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Should we tell other governments how to run their countries?

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Faint, Apr 14, 2006.

  1. Faint

    Faint Well-Known Member

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    And should we intervene if they fail to comply?

    I'm refering strictly to cases of human rights violations--human rights as WE see them in the western world. Our views of justice may be at odds with some of the less enlightened cultures, and if that's the case, it seems right for us to tell them how to manage their affairs.

    Case in point: a 17 year-old girl in Iran stabbed a man to death when he and two buddies were going to rape the girl and her 16 year-old niece. The 17 year-old has been convicted of murder, and is sentenced to hang.

    http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=6658

    Anyway, this is ridiculous. I think there's an extent to which we can be tolerant of other country's differences and traditions, but when their rules are clearly a threat to human rights, shouldn't we feel free to step in, throw our weight around, and persuade them to make some changes?
     
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  2. evearael

    evearael Well-Known Member

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    Consider how many countries have human rights violations... There are many countries that view the death penalty in the US as a human rights violation, but I digress.

    I believe that the magnitude of the rights violation dictates the action. It is perfectly legitimate to attack a genocidal regime with military might, though I believe most human rights violations are better corrected by economic and political pressure. I feel that embargoes only work if the country has something substantial to lose. Therefore, trade must be normalized, thus increasing interdependency, before embargoes can be used to any great effect.
     
  3. jewscout

    jewscout Religious Zionist

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    i don't think we have a right to go in and be like "do what we say"

    but we do have a right to say, we don't like what you're doing and therefore we're not doing business w/ you, and if you don't like go cry to your momma.
     
  4. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    While we have a Gitmo, we have NO ROOM to criticise ANYONE.
     
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  5. Faint

    Faint Well-Known Member

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    What if (and this is strictly hypothetical) we actually had the military power to tell everyone what to do--wouldn't we have an obligation as humans to protect the rights of other humans? Should we stand by and ignore injustice, or try to fight it and tell them to "Do what we say"?

    Yes, it's sickening. I'm wondering if part of the problem is that the governments of our mighty western nations don't care enough to get involved.

    It's not that we're going to completely wipe out human rights violations anytime soon--even in the states we have criminals who go against the law and do their own thing--but I'm talking about laws like Iran's where an actual government endorses such violations. Shouldn't we be able to say, "Screw you--change your laws. Now!"?
     
  6. jewscout

    jewscout Religious Zionist

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    while we should not stand by and ignore injustice (which occurs in our own country as well) we support this kind of stuff all the time, and turn a blind eye to it.

    there is a very very fine line between using power to liberate and using power to dominate. I do not believe we would be able to realize when we crossed that line.
     
  7. Faint

    Faint Well-Known Member

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    But if we had the ability, what's wrong with dominating when our way is clearly better? Can't we liberate by dominating? Why would the two be mutually exclusive?
     
  8. evearael

    evearael Well-Known Member

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    NetDoc... I am in no way condoning Gitmo, but if the next Hitler started sweeping through Europe, we would have the moral obligation to stop him, likely with military might. I do advocate putting our own house in order, but the rest of the world won't go on pause while we do it. Shall we insulate ourselves while we order our affairs, whilst in the rest of the world there is suffering and death? Certainly not: self-improvement should occur simultaneously with using appropriate measures to bring other governments up to par.
     
  9. Malkav's Knight

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    Because then America would be no better than all the other Totalitarian Regimes that dominated others because they believed there way to be the right and better way. i.e Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, facist Italy during WW2.
     
  10. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    Current events are proof enough that we are not able to realize it.
     
  11. jewscout

    jewscout Religious Zionist

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    i fail to see how you classified the Lexus society of the US as "better"
    to fight a war or to go in to liberate people from oppression is fine, to dominate a country becaues we think we are right is not.
    Iraq has proved that you cannot give a group of people the "10 easy steps to making your own democracy" booklet and think it'll be ok.

    liberating: Europe 1945
    dominating: Europe 1938

    exclusive enough for ya?
     
  12. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    The key for me here is whether our gov't decides the moral obligation for everyone else, or whether our gov't is part of a wide consensus of humanity.

    The history of gov't (pick any) is positively riddled with examples of exercising military might in the name of defending human rights, while the real motivation is something very different, and not particularly ethical.

    That's why I think the wide consensus among nations needs to be there. It's far too easy for one country to claim to defend human rights, when they're really just defending their selfish interests.

    But there are times, and that example of Hitler I would say is one of them, when opposing violence with military might is called for.

    ..................
    "CXVII. The Great Being, wishing to reveal the prerequisites of the peace and tranquillity of the world and the advancement of its peoples, hath written: The time must come when the imperative necessity for the holding of a vast, an all-embracing assemblage of men will be universally realized. The rulers and kings of the earth must needs attend it, and, participating in its deliberations, must consider such ways and means as will lay the foundations of the world's Great Peace amongst men. Such a peace demandeth that the Great Powers should resolve, for the sake of the tranquillity of the peoples of the earth, to be fully reconciled among themselves. Should any king take up arms against another, all should unitedly arise and prevent him. If this be done, the nations of the world will no longer require any armaments, except for the purpose of preserving the security of their realms and of maintaining internal order within their territories. This will ensure the peace and composure of every people, government and nation."
    (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 249)
     
  13. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    That is precisely the problem, Faint. They may be interested in the welfare of humanity to some extent, but if you "follow the money" it's pretty obvious that the higher priority is maintaining some sort of hegemony based on nationalistic interests.

    It's high time we, as a species, widen our scope.

    We do say that to other countries, just not always using a military option. And overall, that's a good thing, considering the real meaning of that sanitized term "collateral damage."

    Speaking as a member of a religion that is persecuted in Iran, I can say that the US gov't has always condemned the persecutions, regardless of political party. The Russians (pre-Soviet) and the Brits have an even longer history of this. Other countries have done the same, and we are very grateful they have, because it has reduced the amount of persecution when they've done so.

    The thing is, the military option should always be the last one. And unfortunately, our selfish national economic interests often get in the way of effective diplomacy. It doesn't matter which gov't or which party is in power...the problem is evident and pervasive.
     
  14. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    I'm not sure it proves that, Jewscout. We didn't even give them that booklet about 10 easy steps to democracy.

    We gave them a booklet written by Grover Norquist, who doesn't exactly represent mainstream American democracy, much less democracy generally. ( btw, we haven't even proven those ideas here in our own country, so there's no reason to imagine they'd work anywhere else.)

    And then we went after what we really wanted: Basing rights.

    We've been able to depend on the Brits to let us use Diego Garcia when we wanted to, but recent events have told our gov't that they cannot expect Western Europe to immediately ask "how high" whenever we say "jump." So we're making sure we have our own control over bases in the area.

    There's a similar thing in Afghanistan. It's funny how al Qaeda and the resurgent Taliban are in one part of the country, but our bases are in another. Oh, and did I mention those bases are exactly lined up with that oil pipeline?

    You don't have to be a foreign policy wonk to look at a map and conclude that 2+2=4. You just have to be paying attention.

    Which I grant you, given the hectic nature of our society and the incompetence of media generally, is not so easy to do. :(
     
  15. Jaymes

    Jaymes The cake is a lie

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but rape vitcims/those who were about to be raped stabbing to death the person about to rape them are at times sentenced to a lengthy jail sentence in the US, are they not?
     
  16. evearael

    evearael Well-Known Member

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    That is true.
     
  17. Darkdale

    Darkdale World Leader Pretend

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    Club Gitmo rocks. What are you talking about?
     
  18. ch'ang

    ch'ang artist in training

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    The idea that humans have inherent rights is an opinion, and I do not beleive that just because you have the power to make people do what you think is right, you should. Why do people feel the need to make others conform to their opinions on what is right?
     
  19. Mathematician

    Mathematician Reason, and reason again

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    We must realize that radical change is rarely the answer. That's part of the reason I'm at odds with giving Iraq and Afghanistan a full democrocy. The people there have been used to strong rule for nearly 1,700 years. Perhaps a constitutional monarchy or something of that sort would have been better.

    There are certain instances that you just have to ignore another country (as far as the military goes). An outside nation has the right to do whatever it wants socially and economically, but is a nation that opposes abortion supposed to declare war against the US since we're more-or-less pro-choice in law?

    Genocide is one of the more relevant cases where I could see a hard reason to step in, and no, not genocide that passed 15 years before. That's why I am concerned for Sudan.
     
  20. Faint

    Faint Well-Known Member

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    Is this common practice in cases of self defense? Highly doubtful. Show me some evidence.

    Than you're either playing devils advocate, or choosing ignorance, because I doubt you can truly fail to understand how our system protects civil liberties and the human rights of it's citizens. Consumerism and materialism may not be the most virtuous isms, but it's certainly better than a government that kills women for being raped, or women who choose to protect themselves instead of being raped. If you can't see something as simple as that, you need to talk to Dr. Phil.
    In this case, you're contradicting yourself. If women are being killed for rape attempts/actual rapes, and we step in--how is that not liberating people from oppression? Again, what's so bad about dominance in and of itself. The U.S. dominates its citizens. My life is pretty good as a result. Dominance doesn't mean slavery, and it doesn't mean it's some slippery slope into Nazi-style fascism.

    Yes. It's always about the money (otherwise we might get involved with Africa more often--seems like they've got worse problems than any other continent).

    That's crazy talk. It is an opinion, but as humans it's in our best interest to assume that all humans have basic rights, such as not being killed when they stop someone from raping them. Is that relative to you? Moral relativity is counter-productive to the good of humankind. Does it really depend where a woman is born? This is injustice, and you know it.

    Look, there's nothing wrong with power. Everyone has it to some degree. What matters is how you use it. I for one feel the need to make other people conform to my opinion because I understand that other people (like the Iranian lawmakers in this case) are just stupid and ignorant when it comes to matters like this. It is the responsibility of the wise and enlightened to (a) educate the ignorant, (b) defend/help those who need protection from the ignorant, and (c) destroy the ignorant if they become too big a problem and cannot be reasoned with. This makes a better world. All of them, better worlds.
     
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