December 2019 – When Is Intervention in Other Countries Justified?

December 2019 Inter-Belief Conversation Café

When Is Intervention in Other Countries Justified?

  Monday, December 16, 2019
  7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
  Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul
1671 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55105 (View Map)

Is the US the global policeman? Should we invade other countries and if so, for what reasons? Is intervention limited to troops on the ground and drone strikes? What about the tentacles of trade which may influence economies and cultures? If the US avoids invasions and missiles, will others like Russia, China, Iran, Turkey, etc. fill the gap? How can the US or any country combine justice and self interest in confronting a dangerous world?

After Pearl Harbor no one questioned if attacking Japanese held islands was justified. After 9/11 few asked if invading Afghanistan was an overreaction. But should we stay there? Should we have invaded Iraq? What level of threat warrants the deaths of foreign civilians and our own soldiers? Have we entered a cycle of endless wars easy to start but difficult to end? Do we build walls and protective anti-missile domes instead? Who are our real enemies—foreign invaders or those who urge conflict? Can we be safe and just?

Do our interventions come back to haunt us? In the 1950s we helped overthrow governments in Guatemala and Iran. Guatemala suffered a bloody Thirty Years War with 200,000 dead. Iran Is a dangerous opponent. But Vietnam now loves American tourists and Grenada seems grateful for what we did in 1982. Should we worry about the world’s oil supply when we don’t import petroleum? Besides we now regret not intervening in Rwanda and the death toll in the former Yugoslavia could have been much lower if the US and European countries had acted sooner. Is there a science to calculating when sending forces overseas is the right and smart thing to do?

Are we naïve to have such qualms? China’s One Belt One Road initiative seeks global control of trade and supplies. Russia seems happy to intervene in the affairs of its neighbors and in our political system. Iran, Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia will act against perceived threats and possibly to cement regional power. Can we afford to sit back and let these conflicts play out? What if participants have or are making nuclear weapons? Does the world look on when ethnic cleansing and genocide kill thousands who did no wrong? What is our responsibility to right wrongs or combat enemies?

Does intervention just consist of troops and explosives? Do trade embargoes cause as much suffering as bombs? As McDonalds and KFC penetrate the world and t-shirts celebrating US sports teams and rock stars blanket the globe, are we undermining cultures just by product placement? If global climate change creates new deserts and raises the sea level submerging islands and coastal areas, is our carbon footprint more dangerous than even nukes? By just existing is the US intervening?

On Monday, December 16 from 7-9 PM at Interfaith Action of Greater St. Paul, 1671 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, Inter-belief Conversation Café will ask if intervention should happen and if so, when. Our agreements of open-mindedness, acceptance, curiosity, discovery, sincerity, brevity, and confidentiality should curb our aggressive tendencies. For all there will be a multicultural selection of treats!