Thoughts on the Futility of Proxy Wars and Western Intervention

by Daniel Jupp

Western interventions have a recent record of making situations and conflicts they intervene in more deadly for civilians.

Look at civilian casualty and death rates in Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq.

Our interventions did not prevent hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, and arguably created the conditions (or directly killed) many of these victims.

Look at the number of civilians killed by western forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then look at the numbers killed as a consequence of the collapse of nation states following those interventions.

Western interventions have almost no record of achieving their alleged aims except in overthrowing specific rulers. All aims regarding increased democracy, accountability, peace, security and human rights have failed.

Look at what Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, and Syria are now. Are they all peaceful modern democracies? Afghanistan has the same repressive Islamic fanatics in charge that it had 20 years ago. Only now they are armed and supplied with billions of dollars of US equipment. Libya is far less safe and successful than it was even under Gaddafi. Iraq is not at the peak of its civil wars anymore, but is hardly stable and flourishing. Syria is still mainly ruled by Assad, and has suffered tremendously from western efforts to remove him extending a long, devastating civil war. Which achieved nothing.

The supply of arms and the sponsoring of proxy armies is a policy with a centuries long tradition of failure. It’s been a bad policy since the days of the late Roman Empire. Afghanistan only provides the most glaring example of modern times, where the US funded and supplied Bin Laden for years and he eventually returned the favour by murdering thousands of innocent people in the nation that had helped create him.

Every time you supply weapons, you lose control of them, and they can easily be turned on you. And have been, again and again. We accidentally armed ISIS after we had deliberately armed Bin Laden.

Western intervention fuels anti western terrorism. This is cited by almost every terrorist themselves. It is not condoning terrorism to believe them when they say why they are killing people. If they say they are killing people for Allah, they mean it. If they say western proxy wars have made them hate the West, they mean it.

Western interventionism is incredibly expensive. Vast resources of men, material and money are spent on both proxy wars and wars we fight directly. Again, this vast flow of funds sees little practical achievement. The power of the West has declined through these interventionist foreign policies, not grown.

We have these lessons, which are very, very obvious lessons, right in front of us. We can see what was done in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria. We can see that Islamic terrorism in the West has not gone away. We can see that these nations have not been transformed into peaceful democracies. We can see that weapons we supplied were used against us, and warlords we encouraged turned against us, and nations we saved are in fact ruined.

And yet with Ukraine, our policy is again to fight a proxy war, again to supply arms, again to pick a side in a conflict with little direct meaning to us, again to risk the possibility of our own intervention, but this time against a nuclear armed opponent. Our policy is again to let the same neoliberal CIA mandated hawks be put up in the media as the ‘adult voices in the room’ despite those adult voices advocating policies with decades of catastrophe to their name.
We have seen the car driven into the wall before. And still we think if we drive fast enough, the wall will become a better car. Or do we?

Perhaps those behind such policies know, just as well as I do, that they fail. In which case, what do you think their aim really is, again and again, as we sit in the passenger seat, and they drive us into a familiar wall? What kind of freedom and democracy makes you drive like that, exactly?

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