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Thread: Ivory Coast

  1. #241
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    As a kid I watched Superman in the comics fight for "truth, justice and the American Way" and over time (50 years) have observed how America has degenerated into a culture where everything is negotiable. A pretty lamentable state of affairs.
    Superman was fiction, even in the 50s. The US wasn't exactly a champion of freedom in those days either. We were more likely to be found knocking down elected governments and democracies and installing dictators than the other way around... a truly lamentable state of affairs. Getting elected didn't help Mossadegh much, or Allende, or Arias, or Bosch, or Goulart, etc. Hard to see how America has "degenerated" from those days... when was the last time the US overthrew a democracy and installed a dictatorship? Stopping that nonsense is an improvement, it seems to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    The first Principle of War is "the selection and maintenance of the aim" (the US just call it Objective). Now every Officer Cadet if asked what the aim for post election Ivory Coast should have been should have been able to produce something like this (or be given a train ticket home):

    The aim is to ensure a peaceful transition of power to the newly elected President of the Ivory Coast.

    Select the aim and then maintain it... difficult to do if you come from a culture where nothing is fixed and everything is negotiable.
    Again you miss the central point... whose aim is this supposed to be? Whose objective?

    Officer cadets don't make policy. Neither do officers, or military forces. They execute policies made by governments, and I don't think any government anywhere ever adopted a policy of preventing civil war in the Ivory Coast. Even if they had, that policy goal would have to be balanced against other policy goals, such as, in the US case, the goal of scaling back military intervention and refraining from unilateral intervention.

    Is there a culture on the planet where everything is fixed and non-negotiable? I doubt it. If the US ever tried to play Surperman and commit itself to non-negotiably protecting everyone, everywhere, all the time, the US would quickly crumble. The US hasn't the resources or the ability to do that. Nobody does.

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    That the country was allowed to slip back into civil war is both negligent and incompetent and criminally negligent on behalf of ECOWAS, the AU, the UN and the world in general.
    It's not negligent, because it's not the responsibility or the obligation of the world, the UN, or Ecowas, or of any country, to prevent civil war in the Ivory Coast, or anywhere else. The world has never assigned anyone the role of Superman, nor would the world ever tolerate anyone being appointed to that role, because everyone knows that anyone appointed to that role would use the position to advance their own interests.

    Is negligence and incompetence responsible for not freeing the North Koreans or Burmese or Zimbabweans from capricious tyranny? For allowing the anarchic destruction of Somalia or the mess in the DRC? Easy enough to go on... the world's probably in better shape now than it's been in my lifetime, but there's no shortage of merde floating around in the pool. If so, whose incompetence and negligence? Easy enough to point the finger and say that somebody (somebody else, naturally) ought to fix all the mess, and easy enough to accuse those who don't of negligence, incompetence, degeneracy, etc, but in real, practical terms, it is not anyone's responsibility to clean up the rest of the world, and any government that tried to take the job on would be betraying its responsibility to its own people.

    Great powers and empires don't generllly crumble because they fail to assert themselves abroad. They crumble because they over assert themselves, try to do too much, waste their resources on fights that do not serve their interests. Whatever desire the US, France, and Britain have to play Superman and Save The World has to be balanced against the reality that intervening in other people's problems is not their responsibility, is expensive, quickly becomes unpopular with the voters and around the world, easily creates adverse unintended consequences, and in the past has generally not advanced their interests.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Superman was fiction, even in the 50s. The US wasn't exactly a champion of freedom in those days either. We were more likely to be found knocking down elected governments and democracies and installing dictators than the other way around... a truly lamentable state of affairs. Getting elected didn't help Mossadegh much, or Allende, or Arias, or Bosch, or Goulart, etc. Hard to see how America has "degenerated" from those days... when was the last time the US overthrew a democracy and installed a dictatorship? Stopping that nonsense is an improvement, it seems to me.
    So I suppose then you accept that the current culture is one where everything is negotiable.

    The Cold War and the actions that took place during that time were only necessary because Roosevelt gave Stalin half of Europe. The world (and not only the US) paid a high price for that incompetence.

    Again you miss the central point... whose aim is this supposed to be? Whose objective?
    No, you miss the point. It is surely simple to expect the will of the people to be honoured, yes? Given unfortunate precedent in Kenya and Zimbabwe it became more important for the will of the people to be honoured with regard to election results than to open the door more of the same across the continent and maybe the world.

    Now if you don't care at all about the will of the people being subverted or that thousands, hundreds of thousands maybe millions will be brutalised in the process then I question your basic humanity.

    Officer cadets don't make policy. Neither do officers, or military forces. They execute policies made by governments, and I don't think any government anywhere ever adopted a policy of preventing civil war in the Ivory Coast. Even if they had, that policy goal would have to be balanced against other policy goals, such as, in the US case, the goal of scaling back military intervention and refraining from unilateral intervention.
    What I am suggesting is that the process is so simple that even 18/19 year old officer cadets can and do understand the process. It is the politicians who seem to find the basic logical approach taught/developed/honed at most (certainly western) officer schools almost entirely impossible to understand.

    I am not talking about the US here. I accept that the US is bankrupt financially and has lost the will for almost anything other than destructive inter political party fights in Congress. If the US has run out of steam there are other who have not quite reached that state yet (France, Britain) even if they lack the means to effectively exert themselves internationally.

    This is why I have suggested that given the limitation of resources and the means for a protracted intervention such interventions should be well timed (early) and short, sharp and extremely violent.

    Had this approach been adopted in Ivory Coast some time ago (certainly before the violence started) then a lot of grief would have been avoided. But once again dithering by the diplomatic community let the whole issue slide back into civil war for the attendant horrendous consequences. Unless you can list a few local, regional etc countries who actually wanted a return to civil war after a collapse in the diplomatic process.

    Is there a culture on the planet where everything is fixed and non-negotiable? I doubt it. If the US ever tried to play Surperman and commit itself to non-negotiably protecting everyone, everywhere, all the time, the US would quickly crumble. The US hasn't the resources or the ability to do that. Nobody does.
    The US had its chance to play this role in world affairs and sadly did not do a good job of it mainly because of the apparent inability to elect competent presidents (as opposed to charismatic, well packaged products). It has been discussed elsewhere here that the US has often attempted well intentioned interventions which have not worked out for a number of reasons mainly because the politicians has tried to micro-manage the process.

    The lamentable situation has a lot to do with that fool Clemenceau who came up with the cute "War is too important a matter to be left to the military." This has been turned on its head where the converse is now true where it is true that not only war but governing a country is too serious a business to leave in the hands of kids with a college education and access to Google.

    One look at the US spending and one will quickly realise that there are other reasons for the US's current financial crisis other than merely through military over reach. But then you knew that.

    (had to run will deal with the rest later)

  3. #243
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default What next?

    On breakfast BBC Radio there was a report that a large French armoured column was being assembled in their Abidjan barracks for a unknown mission.
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    It's not negligent, because it's not the responsibility or the obligation of the world, the UN, or Ecowas, or of any country, to prevent civil war in the Ivory Coast, or anywhere else. The world has never assigned anyone the role of Superman, nor would the world ever tolerate anyone being appointed to that role, because everyone knows that anyone appointed to that role would use the position to advance their own interests.

    Is negligence and incompetence responsible for not freeing the North Koreans or Burmese or Zimbabweans from capricious tyranny? For allowing the anarchic destruction of Somalia or the mess in the DRC? Easy enough to go on... the world's probably in better shape now than it's been in my lifetime, but there's no shortage of merde floating around in the pool. If so, whose incompetence and negligence? Easy enough to point the finger and say that somebody (somebody else, naturally) ought to fix all the mess, and easy enough to accuse those who don't of negligence, incompetence, degeneracy, etc, but in real, practical terms, it is not anyone's responsibility to clean up the rest of the world, and any government that tried to take the job on would be betraying its responsibility to its own people.

    Great powers and empires don't generllly crumble because they fail to assert themselves abroad. They crumble because they over assert themselves, try to do too much, waste their resources on fights that do not serve their interests. Whatever desire the US, France, and Britain have to play Superman and Save The World has to be balanced against the reality that intervening in other people's problems is not their responsibility, is expensive, quickly becomes unpopular with the voters and around the world, easily creates adverse unintended consequences, and in the past has generally not advanced their interests.
    You don't have a clue do you.

    We sit with the result of the US, France, Britain, Russia, China trying to exert themselves globally. Now we have the interesting phenomenon of the US having been a major part of screwing a lot of stuff are now wanting to walk away saying it is no longer their problem. The one voice of sense out of the US is from Stan who says that the US should at least try to fix what they have been part of creating.

    The "OK so we screwed it all up but are still going to walk away" people are from this everything is negotiable mindset I speak about. Not nice people. While I am not surprised the Arabs are taking to the street to bring about change I remain amazed the US people are not taking to the streets.

    It should be noted that it is the P5 (those with UNSC veto) that are the main culprits in all this. They screwed it all up and seem to want to keep it that way. The AU also wants to use its power to keep all the thugs and murderers (the heads of state of member countries) in power as a giant "crime ring" of sorts - the Mafia has nothing on this crowd.

  6. #246
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    The "OK so we screwed it all up but are still going to walk away" people are from this everything is negotiable mindset I speak about. Not nice people. While I am not surprised the Arabs are taking to the street to bring about change I remain amazed the US people are not taking to the streets.
    The US certainly has its share of responsibility for screwing things up, but we aren't the only ones by any means. The idea that the US can somehow "fix" any of this seems to me extremely unlikely: our attempts to "help" in the past (like our noble crusade to save the world from Communism) often managed to make things a good deal worse.

    I don't see any great enthusiasm among the places we screwed up for salvation coming form the US (I live in a place where the US screwed up royally). For the most part people would rather see us stay away, for excellent reasons: they haven't had great experiences with US intervention.

    Have you noticed that East Asia and Latin America, both of which saw more than their share of American screwups, managed to put themselves in much better order once the US backed off and stopped messing around in their internal affairs?

    The solution to the problems created by to dumb intervention isn't smart intervention: intervention that seems smart today often seems excruciatingly stupid tomorrow (the "Kirkpatrick doctrine" is a classic example). The answer to the problems created by dumb intervention is less intervention, IMO.

    Do you see any evidence that the world at large wants the US - or anyone - to put on a superhero suit and go charging around trying to solve everybody else's problems, even the problems it had a role in creating?

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    On breakfast BBC Radio there was a report that a large French armoured column was being assembled in their Abidjan barracks for a unknown mission.
    I could have sworn I responded to this earlier... but maybe did there was a glitch.

    I had said (wanted to say) that Gbagbo should be happy to surrender to French forces rather than the cut throats surrounding his palace. Just heard from TV that French Special Forces snatched Gbagbo from his palace and have handed him over to Ouattara.

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    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    Well now the real battle will start: rebuild Ivory Coast and for Outtara impose a legitimacy from the vote and not the gun and even less from the French SF as it could/will be perceived by Gbagbo followers.

    But that a f$%&*#g good news for Africa.

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    Gentlemen, prepare your pangas. The next massacre will be held in 5... 4... 3...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    The US certainly has its share of responsibility for screwing things up, but we aren't the only ones by any means. The idea that the US can somehow "fix" any of this seems to me extremely unlikely: our attempts to "help" in the past (like our noble crusade to save the world from Communism) often managed to make things a good deal worse.

    I don't see any great enthusiasm among the places we screwed up for salvation coming form the US (I live in a place where the US screwed up royally). For the most part people would rather see us stay away, for excellent reasons: they haven't had great experiences with US intervention.

    Have you noticed that East Asia and Latin America, both of which saw more than their share of American screwups, managed to put themselves in much better order once the US backed off and stopped messing around in their internal affairs?

    The solution to the problems created by to dumb intervention isn't smart intervention: intervention that seems smart today often seems excruciatingly stupid tomorrow (the "Kirkpatrick doctrine" is a classic example). The answer to the problems created by dumb intervention is less intervention, IMO.

    Do you see any evidence that the world at large wants the US - or anyone - to put on a superhero suit and go charging around trying to solve everybody else's problems, even the problems it had a role in creating?
    I am going to let this conversation go as I can see the anti-anti-communist undertones of your position coming through. If you want to be intellectually honest you need to place the collapse of the Soviet Union in your timeline and connect the dots accordingly.

  11. #251
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    I am going to let this conversation go as I can see the anti-anti-communist undertones of your position coming through. If you want to be intellectually honest you need to place the collapse of the Soviet Union in your timeline and connect the dots accordingly.
    I'm not anti-anti-Communist at all... anti-Communism was necessary, especially as applied to the Soviet Union. The suppression of democracy and the installation and maintenance of an entire generation of crackpot dictators in the name of anti-Communism was another story altogether: in many places that policy helped Communist movements more than it hurt them, and it did untold damage in many parts of the world. Ceding the moral high ground of opposition to fading empires and mad dictators to the left was one of the worst mistakes the US ever made...

    IMO, as always.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    I'm not anti-anti-Communist at all... anti-Communism was necessary, especially as applied to the Soviet Union. The suppression of democracy and the installation and maintenance of an entire generation of crackpot dictators in the name of anti-Communism was another story altogether: in many places that policy helped Communist movements more than it hurt them, and it did untold damage in many parts of the world. Ceding the moral high ground of opposition to fading empires and mad dictators to the left was one of the worst mistakes the US ever made...

    IMO, as always.
    And this damage was caused only by the US? It takes two to tango.

    If you look at Africa it was the ability of crackpots to play the West off against the Soviets that has left the legacy of destruction.

    Do try to be balanced.

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    And this damage was caused only by the US? It takes two to tango.

    If you look at Africa it was the ability of crackpots to play the West off against the Soviets that has left the legacy of destruction.

    Do try to be balanced.
    We didn't have to play that game, and in many places we initiated that game, and did a lot of damage in the process. We are not accountable for what the Soviets or their proxies did. We are accountable for what we and our proxies did, which was in many cases completely unnecessary. If we prop up every despot who calls his opponents "Communist" (as once seemed to be the case), we can always blame the despots for manipulating us... but we also have to wonder what made us so easy to manipulate, for so long. Yes, the crackpots played us, and that's their responsibility. We let ourselves be played, and that's ours.

    It is entirely possible that I'm a bit biased from living in one of the more egregious examples of this sort of American malfeasance... but there's no shortage of other examples around. About 2/3 of Latin America, to start with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by M-A Lagrange View Post
    Well now the real battle will start: rebuild Ivory Coast and for Outtara impose a legitimacy from the vote and not the gun and even less from the French SF as it could/will be perceived by Gbagbo followers.
    Didn't Outtara's legitimacy go out the window three days ago when 1000 people were found dead at the hands of his armed mobs? Isn't this another example of a sub-Saharan zero-sum game?
    Example is better than precept.

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Manufacturing Cote d'Ivoire's 'good guy'

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    Didn't Outtara's legitimacy go out the window three days ago when 1000 people were found dead at the hands of his armed mobs? Isn't this another example of a sub-Saharan zero-sum game?
    An intriguing point Ryan !
    Since the former Clintons wanted to save the Ivory Coast from the French and install Gbagbo, it seems only right that the second version of the Clinton Admin would now install a successor

    As more details emerge about the massacres in Duékoué and elsewhere, about the atrocities committed in the struggle for Cote d'Ivoire, the international community finds itself in a difficult position. As Salon asked of US Republican Senator James Inhofe's "backing [of] a brutal despot," it must be asked: Will the international community, led by the UN and France, continue to support a man implicated in such gross violations?

    For now, the tone of diplomacy seems to be one of lamentation and regret, rather than condemnation. Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, responded with "concern and surprise" to the news of mass killings in western Cote d'Ivoire, while Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, was "deeply concerned" and Jean Ping, the chairman of the AU, has urged both sides to "show restraint and protect civilians".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    If we prop up every despot who calls his opponents "Communist" (as once seemed to be the case), we can always blame the despots for manipulating us... but we also have to wonder what made us so easy to manipulate, for so long. Yes, the crackpots played us, and that's their responsibility. We let ourselves be played, and that's ours.
    Makes me wonder why we wanted to save the Ivory Coast from the French in 99 when there was clearly a lack of commies. Maybe it was cocoa
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    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    I see four questions of paramount importance prior to commitment and intervention:

    What is our ability, with partner forces, to intervene?

    What vital interests are contained within Ivory Coast?

    What opportunity is there to increase the quality of life to the people of Ivory Coast given the current situation?

    What is the best outcome of intervention?

    If one or more of these questions cannot be answered to the satisfaction of intervening parties risks must be weighed with rewards. If the default answer is genocide prevention, than what elevates this to a status above genocide activites where we did not intervene? I do not see satisfactory answers yet to any of these questions.
    Example is better than precept.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    Didn't Outtara's legitimacy go out the window three days ago when 1000 people were found dead at the hands of his armed mobs? Isn't this another example of a sub-Saharan zero-sum game?
    That was an outcome which was entirely predictable. The media and diplomats are playing Ouattara up as a "banker" in whose mouth butter wouldn't melt. Nonsense of course.

    If there is a half decent investigation he and the leaders of his forces will be in a real pickle.

    Côte d’Ivoire: Ouattara Forces Kill, Rape Civilians During Offensive

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    Exclamation You guys do not understand R2P!

    It is our hoomaniterian duty to intervene. Everywhere. Everytime (unless it would really hurt, then we can let it slide...). Regardless of logic.

    The fact that such foolishness almost invariably creates more problems than it solves is immaterial. The similar fact that it more often than not results in more casualties, long term, than the nominal crisis might produce is immaterial; we must be seen as doing 'good.'

    Seldom are but it's the thought that counts...

    As for Stan's very accurate comment on Clintonian installations or this one anyway -- there were others -- too true. Clintonia giveth and Clintonia taketh away, Indian giver be the name of the Clintonians.

    Drop Somalia, Rwanda and Darfur (a case of a seminal event inhibiting reproduction leading to an abortion...). However, I'll see your Haiti and raise you a Kosovo.

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    I see four questions of paramount importance prior to commitment and intervention:
    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    What is our ability, with partner forces, to intervene?
    IMO the time to act effectively is long over. But, as some have pointed out, we are not capable of responding before an upheaval or civil war becomes reality. Since we somehow decided that the Ivory Coast needed democracy and the ability to freely vote for whomever, we should have been in the hot seat ready to cover our words of wisdom with firepower. A sad disconnect from what I believe is State’s ultimate goal with foreign relations and our wiliness to get more involved when the goal has no backup plan for the “what ifs”.

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    What vital interests are contained within Ivory Coast?
    We barely have any strategic interests other than coffee and cocoa. Well, there is that slight problem with jamming democracy down their throats with no balls to back up our language. Sorry, I don’t have a clear answer to that one.

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    What opportunity is there to increase the quality of life to the people of Ivory Coast given the current situation?
    Significant depending on our budget: We could target all the trends or indicators of quality of life such as infant mortality, GDP and literacy, but the Ivory Coast is similar to typical Sub-Saharan State and success rates are limited. If we’re ready for a decade of funding and policing, then the programs would have a slight chance. Doesn't this question belong with the first such as: Why are we getting involved and what is our exit strategy?

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    What is the best outcome of intervention?
    A bleak outlook - Years of PKO with the UN. We blew the chance to save a lot of people and preclude a humanitarian crisis that will ultimately cost us much more. A least we don't have to demine the place

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    If one or more of these questions cannot be answered to the satisfaction of intervening parties risks must be weighed with rewards. If the default answer is genocide prevention, than what elevates this to a status above genocide activites where we did not intervene? I do not see satisfactory answers yet to any of these questions.
    I didn’t then nor now see genocide in its true sense taking place in the Ivory Coast, but I do see an endless civil war and humanitarian effort. Is the G word the only way to get the West moving effectively in Africa ? We already witnessed what happens when we sit back and watch the kettle boil over - bad idea !
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