International anarchy, UN influence, USgov hegemony, and bloodshed

This topic seemed far enough removed from discussion of the LPSF lists that I thought I'd re-create it as a new thread. I've also moved it to lpsf-discuss, which is a more appropriate forum than lpsf-activists.

  I've also thought it very interesting to consider, among the usual talk of how there has rarely if ever been a functioning anarchy, that the world generally is and has always been an anarchy in the broad sense, i.e. there has never truly been a world government. The widespread failure of people to recognize this fact is probably one more indicator of the degree to which nationalism has shaped peoples' thinking. When people think of government, or lack thereof, they think of individual nation-states rather than the system as a whole.

  The United Nations is the closest thing in history that there has been to a world government. To the extent that it can be described as a government, it is obviously a very, very limited one (and we should hope it stays that way). It's probably best described as a junta, with the junta generals being the five permanent members of the Security Council: The governments or regimes with jurisdiction over the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, and China.

  But whether this arrangement has been better or worse than the more complete anarchy which existed previously and still largely prevails, seems to me an open question. When the UN has actually managed to act militarily in an efficient manner, I think its role has been a generally positive one. Its greatest failures have been when it has failed to act. It's still easy to find fault with the U.N., and I'm open to the argument that the world would have been better off if it never existed, but I'm also rather skeptical of the proposition.

  I'm even more skeptical of any claim that the relatively unchecked clout of the U.S. government (USgov) during the post Cold War period has been a negative thing. Here is a list of conflicts that have been going on since 1990, and an estimated number of casualties in each (from

1980-92: Sendero Luminoso - Peru's civil war (69,000)
1980-92: El Salvador's civil war (75,000)
1980-99: Kurds vs Turkey (35,000)
1981-90: Nicaragua vs Contras (60,000)
1982-90: Hissene Habre, Chad (40,000)
1983-2002: Sri Lanka's civil war (64,000)
1983-2002: Sudanese civil war (2 million)
1987-: Palestinian Intifada (4,500)
1988-2001: Afghanistan civil war (400,000)
1988-2004: Somalia's civil war (550,000)
1989-: Liberian civil war (220,000)
1989-: Uganda vs Lord's Resistance Army (30,000)
1991: Gulf War - large coalition against Iraq to liberate Kuwait (85,000)
1991-97: Congo's civil war (800,000)
1991-2000: Sierra Leone's civil war (200,000)
1991-: Russia-Chechnya civil war (200,000)
1991-94: Armenia-Azerbaijan war (35,000)
1992-96: Tajikstan's civil war war (50,000)
1992-96: Yugoslavia's civil war (260,000)
1992-99: Algerian civil war (150,000)
1993-97: Congo Brazzaville's civil war (100,000)
1993-2005: Burundi's civil war (200,000)
1994: Rwanda's civil war (900,000)
1995-: Pakistani Sunnis vs Shiites (1,300)
1995-: Maoist rebellion in Nepal (12,000)
1998-: Congo/Zaire's war - Rwanda and Uganda vs Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia (3.8 million)
1998-2000: Ethiopia-Eritrea war (75,000)
1999: Kosovo's liberation war - NATO vs Serbia (2,000)
2001: Afghanistan's liberation war - USA & UK vs Taliban (25,000)
2002-: Cote d'Ivoire's civil war (1,000)
2003: Iraq's liberation war - USA, UK and Australia vs Saddam Hussein (14,000)
2003-: Sudan vs JEM/Darfur (180,000)
2003-: Iraq's civil war (50,000)
2004-: Sudan vs SPLM & Eritrea (?)

  I think one of the patterns that clearly emerges from the list is that a very large portion of the bloodshed has been in Africa. Not coincidentally, I think, Africa is an area of the globe where USgov has relatively little clout and has exercised very limited military intervention.

  It gives one particular pause to consider how many of the estimated 4.7 million total deaths from various conflicts in Zaire/Congo might have been prevented had the country been under the control of a well-armed outside force during that period. I was actually shocked myself to see 3.8 million deaths cited in this list for the regional war centered on the Congo dating from 1998. Considering that huge number of fatalities, not to mention the number of countries involved, the conflict received extremely little press in the United States. I couldn't even tell you with any accuracy what the combatants were fighting over. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that whether it's because Africans tend to be poor, black, or both, African lives seem to matter little to the powers that be.

  Of the millions of casualties in the above list, it seems to me that a relatively small percentage can be credibly laid at the feet of USgov hegemony. In several of the conflicts on the list in which USgov was indirectly involved, [Peru and El Salvador (aid to the governments), and Nicaragua (aid to the insurgents)], I believe the bulk of the killing took place before the collapse of the Soviet Empire. Indeed I believe the end of the conflicts in El Salvador and Nicaragua can likely be traced to USgov pressure on the Sandinista regime, which faced with the loss of support from its Cuban and Soviet backers, gave in and agreed to hold elections and was subsequently voted out, thereby bringing its backing for the Marxist insurgency in El Salvador to an end as well. Without USgov and NATO intervention, the casualty total for the Balkan conflict (listed as Yugoslavian civil war) also could have easily been substantially higher.

  The bottom line as far as I can see is that most of the bloodshed of the past decade and a half in the world has not been due to excessive military interventions by USgov, the UN, or other powerful and reasonably well-meaning agents seeking to restore peace and order (i.e. exercise the role of a very limited world government). Rather, this horrific bloodshed has largely occurred in the absence of such interventions, or in other words under conditions of international anarchy.

Yours in liberty,
        <<< starchild >>>

On Wednesday, April 26, 2006, at 10:01 AM, Acree, Michael wrote (in part):