Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Book Review: 'No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using 'Humanitarian' Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests' by Dan Kovalik



I’m from America and I’m here to help

The United States expands its empire with two excuses for war. One is to ”spread democracy” and the other is for “humanitarian intervention”. Both are bogus. No More War is all about humanitarian interventionism. In every case since World War II, the receiving country would have been far better off if the USA had not intervened at all.

Dan Kovalik is a lawyer and academic who specializes in criticizing the American empire. In this book, he lays out a highly organized and very lawyerly argument against humanitarian interventionism in general, and the American abuse of it in particular. It is yet another wakeup call that the USA is not the good guys coming to anyone’s rescue and they all lived happily ever after. Quite the opposite. He shows clearly and definitively that wherever and whenever the US intervenes, it leaves chaos, poverty and human misery like the victim country had never experienced before.

There is no shortage of examples to choose from. Kovalik has selected Vietnam, Libya, Nicaragua, Afghanistan and Rwanda for starters. Additional hypocrisy comes from the international court of justice, which absolves Americans of any abuses, while focusing on African leaders, who have accomplished far less damage. Meanwhile, the USA refuses to recognize the International Criminal Court, because it knows full well it is the apotheosis of international crime against humanity. Given the chance, the court could spend eternity convicting Americans.

Kovalik says humanitarian interventionism is “the fantastic doctrine to which the West – and especially the U.S. – forcibly spreads disaster and chaos throughout the world in the name of human rights and freedom.” It is the pat excuse for invading another country – to stop some human disaster from taking place or spreading. In every case, however, Kovalik shows that the US action either made the situation far worse, or even created the situation itself – where none existed before. Either way, the sole beneficiary is US business, which gets to rebuild the country at huge profits. Often, that is the main purpose of the invasion.

The typical American approach is to bomb the host country back into the middle ages, so that everything has to be rebuilt. Churches, hospitals, schools – everything must go. Nor is there any thought of sparing the locals, all of whom are considered the enemy (rather than the innocent victims the US has come to save – think Gooks in Vietnam, Hadjis in Iraq). Few if any prosecutions ever take place, because the US military claims the acts are never intentional and therefore never war crimes. This, even though generals like Westmoreland in Vietnam congratulate soldiers for their slaughters of women and children as a job well done.

In several cases, notably Libya and Rwanda, the US actually prevented or forced a halt to UN peacekeeping, causing civil war and genocide. Libya is now a totally anarchic, chaotic ruin, not even a country any more, which was precisely the goal, once the UN presence was removed. Taking a page from the Saudi strategy, this medieval wreck is no threat to anyone any more. The Saudis, backed by hundreds of billions in US arms, are now performing the same play in Yemen. With the same results.

After supporting three generations of Somoza dictatorships in Nicaragua, the US could not bear to see a popularly elected government in place. It proceeded to destroy the economy and make the country unmanageable, as it remains today.

In the 1994 Rwanda genocide, Bill Clinton convinced the UN to pull peacekeepers out, ensuring genocide. Then the US claimed it tried to help. The country would have been better off if US had never intervened. Clearly the same goes for Iraq.

In Afghanistan, women, which the US claims to want to help, have become so abused they commit suicide in record numbers. Having financed the mujahedeen in the 1970s, the US paved the way for total chaos in Afghanistan, so that even the mighty US forces cannot gain control. It is a warlord-driven medieval farce and the opiate breadbasket of the world.

The book suffers from a lot of niggling over definitions in treaties. Kovalik shows that what the USA commits is precisely what the Nuremburg War Crime Trials defined as their mission to prosecute. Works against Nazis, but not against Americans. The various charters and agreements of the United Nations specifically forbid what the USA routinely does, but it is never taken to task over it. Kovalik quotes someone in the know that the US and NATO bombing of Yugoslavia was a direct (successful) attempt to bypass the UN Security Council and its rules over the one-sided invasion of another member country. It thus neutered both the UN and NATO in one ugly go that killed millions. The Security Council, which is charged with authorizing humanitarian interventions, has never done so. It’s all been American or American-led invasions, wreaking havoc, killing millions of locals, and devastating the victim country. To spend so much time “proving” the USA is breaking those UN dream rules is pointless. Rather, it is a given.

One character who seems to turn up in every conflict is Samantha Power, State Department official, advisor, and UN Ambassador, whose hypocrisy seems to know no bounds. Kovalik exposes her lies and perversions of the truth time and again in different conflicts. How such a person maintains any sort of credibility and is continually invited to give her expert opinion is a travesty of justice. But then, Henry Kissinger got the Nobel Peace prize. If it weren’t so horrific, it would be laughable.





Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of David Wineberg. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.