Why is Liberia our problem? Can't someone else handle this one?

What am I missing? Why does the world keep calling for U.S. intervention in Liberia? Why can’t the U.N., or France, or the E.U., or someone else take this one? We’re a little busy right now, a lot on our plate - would it hurt for the gripers to take charge of something themselves?

Seems to me it would be cool if the U.N. could handle it without the U.S. getting involved at all. It would go a long way toward showing that they’re grownups now, that they can actually do something for themselves. The U.N. wants to be relevant, France wants to be relevant, the E.U. wants to be relevant… Fine! Take care of this and show us what you can do!

Again, what am I missing?

Do you view the historical context of the US’s relationship with Liberia as irrelevant to the current situation, or is it the case that you just don’t know about the historical context with regards to Liberia?


This statement is inflammatory and a bit silly, since there have been numerous UN actions (and even a few French ones) which did not involve direct millitary support from the US.

To clarify, I mean worldwide actions (not just Liberia).

I view the historical relationship between the U.S. and Liberia as irrelevant to this situation, yes. If responsibility to act in cases like this is to be assigned on stuff that happened over a century ago, then we’ll have to rethink who’s responsible for what all over. Maybe the French should fix the crime problem in New Orleans…

Liberia, regardless of its origins, is just another troubled African country.

I was sincerely hoping that this isn’t the reason. There’s got to be something better than that.

Oh, and the other thing: I’m not aware of anything substantial that the U.N. has done peace-keeping troop-wise without U.S. leadership. Please enlighten me.

yeah sure…let someone else handle it!
Not really, just being sarcastic. Im kind of neutral actually in this whole should-US-intervene thing, but saying someone else should handle it is also kind of callous. I guess in a twisted way USA should be flattered that they are being called on…
It is a really surreal situation to look at my country (Rwanda) and realise that we are actually more stable now than most of Africa. I dont have to dodge bullets or worry about being recruited by vicious warlords. Not like Rwanda is paradise though…

Well, no. Liberia is a troubled African country that historically the US has had a great deal of involvement in and a relationship with. It’s not like we just set up Liberia and said, “Well, was nice knowing you guys. Write sometime.”

Ok, now we’re getting to a debate here. A century ago, I agree, isn’t necessarily relevant. However, except for a period during the 70s and 80s, Liberia has traditionally had a very close relationship with the US (we actually had a millitary base there post-WWII).

Additionally, there is (or has been) already an outside intervention from ECOMOG, which I think has pretty much failed. So, given that ECOMOG is really not able to control the situation, and given our long historical, and more recent ties with Liberia, I think the US is best poised to fix the situation. Much better than the UN would be.

So, that leaves us with the question of should the US intervene. If I have to be honest, I don’t see any strategic benefit to such an intervention. The only reason to intervene is for humanitarian reasons. Now, apparently it is current US policy to intervene in countries for humanitarian reasons. So, in that view, Liberia is as good a place as any to start.

You can enlighten yourself on the UNs website, if you should so choose:


However, off the top of my head,

Cambodia: UN led, US largely playing a technical advisory role, with US help particular with regards to mine clearing and economics.

East Timor: Fitfully UN led, with intervention from Australia and NZ, little US role.

Sierra Leone: ECOMOG and UN led.

Rwanda: Initial Belgian intervention, currently UN monitoring force.

And as for France, they are currently in Congo, and have been in and out of Chad numerous times in the thirty years.

It is the way of the world. Whenever there is trouble, they all come running to the USA to fix everything. Consider Yugoslavia, for example. However, if the USA wants to take any initiative and not merely be Europe and the UN’s errand-boy, then there is all manner of whining.

I’d lay the matter out plain:

If you want us to go into Liberia, then we get a free hand worldwide. If we do not get a free hand worldwide, we cannot be reasonably expected to run down every little “crisis” that the UN decides is worth looking at. PS: How well did y’all handle Rwanda, anyway?

Irish troop commitment under the UN in Lebanon since '78 = 31,800

I think doomraisin may have benn talking about UN actions in Liberia however.


Opps, forgot about a cite for the Irish figure.

At the risk of having to dodge bricks and eggs, I would venture that this is a way for the Bush administration to show the world that we weren’t in Iraq solely for the oil. “See, we are compassionate, it is about the people…where is Layburria again?”