The Catch-22 of Global Responsibility – 4/1/2011

It is said that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. During the beginning of the last century some of the most atrocious acts of evil were perpetrated while the arsenal of democracy only responded once to protect its own interest and by a fluke stopped a greater evil.

In the aftermath of World War II, the global community came together and established the United Nations to maintain international peace and security. Yet the more things change the more they stay the same. History moves on as new players step in, but evil always finds a way to triumph as the free worlds turns a blind eye.

The world has failed to learn from history as it continued to ignore the human atrocities being perpetrated. Francisco Macías Nguema (President of Equatorial Guinea) and Pol Pot (Communist Dictator of Cambodia) butchered thousands of their own people while acts of ethnic cleansing took place in Iraq, Rwanda, Sudan and Burundi.

Yet the world responded with nothing more than a few resolutions condemning the evil and imposing an embargo. History has laughed at our failure to act while humanity has passed its judgment on the Free Worlds inability to bring justice.

Now in Libya, the citizens are asking for reform and the government’s response has been to butcher any opposition. Rather then the usually resolution and embargo, the UN approved a no-fly zone that is being enforced by NATO.

One would assume that it’s these moments that the United Nations and Democracy could redeem itself by fighting evil and protecting the innocent. Yet when good men do act, they are condemned as aggressors.

The same kinds of people who have criticized the West for ignoring atrocities are now crying “imperialism”. American liberals (like Michael Moore and Rep. Dennis Kucinich) are calling President Obama a warmonger while some global leaders have condemned the no-fly zone as a violation of Libya’s sovereignty.

This is the catch-22 of global responsibility, Democracy is ridden with guilt when it allows evil to prevail. But if Democracy were to act against evil than its condemned as an aggressor. Sadly this is too common in history.

The West had to intervene when acts of aggression were being perpetrated against the sovereignty of South Korea and Kuwait. Yet these acts of liberation have at times been seen as “empire building” by elements of the left. Sadly there are more examples.

* 1978: Idi Amin (with Libyan support) is threatening the sovereignty of Tanzania. In response to this threat, Tanzania invades Uganda and replaces Amin’s dictatorship with a democratic government. Yet it was Tanzania that was viewed as an aggressor by the international community.

* 1982: The military junta of Argentina invades the Falkland Islands only for it to be liberated by United Kingdom. In the aftermath of the war, the military junta collapses and democracy is restored to Argentina. Yet Britain’s intervention was condemned as an act of imperialism.

* 1989: United States launches Operation Just Cause in an attempt to protect regional stability and bring down the kleptocracy of Manuel Noriega. Democracy was restored and Panama has been governed by the rule of law since. Yet even today, Operation Just Cause is still referred to as an act of aggression.

* 1991 – 1999: In response to ethnic cleansing being perpetrated in Yugoslavia, NATO launches an air camping that cripples the Yugoslavian war machine. Yet frivolous claims have been made that NATO deliberately target civilians or had no justified reason for its actions.

The more things change the more they stay the same as the judgment regarding the catch-22 of global responsibility haunts global leaders. Yet we forget that never has a survivor of genocide thanked those who ignored the suffering. It has always been the champions of justice who have been revered by the survivors and history.

Written for
Original Story: The Catch-22 of Global Responsibility


About Stan Rezaee
I'm a writer from San Jose who has contributed to several online and print publications.

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