such operations, that has to be part of an assessment of the use of force - particularly unilateral force in a highly sensitive region.

Second, he was not arguing an amoral position on either Darfur or the DRC. Rather, he was saying that just because we want to stop a slaughter, does in mean that the only, or best, policy options available is invasion. In fact, humanitarian considerations are often a reason to look to other mechanisms. There are a wide range of considerations as to who should conduct humanitarian interventions and how. Ignoring these can OFTEN make matters worse. The most ardent advocates of strong international action on Darfur and the DRC, for example, are not pushing for a US invasion. They are, however, urging for a whole host of initiatives that are presently not being done.

Third, if we translate this line of reasoning to the situation in Iraq, just because we care about the humanitarian emergency in the country is not a de facto rationale for keeping forces in. The very real possibility that these forces are aggravating a significant percentage of the insurgency needs to be considered. As does the fact that a majority of Iraqi's do not support the US troop presence, and that many endorse strikes against them, and are providing the insurgency with the tacit support it requires. On balance, this may still mean the draw down would have to be cautious, and probably dependant on the formation of a UN peacebuilding mission, as Obama advocates.

Indeed, with this in mind, here is his recommendation:

“Nobody is proposing we leave precipitously. There are still going to be U.S. forces in the region that could intercede, with an international force, on an emergency basis,” Obama said between stops on the first of two days scheduled on the New Hampshire campaign trail. “There’s no doubt there are risks of increased bloodshed in Iraq without a continuing U.S. presence there.

”The greater risk is staying in Iraq, Obama said.

“It is my assessment that those risks are even greater if we continue to occupy Iraq and serve as a magnet for not only terrorist activity but also irresponsible behavior by Iraqi factions,” he said.

Seen through the lens of the international experience with humanitarian interventions and peacebuilding, a tradition in which Obama's foreign policy advisers have considerable experience, this makes sense. If we are in a peacebuilding scenario, what is going to be needed is a massive humanitarian relief operation (which has not been done), supported by a UN peacebuilding force. Of course actually doing this will not be easy, but my bet is a humble next president, after dovetailing significantly from many of the more controversial Bush administration positions, and clearly expressing a humanitarian plea to the international community, will be able to secure these forces. I believe that Obama is the best positioned candidate to advocate this position, which is why I am supporting him.

One more thing. As we move into debates about post-Bush foreign policy, there is going to, obviously, be a lot of debate about various schools of US foreign policy. One thing that I think really needs to part of this discussion is how to not throw the baby of an activists (and some would say morality-based) US foreign policy, out with the bathwater of the neoconservative experience of Iraq. There are many who believe that the US should be an active player in humanitarian crises, but have a very different view of the mechanisms that must be used to achieve these ends.

Desired humanitarian outcomes are great, but if the mechanisms used have little or no chance of achieving them, then we need to dramatically rethink the tool box of foreign policy.

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(7) opinions -- Add your opinion

Comments:
mullah cimoc say blogman him just slave for master in tel aviv.

so obedient slave boy. how many israeli sympanthy movies watching in him life this dumb and foolish boy gay.

here the question for ameriki brainwashing victim;

1. How long israeli survive without usa triubte payment each year? A: maybe one year, maybe one months.

2. Am usa public opinion important for get congress pay the tribute? A: yes, not so important him bribe but still important.

3. am intel malpractice for him israeli spy and agent not controlling usa media for make ameriki sympathy? A: yes, him israeli intel work for israeli not like usa intel which also work for israeli.

4. How israeli agent him controlling usa public opinion this question of slave of master in tel aviv? A: read, inside the company, a cia diary by phillip agee for learn basic.

for all this reason neocon spy him trickameriki for kill and torture him muslim and the mass murder iraki. faking the wmd intel and controlling the executive of ameriki.

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Mullah cimoc strikes again. (Google him if you don't know who he is.)

Sorry dude, but it's been done. It was called Borat, and you're not worthy to shine his shoes.
 
It is refreshing to hear a more refined and well rounded position on Iraq and the US's role in the world. I think that very important issues get lost in the “should we or shouldn't we be there” debate over Iraq. For example, an issue which is at the core of many of the problems that face our nation and world today is global poverty. How many fewer genocides, terrorist attacks, and civil wars would there be if everyone could afford to feed their family, and have access to basic healthcare and education. The fight against global poverty is the most fundamental issue facing our world today, but it gets overshadowed by debates on the Iraq War, illegal immigration, terrorism, etc.
 
Taylor, a couple questions:

1. When is the use of force an ineffective tool for stopping a genocide progress? When has any other tool been effective in preventing a genocide? The lesson of Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo seems to be that only force can work, but that the West may not be willing to shoulder the cost, in terms of either blood or treasure.

2. What exactly is a "peace-building" force? Is it the same as a "peace enforcement" force? If the threats to peace in Iraq are Sunni insurgents, Al Qaeda terrorists, and Shi'ite militias and deaths squads, would a peace-building force essentially be taking over the US counterinsurgency mission?

3. How confident are you that the UN will provide a peace-building force for Iraq, even if Obama were President? Which countries would provide troops and how many? Would anything short of 150,000 be even moderately effective?
 
The UN tried Iraq once, already. They got blown up and they bailed.
Do the Iraqis need what Mark Steyn called, "armed pedophilic sex tourists"?
Just before the US went into Somalia, an AID official said there was enough food in the world to feed everyone. At the basis of every famine was a group who either wanted it that way or for whom it was an unimportant consequence of some other action.
IOW, these guys WANT to do what they are doing.
How are you going to change their minds?
 
fuck iraq. save darfur.
 
There is no excuse for ignoring genecide. Bush has done nothing but pay lip service to the issue. Like the ever worthless threat of sanctions which he himself admitted were a failure in Iraq.
Bush doesn't care about Darfur. There is no oil there, no money for Haliberton (Cheney's cash cow), and Bush has never done anything for blacks. He let down thousands of African Americans during Katrina. Why would he do anything to help millions of ethnic Africans.
The Bush administration threw the majority of America's military might into a bogus occupation of Iraq. The U.N. is a corrupt joke. Thus, because Bush is a functional retard and republican scum stole the election in 2000, the genocide occurred. No nation other than the U.S. has the strength to lead the world in permanantly ending genocide. But our might and credibilty have been squandered in Iraq. Thus more Africans will die and be displaced until the U.S. leaves Iraq.
The George W. Bush administration is the worst Presidential team our nation has ever known. Their blunder in Iraq left no one to stop the slaughter in Darfur. When compared to the various crisis in Africa, the problems in the Middle-East are dwarfed.
Bottom line, Neo-cons could have prevented Darfur and didn't. Neo-cons act moral and rightous, but are mostly greedy, morally bankrupt, arrogant, lying, close- minded hypocrits. They only pretend to act morally when it serves their filthy self interests. Iraq was not a moral mission. There were $ signs in Prick Cheney's eyes. Karl Rove (Half man half pot bellied pig) knows that keeping a nation at war silences most descent.
I can give dozens of examples of this, but I will offer only a couple more for the sake of time. Neo-cons are pro-life, "Because only they value the santity of life." Bullshit, if they care so much about children why do they consistantly vote down proposals for expanded health care and education for our nation's kids.
Additionally, they use the Religous of America as their pawns. They ignore issues like poverty, but grasp on to abortion to divide and conquer people of faith. It is my opinion that many of our nations religous would likely scew democratic if not for the blatant Neo-con manipulation of wedge issues. They do the same thing by fighting gay marriage (which is no threat to anyone's faith or marriage).
I have no doubt that a Democractic president would have effectively intervened in Darfur (like Clinton in Bosnia). So the first step to ending the Darfur crises is to elect a democrat (any democrat) in 2008 for president. Second, get out of Iraq and divide it into 3 states as proposed in the "Biden" plan. Third, wipe out the murderous thugs in Sudan and all of their supporters. Step 4-5, take down the corrupt dictatorship and establsh a federalist system like in Iraq. Step 6, make Darfur a seperate nation for the brutalized people of Darfur. Use a multinational troop to guard it's border until the Sudanese leadership return to sanity. Sudan has lost any right to own Darfur, and should take this loss as a punishment for crimes against humanity. Come to think of it, America should impeach Bush and his bastard minions and throw them into jail for their crimes against humanity.
I dare any pompous Neo-Con to challenge me on any of these suggestions and opinions. Come and get it. I'll tear you a new one and expose you for the elitist coward you are!
 
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