Friday, December 9, 2011

America Confronts Globalization and Human Rights

With the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the superpower known
as the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the United States, the world’s leading exponent of globalization, remains the only superpower in the early 21st century. Overwhelming military superiority combined with the readiness to use the military allowed the United States and its allies to liberate Kuwait after Iraq invaded the country in 1990. The American military together with allies in NATO bombed Serbia after it committed atrocities of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo in 1999. In 2003, to remove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from power and to seize control of weapons of mass destruction allegedly at his disposal, the United States invaded Iraq. All of these actions, the last most of all, were controversial and created enemies for the United States.
 At the same time, each of them was related to the American desire to guarantee human rights to citizens of a foreign country, in the belief that the methods used were likely to be effective and that the citizens of the foreign country would appreciate and benefit from the American intervention. In contrast,American diplomats point to what happened when the United States did not take military action. For example, in the early 1990s, thousands died in what is called ethnic cleansing or large-scale genocide in Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina after Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic invaded these parts of the former Yugoslavia to prevent them from becoming independent.

 In 1991, the administration of President George H.W. Bush basically left it to the Europeans to respond to the war in Croatia, and when President Bill Clinton took office in early 1993, his administration followed suit. Because the European Union responded with words, not bullets,Milosevic continued to deploy his army and paramilitary fighters, extending the war to Bosnia Herzegovina in 1992. The carnage continued for three years, through most of 1995, until the bombing of shoppers at an open-air central food market in Sarajevo mobilized international opinion sufficiently to pressure Milosevic to restore peace by signing the Dayton Peace Accords in December of that year. Although during this period the UN contributed soldiers and observers, UN soldiers allowed the massacre of 7,000 Bosnian men and boys in the so-called safe haven of Srebrenica less than two months before the signing of the Dayton Accords. It took the muscle of American and other NATO troops who replaced UN troops in Croatia and Bosnia at the end of 1995 to stop bloodshed in the country. Some troops are still there and making slow progress in securing and expanding human rights for all ethnic groups.


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