Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Intervention

Russia Cannot Let Ukraine Go

A deal was reached just yesterday for current Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to relinquish some presidential powers and schedule elections in May. The Russians already appear to believe that deal to be in tatters, as Ukraine’s parliament voted today to dismiss the president from office. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, says:

The opposition not only has failed to fulfill a single one of its obligations but is already presenting new demands all the time, following the lead of armed extremists and pogromists whose actions pose a direct threat to Ukraine’s sovereignty and constitutional order.

If the Russians believe the opposition is not following through, that’s what matters. Russia cannot abide the defection of Ukraine to the European Union. It will take all necessary measures to prevent that outcome. Why does Russia care so much and what might Russia do next?

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The Irrelevance of Chemical Weapons

Well, it’s been coming for a while now–Barack Obama has decided to arm the Syrian rebels. The justification? The administration believes that somewhere between 100 and 200 people in Syria have been killed with chemical weapons, specifically, nerve agents, even more specifically, sarin. It is too often taken for granted that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government provides a good reason for the United States to intervene in the Syrian conflict on behalf of the rebels. The assumption must be questioned–does the use of chemical weapons make it in the interest of the United States to intervene where before it was not in the US interest to do so?

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Dead Baby Interventionism

Lately I’ve been noticing a new social networking trend–the tendency for people who are passionate about a given humanitarian crisis (examples include Syria, drones in Pakistan, Kony in the Congo–surprisingly, not Mali) to post pictures of various dead, injured, or disfigured babies or children who purportedly were killed, injured, or disfigured over the course of their respective conflicts. Accompanying the pictures is usually some caption designed to engender empathy (one such example I recall was “imagine if this were your child”). This strikes me as somewhat simplistic. Not much critical thought is being given to what the responsibilities of developed states are. Instead, the entire discussion is being reduced to “children are dying, this is bad, developed states can stop bad things, developed states should stop this”. So today I’d like to think about it a little bit deeper than that.

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