TED Conversations

Lindsay Newland Bowker


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What are the limits of sovereignty? Are we clear on international norms?

Present debate on what to do about Syrias use of chemical weapons on rebels/government opponents takes us back to the broader issue of the limits of sovereignty. It seems apparent that we don't have shared global values on a country's interior use of chemical weapons or what to do about it even though this ostensibly has been a matter of global consensus since the end of World War II. .What action is justified and is it ok for anyone nation to act alone without a global consensus on the basis of "protecting its national interests"?

(I will add links to several TED convesrations we have had in the past on global values and global governance)


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    Sep 8 2013: USA is a complicated nation,who acts viewing itself as the police of this planet. What's inside its charitable outward intention, is it seeks to retain its position as the sole superpower. However, American troops sometimes do help people of other nation out,they should be thankful to us. But, when we consider the whole issue,think about the trials we've overcome,the destruction we've gone through,whether intervening other country's conflict is worthwhile. Look at the enemies we've made in the mideast, I wonder what it would like if we didn't engage in any war which did not directly concerned us,why should we put us on fire for the sake of other nations.
    • Sep 8 2013: Except that now the middle east is actually asking for an intervention.

      Its not a matter of there being a 100% accurate doctrine to apply to every intervention. Its neither universally a bad idea, nor globally correct.
      Like all things in life, its about knowing to pick your battles.

      The invasion of Iraq in2003 was poorly thought out. The recent intervention in Libya on the other hand, went spectacularly well.
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        Sep 10 2013: Who tells you middle east is asking for an intervention?

        I dont think the intervention in Libya has anything to do with spectacularity,did you forget Christ Stephens was killed in Libya unprovokedly?
        • Sep 10 2013: A single death, tragic as it may be, is nothing in a war. More than a hundred thousand people have already been killed in Syria, and that figure is already several months old.
          A single death is a tragedy, a million a statistic...

          The intervention in Libya made the oil flow again, and cut the war short by months or maybe even years, saving countless lives, all with very minimal Western losses. I'd call that spectacularly well, by the brutal standards of war.

          And the middle east most definitely is asking for an intervention. The Arab league has already authorized it pretty much unanimously, Israel has been pushing for it diplomatically, and Turkey straight up offered to join in on the attack.
          Iran is the only country in the region with objections... And Assad himself if you're willing to count him I suppose.
        • Sep 12 2013: George, your right, no one asked us to be there.

          A bit on the bloodthirsty side. WW2 60 million dead,
          and an uncounted peoples maimed and raped.
          Our next big one could be 600 million and that's
          just a small estimate. Big Bombs big Killings.

          Something our President forgets. Youths.
          Youths are the fodder of WAR.
          Youths will seek revenge.
          More Killing more Revenge Seeking Youths.

          A resolution --
          There would be less WAR if the requirement was
          that the Leader of any nation so inclined to make
          war, was to first have to commit suicide. And the
          Leader of the losers, would have to commit suicide
          upon surrender.

          Do I have a second on the resolution?

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