I was listening to CNN this morning and two commentators were discussing the situation in Haiti. One of the commentators asserted that Iraq is a case of nation building, given that since no WMD were found in Iraq, the administration has changed the debate to that of a humanitarian issue. I’m not really interested in whether the latter part of that is true or not, but I do in fact agree with the first part. That if we’re now engaged in peace keeping and installing a democratic government in Iraq, that we are in fact nation building. How then does the case in Haiti differ in our lack of a commitment to help, especially given the fact that Haiti is in our zone of influence?
There is a very large difference between the cases in Hati and in Iraq. Iraq is situated in a very strategic location in the world, while Hati is in a not very important location. Iraq was thought to be developing WMD, but that intel seems to have been in error. There is nothing suggesting Hati has the slightest inclination to build WMD. Iraq was taking pot-shots at American and UK aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones for years - Hati has taken no action against American armed forces. Iraq was led by an expanisionistic dicatator, who possed a threat to regional stability in the area(though reduced significantly after the first Gulf War), while at worst, all Hati could do would be flood some other nations (most notably the Dominican Republic) with some refugees. Saddam was giving money to Palestinian suicide bomber’s families, while Hati has funded no terrorism. Finally, Iraq has lots of oil. That oil is very important to the US, and the money from selling the oil could be used to build up modern infrastructure in Iraq. Hati has almost nothing of value.
In 1994 the UN supported a mission to Haiti to reinstate a democratic regime and remove the military dictatorship that had overthrown the country.
I would say the fact that Haiti has no real strategic value to the US is a major reason why our nation building efforts there will be minimal. Iraq (if it were a functioning liberal democracy) could have some major effects on middle eastern politics but Haiti being a functioning liberal democracy would only benefit the Haitians.
I’m not sure what the debate is. We are sending in troops to secure key points in Haiti so that UN troops can enter. Canadian troops are already there. Not sure where the French are in all of this.
The general populace of Haiti rose up against Aristide just as the Kurds and the Shiites did in Iraq. The difference here is that we acted sooner than later. What would be the point of supporting an elected official that is not wanted in his own country?
I don’t understand the stunt Aristide pulled by calling people in America and claiming he was kidnapped. I’m certain we could collect enough money to buy him a 1-way ticket back to Haiti if he feels the rescue mission was a mistake.
According to this article, dated Friday 5 March 2004, “France said it would have some 420 soldiers and police in place by the end of the week.”
Since, as we all know, the USA invaded Iraq on humanitarian grounds - I think they should also invade Burma and throw down the military government, release political prisoners, release Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest and facilitate free and democratic elections.
This could probably be done once the USA leaves Iraq after the July election - Khin Nyunt is just too slow.