U.s Human Rights Intervention
Should the U.S. intervene to prevent or end violations of human rights (including genocide) in foreign countries when these violations do not directly affect other American interests?
The United States is a growing global power and presence. Most other countries are not. We are often called upon to engage in conflict situations like preventing violations of human rights and genocide. Intervening only where our national interest is concerned would only bring about negative reactions, which could undermine our effectiveness and especially our international credibility. Therefore, the U.S. should seek to intervene in and prevent violations of human rights not only where we have other interests but in most other circumstances.
The U.S. should see itself as the world’s policeman in an increasingly criminal world, just as other countries see it and therefore seek to intervene in such situations. The U.S. is thought to be a lawful country where the law reigns supreme and where infringement on human rights is strictly prohibited by the law so the rest of the world has a reason to look up to the U.S. to help prevent any such violation of human rights in their countries as well if the need arises, regardless of whether national interest is at stake or not, and the U.S. had a duty to do just that. As we have emerged in this “shadow of superiority” in this present day and time, we have a duty to help whenever the need arises in weaker countries where genocide of violation of human rights is involved to preserve global peace.
Also, the U.S. should intervene whether national interest are involved or not because this will continue to ensure that the U.S. plays a major role in shaping other countries foreign policy and remaining a key player in world politics. Editor and Author, Robert Kagan maintains in his book, “American Power – A guide for the perplexed” that American “national interests” need to be interpreted broadly to take into account the country’s position as world leader.
Intervening only where our interests are involved will make other countries suspicious in their dealings with the U.S. in most other aspects. If countries realize that the U.S. intervenes only when American national interest is involved, they might become hostile to U.S. advances because they might think the U.S. wants to gain something from them. In short, other countries would regard us as a selfish country, only concerned with human rights internally and concerned with where we can gain externally. Acting only where our national interest are concerned may open up opportunities for endless frivolous complaints to be lodged against the United States as a global power and presence.
Lastly, if U.S. intervention in the prevention of human rights is based solely on other American interests, our world today will be a “world of crisis”, so to speak, because such crimes as genocide, crimes against humanity, violations of human rights and humanitarian law would be much more commonplace and no one would do or be able to do anything about it. An example is the kosovo situation that took place recently in Europe. President Milosevic of Yugoslavia was committing genocide and even the bigger countries of the European Union like Great Britain and France were looking up to the U.S. to help intervene.
We have a duty to help fight these crimes, however we should be careful not to “over-intervene” in the internal affairs of sovereign states. We should only intervene as a last resort after much effort at other means (like indirect sanctions, embargoes, e.t.c). I believe it is right to send American soldiers into harms way when we do not have clear national interest at stake if we have to because, if we are to continue making the decisions we make in the world today, if we are to continue pulling the influence that we pull, then sacrifices will have to be made.