Monday, February 23, 2004
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Haiti posted by Dan on 02.23.04 at 03:13 PM
Part of the problem here (as in Venezuela) is that the presidential terms are so long (6 years in Haiti, 5 years in Venezuela). It really increases the despair in the opposition, and increases the risk of instability by making public insurgencies(*) a slightly less unacceptable form of government change.
(*) Btw, I'm not claiming that the Haitien rebels are a public insurgency movement.posted by: ch2 on 02.23.04 at 03:13 PM [permalink]
Why should we worry specially about Haiti? Our involvement in this nation’s is a quintessential example how Liberals feel uncomfortable about military action in the advancement of our own foreign policy goals. Deep in their guts, they believe that America is acting morally only if is is behaving altruistically. Any actions that are deemed directly beneficial are somehow dirty. This is also why the Democrats praised our Balkan’s adventure.posted by: David Thomson on 02.23.04 at 03:13 PM [permalink]
The above first sentence should read:
Why should we worry specifically about Haiti?posted by: David Thomson on 02.23.04 at 03:13 PM [permalink]
"Why should we worry specifically about Haiti?"
"Our involvement in this nation’s is a quintessential example how Liberals feel uncomfortable about military action in the advancement of our own foreign policy goals."
??? I'm sorry, I don't get what you're saying. Which involvement and which military action ? The 50 marines sent to protect the embassy ?
"Deep in their guts, they believe that America is acting morally only if is is behaving altruistically."
I'd rather you explain what people who hold "your opinion" believe, deep in their guts, than trying to guess what other people really believe. You are not very good at the latter.
"Any actions that are deemed directly beneficial are somehow dirty."
Which action ? Sending the 50 marines ? I'm probably your broad definition of liberal, and I don't find that dirty at all. So what do you "insert-your-label here, since I don't really know you" think of it ?posted by: ch2 on 02.23.04 at 03:13 PM [permalink]
“Which action ? Sending the 50 marines ?”
What is it that you don’t quite grasp? You seem not to understand that the Clinton administration got us into this mess. Our foreign policy needs are not being met when we involve ourselves in their troubles. Conservatives were warning at that time that Jean-Bertrand Aristide is a scum bag. Are you aware Randall Robinson, the gentleman who recently renounced his American citizenship? You might like to read the following article:posted by: David Thomson on 02.23.04 at 03:13 PM [permalink]
"What is it that you don’t quite grasp ?"
No need to get upset. I am polite and on the issue. When I have a question, it is genuine. I don't like to have a long back-and-forth only to realize that something totally different was meant. So yes, you'll have to spell out what you mean.posted by: ch2 on 02.23.04 at 03:13 PM [permalink]
"You seem not to understand that the Clinton administration got us into this mess."
You are only partially correct: Actually, I don't agree that Clinton got us into this mess.
"Our foreign policy needs are not being met when we involve ourselves in their troubles."
"Conservatives were warning at that time that Jean-Bertrand Aristide is a scum bag."
You cited a Counterpunch article (which is mainly about Haiti's history), and its Randall Robinson. What exactly were your thoughts about it ?
Regards,posted by: ch2 on 02.23.04 at 03:13 PM [permalink]
I don't suppose the UN has any interest in this situation.
(LT Smash posted about the 50 Marines sent to protect the embassy.)posted by: Mike on 02.23.04 at 03:13 PM [permalink]
“You cited a Counterpunch article (which is mainly about Haiti's history), and its Randall Robinson. What exactly were your thoughts about it ?”
Randall Robinson is the one, perhaps almost single-handedly, who guilt tripped the Democrats into getting us involved in Haiti. He even engaged in a hunger strike. We may, I concede, believe that the Haitians needed our help. Still, it had little to do with our national self interest. This is another example why many contend that the Democrats feel comfortable with using our military only if it is deemed an altruistic act.posted by: David Thomson on 02.23.04 at 03:13 PM [permalink]
"Still, it had little to do with our national self interest."
Maybe it did:
First, I remember that the Florida representatives (D & R) in Congress were pushing hard for an intervention then. Now I grant that some of them were representing the concerns of Haitian-Americans in their communities, and others might have done so out of sheer idealism, but many were talking about the refugee crisis that would ensue (this fear of a mass exodus came up already under Bush 41).
The second point, whose importance may not have been appreciated as much then, was that failed states can cause problems that seep out of their borders and into the US. Haiti is geographically very close, making it that much more likely. While the failed terrorist state was unknown back then, the failed narco-trafficking state was very well known.
I've laid out my points, you decide.posted by: ch2 on 02.23.04 at 03:13 PM [permalink]
Wait a minute... I'm still trying to figure out Mr Thompson's point... We're involved in Haiti? When did this happen? Why wasn't I informed? Wait... the 50 Marines, is that our involvement? Wait, Clinton sent them in??? Can he do that? I thought that after your term was over, your powers were severly curtailed...posted by: a random person on 02.23.04 at 03:13 PM [permalink]
“Why wasn't I informed?”
Are you truly that lacking in knowledge concerning American history just some eleven-twelve years ago? Our current troop deployment is justified by the need of protecting our diplomatic personnel. However, the Clinton administration did everything to protect the corrupt Jean-Bertrand Aristide. He sent in 20,000 soldiers in 1994! Furthermore, Bill Clinton encouraged the terrorists by allowing our troops to be humiliated on October 11, 1993. Please allow me to quote directly from Warren Christopher, the wimp who was our former President’s Secretary of State:
“Elaborate arrangements for the berthing of an American landing craft, the Harlan County, were not in place when it arrived today off Port au Prince. The appropriate officials were not on hand to greet the LST and there have been provocative demonstrations in the port area that were not restrained by the police or the military. We believe the current situation does not justify docking the ship at this time.”posted by: David Thomson on 02.23.04 at 03:13 PM [permalink]
Why isn't the U.N. interested in this mess? There's no opportunity for making a buck there. That's why they aren't interested in Equatorial Africa either. These nations are so poverty stricken, even the U.N. can't eke out a buck.
The Domenican Republic which shares the island of Hispanola with Haiti has none of the poverty and hopelessness of Haiti, probably because Haiti was owned by the French who took everything of value including the trees when they gave the Haitians their freedom.
Bubba set Aristede (sp?) up in power. Whatever aid money goes to Haiti is probably split between them.
"You seem not to understand that the Clinton administration got us into this mess."
50 marines is a mess? I seems to me that 500 boats would be a far bigger one.
You know, the one really good thing about the Iraq war is we won't have to hear the time honored right-wing refrain about "democrat wars" anymore. We have quite a few more troops than 50 in Iraq.posted by: TexasToast on 02.23.04 at 03:13 PM [permalink]
You know, I'm getting tired of this Clinton-bashing and blaming Clinton for everything. Aren't there some other Democrats to blame?
• Wasn't it Woodrow Wilson -- A Democrat, surprise surprise -- who originally occuped Haiti and started this whole mess?
This whole discussion is why even though the oldman liked the idea of removing Saddam he was so leery of invading Iraq. Here we have a similar situation played out. Duvaliar = bad man in power. Replaced by whom with (Clintonian) military force? Corrupt and inept (but elected) Aristide. Years after intervention? Still a sore spot on the globe and a black eye for American promotion of Democracy.
So yes, we removed Saddam and yes he was a very bad man. However the Iraqis like the Haitians don't necessarily have to materially benefit from this. This is especially true since we're introducing elections into a country that may not be ready for tolerant and diverse multiparty democracy, and we've already appointed opportunistic and ineffectual scumbags in the form of the IGC to power there - Chalabi the liar of Baghdad, Iranist theological operators who run militias like the BADR brigade, ineffectual traditionalists like Adnan Pananachi, token feminists with a real power base, etc.
And yes, just like Haiti it could all fall apart. This is the problem with the forward promotion of democracy, it's a great idea but it's incredibly hard to do properly. And you may end up stuck there or having it be a chaotic mess for years on end.
So yeah, Clinton failed in Haiti ... and now Bush is on the verge of failing Iraq.
Reflections on Haiti and democracy.
“Democracy” – one man – one vote- and one President duly elected is not a bad idea. But, what if that elected President is Jean Bertrand Aristide, and the people see no light directly ahead for socio-economic advancement? Charisma lost, no food on the boil, and legitimacy is lost as well. Aristide is not Saddam Hussein, in the sense that he was freely and democratically elected. In Iraq, of course we will be seeing one man – one vote – one President after June 30th , 2004 – really? The elected leader in Haiti has now been given a thumbs down by Washington. The power of the bullet is ironically speaking more effectively than the ballot ( or, at least as effectively as the bombs did in Iraq, to urge on regime change). Haiti’s difference is that it is poor, has a misguided and frustrated populace who are now supporting overthrow of the President who has failed to deliver. Iraq, by contrast, was invaded and occupied by a foreign power in 2003. And so was Haiti by the US, in 1891, 1914-34, and 1994-96.
The real issue in Haiti is not “democracy” simpliciter. A people brutalised and impoverished for centuries need food, shelter, clothing, health care, and education to a far greater extent than they need to drop a ballot paper in a box. Socio-economic upliftment cannot be delivered by any Haitian leader overnight, and the pretext of “democracy” in Haiti is that it could leapfrog “first order survival rights” for a second order of “ freedom and democracy”. Putting the cart of political democracy, before the work-horse of basic survival needs for the people will forever see Haiti in crisis. Ten to fifteen years of a substantial national development plan ( on an optimistic and conservative estimate) is what a country such as Haiti needs to start on a path of necessary national development. Cuba’s programmes of health care, low income housing, mass education and literacy prorammes post-1959 have far more to offer in practical terms than another quarter century of elections in Haiti, with or without Washington’s help.
By contrast, “democracy” in Iraq remains a bad idea from a US foreign policy perspective, for it is evident that the voice of the people is also the voice of the Shite majority. A round of free and fair elections in Iraq will usher in a Shite leadership, and some variant of Islamic rule. Another round of elections in Haiti will usher in someone as leader, hopelessly inept, and without any effective answers for the real issues of health care, low income housing, jobs, mass education and literacy programmes.
Washington’s installation of Aristide, or anyone else, without a genuine national programme for lasting socio-economic development shall be but a travesty labeling itself “democracy” in Haiti. If democracy is to have meaning for real human beings, it has to be of service beyond the political right to vote, and needs to be of relevance to socio-economic rights for decent human survival.
And so the world marches on –invasion in Iraq ( for freedom and democracy, of course, forget the oil). Invasion in Haiti – ( for freedom and democracy, of course, forget the food and the people’s real needs).As Francis Fujiyama and the neolibearalists in Washington would definitely agree -let’s all just be thankful we have democracy!!!
Postcript ( plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose): “The Rebel paramilitary army crossed the border from the Dominican Republic in early February. It constitutes a well armed, trained and equipped paramilitary unit integrated by former members of Le Front pour l'avancement et le progrès d'Haiti (FRAPH), the "plain clothes" death squadrons, involved in mass killings of civilians and political assassinations during the CIA sponsored 1991 military coup, which led to the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Jean Bertrand Aristide” …
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