Genocide and Humanitarian disasterShould states with the capability to stop genocide or other humanitarian disasters do so? Do they have a responsibility to do so? What about intervening for other...

Genocide and Humanitarian disaster

Should states with the capability to stop genocide or other humanitarian disasters do so? Do they have a responsibility to do so? What about intervening for other reasons (geostrategic, protecting the flow of oil, etc.)? What are the advantages and disadvantages for powerful countries to intervene or not intervene in another country? How does the idea of national interest conflict with the idea of moral responsibility? Can intervention serve both goals for an intervening power?

Expert Answers
scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Morally and ideally, nations must help stop genocide and other humanitarian disasters.  However, that is easier said than done.  If one considers how many times the US has stepped in during times of humanitarian crises, the numbers are staggering (regarding the money spent or sent and the people deployed to help).  However, more often than not anymore, countries like the US are criticized even as they provide help.  The French recently criticized America and its efforts in Haiti following the earthquake there.  France speculated that the presence of American troops in Haiti meant that the US desired to "rule" Haiti.  I'm not really sure whom they think the US could have sent instead of troops trained in first aid, crowd management, etc.  The bottom line is that a country with the resources of the US must be willing to help despite how it might be perceived by other nations or regions. 

mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  and Yes.

States, nations, countries, city-states, leaders, individuals should help stop genocide and disaster.  Of course they should help.  Why wouldn't they?  Morally, it's very simple.

Why don't they help is the better question.  Could all the legalism and geo-political rhetoric only lead to not helping?  Sure, it's debatable if you want it to be.  You can go in circles with that stuff.  But, I don't see how and why any of it should prevent anyone from helping.

All the theory and couching of arguments sooner or later only leads to excuses not to help.


bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with the previous post--all answers are "yes." The recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico endangers the marine and wildlife (not to mention tourism) of the area. The federal government once again did not react quickly enough, and now it appears that the spill will exceed the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. But the government hates to interfere with Big Oil--BP promised to control the situation but lied about its extent--so now the citizens of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida will have to live with the results.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When states with power intervene in other states' affairs, they are setting themselves up as judges of what is moral.  Okay, it would have been absolutely right for someone to intervene to help the Jews before WWII.  But what if someone intervened to prevent the "cleansing" of Tories by Patriots in the Revolution?  And what if someone decided that Arizona is perpetrating a racist offense and invaded the US to stop it?  Might does not always make right.

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I feel that if you have the means to intervene on behalf of a country or people who need assistance rather it be from natural disaster or something else you have a moral obligation to do so.