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The Us Humanitarian Intervention Politics Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Politics
Wordcount: 2026 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Should the U.S. enter into military intervention in foreign countries for humanitarian reasons. In my opinion, the U.S. government made right decision about intervening with the countries in around the Mediterranean like Libya. Intervention was considered as ancient and well-established instruments of foreign policy as were diplomatic pressure, negotiations and war. From the ancient times, most countries find it advantageous to intervene in the affairs of other countries. Without any intervention to foreign countries, they would have gone through hard times in everything. The U.S. Humanitarian Intervention on Libya was carried out by international institutions and individual sovereign states and had often been related to the usage of military force. Therefore, it was perceived that it was a mean of ways to stop sovereign states from committing human rights abuse to its people.

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The major purpose of the U.S. Humanitarian Intervention was to provide protection and support to people in Libya. The U.S. was the most powerful nation in the world and had so many resources like army and aids, which made it to have the rights to intervene Libya (Peterson 443). The U.S. Military played roles of peacekeeper, and protector for this humanitarian intervention. The most outstanding way for this conflict was using military intervention because it immediately stopped hostility and ceased the conflict within the nation. Also, there were the issues of economics and structural problem that needed to be fixed in Libya. The U.S. Humanitarian Intervention provided the necessities for the country and helped to rebuild the corrupted buildings that were affected by the conflict. Additionally, the U.S. humanitarian intervention could deal with natural disasters and situations other than the specific conflict with the leader of country.

Since the U.S. government putted the priority on human rights, the U.S. citizens thought that every human being should have freedom and should not be abused by the leader of country. The U.S. foreign policy reflected that human rights should not be violated in any of the country and should focus on preventing abuses after the Cold War (Haass). As the strongest country in the world, the U.S. used its foreign policy to promote its values of freedom and expanded the democracy throughout the world. The U.S. foreign policy reflected this ideal. However, the U.S. did not attempt to intervene militarily in every country, especially a country with limited sources. The U.S. government had to take careful consideration for making a decision about intervening on Libya because the failure of humanitarian intervention would cause so much loss financially for nothing. When the U.S. government decided about humanitarian intervention on Libya, they considered if the conflicts in Libya would lead to the big war or would harm other countries in negative way. Also, the U.S foreign policymakers had debated the use of the military on each global conflict by considering those factors.

The Libya leader Qaddafi never seemed to make a clear decision on where he stood as a leader of the country. He had supported the terrorist group like Al-Queda that worked against Western countries. Also, he used many of illegal weapons that he planned to turn those to the UN after the Iraq War in 2003. Whatever his actual reasons for this, Qaddafi probably made this decision in order to preserve his power. Qaddafi established somewhat democratic programs in his government for the economics, but he made huge mistake in 2011. When a peaceful protest against his rule had begun in Benghazi (Western Libya), Qaddafi chose to respond with violence instead of peaceful negotiation. As soon as he used the violence against his own civilians, President Obama said “We cannot stand idly when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy” (Libya). As a result of the way he handled the situation, the protests got bigger and the number of dead protestors increased. As this became the big issue for the world, the Qaddafi became the issue of the world. The United States military started the NATO mission operation on March 19, 2011 ( Simon). It was the beginning phase of the U.S. Humanitarian Intervention on Libya. This was the beginning stage of U.S. involvement in support of rebels working to overthrow the dictator Moammar al-Qaddafi. It was the most recent use of American military forces for humanitarian purposes on other nation.

The leader Gaddafi lost a lot of Libya’s main powers to get rid of fighters who were against him. Then, his forces started to fight back and ended up killing so many civilians. Also, it looked it would not end easily because neither Qaddafi’s force nor the rebels did not have enough power to win the fight. But in August 2011 the rebels took over the capital Tripoli and a temporary government called the National Transitional Council took charge of the country. (Simon) After this event, Quaddafi went into hiding. He committed himself that he would rather die than giving up to the rebels. Many of the innocent people were dying from this event. So, the U.S. government decided to intervene with Libya and destroyed Libya’s air defense system in 3 days. The U.S. military supported Libyan rebels fighting the ground campaign in the attempt to overthrow Qaddafi, who had been in hiding March 31, 2011 until October 31, 2011. During the intervention, the U.S. used over two hundred twenty Tomahawk missiles in order to support the rebel advance on Tripoli, Libya’s capital and seat of government. As a result, the Libyan National Transitional Council was able to control of Libya’s government and soon Qaddafi was killed in an attack on October 31 (CNN). The death of Qaddafi officially ended the U.S. Humanitarian Intervention on Libya. Even though the U.S. intervention brought problems, it saved Libyans’ lives and averted a humanitarian disaster. Libyans welcomed to the U.S. Humanitarian Intervention because they had no choice except dying under Qaddafi’s tanks. Since other countries around Libya did not have enough power to intervene Libya, the U.S. had to take that role. Libyans should now care about the future in order to make people safe. In Libya, I thought some kind of intervention should have been done in the earlier stages. One person could not make decisions for an entire country. The U.S. government tried to prevent these types of government. Therefore, the U.S. Humanitarian Intervention on Libya saved tens of thousands of lives.

The U.S. intervention in Libya was a wise decision and a successful action. It prevented a humanitarian catastrophe in addition to security interests and oil. Nicholas D. Kristof, the New York Times Columnist, started his article with a story about an American airman and how Libyan villagers treated him. In the article, he wrote “This time my reporting persuades me that most Libyans welcome outside intervention” (para.7). Compare to Iraq War in 2003, the civilians of Iraq did not want the U.S. government to intervene to their country. But, Libyans actually wanted the help of U.S. force in order to overthrow the leader Qaddafi. This led the author to the conclusion that Libyans were very thankful to the coalition forces because they saved Libyans’ lives. Then, he mentioned many doubts about the military intervention and weighed them with few certainties: civilians would die, the Qaddafi’s family would be locked, and a wrong message would be sent. As the western countries declared, the motive behind the military intervention was to save civilians’ lives and a response to the Arab League and Libyan rebels who approved this intervention to prevent a disaster. When the people in the U.S. saw the civilians in Libya treated improperly, they felt sympathy toward them.

According to the U.S. Foreign Policy, it essentially promoted peace, justice and protects citizens amongst international communities from human rights violations. This intervention was a reaction to the rule that the United Nations had approved. Having an International Humanitarian Law sets a standard of rules and helps to prevent international bullying, a trigger for many interventions. This law helps countries promote their national interests, which often assist in the participation of legal institutions, treaties and sets order (IHL). With the world now being ‘closer than ever’ due to globalization, the development of the ‘international community’ in the form of organizations such as the UN (United nations) and the EU(European Union), Globalization of the world now becomes more dependent on one another, economically, politically and socially. Therefore, the U.S. Humanitarian Intervention helped them hold elections, and appoint government officials who can carry on the duties sustain a good form of government.

The U.S. intervention on Libya was not specifically aimed at violating the sovereignty of a state, but rather their purpose was to protect the basic human rights of civilian. In the article, Mohammad Ayoob wrote “The proclaimed goal of humanitarian intervention, undertaken with increasing frequency during the last decade, is to protect the citizens of the target state from flagrant violations of their fundamental human rights usually by agents of the state” (Ayoob 81). If a nation became a global problem, it was our responsibility to come in with military power and settle the situation. A nation that threatens lives had to be stopped. Overpowered rulers were usually the cause of these types of nations like Egypt and Libya. That was in our nature to help those who are in need of help. If the U.S. did not intervene to Libya, it could have resulted in more death of innocent civilians and might lead to the war among the countries around Libya because the economics of other countries were also affected by the action and behavior of Qaddafi. The U.S. humanitarian intervention can be defined as the successful intervention, which ended the suffering of civilians in Libya. Because the successful intervention of Libya, the U.S. was able to show that it was the peacemaker and dominant power in the world. Also, the civilians in Libya gained their human rights and lived much better lives than before the U.S. Humanitarian Intervention. We cannot imagine what would happen to Libya if the U.S. did not intervene. There might have been the war among the countries around Libya because the leader Qaddafi was causing so much economics crisis and harmful to the other countries. Therefore, the U.S. government made the right decision about providing peace to the civilians in Libya by using the concept of humanitarian intervention.

Work Cited

Ayoob, Mohammed (2002, Spring) “Humanitarian Intervention and State Sovereignty”,

The International Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 81 – 102.

Haass, Richard N. “Humanitarian Intervention.” Rand.org. Brookings Institution, n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.

Kristof D. Nicholas.”Finding Hope in Libya”.NY Times.Sep.7, 2011.Web. Nov.11,2011.

“Libyans Claim Gadhafi Hiding near Western Border Town – This Just In – CNN.com Blogs.” This Just In – CNN.com Blogs. Web. 30 Nov. 2011.

“IHL in Domestic Law.”International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) – Home.Web.12 Nov. 2011

Peterson, Shannon, and R C DiPrizio. “Armed Humanitarians: U.S. Interventions from Northern Iraq to Kosovo.” International Politics, 41.3 (2004): 440-450. Web. 25 Apr. 2013.

Simon Chesterman (2011). “Leading from Behind”: The Responsibility to Protect, the Obama Doctrine, and Humanitarian Intervention after Libya. Ethics & International Affairs, 25, pp 279-285. Web. 26 Apr. 2013.

Libya: US, UK and France Attack Gaddafi Forces,” BBC News Africa, March 30, 2011


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