Monday, November 24, 2014

Let the Middle East Govern Itself

NEW YORK – It is time for the United States and other powers to let the Middle East govern itself in line with national sovereignty and the United Nations Charter. As the US contemplates yet another round of military action in Iraq and intervention in Syria, it should recognize two basic truths.

First, US interventions, which have cost the country trillions of dollars and thousands of lives over the past decade, have consistently destabilized the Middle East, while causing massive suffering in the affected countries. Second, the region’s governments – in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, and elsewhere – have both the incentive and the means to reach mutual accommodations. What is stopping them is the belief that the US or some other outside power (such as Russia) will deliver a decisive victory on their behalf.

When the Ottoman Empire collapsed at the end of World War I, the great powers of the day, Britain and France, carved out successor states in order to ensure their control over the Middle East’s oil, geopolitics, and transit routes to Asia. Their cynicism – reflected, for example, in the Sykes-Picot Agreement – established a lasting pattern of destructive outside meddling. With America’s subsequent emergence as a global power, it treated the Middle East in the same way, relentlessly installing, toppling, bribing, or manipulating the region’s governments, all the while mouthing democratic rhetoric.

For example, less than two years after Iran’s democratically elected parliament and prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in 1951, the US and Britain used their secret services to topple Mossadegh and install the incompetent, violent, and authoritarian Shah Reza Pahlavi. Not surprisingly, the Islamic Revolution that overthrew the Shah in 1979 brought a wave of virulent anti-Americanism in its wake. Rather than seeking rapprochement, however, the US supported Saddam Hussein during Iraq’s eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s.

Iraq fared no better with the British and Americans. Britain ruthlessly created a subservient Iraqi state after WWI, backing Sunni elites to control the majority Shia population. After oil was discovered in the 1920s, Britain assumed control over the new oil fields, using military force as needed.

The US supported the 1968 coup that brought the Ba’ath Party – and Saddam – to power. With Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, however, the US turned on him, and has been entwined in Iraq’s politics ever since, including two wars, sanction regimes, the toppling of Saddam in 2003, and repeated attempts, as recently as this month, to install a government that it considered acceptable.

The result has been an unmitigated catastrophe: the destruction of Iraq as a functioning society in an ongoing civil war, fueled by outside powers, that has caused economic ruin and collapsing living standards. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died in the violence since 1990.

Syria endured decades of French dominance after WWI, and then alternatingly hot and cold relations with the US and Europe since the 1960s. During the past decade, the US and its allies have tried to weaken, and then, starting in 2011, to topple President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, mainly in a proxy war to undermine Iranian influence in Syria. The results have been devastating for the Syrian people. Assad remains in power, but more than 190,000 Syrians are dead and millions have been displaced as a result of an insurrection supported by the US and its allies (with Assad backed by Russia and Iran). Some US officials are now reportedly considering an alliance with Assad to fight the militant Islamic State, whose rise was enabled by the US-backed insurrection.

After decades of cynical and often secret interventions by the US, Britain, France, Russia, and other outside powers, the region’s political institutions are based largely on corruption, sectarian politics, and brute force. Yet whenever a new Middle East crisis erupts, the latest being triggered by the Islamic State’s recent gains, the US intervenes again, perhaps to change a government (as it has just orchestrated in Iraq) or to launch a new bombing assault. Backroom dealings and violence continue to rule the day.

Pundits claim that Arabs cannot manage democracy. In fact, the US and its allies simply don’t like the results of Arab democracy, which all too often produces governments that are nationalist, anti-Israel, Islamist, and dangerous to America’s oil interests. When the ballots go in that direction, the US simply ignores the election results (as it did, for example, in 2006, when Hamas won a large majority of the popular vote in Gaza).

The US cannot stop the spiral of violence in the Middle East. The damage in Libya, Gaza, Syria, and Iraq demands that a political solution be found within the region, not imposed from the outside. The UN Security Council should provide an international framework in which the major powers pull back, lift crippling economic sanctions, and abide by political agreements reached by the region’s own governments and factions. 

Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and other neighbors know one another well enough – thanks to 2,000-plus years of trade and war – to sort out the pieces themselves, without interference from the US, Russia, and the former colonial powers of Europe. The countries of the Middle East have a common interest in starving hyper-violent groups like the Islamic State of arms, money, and media attention. They also share an interest in keeping oil flowing to world markets – and in capturing the bulk of the revenues.

I am not claiming that all will be well if the US and other powers pull back. There is enough hatred, corruption, and arms in the region to keep it in crisis for years to come. And nobody should expect stable democracies any time soon.

But lasting solutions will not be found as long as the US and other foreign powers continue to meddle in the region. One hundred years after the start of WWI, colonial practices must finally come to an end. The Middle East needs the opportunity to govern itself, protected and supported by the UN Charter, not by any individual great power.

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    1. CommentedPer Kurowski

      Would this argument not also apply to the veiled sort of neocolonialism, or sheer old-time-colonialism, represented in much of the development aid that Jeffery Sachs defends?

    2. CommentedJonathan Lam

      Gamesmith94134: Saudi Arabia to host talks with U.S., regional allies on Thursday
      I am glad that Saudi Arabia is offering host talk on the regional talk; and it would be better off if only if it offers a permanent solution to the Middle East and present its Islamic position to the world. At first, I was shocked with the NATO’s offer and acceptance by the Arab League in dealing of ISIS; now I am relieved that there is no blank check were given to US or NATO on the military assistance to yield winning over ISIS. Perhaps, Gulf Arab states to consider military action as well, and would like to see them support Sunni Muslim moderates in Iraq and Syria who could undermine the appeal of ISIS. This granted a true spirit of doing the right thing and we, American may not get boots on the soil; and Saudis must prepare itself and Sunnis to enter the new phase of peace development to the region.
      However, I would concern how ISIS is being eliminated with no return; or ICC would charge on for the revolution or war crime. Therefore, the hosting Saudi must be prepared the reentry of the Sunni who may leave ISIS are protected by Amnesty International or other charters; so, we can cut short on the war through conversion, instead of dying till no return. Secondly, I would concern of the blank check if it were provided to US or NATO; I hope the transparency would give the world a better picture since many may ignore it as a regional problem of Islam only; and some oversight must give proficiency to the future action if World Bank can participate since the refugee problem must be dissolved as well. At last, I hope a proper agenda will provided to the United Nations Security Council to a fuller adoption, reckoned by the African Union as a final resolution in the future uprising of Separatists by Islam faiths; since the “no boot” commitment may limit the success on the military performance. It sound much like eating soup with a fork that you never can get a full scope if the participants of the committed parties cannot work on the synchronized fashion on the territorial settlement and other faiths or minorities in the regions.
      I think of the pool game both in 8 ball that Saudi can host with both the regions and tribes that survey and discuss on resolution on the territorial control that comes a solid and stripe; and 9 ball as in African Union comes in the sequential agenda that how the wars and recommendations would come to if NATO or US can help in matching and capturing the resolutions that are proposed and adopted in a full global coalition by the United Nations Security council.
      Moreover, I would appreciate Saudi and Arab League can give Islam a proper position to its claim on the regional control and responsibility in the course of humanitarianism and all faiths are equally protected under the charter of United Nations. Perhaps, I would rather like the Participants States to expand the issues on Islam and how others should accommodate in a orderly fashion that they can offer the African Union their resolution to their regional disputes as well. So, we all can reckon with through the processes.
      Many may see it as ISIS that must be eliminated; but I see it more of a settlement of as an extended neglect through the western culture. I really see Islam can live and survive in its own fashion and adapt in the evolving world; if only if we stop and reconcile.
      Here are the premises that I see in the resolution through the Saudi Arabic resolution in the ISIS crisis and the future of all faiths can survive in this world by adopting the majority rule of the region.
      Saudi Arabia 8 ---- African Union 9
      UN Human right commission and Amnesty International, World Bank, and UNSC—3

      Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Palestine--5
      Egypt, Jordon, Turkey, GCC, and Yemen plus Somalia----5
      Add more supportive teams to the elements that make an inclusive Saudi Arabic resolution.
      It is not a easy task to comply; but resolution is even harder than anyone can imagine; but we must sort them out in an orderly fashion with no regret.
      May the Buddha bless you?

      gamesmith94134: Syrian opposition welcomes Obama's announcement

      The question falls on the priority and reasons on each of the action. Can bring the ISIS to the gate of hell justifies the strike? Perhaps, the American Strategists must know what Pan-Arab revolution and their history before targeting on its people or land. If Mr. Obama disgust genocide, then his strategy must give a fuller comprehension of his destiny even with no boots.

      Perhaps, Mr. Obama already admitted puppeteer government did not hold. gift on anyone or whoever create conspiracy. it is not what he wants. It is not a NATO war in Middle East; so, Will that winning attribute to colonize to another hand over of Islam States. Beside, if the war is based on atrocity of an extreme belief, will the winner become its opposite?

      Without the input of the Islam States, it paraphrases the Golan Height in the Israelite settlement. Perhaps, more shipment of arms to the region would put Israel to danger that the arms would surely show on their attack to Israel if the containment plan collapses.

      Thereon, the input of the Islam States resolution must apply to the elements of recommendations of the rightful venue to the region of Middle East; and such agendas would become the resolution of UN approval and other nations too. Perhaps, it is time to reconcile and contemplate how the core of Islamic preposition censored by the sovereigns who are involved in its due course on a following agendas in the minutes of the United Nations Security council who will bring on its stripe and solids to the table.

      It must come through the due process of law in the better view of the layout in the world audience. Perhaps, all the Islamic tribes and other religious minorities can fully accommodate on the final resolution the United Nations comes through. Of course, the sentiments of the permanent Members can attribute to finalize the result through their forth to forth voting.

      Apparently, I think Syria has reservation of the outcome of the strike that is justified even it was supposedly to be friendly.

      May the Buddha bless you?

    3. CommentedPeter Groninger

      I make to claims to being an expert, but it seems to me that, absent continued support from America, Israel's strategic position is completely untenable if the Western democracies let the various players sort it all out without interference. Is that a desirable outcome?

    4. CommentedFazly Marikar

      Prof Sachs, this is an excellent article.
      The idea that Middle East can be perpetually controlled by other countries (US, UK or others) is fundamentally flawed. a) The side effects of such control is that it provides room for extremists / terrorist to boom... b) it creates corruption and spoils the rulers (democratic or otherwise) of arab countries with back door deals c). it gives space to commit human rights violations by Other countries in the name of democracy.

    5. Commentedhari naidu

      Jeffery, I suspect the idea of non-intervention in ME affairs is a reflection of your moral and intellectual despair. And I agree whole heartedly with your basic argument. However there is a caution - linked to 9/11 - because by now US invasion and occupation of Iraq & Afghanistan has, in fact, created conditions on the ground which neither US military nor existing sovereign states can control. And that means going forward - whether we like it or not -NATO and its allies, in particular, will inevitably be involved in sustaining some form of security umbrella in ME.

    6. CommentedCarlos Bivero

      The UN Security Council is part and parcel of power politics but at least Permanent Members need to reach an understanding and the international community has a word to say and the framework for cooperating in helping to solve the crisis. Not ideal but it´s the best we have. Clear and objective analyis. The worlds should learn from its mistakes, and try to avoid repeating them. In the Middle East, it seems to be more difficuolt than elsewhere!

    7. Commentedj. von Hettlingen

      Jeffrey Sachs believes the Middle East would be better off to "govern itself". The question is whether the governance would be in accordance with the "United Nations Charter". Does he really have so much confidence in the UN? Can he rely on the international community to get its act together, when most nation-states indulge in self-interests and realpolitik? Is he suggesting the world will be a better place without power politics?
      The Middle East is ruled by the law of the jungle. The US had made terrible mistakes in the past and squandered blood and treasure in the region, "causing massive suffering in the affected countries". It's unclear whether "Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Egypt", etc "have both the incentive and the means to reach mutual accommodations". How can Mr. Sachs be so sure that: "What is stopping them is the belief that the US or some other outside power (such as Russia) will deliver a decisive victory on their behalf"?
      It's true that European powers are to blame for the mess the region is in. Artificial states disregarding ethnic, sectarian faultlines were built as a result of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, signed after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Their greed for oil and control over "transit routes to Asia" helped create stooge regimes, that the US supported, despite rampant "corruption, sectarian politics, and brute force". The list of US "meddling" is long and it explains why the US has low approval ratings in the region.
      Sachs doesn't seem to agree with "pundits (who) claim that Arabs cannot manage democracy". It's not only "the US and its allies (who) simply don’t like the results of Arab democracy, which all too often produces governments that are nationalist, anti-Israel, Islamist", even citizens who cast their ballots, aren't happy neither! Don't they have the right to demand reforms?
      Sachs believes the countries in the Middle East would be able to sort things out themselves without external interference, "thanks to 2,000-plus years of trade and war". He basically urges for a laissez-faire stance, acquiescing to the reality that: "there is enough hatred, corruption, and arms in the region to keep it in crisis for years to come. And nobody should expect stable democracies any time soon".

    8. CommentedFaruk Timuroglu

      An honest approach to the problems of the Middle East. However, no place for honesty in real politics. Otherwise, the world would've been a paradise. As long as there are reach energy resources, the global powers will continue to create unmitigated catastrophes for the peoples of the region. Nevertheless, feel good to read.

    9. CommentedCurtis Carpenter

      "f we let the current virulence be treated by local fever, what unintended consequences occur?"

      That's a fair point -- but doesn't it need to be considered in light of the equally troubling question of what unintended consequences might occur as the result of more meddling? And who will bear the burden and responsibility for those consequences when the DO occur -- as, of course, they almost certainly will in an area like the Middle East?

      And your view does seem to me to undervalue Mr. Sachs' second fundamental truth -- which may or may not have held in the case of Kosovo, I don't know.

    10. CommentedSuhayl 53

      An excellent article by Jeffrey with a very positive and practical suggestion for the outsiders to stop interfering and start helping the Mid-East be "independent". This will not only be supported by the silent majority but may also choke the source of extremism from that part of the world. Of course, the Israel problem needs to be resolved, as it stands out like a sore thumb, the US having created a monster unable to treat its Arab citizens and neighbours as equals, instead stealing their property and depriving them of their basic human rights. The Middle East must again be a region where all religions like in peace with each other.

    11. CommentedChris Lovell

      Completely agree with this article, further western intervention in the Middle East will only seek to prolong and exasperate the already dire situation in Iraq, Syria, Libya etc.

      As ever though, corporate interest in oil will likely play a huge role in US policy and I don't doubt for a second that their air campaign will continue and progress into Syria causing more destruction and continuing the cycle of madness.

    12. CommentedJohn Cutler

      As someone who worked in Kosovo during and after the conflict there, I find myself agreeing and disagreeing with Prof. Sachs on this issue. One glaring problem with his analysis: If the surrounding countries are left to complete the process of "starving hyper-violent groups" do we not get more of what we have now? ISIS also has its own oil revenues as well as other jihadist funding sources from adjacent states. If we let the current virulence be treated by local fever, what unintended consequences occur? Aside from more genocide and atrocities, can we not fast forward a few years to the possibility of war between Saudi Arabia and Iran? That could be a disaster for the world's economies and ecology. Pottery barn rule: we broke it, we own it. It may sound old fashioned, juvenile, or flippant, but with sincerity and gravity "Send the Marine Corps" to destroy this regime appears as sound policy and morally sanctionable... I agree, however, that the adjacent states need to sort out the Sunni problem on the ground in the same way the adjacent states of Europe sorted out Kosovo. They must be part of the solution - and the blood spent. One must draw a line when genocide is happening - as Obama and Congress failed to do a year ago on Syria. As old friends in the military might say, it is time to go back to the Sand Box.

    13. CommentedCurtis Carpenter

      I would like to second Mr. Myers' view below, and applaud in particular Mr. Sachs' second basic truth. Time to accept the fact that liberal democracy is not a universal curative, and certainly not one that can be imposed at the end of a cruise missile trajectory. Time for the West to accept the wisdom of the ancient Chinese saying that "by doing nothing, things get done." Time to recognize that intervention in civil wars is not the road to winning hearts and minds.

    14. CommentedPaul A. Myers

      This is a very important op-ed piece by Mr Sachs. Is this the first grain of sand in a new avalanche of common sense for American policy.

      It is long since past time for the US to quit behaving abroad as if it were an authoritarian government dominated by economic oligarchies.

    15. CommentedDavid Morgan

      The US is invading countries causing death destruction and political instability in the name of democracy, however, the present day US is no longer a functioning democracy. In fact it is an autocracy controlled by lobbies who represent big business. A case in point is the gun law debacle. The US government according to the wishes of the majority of the people want to introduce tighter gun control laws. The NRA lobbyists, who represent gun manufactures and sellers do not want the laws changed and block the government. So who runs America? and in this debate the oil companies control US foreign policy. The US is now an autocracy.

        CommentedPaul A. Myers

        It is now the largest oligarchy in world history dominated first and foremost by the financial oligopolies. There is not one economic sector in the US economy that is hot dominated by a handful of firms. So the US society is neither representative nor competitive.

    16. CommentedPaul Daley

      A good article and wise counsel. Government guarantees -- whether they're financial or security guarantees -- invariably breed moral hazard problems. Allies will exploit those guarantees just as financial institutions will and, for the United States in particular, our foreign policy problems arise more from the behavior of our allies than our enemies. We are now learning how to manage the financial guarantees that governments extend. It's past time that we put those lessons to work in managing our allies as well.

    17. CommentedCarl HT

      Jeffrey - it's fine for you who is probably somewhere skiing between lectures, but travel to East London or Western Sydney and you will realise this story is a lot more complicated.

      The Iraq war occurred because Iraq had lost its sovereignty under international law due to aggression /occcupation of territory, violation of the Genocide Convention, as well as the aiding of international terrorists. In addition to suspicions of the breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

      We made this commitment and not sticking by the commitment is in my view unethical. Now we are observing genocide and ethnocide of troubling proportions indeed this could be as a consequence of our intervention, but is it just that. I disagree and would point the finger at Islam.

      Further, how does one stand aside from a moral perspective when human rights abuses of this kind are ongoing? I believe we have a moral obligation to ensure these injustices do not continue.

      In addition, how can we sit idly by while people actively pursue and advance an ideology which when distilled to its fundamentals encourages death to Kafar and the destruction of the West?

      Some estimates suggest a figure as high as 20% of Muslims have an extremist view (400m +), hence I will disagree with Ken Presting's comment. Cherry-picking individuals from the House of Wisdom from the Golden Age of Islam is not sufficient evidence of Islam's compatibility with Western ideals. Further, I contend the same arguments Ken cited show exactly why Islam is an inhumane and retrograde formula.

      We need to acknowledge that Islam is incongruous with the West, unless people embrace the State which provides for them, and humanism before faith; there are going to be more and more people uniting under a caliphate who don't care if it was established with a gun or sword. With such a state emerging, you are suggesting we ignore the barbarian at the gate and our moral responsibility.

        CommentedKen Presting

        I don't read Prof. Sachs at all as accusing Islam of incompatibility with democratic values, but Carl HT clearly does. I appreciate the comment, and I will expand my point.

        In the post-war period we have seen the absolute historical nadir of the Islamic world. Yet as Mr. HT notes, nearly 80% of Muslims - clearly the vast majority - reject extremist ideas. In fact, we have seen stability, investment, and regular elections return to Indonesia, Turkey, and (arguably) Iran.

        Contrast the behavior of Western, Christian nations at the height of their political and cultural power, as the Renaissance blossomed into the Enlightenment. In what historians now euphemistically call "The Columbian Exchange" there was literally a decimation of native Americans, and the inconceivable cruelty of the African slave trade. And that was before our Civil, and two WW's. And when was it that the USA finally ended segregation? No really, I'm asking - have we?

        My point to you, Carl, is that the alleged evidence that Islam can't abide democracy is dwarfed by the evidence that European Christians are addicted to genocide. Still, I'd be the first to agree that the developed world is on to something that the middle East has not yet grasped.

        Prof. Sachs' argument is that geopolitics kept the Arab states down. You say it's religion. My point is that it's not West Vs. East anymore, it's just "West Side Story" in the global village.

        I'm trying to think of a joke comparing B. Obama to O. Krupke, but I think I'll let it rest...

    18. CommentedKen Presting

      Prof. Sachs is so precisely correct in in most of this article that I hate to disagree. But I do want to express an alternative point of view on what he has identified as the relevant set of facts. Most important is to ignore those who suggest that Islam itself is incompatible with cosmopolitan tolerance. Pundits who say so are ignoring the role of Averroes and Avicenna in the European renaissance, not to mention such words as "algebra," "alkaline," and "Aldebaran" which are direct borrowings from the language in which those subjects were invented.

      The Middle East is suffering from the same political dysfunction found over most of the post-colonial South - failed states, exploitative kleptocracies, and violent criminal insurgencies. Any terrorist group which is not better called "narco-terrorist" is surely working a kidnapping racket instead. Precious few nations have achieved what Max Weber called a "regional monopoly on violence" except by violently subjugating their own populace.

      What is happening in the developing world is an epidemic of organized crime, not any kind of defect in international relationships. It is undeniable that Western meddling has contributed to the present chaos. I suggest that the way forward is to drop the analysis of world affairs in terms of sovereign nation-states. The facts on the ground are a collection of administrative districts, all in one global economy and one global environment. After all, which catastrophe upsets the international order more: when a sovereign nation massacres its own people, or when it defaults on its debt? If you admit that this is a fair question, then I have made my point.

      It has already become common around the world to accept international monitoring of elections. This is one component of democratic infrastructure. Another is reliable public safety and law enforcement. This is where the West can contribute the most to truly assisting the people of the third world to create their own democracies. It is widely reported that the US Army has experienced a sea-change in what they call "counter-insurgency doctrine." But isn't that part of what every police department calls "keeping the peace?" That was the job left unfinished when we left Iraq, and it is the work still unfinished in Afghanistan. It seems the world is ready to accept international support for the police function of civil society too.

      In the end, perhaps I do agree with Prof. Sachs. The role of Western power should not be to occupy or impose any form of government on post-colonial populations. Still, I would say we are obligated to uphold the indispensable peace-keeping role in areas where what Thomas Hobbes called “the war of all against all” is taking control instead.

      Only a fool would argue that Western powers can always be trusted to do the right thing. But in both the UN and in NATO, I think we are seeing sincere, dedicated, and brilliant work towards a world order which respects universal human rights and can (possibly) extend peace in lawless areas. We must keep trying, and try to do better.

    19. CommentedZsolt Hermann

      I fully agree.
      If we want to be honest most of the problems exploding today are the direct result of Western interference in the region, and not only in the Middle East but everywhere else.

      Moreover we evolved into a globally interconnected and inter-dependent human system where the previous 'solutions", foreign policy methods, the notions of "global leader", "global policeman", "broker" have become not only futile but outright harmful.

      Only equal, mutual round table discussions can work in such system, allowing the directly involved parties to keep meeting, discussing until they manage to rise above their inherent differences, distrust, even hatred in order to find mutual, common points they can build on.

      And today there is such historic opportunity where such points can be found, as the common need of survival, a common fight against a completely chaotic and barbaric state, future has become sharp and real.

      The best "help", "brokering" the US and allies can do is to take a step back and stop interfering at any level. If they don't they will pay the highest price since in an integral system any negative influence entered into the system comes back with multiple force to the party injecting it into the system.

      We are in a completely new state, a new reality we have no historic experience or precedent for, the path is gradual and difficult but the first step is the understanding that what we have done so far is wrong and disqualified.

    20. CommentedManuel Moldes

      The opinion of Mr. Sachs can certainly be agreed upon from an ethical point of view, but real politics and ethics do not necessarily run in the same direction. What makes the difference are objectives and means, and I cannot see or infer from Mr. Sachs's article a clear set of objectives compatible with the reality of global politics in the region (the possible, not just the good, worlds). Moreover, to draft a set of political objectives like such, it is obviously necessary to take Israel deeply into the picture, which Mr. Sachs seems to consider just incidentally.
      Of course history matters, but not just to dismiss it as the work of a bunch of dumb idiots or corrupt monsters. There are both of them, to be sure, but most of history has reasons, and our duty is uncover them to bring them into rational explanations, including the right of past political practitioners to have been rational, from the viewpoints of their times and interests, until proof in contrary.

    21. CommentedSimon Matthew

      The truth is that intervention from outside forces has been the rule not the exception. The US might not have won against Britain were it not for French assistance.

    22. CommentedSimon Matthew

      How does this square with your advoacy for foreign aid? Why not just say that colonial interventions have done no good in Africa and now they should "develop themselves?"