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Thread: Armed and ready for Ivorian intervention?

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    Re: rmed and ready for Ivorian intervention?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Invisible View Post
    How would it help end the "poverty trap?"
    Cote D'Ivoire, like many impoverished nations, is stuck in a vicious cycle: Poor economic conditions make coups and election-stealing more likely...and coups and election-stealing inhibit economic development. Any country where the democratically-elected government is under threat of overthrow by the military will tend to spend more on its military to appease them. The problem is that many West African nations cannot afford to do this; there is so much development work that needs to be done.

    If the US (or any other large country with the manpower and willingness) would intervene in situations like these, it will make coups and election-stealing less frequent and enable more countries to focus on their economic development instead of on protecting their own power from the military.
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    Re: rmed and ready for Ivorian intervention?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Many of the poorest nations in the world are stuck in a trap of constant coups (or the threat of coups). Staging coups and/or stealing elections would become a lot less attractive, if the coup-stagers and election-stealers routinely faced the prospect of being deposed by the US and turned over to the legitimate government for prosecution. This would allow African nations to spend less on their militaries and more on important social priorities.
    Nice as it is to see people debating a real issue here for once I have to disagree.

    Its impossible for the U.S to be a neutral player. Traditionally it has been the one intervening against legitimate governments in africa, not for (e.g Patrice Lumumba in the Congo and Kwame Nkrumah) In order for it to act as a poilceman here it has to determine whether or not a government is legitimate, historically it has made this decision throughout the world by refering to its economic interests (which Jacob Arbenz found out to his peril) Even if America did intervene with the noblest of motives it could allienate the local people through it's armed forces inherent carelessness regarding civillians causualties (as we see now in Afganistan).

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Has their been any time in since the end of WW2 that the U.S has installed a government without a huge loss of innocent lives?
    Last edited by Red_Dave; 12-29-10 at 10:47 PM.

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    Re: rmed and ready for Ivorian intervention?

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    It's against French law, for French citizens to join the Foreign Legion.
    Um, no, it's not:

    The French Foreign Legion (French: Légion étrangère) is a unique military unit in the French Army established in 1831. The legion was specifically created for foreign nationals wishing to serve in the French Armed Forces. Commanded by French officers, it is also open to French citizens, who amounted to 24% of the recruits as of 2007.
    French Foreign Legion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Just saying.
    I'm already gearing up for Finger Vote 2014.

    Just for reference, means my post was a giant steaming pile of sarcasm.

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    Re: rmed and ready for Ivorian intervention?

    Quote Originally Posted by Red_Dave View Post
    Nice as it is to see people debating a real issue here for once I have to disagree.

    Its impossible for the U.S to be a neutral player. Traditionally it has been the one intervening against legitimate governments in africa, not for (e.g Patrice Lumumba in the Congo and Kwame Nkrumah) In order for it to act as a poilceman here it has to determine whether or not a government is legitimate, historically it has made this decision throughout the world by refering to its economic interests (which Jacob Arbenz found out to his peril)
    I agree that we should not intervene in situations where there's a lot of gray area whether or not a government is legitimate, but in this case (as it often is) it's pretty clear-cut. Virtually every Western nation, the whole of West Africa, and the UN have stated that Gbagbo's government is illegitimate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red_Dave
    Even if America did intervene with the noblest of motives it could allienate the local people through it's armed forces inherent carelessness regarding civillians causualties (as we see now in Afganistan).
    But Afghanistan is a prolonged war, and the plan was always to occupy the country to build a democracy. I'm talking about a surgical invasion of Cote D'Ivoire lasting no more than a couple months. The only objective would be to arrest or drive Gbagbo out of Abidjan, and turn the keys over to Ouattara. We need not stay around for the aftermath; that is the business of Ivorians. I'm just talking about helping to instate the legitimate government and sticking around for a few weeks until they're up and running.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red_Dave
    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Has their been any time in since the end of WW2 that the U.S has installed a government without a huge loss of innocent lives?
    Haiti. Kosovo. Depending on how you define a "huge loss of innocent lives" I might also include Kuwait (about 1,000 Kuwaiti and 3,500 Iraqi casualties). Additionally we could learn from the highly successful British intervention in Sierra Leone.

    But ultimately whether or not there are a lot of civilian casualties is up to the Gbagbo junta. If they crap themselves and run away at the first sight of an American soldier (which I think is the most likely outcome), there will be very few casualties. If they stand and fight, there will be some, but still relatively few given their overall military weakness. If they run off into the bushes and launch another civil war against the legitimate government, there will be a lot, but if that's the case it wouldn't be the American military intervention that caused it and we certainly wouldn't stick around to fight a prolonged battle for them.

    Ultimately what I envision is the US surgically assisting poor countries that want democracy, when they need it. I do not want to see the US bogged down in quagmires in Africa for months or years on end.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 12-29-10 at 11:36 PM.
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    Re: rmed and ready for Ivorian intervention?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Define "compelling US interest."
    Something for which the outcome would have a significant adverse impact on the U.S. or its allies.

    There also was no clear mission in Somalia, no exit strategy, and no local partners to work with. This analogy is invalid. Just because they happened to be located on opposite ends of the same continent does not mean that Somalia is anything like Cote D'Ivoire. We've intervened in Haiti, Kosovo, and Timor-Leste without any compelling national interests, and we've generally accomplished our goals there.
    The common link is that again, the outcome in Somalia, would have had no significant adverse impact on the U.S. or its allies.

    Although I'm not necessarily opposed to regional action, the US is much better equipped to deal with this sort of thing than West African nations are. Not only in terms of money and manpower, but also in terms of risk. Regional involvement carries the risk of a broader war in West Africa.
    The region's states will need to balance the risks of failure with the benefits of success. If the expected benefits exceed the expected costs/risks, then military intervention would make sense. If not, then they'll have to pursue an alternative approach. That the U.S. is more capable of handling the issue does not mean that it should get involved. IMO, precisely because no major U.S. interests are involved, it should not.

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    Re: rmed and ready for Ivorian intervention?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    I agree that we should not intervene in situations where there's a lot of gray area whether or not a government is legitimate, but in this case (as it often is) it's pretty clear-cut. Virtually every Western nation, the whole of West Africa, and the UN have stated that Gbagbo's government is illegitimate.



    But Afghanistan is a prolonged war, and the plan was always to occupy the country to build a democracy. I'm talking about a surgical invasion of Cote D'Ivoire lasting no more than a couple months. The only objective would be to arrest or drive Gbagbo out of Abidjan, and turn the keys over to Ouattara. We need not stay around for the aftermath; that is the business of Ivorians. I'm just talking about helping to instate the legitimate government and sticking around for a few weeks until they're up and running.



    Haiti. Kosovo. Depending on how you define a "huge loss of innocent lives" I might also include Kuwait (about 1,000 Kuwaiti and 3,500 Iraqi casualties). Additionally we could learn from the highly successful British intervention in Sierra Leone.

    But ultimately whether or not there are a lot of civilian casualties is up to the Gbagbo junta. If they crap themselves and run away at the first sight of an American soldier (which I think is the most likely outcome), there will be very few casualties. If they stand and fight, there will be some, but still relatively few given their overall military weakness. If they run off into the bushes and launch another civil war against the legitimate government, there will be a lot, but if that's the case it wouldn't be the American military intervention that caused it and we certainly wouldn't stick around to fight a prolonged battle for them.

    Ultimately what I envision is the US surgically assisting poor countries that want democracy, when they need it. I do not want to see the US bogged down in quagmires in Africa for months or years on end.
    Kosovo is a poor example given that the West bears much responsibility for causing the conflict in the first place by supporting the KLA, not to mention the huge civillian casualties of the actual invasion (1200 to 5,700 according to wikipedia), not to mention that the government now running Kosovo is far from savory*. Yugoslavia is a pretty good example of a country that would probably have been better off if it had been left alone to find its own path to democracy (I.E a system not based on the narrow majoritarianism that proved so disastrous in its breakaway republics).

    What im more concerned about is the precendent these interventions set, i.e that anyone can remove a government they do no belive is democratic. Who gets to make this judgement? Would you accept a Russian intervention to restore democracy in a Latin American country? If not then you must accept that you are working from the assumption that it is only the U.S that can make this judgement, something that its got wrong time and time again.

    *Kosovo head accused of organ trafficking

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    Re: rmed and ready for Ivorian intervention?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Cote D'Ivoire, like many impoverished nations, is stuck in a vicious cycle: Poor economic conditions make coups and election-stealing more likely...and coups and election-stealing inhibit economic development. Any country where the democratically-elected government is under threat of overthrow by the military will tend to spend more on its military to appease them. The problem is that many West African nations cannot afford to do this; there is so much development work that needs to be done.

    If the US (or any other large country with the manpower and willingness) would intervene in situations like these, it will make coups and election-stealing less frequent and enable more countries to focus on their economic development instead of on protecting their own power from the military.
    Well also one must take into account that many African nations don't have a history of democracy, thus making it harder for them to legitimize democratic governments, much less form a government in general.
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    Re: rmed and ready for Ivorian intervention?

    Quote Originally Posted by Red_Dave View Post
    Kosovo is a poor example given that the West bears much responsibility for causing the conflict in the first place by supporting the KLA, not to mention the huge civillian casualties of the actual invasion (1200 to 5,700 according to wikipedia), not to mention that the government now running Kosovo is far from savory*.
    But neither the history nor the aftermath of the Kosovo conflict change the fact that we were able to go in, institute the legitimate government, and quickly extricate ourselves. I'm not saying that our interventions have always been pretty, but Kosovo is an example of when we were able to accomplish our goals from a military standpoint without a prolonged campaign or a huge number of casualties. With that said, there are no guarantees that Cote D'Ivoire would turn out any differently. Their new president might very well turn out to be just as unsavory as Kosovo's. The point isn't necessarily to give them a great government, it's to foster the conditions where Cote D'Ivoire (as well as other poor nations with similar problems who would clearly be watching) no longer need to worry as much about coups and election-stealing, because they'd have an implicit security guarantee from the United States. This would allow them to focus more on human development.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red_Dave
    Yugoslavia is a pretty good example of a country that would probably have been better off if it had been left alone to find its own path to democracy (I.E a system not based on the narrow majoritarianism that proved so disastrous in its breakaway republics).
    That very well might be the case. I would be against forcibly imposing democracy in countries where there is no strong democratic movement (e.g. Chad), or where there is a dictatorship but no immediate democratic crisis (e.g. Cameroon). I'm only talking about situations where there is a clear, legitimate government that is being usurped by an illegitimate government...generally after a coup or an election.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red_Dave
    What im more concerned about is the precendent these interventions set, i.e that anyone can remove a government they do no belive is democratic. Who gets to make this judgement? Would you accept a Russian intervention to restore democracy in a Latin American country?
    Absolutely not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red_Dave
    If not then you must accept that you are working from the assumption that it is only the U.S that can make this judgement,
    I'd be OK with any established democracy doing it, provided that they had the manpower and were willing to fire and take casualties if necessary. The UK or France or Australia could probably do it. I'm not sure if there are any other countries that fit the bill.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red_Dave
    something that its got wrong time and time again.
    If there is a legitimate dispute over who won an election then there is no need to intervene. But open-and-shut cases of election fraud are, unfortunately, quite commonplace in Africa. Cote D'Ivoire is one of them.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 12-30-10 at 12:36 AM.
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    Re: rmed and ready for Ivorian intervention?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Invisible View Post
    Well also one must take into account that many African nations don't have a history of democracy, thus making it harder for them to legitimize democratic governments, much less form a government in general.
    I agree. I wouldn't dream of trying to impose democracy in, say, Chad. But Cote D'Ivoire just elected a legitimate president.
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    Re: rmed and ready for Ivorian intervention?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    The United States should send troops into Cote D'Ivoire if necessary. It would cost us virtually nothing, the troops wouldn't have to be there more than a couple months, and they would have a clear mission: to help establish the legitimately elected government. This is exactly the kind of situation where we should be more willing to deploy our military.
    Dude, that was the reasoning behind GW2 and Afganistan and that's going on 7-8 years now, not 2 months.

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