I think the issue of noninterference gets raised when the US (or any entity, including the UN) dispenses “justice” with an uneven hand, and with its own, near-term interests in mind.
Did the US do a good thing in the 1960s by embroiling themselves on the wrong side of a civil war involving a largely peaceable agrarian society who were attempting to liberate themselves from feudalistic, corrupt, pro-French government officials who were committing brutal acts in violation of even the most basic human rights?
For that matter, was Operation Desert Storm about liberating Kuwait, or was it about decrementing the largest military power in the region in support of the expansionist plans of the Isreali government, and protecting OPEC from an outsider looking to gain access to shipping lanes and controlling its own oil supply so that they could undercut their tariffs?
As regards Colombian drug wars, the USA is not the only market for cocaine, bear in mind, though it’s clearly the largest market. Countries will and do engage in combat on a limited scale all the time to protect their interests. The British have had SAS creeping through the jungles of Honduras, Belize, Nicaragua, and Colombia conducting guerilla missions against drug operations for years. The French do it in Morocco, Turkey, and North Africa, too. All are attempting to inhibit the flow of narcotics into their countries blown by centuries-old trade winds.
The difference is that the US conducts these missions as domestic, not foreign, policy. This is subtle. This means that the US doesn’t ask anybody’s permission — they don’t go to the UN Security Council, and they twist the arms of local government using foreign aid, forcing them to comply with US wishes. In the 1960s and 1970s the US used the OAS (Organization of American States) to prevent the spread of communism in Latin and South America. Nowadays they use it to bully governments into supporting US interdiction efforts and co-ordinating with the DEA.
This is absolutely wrong, and it’s a big reason why I’ve never been a supporter of foreign aid between nations. Ultimately it’s a tool of manipulation between the rich and the poor.
What all of this is evidence of, for me anyway, is the fact the America no longer NEEDS organizations like the UN or NATO to ensure its security. Bush’s trip to Europe a couple of weeks ago (aka the “Screw You” Tour of 2001) expressed that very clearly. America’s domestic will shall overcome the individual needs of the wealth of all nations. The USA is getting set to go it alone and they will answer to no one.
Arguably, the UN is far more necessary in a world with a single dominant player than it is in a world with balanced and oppositional forces. The paradox is: how would you motivate that player to adhere to the wishes on the governing body?
I don’t think you can. And the US seems to agree with me, since they currently owe the UN more than $4 BILLION in membership fees.
So what to do?
When the US goes into Colombia and blows up a bunch of Coca refineries, they’re not fundamentally altering the balance of the economics of that country. What they are doing is disrupting families’ livelihoods and the local economy, and they’re reinforcing the cycle of poverty and slavery that encourages the growth of the narcotics industry in third world countries in the first place.
You could never legalize narcotics in the US — Good American Families would not stand for it. What you can do is regulate the flow by keeping the street value high and controlling domestic distribution, but making it possible for the supply costs to be miniscule. How?
The war on drugs is failing because it attempts to counteract the basic forces of the economics of supply and demand. In the interdiction game, every success is a bridge to failure. The DEA is creating a level playing field and proving ground for a self-organizing and self-perpetuating system that continues to improve itself through competition and opposition.
Tom Clancy posited the notion in “Clear And Present Danger” that by secretly working in collusion with, and in fact supporting and protecting, certain drug lords, it would be possible to maintain a cartel who operated in the good graces of the US Government while keeping competitors, whom the US could not control, out. By preserving the stated policy but by enforcing it selectively, the US has all the tools they need to regulate the flow of narcotics.
If you accept that people are always going to want to get high, this is the first solution I’ve seen that sustains all sides — including the need for third world economies (such as Colombia and British Columbia) to transition from their tendency towards narcotics supply towards other share crops.
In a perfect world, the UN could step in as a super-secret global narcotics buying agent, anointing a malleable drug lord as the multinational supply hub and maintaining that organization’s power by laying the smack down on all who opposed them. Regulate the flow of product into each country within reasonable range of that country’s limit and because it’s the only reliable supply, you also end up running the domestic distribution channel as well.
In a much more likely scenario the CIA would link up with a Colombian drug lord and help him to smash his competitors in exchange for regulating the flow of narcotics into the US. He would provide a required number of busts and trials to show the American people that the War is working, and while the quality of the narcotics (ie. No more bad heroin) remains consistent and the street price remains inaccessibly high for most people, the interdiction effort is a lot easier to maintain.
On 7/10/01 7:49 PM, “Eric Woodward”
> At 08:54 PM 7/9/2001 -0700, you wrote:
>> The local authorities here are following the mandate of the people of the
>> country (well, in theory at least). The American authorities have no
>> business operating outside of their country and imposing their twisted moral
>> codes on the rest of the world.
> really? they have no right to operate in columbia, where the local government
> is unable to combat the cartels or the FARC without them? trying to stop
> drug trafficking of cocaine, for example, at its source, is a twisted moral
> objective? what about the gulf war? just let saddam keep kuwait? i think you
> need to rethink that statement.
> frankly, the world needs america to be active outside its country. they do
> a great deal of good – the balkans, middle east, tiawan as some examples –
> while perhaps quietly executing the odd terrorist or spy when no cameras are
> around. a fair trade off i think.
>> For the Americans on the list, it’s activities like this that generate
>> hostility towards the USA around the world (though I’d guess that most of
>> you already know that, but it’s suprising how many can’t figure it out).
> i think it has more to do with the fact that they openly act like the
> superpower they are. nobody likes the smartest, toughest, richest, best
> looking person on the block openly acting like the smartest, toughest,
> richest, best looking person on the block, especially when the rest on
> the block are ugly and stupid.