Monday, November 1, 2021

The Myth of American Humanitarian Intervention

In the 1950s, the Americans invented the term “humanitarian intervention” to make the world believe that the American wars were motivated by altruistic concerns. They monopolized this term—only they had the right to attack another country for humanitarian reasons. If any other country intervened, the Americans would oppose the intervention and brand it as an invasion. In most cases, the American wars led to much bigger humanitarian disasters, because the real purpose of these wars was to capture natural resources and install puppet regimes. 

The first American project of humanitarian intervention was orchestrated in Indochina, between 1955 and 1975. In the name of saving Vietnam from communism, hundreds of thousands of heavily armed American troops poured into the country and conducted saturation bombing in densely populated areas. The American dead have been counted—about 52,000 American soldiers died in Vietnam. But what about the Vietnamese casualties? Most analysts believe that around 2,000,000 Vietnamese civilians and 1,100,000 fighters were consumed by the war. 

In the 1970s, the American establishment encouraged the insurgent movement called Khmer Rouge, led by the Maoist leader Pol Pot, in Cambodia. The thinking in Washington was that the Maoist communists of Cambodia would battle against the Soviet communists of Vietnam and that would worsen the situation in the region to such an extent that the world would beseech America to intervene. But once they captured power in Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge went out of control. They slaughtered about 25 percent of the country’s population in just four years. 

The American humanitarians did not intervene to save the Cambodians from the Khmer Rouge. Ultimately, it was left to the Vietnamese to overthrow the Khmer Rouge regime. Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia in December 1978 was truly a humanitarian intervention. It saved the lives of millions of Cambodians. But the Americans didn’t appreciate Vietnam's intervention. They proclaimed that Vietnam had violated the rights of the Cambodians by invading their country. They encouraged China to attack Vietnam. But the Vietnamese were able to repulse the Chinese attack. 

In 1985, President Reagan declared that the policies of Nicaragua were an extraordinary threat to America’s security and foreign policy. Nicaragua’s military was no match for America’s military—how could this country be a threat to America? After the Vietnam debacle, it had become the policy of the USA to fight only the weak states. The Americans intervened in Nicaragua because the country was weak. They attacked Saddam Hussain because Iraq was weak—it did not have any WMDs. North Korea had WMDs so the Americans would never dare to challenge its regime. 

Look at the atrocities that the Americans have committed in Libya, Egypt, and Sudan. What have they done to Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and several other nations in South America? Samuel Huntington has rightly noted that much of the world sees the USA as a “rogue superpower” and “the single greatest external threat to their societies.”

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