TED Conversations

Arjuna Nagendran


This conversation is closed.

Do you support militiary intervention in countries which make civil war with their own citizens?

Syria, Egypt, the Dem. Rep. of Congo, Sri Lanka...
Why do we let millions of citizens (not soldiers) suffer and turn a blind eye?
Should we not always support intervention by any means necessary to stop civilian killing en masse?
Do they, as fellow global citizens, not need our protection?

Topics: human rights war

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Sep 22 2012: Military intervention by foreign nations usually complicates things.
    In most cases the intervening nations do not even understand the causes of such crises, and the geo-political/socio-cultural peculiarities of a nation at war. The result of this is that the focus shifts from the real issues(the causes) to symptoms.
    Someone hopes to stop a war. Good idea! But why is the nation at war? Is it really known or is it assumed?
    As far as civil wars are concerned, things are not usually as they seem. One side proclaims itself as the right and just fighters, while portraying the opposition as the evil ones.

    In some cases one side is as evil as the other; in some cases there may be an evil side; in some cases it is just a foreign nation that would sponsor regime change by violent means in pursuit of a certain agenda.
    Lies are told; the media may be manipulated; and the truth may have to be consciously sought to be found.
    It would be bad for world peace if there is always a military intervention anytime a group of disgruntled individuals take up arms to fight against legitimate government and the government fights back.
    • thumb
      Sep 22 2012: I have to respectfully disagree with you on one main point you made, Feyisayo. It's not the government who doesn't know what is really going on in most cases. It's the general public.

      I spent many of my military years working Intelligence (gathering). What intelligence gathering does is give you a much more realistic picture of "world affairs" than what the general public sees and gets on the nightly news. I lost track of how many times I would go home at the end of the day knowing the how and why something was happening in the world, only to turn on my TV and see the news media reporting something that was totally wrong, and in many cases totally absurd, about it.

      And no...you can't release the information you have gathered through intelligence sources to the general public in most cases. To do so would compromise your ability to continue doing effective intelligence gathering in the future. And it would also place the lives of some of the people gathering that intelligence in jeopardy...not just from your own country, but from countries you may actually be gathering the intelligence in and from.

      In a democracy the voter gets to vote. Whoever they vote for then has the legal right to make decisions FOR the voter. If that means, "Sorry, but no, you can't see the information or our sources of it", and that upsets you, then you need to move to a different country. You either trust the system or you don't. I'm not advocating blind trust, but rather a common sense trust. If you think everybody who gets elected in your country is a crook, you need to move somewhere else where you won't feel that way, or just put up with your own misconceptions and quit griping about it.

      EDIT: My use of the word "you" in the above is meant to mean "anybody". Not directed at you personally.
      • Sep 24 2012: I agree with Feyisayo that intervention often complicate matters. Iraqe and Afganistan are cases in point. Intelegence gathering does give the gatherer a more realistic picture of what is going on but when it goes to "Head Offcie" the gathered inteligence get's corrupted then it is used to profit the interested parties of the "Head Office" Haliberton Company is a case in point. If one were to take the Sri Lanka situation, for 30+ years a bloody civil war went on. Being of Sri Lankan origin, I told a very close Tamil Friend of mine, logically the Tamils with 18% population cannot win a civil war with the majority of 70%. Many interested countries contributed towards the lengthening the war. India interfered by giving areas in India as bases for the Rebel; Norway, U.K. USA and many other western countries interfered in very many different ways by interpretting the intelegence gathered to suit their ends. The story goes, that the USA was so sure that the Rebels would win the war they covertly played their hand towards that end happening! The Sri Lankan President did an unprecedented deal with China which proved to be very effective in ending the civil war! The deal was by negotiation - Sri Lanka agreed to give China a small plot of land which the Chinese used to develop first class port to ensure they have an uninterupted oil supply! This is a civil war where the victor got all the 'spoils'! There were so many agreements that were reached during the warring period which would have given the Tamil folk a better outcome, but the sheer stupidity of the leader of the Rebel group prevented this outcome!
        There are so many hotbeds of trouble and I do not think militatry intervention is the answer. Is 'nuking' Iran as the Isralites want the answer to the Iranian problem? Iran is a better repositary to a nuclear bomb than North Korea! Then the Syrian situation - it has to be solved by the Syrians - like in Sri Lanka, many civilians will die the price of war!
        • thumb
          Sep 24 2012: Your reply contains so many undocumented and opinionated assumptions, I don't even know where to start a reply to it.

          "Stories", the belief that all intellignece going to a "Head Office" gets corrupted then used for profit, and comparing "nuking Iran" to the current use of military intervention in today's world don't even come close to the realities of the military interventions used in Iraq and Afganistan. But if that's what you want to believe is really happening, OK.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.