Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


This is coolbert:

"I am trying!!" "I am doing the best I can!!" "I have sent a second letter!!"

These are the words of the Secretary General [Sec Gen] Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations, during his interview on the PBS broadcast "The News Hour", this last Friday night.

Regarding the situation in Burma. The ruling junta will NOT allow foreign aid workers to enter the country and presently ONLY a limited [small fraction] amount of relief aid is reaching the victims of Cyclone Nargis.

[Nargis was the strongest cyclone to strike this part of Burma in 100 years!! As with the tsunami of 2005, people in this part of the world [Irrawaddy delta] have no experience with this type of damage and devastation!]

The Sec Gen is TRY-ING to get the junta to cooperate with the international community, but it seems to be of no avail.

With regard to rice production, according to Ban Ki-moon:

* 20 % of the land devoted to rice agriculture is no longer fertile and cannot be productive due to inundation from salt water.

* Right NOW is the time for planting rice. SOMETHING needs to be done now to get the people of the Irrawaddy delta back on their feet or there will be future widespread starvation throughout all of Burma.

Ban Ki-moon also mentions in passing the concept of "forced" humanitarian intervention. It is obvious what he is talking about here. Military operations using combat action if necessary to bring aid to the victims of Nargis. Or even overthrowing the government of Burma!

A concept ["forced" humanitarian intervention] broached by Tony Blair in 1999. But, has been a concept around ever since the time of Hugo Grotius, but rarely implemented.

"scholars as far back as Grotius have argued for a right to use force for humanitarian intervention"

See this web site which discusses: "Humanitarian Intervention:The Case for Legitimacy"

"Forced" humanitarian intervention is a concept the international community is leery about? Interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation-state is NOT usually advisable?

"the underlying legal basis for the international system since the Treaties of Westphalia in 1648, recent events have led to what amounts to a serious rethinking of the strict adherence to non-intervention in the domestic affairs of states under certain circumstances."

"Under customary international law, sovereign states are protected by the rule of noninterference or nonintervention: states must refrain from interfering in the domestic affairs of other states"

"The right of intervention must be restricted to the most egregious violations of human rights, such as genocide and violent mass ethnic expulsions."

"Forced" humanitarian intervention to be used, ONLY in response to the "most egregious violations"! Violations to include:

* Genocide. [think here Rwanda.]

* "Mass ethnic expulsions".

* War crimes.

* Crimes against humanity.

If "forced" humanitarian intervention was decided upon and implemented in Burma, rely ONLY UPON the U.S. military to carry out such an operation. With a smattering of military units from England, France, India, and probably just about no other. ONLY the U.S. military has the global reach, combined arms, ground, naval, and air assets to be effective, sustaining operations over a long period!

"Forced humanitarian intervention in Burma"? Do I see it happening? NO!

Without contradicting my self, please see this headline from the BBC [recent]:

"Burma neighbours in cyclone talks"

"Burma's handling of the crisis has caused a storm of international outrage
The Association of South East Asian Nation (Asean) is due to hold urgent talks to discuss ways of helping Burma's cyclone victims."

"We are discussing!", "I am trying!" Etc.




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