The Eight Stages of a Humanitarian Intervention

Stage One:

“How dreadful! That horrible dictator is oppressing his people. If we don’t stop him nobody will. Anyone who claims otherwise is a supporter of oppression and dictatorship!”

Stage Two:

“All right, now that we’ve taken over the country, perhaps there is actually no evidence that the evil dictator was oppressing anyone. But so what? He was still an evil dictator. We must stay here to bring Freedom and Democracy to this country. Free elections and free enterprise will make them Just Like Us!”

Stage Three:

“All right, perhaps the elections and privatisation didn’t go exactly as planned. But evil terrorists are trying to destroy our honest and sincere efforts to help these people. We must keep our troops there to fight them, otherwise the supporters of the evil old dictator will be back!”

Stage Four:

“All right, so the country has disintegrated into sectarian chaos and inter-tribal civil war. But nobody could have predicted this would happen! Any mistakes we made were made in good faith. We always mean well and anyone who blames us is just a hater. If we hadn’t invaded, after all, the situation would have been even worse.”

Stage Five:

“These people don’t deserve freedom and democracy. They’ve always been savages and will always remain savages. But we can’t withdraw our troops because that would be dishonouring the blood they have shed fighting for freedom and keeping our homeland safe.”

Stage Six:

“These people don’t deserve freedom and democracy. They’ve always been savages and will always remain savages. But we can’t withdraw our troops because that would send a signal to our allies that they can’t depend on us, and to our enemies that we aren’t prepared to stay the course.”

Stage Seven:

“Our president has ended that war, and anyone who claims otherwise is a conservative racist hater.”

Stage Eight:

“How dreadful! That evil dictator over there is oppressing his people!”

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Further Reading: This.

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