Friday, May 9, 2008

Myanmar Question

I was just sitting here reading about how the military dictatorship in Myanmar is making relief efforts for the millions of people within its borders affected by the recent hurricane so impossible that even the ever-so-accommodating United Nations has given up trying to save these poor people for the moment.

So I was thinking: Isn't it about time that we, as a planet... mankind... in the form of the United Nations, enact a policy — especially in an instance as cut-and-dry as this, where a government has so clearly and manifestly neglected it's foremost humanitarian obligations — that enables the United Nations to declare a sovereign government to be in breach of its duty, and give itself the ability to act without that government's permission, with force if need be, on behalf of... and to save the lives of... those people whom that government prima facie is killing?

Supermajority vote or whatever process you want: Shouldn't we be arriving at a point in our civilization where behavior as blatantly inhumane as this can be called to face some kind of extraterritorial edict and be subject to compliance with international standards of humanity?

Feel free to throw out your dystopian warnings or slippery slope admonishments in the comments section... or your NWO endorsements if you are inclined to side with me on this one.

Time magazine writes an article wondering the same thing.
The liberal New York Times doesn't think it's a bad idea.
The New Yorker backs them up.
The conservative Town Hall finds itself agreeing as well.


ding said...

While I understand your want to help the people of Myramar, I don't believe foreign governments forcing their way in to help is a good idea. I know, people are dying as a result of morons running the country. But, think about it this way - you recall Hurrican Katrina and the devastation to the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. You recall how poor our response was to that castastrophe. What's to say that the UN (hahaha -what a joke they are) decided the US was not doing enough. So they force their way in and take over the rescue / recovery operation ? No, I don't think that would go over well in any country. I think that the rulers of the country would tell it's military that this is an invasion and all sorts of mayhem would result. It's unfortunate but we just can't go in to a country and take it over, even for the good of the citizens.

ding said...

And yeah - I know Iraq is a counter to my point - but not really. You spoke of an acute emergency - which is what I was referring to. Iraq was not a rescue operation - it was a military invasion. Just wanted to clarify the difference before the discussion moved away from it's original point

makopa said...

Geesh, you call yourself a Libertarian? Sounds more like Fascism. People have to learn how to look after themselves and others again, and not rely on governments.

Jungle Jil said...


Being a libertarian means being for limited government that serves as limited a role as possible and allows it's people to live the kind of lives they desire with as little federal input as possible.

When a government becomes malevolent and is actively playing a part in the destruction of its own people through neglect, that's as bad as it participating in tyranny, oppression, or open warfare against its people.

The right to be alive is obviously the most fundamental right and any government that would take that right away, actively or passively, is not a friend of the libertarian, regardless of what you may think.

I think it's awfully callous and shallow to say that "people have to learn how to look after themselves again". Imagine you wake up tomorrow and find yourself surrounded 100 miles in every direction with disease and famine and several feet of roiling water. How would you look after yourself? How many days without food would you go before you started to think how maybe now might be the time to rely on the government for some help? You're making a foolish argument to think that people could or should escape every problem life throws at them without government assistance.

makopa said...

No, I do not think of any government as my friend. And you are foolish to think that they would be.

You missed part of my message, about people looking after themselves and other people. People can be much more efficient and effective at providing aid than any government can.

Your view that a government can do whatever they feel is best, in any country, is fascism.

Jungle Jil said...

Very traditional thinking you have there, Makopa. When Germany started killing off it's citizens, the world thought much as you do: "If you want to kill your own people, well just help yourself." But as soon as they started killing other countries people, then suddenly, as if some great switch is occuring, it is no longer the wrong thing to do to step in and stop evil behavior... it is suddenly the right thing to do.

By the way, you seem to have a poor grasp of fascism if you conflate stopping a foreign government from killing its own citizens with a government that enforces strict centralized economic policy and minimizes the importance of personal freedom.

After all, what you are describing as Fascism is exactly what has us in Iraq right now, and while I don't think we should be in Iraq, I don't think it was "Fascist" proclivities that brought us there.

makopa said...

Ah no, it is not traditional thinking that non-government agencies should be providing the aid. Governments should stay out of other countries. It is however traditional to think that governments should be doing this.

Maybe Myanmar would let aid in if it came from private organizations, such as the Red Cross.

Relying on governments to do everything for you is not being a Libertarian. And neither is giving governments more power.

And yes USA is in Iraq because of fascism. Because of the fascist corporate government of the USA.

Jungle Jil said...

Ah... nice goal post shift there Makopa: You went from "people taking care of themselves" to "non-government agencies providing the aid"... and yes, there is a difference.

(Actually, Myanmar is allowing the Red Cross and Red Crescent in... in limited amounts, but Myanmar still insists on doing the aid distribution themselves so that "outside forces" can't come in and influence their grip on government. The Red Cross is engaging the government of Myanmar on behalf of the United Nations to allow aid to reach their citizens though, because the Red Cross can't handle this all themselves.)

Next, we've got your straw man agument, Makopa: "Relying on governments to do everything for you is not being a Libertarian, and neither is giving governments more power." Nice point to make, if I had ever argued such a point, which I obviously had not (as anybody who reads these comments can plainly see). Therefore, I see no need to address the ridiculous assertion that I might be suggesting such a thing.

The subject of this post, which you've completely wandered away from is: "Should the United Nations ignore the Myanmar government's attempts to stop aid from getting to its people, and just deliver it over their protestations?" (Stomping your foot and crying "fascism" obviously, if not eloquently, stakes out your position on this subject... but isn't a very pursuasive platform from which to launch any logical offense against the idea itself, and so far is something you have failed to do other than diversionary tactics and a simplistic "government bad, people good" approach.)

So in regards to this who line of argument, the fact that you are trying to twist this debate by claiming that this is a post for "governments should do everything" and "give governments more power" doesn't make it so. It's misleading and false to claim it is, and only distracts from the original discussion I was trying to encourage.

However, there is a valid point which you have raised: Is my thinking that this "invade with aid" is a good idea make me less of a Libertarian? As for this, I believe I've already defended my point of view in the 9:25 comment, and you haven't refuted any of the points I made in that comment yet, so I won't address it further at this point.

Jungle Jil said...


As usual, I'm a step ahead of the smart people:

Bypass junta's permission for aid, US and France urge

The US and France yesterday called for international aid to be delivered to cyclone victims without the permission of the Burmese military government if the regime continues to block the arrival of foreign aid workers and material assistance.

makopa said...

You are really pathetic. The only way for you to make an argument is to misrepresent what I have said. You have done that twice now. Pathetic!!

I have not changed my position at all. Remember the Red Cross slogan of “people helping people”. What do you think I meant when I said that people should help themselves and others? To spell it out for you “to help other people”. Hmm… sounds like the Red Cross slogan. You keep leaving off “and others” in your hopeless tirades.

Remember in the 2004 Tsunami that India also turned down aid from the USA. More and more countries know that the worst thing that they can do to their citizens is to allow the USA (and their military) to get a foothold into their country.

Now you are cheering for government intervention. You know nothing about being a true libertarian.

Jungle Jil said...

Nice Makopa. I take exactly what you said, put it in quotes, word for word, and you acuse me of "misrepresenting" you. (Of course, readers, notice how Makopa doesn't say how he/she is misrepresented... just that he/she is misrepresented... twice no less. Egads: Yet another red herring. Who would have guessed.)

Then, Makopa, you call me pathetic and add more exclamation points, as if that is some kind of argument.

Then, you go ahead and repeat the same tired meme you've been going on about from the beginning without adding to it, changing it or making it any more salient ("government bad" "people [but now 'Red Cross'] good"), and throw in the same "you're not a libertarian" at the end... same as all your other posts. Cut, copy, paste. Ho hum.

I would say that you've lost the argument, but the fact is you've made no argument against what I have said yet. You've just landed in a three-point crouch and shadow-boxed your way through some inane pablum that meanders from "fascism" on to "US government bad" and then over to "anti-libertarian" then a quick pause for "three cheers for the Red Cross" and then back again in some vicious shirt-rending, fist-shaking circle of Makopidity.

Please read this slowly and carefully: This whole "Jil Wants The USA Government To Save The World" thing? That's an idea that crept into your head from sources other than this post (perhaps CIA satellite broadcasts or something). Notice that this entire post so far is about the United Nations, and not the US Government. Nowhere does it even mention the US Government. It's all in your mind. Go back and read it again if you think I'm kidding. Do you see any place where I mention the US Government in relation to helping Myanmar?

Done that yet? See what I mean? Good.

As for the Indian Aid, sorry Makopa... You're busted making yet another straw man argument. (Amazing: Two in a row, rapid-fire style.) What does "India also turned down aid from the USA [and Russia, and Israel, and Japan, AND the Red Cross... note Makopa's convenient ommission there, readers]" to provide disaster relief after the tsunami, and providing it's own disaster relief to tsunami victims have to do with Myanmar letting it's people die by providing no disaster relief at all? Your ability to find completely pointless comparisons to the current situation seems to know no bounds.

Readers: What you are witnessing from Makopa is some of the worst debating skills I've seen in ages. You've got everything from...
Red herrings ("Relying on governments to do everything for you is not being a Libertarian. And neither is giving governments more power.")...
To Straw men ("Now you are cheering for government intervention." "India also turned down aid...")...
To Post hoc fallacies ("More and more countries know that the worst thing that they can do to their citizens is to allow the USA (and their military) to get a foothold into their country.")...
To hysterical pleas to emotion ("...corporate government of the USA" "People can be much more efficient" "Your view ... is fascism").

Go hone your debate skills Makopa. Sorry, but you're not cutting it this time around.

makopa said...

You said you were not going to post anymore about this. So you are NOT a man of your word. You are probably more of the “having to get in the last word” type of guy, I would say.

Misrepresenting me ….. I thought I explained how you only quoted part of what I wrote and then used it out of context. But that is your style it seems (see straw men below).

Oh, you’re confused about where the USA entered this. Well it was in the post where you were patting yourself on the back about being smarter than anyone else. You remember, the one about how your idea to bypass Myanmar government is being proposed by the USA and France (notice this does not say the UN) thereby imposing their will in another country. Typical, their history speaks for itself. But you stated no objection to this not being the UN. Rather, you were gleeful that government intervention was being called for.

Straw men. …. Well you don’t know what they are obviously. Maybe that is why you yourself have done this, by taking out of context, by misrepresenting, what I wrote.

Post Hok Fallacies …. Again, you don’t know what this is.

About the red herrings…. Well that just comes from your blog page “About Jil”. You know, about being a self proclaimed Libertarian (a red herring). Just not in real life actions and thoughts. If you remove that word (Libertarian) from your bio then your posts may make more sense.

About hysterical pleas to emotion ….. Well your entire last post is just that, pleading to the readers. Pathetic (no hysterical exclamation marks this time, hehe).

Most of what you claim made me a bad debater is in fact what you yourself have done. If you think that you are such a superior debater then why are you so insecure about what I have said that you need to try to denigrate my debating ability? Why not just let what was written stand on its own merits without your commentary on debating techniques and ability?

And by the way, the use of certain debating techniques does not mean that the debater has poor ability or skills. Ability/skills is not just based on the fact of using or not using a certain technique, but on how well a technique is used for the position taken. Making a list of techniques used doesn’t mean a thing. An intelligent use of any of the many debating techniques can win a debate. For example, the use of straw men is very effective in emotional issues. And winning is the goal, whether you like the techniques used or not does not matter.