The pivotal alternative to Obamacare . . .
Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, by John C. Goodman. Order Today!

NEWSROOM
Commentary Articles
In The News
News Releases
Experts



Media Inquiries

Kim Cloidt
Director of Marketing & Communications
(510) 632-1366 x116
(202) 725-7722 (cell)
Send Email

Robert Ade
Communications Manager
(510) 632-1366 x114
Send Email


Subscribe



Commentary
Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook

Contribute
Your participation will advance liberty. Join us as an Independent Institute member.



Contact Us
The Independent Institute
100 Swan Way
Oakland, CA 94621-1428

510-632-1366 Phone
510-568-6040 Fax
Send us email


Interested in working with us?  Click here for more information.

Commentary

Intervention in Liberia Is Too Risky


     
 Print 

Refusing to learn lessons from the nascent quagmires in Afghanistan and Iraq, President Bush is likely to risk the lives of U.S. armed forces again in a Clintonesque “humanitarian” intervention in Liberia. The president’s pledge to take an active role in Liberia is a response to pressure from domestic groups and foreign countries making the curious claim that the founding of that country by freed American slaves over 150 years ago morally obligates the United States to bail out a nation that has long been in turmoil.

Slavery was a terrible stain on the past of many countries and particularly so on an American nation founded on the ideal of freedom. But like reparations for slavery, military intervention in Liberia to somehow atone for this monstrous chapter in our history foists costs on the current generation, which had nothing to do with the sins of past generations. In any intervention, those costs—that is, potential loss of life and limb—would fall on U.S. enlisted forces, which ironically have a higher percentage of African-Americans than the general population.

In addition, whether Liberia will actually be helped by U.S. intervention is questionable. The domestic political opposition to President Charles Taylor is also tainted by human rights violations and corruption. And the U.S. record in “nation-building” in the developing world is abysmal. Lebanon, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq all were, are or are becoming disasters. Either the countries are no better off (and sometimes worse off ) than before U.S. involvement, or violence would likely resume when the United States tried to withdraw from the morass.

And when things don’t go well, the U.S. stake in a country’s future leads to pressure to stay longer or commit more forces. Although the administration insists that U.S. forces will remain in Liberia only a short time, then-President Clinton—eight years ago and counting—promised that U.S. troops would remain in Bosnia only a year. With two-thirds of U.S. army brigades already deployed around the world, a Liberian neocolonial adventure—not vital to U.S. security—would further overstretch the U.S. military and might tie up forces that would be needed for a real security emergency.


Ivan Eland is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute. Dr. Eland is a graduate of Iowa State University and received an M.B.A. in applied economics and Ph.D. in national security policy from George Washington University. He has been Director of Defense Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, and he spent 15 years working for Congress on national security issues, including stints as an investigator for the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Principal Defense Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. He is author of the books Partitioning for Peace: An Exit Strategy for Iraq, and Recarving Rushmore.

New from Ivan Eland!
NO WAR FOR OIL: U.S. Dependency and the Middle East

The grab for oil resources has been a major factor behind many conflicts and military deployments because of its perception as a strategic commodity. This book debunks the notion that oil is strategic and argues that war for oil is not necessary to secure the flow of petroleum. Learn More »»






Home | About Us | Blogs | Issues | Newsroom | Multimedia | Events | Publications | Centers | Students | Store | Donate

Product Catalog | RSS | Jobs | Course Adoption | Links | Privacy Policy | Site Map
Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook
Copyright 2014 The Independent Institute