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The Ethics of War and Revenge


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In 1953, democratically elected Mohammad Mosaddegh was ousted in a western-backed coup...

We were talking about military interventions.

And who provides this infrastructure? Western oil companies are in these countries making big money contracted to extract/process/ship these resources.

Because these resources don't just jump out of the ground. It takes technology and the knowledge about how to use that technology. For many small countries letting in foreign companies with that expertise is a more cost effective way to exploit those resources. Of course, once the infrastructure is built sometimes these tinpots get it into their head that they are free to steal the property of the companies that turned the potential resource into a money maker. I would expect any government to stand for their companies against such asset seizures. Why do you think it should be any other way?

In any case, the countries that do nationalize the oil infrastructure invariably make a mess of it (see Venezuela which has run the infrastructure into the ground). So a government that does not believe in the arbitrary confiscation of private assets is something that would also benefit the people living in the country.

That said, you can manufacture any number of conspiracy theories they don't change the fact that the end game is to always push the countries towards a society that is like ours (free press, free market, democracy) based on the premise that if what we have is good for us it will be good for anyone else.

Unfortunately, the recent disasters have shown that many societies don't have a culture that can support a modern state even when the pieces are handed to them on a golden platter.

Edited by TimG
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In any case, the countries that do nationalize the oil infrastructure invariably make a mess of it (see Venezuela which has run the infrastructure into the ground). So a government that does not believe in the arbitrary confiscation of private assets is something that would also benefit the people living in the country.

That said, you can manufacture any number of conspiracy theories they don't change the fact that the end game is to always push the countries towards a society that is like ours (free press, free market, democracy) based on the premise that if what we have is good for us it will be good for anyone else.

The West isn't fighting for privatization of oil assets in foreign countries because they believe it would theoretically help the people of foreign countries. Promoting democracy helps other countries yes and I do think some of it is out of the genuine will to help people (even though they often don't ask for it). But much more of it is because more democracies mean less tyrants and therefore more security for the West (ie: the Cold War). Countries that are more democratic also tend to have more open liberal economies, which is very beneficial to the West because it means more trade for them, and it means powerful Western economies can pump foreign investment into weaker economies and get access to their markets and resources. I just don't think western politicians and the lobbies than fund them care that much about people in poor foreign countries.

If you disagree with my analysis on Libya, then please tell me the reason why NATO countries chose to intervene in Libya but choose not to do much of anything in the many, many other conflicts in sub-saharan Africa? What's the difference between the 2?

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If you disagree with my analysis on Libya, then please tell me the reason why NATO countries chose to intervene in Libya but choose not to do much of anything in the many, many other conflicts in sub-saharan Africa? What's the difference between the 2?

As I said above: the desire to help people living in other countries is a necessary but not sufficient condition. That is, any intervention must advance that objective before it is considered. Another necessary but not sufficient condition is tactical - i.e. is there an intervention that is tactically useful and could lead to a positive outcome. Another reason which could be there is strategic: does the intervention support diplomatic and/or political objectives outside of the scope of the conflict.

In other words, these decisions are complex and you can't claim to say there is one reason or even a 'main reason'. All you can say is there are always many reasons that came together in a way that made intervention a reasonable option. I am also saying that an altruistic desire to make things better for the people living in these regions is always *one* of the reasons for the intervention.

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As I said above: the desire to help people living in other countries is a necessary but not sufficient condition. That is, any intervention must advance that objective before it is considered.... I am also saying that an altruistic desire to make things better for the people living in these regions is always *one* of the reasons for the intervention.

Drones strikes all over the middle east? US intervention into Pakistan to kill Bin Laden?

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Drones strikes all over the middle east? US intervention into Pakistan to kill Bin Laden?

We were talking military interventions like Iraq, Libya or Kosovo where the objective is it to change or preserve a government. Drone strikes in countries that are unwilling or unable to arrest people planning terrorist attacks are a different issue. In case of drone strikes we need to look at what reasonable alternatives are available and in there are not many in the countries where these strikes occur. Are you actually going to try and argue that the US should have just let Bin Laden live out his life in comfort because he had bribed enough Pakistani officials to leave him alone? Edited by TimG
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