Military Action and Peruvian Racism

The discrimination seen in Peru today can be linked directly to the violence and terror that controlled the last twenty years of the 20th century; however, the problem is rooted deeply in the colonial history of Peru.  While the military action was against the uprisings and terrorism of the movements like the revolution of Tupac Amaru and el Sendero Luminoso, the attacks to calm these groups increasingly relied on race distinctions and stereotypes, perpetuating a society of racism.

Before the internal conflict began there was a long standing discrimination against the indigenous peoples and the poor that pushed people to create communist parties to fight for the rights of the people as the documentary, the State of Fear hints at.  The indigenous  people weren’t given the access to equal education, healthcare, legal systems, civil liberties, economic advances that other people had access to.  This keep them poor and as if they were second class citizens.  This type of discrimination feed into a local construct of racial discrimination, that you were poor and a lower class citizen as a result of your race, something that the “Choleando” documentary tries to explore.

As terrorism against the government began it made sense for the government to retaliate in order to protect and uphold whatever democratic processes in Peru (as the first attack was against a voting site during one of the first elections) in order to prevent the state entering a state of anarchy.  However, very quickly, the situation escalated and the government suspend civil rights.  The State of Fear  discussed events like military and martial law under Fujimori, and Terry suspended constitutional rights.  Essentially, the people of Peru gave up their right for a democracy for security from an internal terrorist threat.  Without these government protections the government and the military had a free card to violate human rights against whomever in as brutal a manner as they wanted.

Soon the government was relying on stereotypes and long enduring racism in the country to detain and or kill any of the 69 thousand Peruvians that died or disappeared (CVR).  Since many of the uprisings began in the rural villages where many of the indigenous people lived, the government came to the very basic and simplified decisions that all indigenous people were worthy of the violence to eradicate the leftist movement. “Of every four victims of the violence, three were peasants or farmers whose mother tongue was quechua, a large sector of the population historically ignored – even occasionally despised – by the State and urban society.”(CVR) The society of non-integration(CVR), the society of Lima vs the rural areas(NY Times), the society of first class citizen vs second class citizen (class discussion) created a breeding ground to commit these human rights atrocities on the indigenous peoples.  The inequality rationalized the violence.  It made it acceptable. The “hunt” for the terrorists, who only wanted the government to notice and improve the lives of their people, soon became a cover to install fear, to destroy and to repress a group of the population that the government had continually ignored throughout history.

The racism and discrimination of Peru during that time was so large scaled, government endorsed, and violent that it will take a long time for healing.  That type of discrimination is instilled in the mindset and ways.  For example, the child discussed in the NY Times article and the situation discussed in the National Geographic article still hint at a racism instilled with neglect and stereotypes respectively.  Both of which were largely impacted the turn of events in the 80’s and 90’s of Peru.  Granted the violence is not there now, many of the attitudes still exist.  I like to think that people realized that violence and the mass killings are not an appropriate way to handle to a situation and race, but thats just me.




*Discurso de Presentación del Informe Final de La CVR (CVR)



NATO’s Rock Solid Commitment to Article 5

Article 5

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security .

*The Washington Treaty*

Recently, NATO published that its commitment to Article 5 is rock solid. I find this somewhat debatable.  Look at the list of members. There are countries that don’t get along.  Take Greece and Turkey for example.  Turkey doesn’t even acknowledge the water space of Greece and claims Crete as Turkish land, when Greece owns it.

When most people, especially Americans, think of Article 5 and what NATO means our minds jump to the conclusion that all of NATO would go to war against the country that invaded the member country.  Not so.  The clause states that is the obligation of each member state to help the invaded country in any manner they deem appropriate. 

That means anything from sending an email about how sorry such and such country is about the invasion to sending the entire military to aid.

Looking at the Turkey/ Greece issue, how would they react to an invasion of one of each other?  Would they send military aid, money, or a letter?? What happens when Russia invades/attacks Estonia or Albania or Poland? Who is going to support rock solidly a small nation? They would be lucky to receive any thing more than money or help in training for combat.  What if military equipment was given? Two tanks… How helpful.  I hardly call that a strong commitment to Article 5.

Secondly, what are we classifying as an attack or invasion on a member country.  Remember, when Russia attacked Estonia’s cyber system in 2007?  That was clear attack on Estonia.  Did NATO step in?  No.  There was no clear evidence to suggest an attack by Russia.  If NATO doesn’t see the importance of the country or the strategic benefit of aiding, will NATO even declare an attack has been made??

So, NATO, How rock solid is your commitment to Article 5?

Behind Every Idea is an Economic Issue

As a former Economics major, when I look at certain policies proposed and platforms issued for humanitarian aid groups, I am constantly looking at the economic side of the idea.  Every action that you will want to take will have a side affect in the economy, and sometimes (most likely) it will be against a group/idea that they claim to support.

Many organizations look for ways that governments can redirect spending to aid those in need around the world.  I think we can all agree that the ideas laid down in the UN Millennium Development Goals would be a significant project to complete; however, it is not feasible from an economic standpoint.  There must be losers and winners.  (Even in communism and fascism there are losers and winners despite the philosophies striving for equality and the end to using people as a means for the ends.)

There are reasons that certain economic principles are in place. For example the subsidies that U.S cotton farmers receive.  Yes, that money could be used for some amazing utilitarian project. But let me ask, What happens to these farmers and the U.S. market when we take those subsidies away???

Basic econ lesson: Subsidies are usually but in place because a good that country A produces can be produce cheaper in Country B, whether that be to tariffs, access to raw material, ect. If country A wants to protect the makers of the good, they let the sellers sell their commodity at the World Price for a loss.  That is where the subsidy comes in: to make up for the difference.

If the U.S were to redirect this money or even a portion of this money for helping the poor of another nation, then the U.S. has to deal with thousands of farmers who have lost their livelihood and can’t afford to contribute to the economy, which only causes a downward spiral.(One’s spending is another’s income.)  The U.S. would then be stuck trying deal with increased poverty rates and the adverse side affects that go along with it within their own borders.  And a country has a duty to protect its citizens first before helping those of another country.  It is why we willingly go along with rules and regulations because we hope that government will protect us and our rights and security.

Are Borders Immoral

No, state borders are not immoral. Borders define a country’s domain, where the authority of the leaders stretches to. What happens inside the borders may be immoral, but not the borders themselves. Borders help people to identify with others like themselves, with people who share the same culture, beliefs, and language. They promote nationalism and patriotism. People are loyal to their country (defined by borders) and the government that rules within the borders. And as MacIntyre states patriotism keeps us dedicated to a society and in line, morally. We don’t go off into a State of Nature and do what we like to protect ourselves. Borders define an area that we are loyal to and thus, want to work to promote the best for that nation as well as an area that should protect our rights and freedoms.

Borders can appear to be immoral on the surface by being closed to immigrants. However, now-a-days states don’t just close off borders for the sake of having a closed nation. A state decides to turn away, deport, limit the number of immigrants because they threaten the system, not because the immigrants are violent, but because there are too many of them or they don’t appear to be contributors to society. The immigrants get in the way of the state trying to protect and provide for their own citizens. It would be immoral to not respect the rights of the citizens.

Greece has this problem as it is seen as the door to the EU from the Middle East and Northern Africa. Greece is flooded by refugees, mainly, who don’t contribute to the economy. Especially, with the recent economic situation in Greece that doesn’t appear to be bettering, Greece can’t afford the immigrants. The culture in Greece is very open and their policies reflect that as the immigrants can have access to the social programs offered; but, with the increase in the number of immigrants the little money devoted for welfare programs doesn’t go as far and Greek citizens are being deprived of the rights that their government promised them. This is exactly the welfare problem that Abizadeh discusses.

Another example of one of the liberal arguments for closed borders Abizadeh presents is the protection of culture with immigration. This can been seen better in Brussels, Belgium, where the population is significantly from the middle east, where the culture is very different from the Dutch/French mixed culture in Belgium. In some areas, there can’t not be bakeries because they don’t coincide with the Middle Eastern cultural food laws. It makes sense for the Belgian government to limit immigrants because they are destroying the native culture.

Global Poverty and Distributing Aid

Combating global poverty has long been a concern for individuals. More recently non-state and state actors have entered the field. They have recognized that by helping other nations and their people live better lives the relations in the International world can proceed more smoothly. States in which the population is taken care of will bring more prosperity to the nation as a whole, as more people are able to work and consume, and provide security Internationally.

However, problems develop with how to go about reducing global poverty. Two main paths have developed: the utilitarian and deontological arguments. The utilitarian argument proposes that the if one can give away some of their resources to the worse off then they can provide help to the greatest number of people. The deontological side argues that the rights of people should be respected and fixed without concern to the overall utility.

Solving the global poverty issue is two-fold. Yes, we should help those who are considered to be members of the global poor by any means necessary, whether that be donating money to the Red Cross, buying products that support movements, doing field work, etc. The second part, however, is that of addressing the problems that cause these global injustices. This way resources can be reserved, and in the long term there will be less need to intervene to fix issues. Thus, in a way solving this issue relies on both the utilitarian and deontological arguments as we should work pass the threshold of poverty but we should also work past it by addressing institutional issues.

Look at health programs such as the guinea worm program headed up by the Carter Center. They don’t just cure people with the disease, the volunteers work to create clean water sources and educate people about the spread of the disease to prevent new cases from developing and returning. This is the only way to successfully eradicate the disease and improve people’s lives. If this approach works for health issues, then it can be applied to other issues such as creating stable environments for people to have work and access to education.

Justice in Feminism

The feminist position on justice begins at the foundation and beginning of the concept of justice, that all human beings deserve protection of their natural right to freedom and protection of property in private and public life. However, they reject Rawls influential Theory of Justice on the grounds that his idea of brining social equality to all by removing yourself from your self-interests and positions under the veil of ignorance when making social contracts did not apply in the home. Thus, women were not given equality in the private sphere of society.

Most feminists reject communitarianism because it places too much emphasis on the importance of protecting cultural heritage; and, many restricting obligations and traditions for women are rooted in their cultures. By distancing themselves from communitarianism, feminists can free women from cultural bonds.

Feminists want to see women of all classes and racial backgrounds treated equally with men in all aspects of life. The Sjoberg “Agency, Militarized Femininity, and Enemy Others” article tries to point out why this is so important. The women who joined the military have been twisted to represent something else besides the equal female. In doing so women and in particular a feminine personality have been portrayed to be unable to fight in combat.

They have to adapt to a masculine characterization to survive in the case of how the three women at Abu Ghraib (who tortured Iraqi men POWS) are described, if they don’t then they need rescuing like Jessica Lynch (who was said to be have gone down in combat and taken as a prisoner). This goes against the movement because the women are still not treated as equals because society and the military have to rationalize what happened by rejecting feminine strength.

European Union Voting and Why it’s Important

The European Union is a continually changing peace project in Europe. As it has out grown its original purpose of preventing war between France and Germany, the Union has had to discover and adapt to its new purpose.

Habermas argues, as part of his critical theory view, that how the EU evolves is by increasing citizen participation within the EU because the people’s involvement increases the legitimacy of the state’s authority.

In 2007 the European Union signed the Lisbon Treaty after realizing that voter participation was very low and was continuing to decrease. Many citizens felt that the EU was a distant, irrelevant government that tried to dictate rules from Brussels. The Lisbon Treaty (which came into affect in 2009) would increase democratic principles in the EU and allow greater opportunity for participation. Some examples would be the Citizen Initiative (1 million EU citizens sign a petition for proposing a law to the Commission), increasing Parliament’s powers, having laws passed by national parliaments, etc.

The MEPs and Commissioners knew that the EU would lose relevance and authority if the citizens did not feel connected to their government at the national and supranational levels. Voter participation was 43% in the 2009 election. So, how is the government to reflect the people when less than half of the EU population is politically active? The hopes of the increase in democratic participation with the passing of the Lisbon Treaty would give the institution more respect as it would be reflecting the citizens wants better.

However, 2014 Parliamentary Election (the first elections since the Lisbon Treaty came into force) voter turnout was only 42.54% with some newer MS with only 13% turnout like Slovakia. With these results did the Lisbon Treaty fail in its job to involve citizens or are they just slow to come around to these big changes?

Patriotism or Culture:Where does Morality Come From??

In the International scene morality is just not a philosophical idea that is put forth to make one’s self feel better. It is a way to justify actions and prevent world atrocities. But how do we develop a sense of morality. Is it inherent like Morgenthau believes or do we learn from the societies we live in and the relationships we develop? While arguing for their different schools of thought McIntyre and Kant explore this idea of where morality developed. For starters McIntyre is a Communitarian while Kant is a Cosmopolitan; therefore, they are coming from a different political ideology background to discuss world morality.

Both do pull from a liberal idea of the State of Nature that Hobbes puts forth. Kant states that each nation is like an individual in a state of nature protecting their interests in anyway possible (The nation’s full focus is on war to do so.) To stop this war mindset in the International World, each nation must come together in a federation (social contract) to protect each other’s security and rights.

McIntyre pulls from the idea that we move out of state of nature into a social contract, but within our own nations as individual men. For him, unlike Kant, what drives us to stay in a social contract within our own nations is Patriotism. However it is this dedication to our own country, culture, language, etc. that holds us back from entering into a world social contract.

Both also focus on a desired morality that keeps us within our social contract (whether its at the state level or International level). McIntyre believes our patriotism cultivates a system of morality, but Kant states that it is culture that morality comes from.

I don’t believe that McIntyre’s counterargument of Cosmopolitanism is a thorough as Kant’s argument for it. McIntyre will only pull out the information that will work well to prove his point of Communitarianism. He doesn’t go into every little detail and give multiple examples to explain his counterargument, while Kant does do this.

State of Trying

Using the ideas of Thomas Hobbes as a reference point, Hedley Bull in his article “Society and Anarchy in International Relations” tries to explain how individual states work together in an international community/society. The feeling I got from the reading was that you can essentially treat each state as an individual within the community, being the international community. We are in a “sate of nature” because there is no government/organization that sets out laws, norms, morals to protect our natural rights and freedoms. Each state-“individual” must defend their life, liberty, and property in any way they see fit in order to survive.

If we were to look more closely at the principles of Thomas Moore, man is moved by passions and people are cunning and crafting. To put in the context of the reading that states can be the so-called individual then states are moved by passions and are cunning. They have a fear of being dominated and a desire to dominate and thus deceive other states and don’t trust the political words of others. There would constantly be fighting and war and life would be indeed be “nasty, poor, solitary, brutish, short.”

I see that nations are trying to come together in this so-called international state of nature. There are international institutions like the EU, UN, ICC, alliance of South Asian states. But I will note these countries come together because they have shared sense of regional community or values. The sate of nature which develops into a sate of war is not as present because the nations understand that war will not solve their issues, and only damage themselves in the process. (That was the point of the EU to prevent war between France and Germany, and hasn’t that been successful? There has been no continental war since WWII.)

But even within these “social contracts” like the EU, there are state of nature issues. While the states have a general norms background, they have different interests. Sometimes these interests get in the way of the rules of law and morality set out by the laws of the EU. The nation doesn’t want to comply because it doesn’t want to give up its sovereignty to the international society. Take the ICC. They are having problems arresting/detaining those involved in the situation in the DRC because certain member states and non-members don’t turn in the suspects because they have personal interests with the suspect’s political party or country.

International Ethics Should not be a Game of National Me, Myself, and I

In my view, international politics was developed as a way for a nation/country/city-state, to further their economic well-being. The Phoenicians needed to be on good terms with the Egyptians to get papyrus, the Italians needed to work with the Mongols to trade along the Silk Road, and the Dutch needed to have relations to trade with the Japanese. The only way for these relationships to work out there needed to be a discussion of polices and agreements internationally, thus international politics.

Today, international politics ranges over a various number of topics not just economics. The latest to be added to this list is Human Rights. Obviously, this topic is directly based off of the principle of ethics and morals, individually, societally, and politically.

When organizations, committees, projects are set up, the values it will protect and how they will be protected are determined by the norms of those actors who developed this organization. Let’s look at the EU Parliamentary Subcommittee for Human Rights. As an institution of the EU, this subcommittee follows the norms of the EU member countries. The European nations have similar values because they have conquered each, exchanged philosophes, artists, and royal families for decades. Determining how to fix an issue or choose which one to focus on is not a big issue. Yes, individual interests will get in the way and individual political thoughts will make discussions heated. That’s normal and expected for the idea of politics in general.

However, look at the Council of Europe (CoE), an international institution for the protection of Human Rights world-wide. Technically, members can only be of the European Continent, but that includes Russia and Turkey (and as we know they have been up to no good lately). CoE has world-wide partner and observer states that contribute financially to missions and can attend intergovernmental meetings. To be a member, partner, or observer the state must commit to a set of “ethical ideas” and “entrench them in core political, social, and economic institutions… all levels must be upheld, and be delimited by a commitment to the values” an idea tha David Held writes in his “Towards a Global Covenant: Global Social Democracy” article. For the CoE these values are associated with democracies and countries transitions to democracies. The CoE is trying to spread the ideas of Human Rights in a democratic point of view, the same that Held discusses in his idea of global social democracy.

The problem arises when these countries come from different historical backgrounds, which influence their values and ideas of human rights. Take Turkey for example. It is a member of the CoE, but it doesn’t come from a common, shared ethical European norm past. It has been historical a Muslim controlled nation. It may not put the same value on a topic that its fellow members do. Also, Turkey causes direct human right violations vis-a vis Greece: not recognizing its water spaces, sending over illegal immigrants, creating violence in Greek owned Cyprus (which the Turks don’t recognize as Greek). They blatantly disregard the values they say they hold for personal political advancement.

This characterizes International Politics in general. Countries will say they will do such and such, but they don’t hold up their end. Interests drive international politics in a negative manner. Its all me, me, me. Another example, the U.S. will never be a partner of CoE because of American interests. The U.S. will not revoke the death penalty, but is willing to follow all the other norms, and expects to be allowed to be a partner member. You can’t just ignore part of the value system and call yourself a member. It decreases your legitimacy as a nation as a whole and as an up holder of protecting Human Right norms.