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Is Humanitarianism Legitimate Grounds for Alien Military Intervention?

GlyphGlyph Registered User regular
edited February 2011 in Debate and/or Discourse
Looking back on all the military operations undertaken in the name of humanitarianism or making the world safer for democracy within the last 20 years, from Bosnia to Somalia and most recently with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I keep coming back to the question of whether or not the United States and her allies actually have a responsibility to this phenomenon we've come to know as "nation-building."

Many would say that the most stable democracies are those allowed to form from within, and that foreign intervention only serves to undermine this cause by presenting it in the context of an intrusive, invasive ideology being forced upon a people by an outside entity. On the other hand, you have totalitarian regimes such as North Korea that are unlikely in the foreseeable future to experience anything even remotely resembling a more free and open society or government if left to their own devices.

Put it another way then, if extraterrestrials invaded the Earth, would you resist them even if they were doing it on humanitarian grounds?

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Say they were motivated by reasons that were more or less analogous to why America invaded Iraq and Afghanistan (sans WMDS and 9/11) and they just wanted to give us a more free and democratic society complete with better technology and social mobility? And say we KNEW these were their true intentions. Say they even set a timetable for withdrawing forces once everything stabilized and we were in a position to join the greater interstellar community? Would you cooperate or still fight back?

See I tend to think the latter, as it seems to me that human beings as a rule just hate being occupied.

Glyph on
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Posts

  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Glyph wrote: »
    Looking back on all the military operations undertaken in the name of humanitarianism or making the world safer for democracy within the last 20 years, from Bosnia to Somalia and most recently with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I keep coming back to the question of whether or not the United States and her allies actually have a responsibility to this phenomenon we've come to know as "nation-building."

    Many would say that the most stable democracies are those allowed to form from within, and that foreign intervention only serves to undermine this cause by presenting it in the context of an intrusive, invasive ideology being forced upon a people by an outside entity. On the other hand, you have totalitarian regimes such as North Korea that are unlikely in the foreseeable future to experience anything even remotely resembling a more free and open society or government if left to their own devices.

    Put it another way then, if extraterrestrials invaded the Earth, would you resist them even if they were doing it on humanitarian grounds?

    1268194-pdvd_002.jpg

    Say they were motivated by reasons that were more or less analogous to why America invaded Iraq and Afghanistan (sans WMDS and 9/11) and they just wanted to give us a more free and democratic society complete with better technology and social mobility? And say we KNEW these were their true intentions. Say they even set a timetable for withdrawing forces once everything stabilized and we were in a position to join the greater interstellar community? Would you cooperate or still fight back?

    See I tend to think the latter, as it seems to me that human beings as a rule just hate being occupied.

    Aliens aren't human. By definition. So, I would find their "humanitarian" judgment suspect at best. I'm not saying that an outside perspective is necessarily objectively inferior to introspection. In fact, it may be that only aliens can truly see what needs to be done to "fix" humanity (assuming for the sake of argument that we are broken, and need fixing).

    But as a human, I will reject foreign interspatial meddling.

    However, "foreign" as relates to other species, especially if we cannot communicate with them but even if we can, is totally different from "foreign" as relates one human culture to another human culture. Even the most psychotic, villainous human being, a total stranger, perhaps, to the sanest human beings, is still human. They can never be totally alien, no matter how much they differ from us. And that's the difference between total normalcy and extreme insanity. The difference between any two Earth cultures really isn't all that different.

    The difference between human and non-human, no matter how relatable this other species may be, will still not. That's not to say I might not prefer to sit at home playing Tecmo Bowl with a Martian over a North Korean or whatever. I guess that comes down to the individual, and how green the Martian is at playing video games. But all in all a human is a human and we should defend ourselves with blaster pistols if the need arises.

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  • ShanadeusShanadeus Registered User
    edited February 2011
    I would personally welcome them but I doubt the majority of humans would.

    I don't think many would take too kindly on the idea of a "superior" alien species coming down here and teaching us humans how we should act.

  • LoklarLoklar Registered User
    edited February 2011
    I liked the OP until there were aliens in it.

    Dealing with non-aliens... Look at Iraq vs Egypt.

    Iraq had a military invasion, billions of dollars spent, thousands of American lives lost. Best of intentions though!

    Egypt's government was supported financially by the U.S. government. It was considered a stable, western-friendly Middle East country. ... and it might go democratic all on it's on. The will of the Egyptian people are working hard on their own to overthrow the U.S. backed government (It might have a military coup and end up worse too, but I guess we'll see).

    And it's not even like Egypt was a bad country from a western point of view.

    I think a light touch is almost always warranted. Military might should only be used the safety of your people is at steak imo.
    Spoiler:

  • ForarForar #432 Already prepping for Toronto Fan Expo!Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Shanadeus wrote: »
    I don't think many would take too kindly on the idea of a "superior" alien species coming down here and teaching us humans how we should act.

    Given humanity's long and bloody history dealing with indigenous peoples, hopefully the aliens would at least see the humour in the situation.

    Or the irony (real or Alanis Morissette style).

    While unrelated to the topic's original assertion, this subject has made me ponder how we portray alien 'invasions' in various media. It's usually seen as 'evil' by the protagonists, even if from the aliens' perspective it's a more pragmatic reasoning. While we would understandably object to having our resources, people and property taken by anyone (human, alien or otherwise), it's also not without precedent in our history, and while that's not your fault or my fault, anyone who had read up on our history (which one must assume an invader/liberator would do, and with the internet would likely do easily given the already advanced technological level they'd require to cover interstellar distances) would be hard pressed not to see those links either.

    Of course, in doing such research they'd likely come to the conclusion that we'd fight back, and if we felt control of the planet slipping, someone might do something arguably stupid, potentially putting the entire eco system in jeopardy.

    Knowing this, and assuming they came to 'liberate' us anyway, I would be very, very concerned, as it would mean that either they were confident they could handle us anyway (perhaps by neutralizing our nuclear weapons stockpiles in advance or with the initial strikes to protect us from ourselves), or that they felt strongly enough that what they had to offer was worth risking millions or billions of lives from the fallout that might ensue. If the latter, right or wrong it could indicate an absolutely terrifying level of fanaticism.

    Somewhat tangental, there's a series of books called WorldWar by Harry Turtledove where aliens decide to invade Earth to take our resources. Their initial scouts found us around Medieval times, and their invasion force arrives during World War 2. Most species in this series advance technologically and societally around an order of magnitude slower than we do, so finding us with weapons capable of even giving token resistance to the advanced technology they possess concerns them greatly.

    I really should finish reading that series some day. It's not incredible literature, but it's a fairly fun pulpy kind of afternoon page turner.

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  • DeebaserDeebaser Alpha Teemo Fake Board GamerRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    As long as they weren't secretly trying to eat us or anything, I would probably be an alien collaborator.

  • Space CoyoteSpace Coyote Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I'd like to think that a sufficiently advanced alien race wouldn't have to resort to something as crude as a military intervention to improve life on Earth.

  • Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I for one would welcome our new alien overlords. Beats the alternative where they come to the conclusion that humanity is beyond redemption, and proceed to nuke the planet from orbit.

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  • ForarForar #432 Already prepping for Toronto Fan Expo!Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    It's the only way to be sure.

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  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    If we get free awesome technology from it, I'm all for it. If they are just planning on taking over in a manner similar to 19th century Britain, eh, the would be nothing we could do about it.

  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I'd like to think that a sufficiently advanced alien race wouldn't have to resort to something as crude as a military intervention to improve life on Earth.

    I would imagine it being similar to the EU issuing guidelines that must be met by potential member-states before entry into the alliance is allowed. Why waste the effort of an invasion.

    "Hey dicks, there's a party in space. Clean up your act and come join us."

    seems more effective than

    "SUBMIT TO OUR ETHOS OR PERISH. It is for your own good, we swear."

    If benevolence is your motivation

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  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I'd like to think that a sufficiently advanced alien race wouldn't have to resort to something as crude as a military intervention to improve life on Earth.

    I would imagine it being similar to the EU issuing guidelines that must be met by potential member-states before entry into the alliance is allowed. Why waste the effort of an invasion.

    "Hey dicks, there's a party in space. Clean up your act and come join us."

    seems more effective than

    "SUBMIT TO OUR ETHOS OR PERISH. It is for your own good, we swear."

    If benevolence is your motivation

    The EU is a fantastic model here actually. I mean, I imagine we would do a hell of a lot if there was say, FTL technology dangling on the end of it, or maybe fusion power.

  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Couscous wrote: »
    If we get free awesome technology from it, I'm all for it. If they are just planning on taking over in a manner similar to 19th century Britain, eh, the would be nothing we could do about it.
    If they're a highly ethical and advanced species, I don't really see them coming here to conquer us. I mean, maybe they'd go overthrow the North Korean government, but what would be their motivation for taking over the US or Denmark? If they have a moral system similar to ours, I'd think they would be mostly okay with how things are run in our various liberal democracies.

    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    If we get free awesome technology from it, I'm all for it. If they are just planning on taking over in a manner similar to 19th century Britain, eh, the would be nothing we could do about it.
    If they're a highly ethical and advanced species, I don't really see them coming here to conquer us. I mean, maybe they'd go overthrow the North Korean government, but what would be their motivation for taking over the US or Denmark? If they have a moral system similar to ours, I'd think they would be mostly okay with how things are run in our various liberal democracies.

    They could be vegetarians who think meat is murder.

  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Couscous wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    If we get free awesome technology from it, I'm all for it. If they are just planning on taking over in a manner similar to 19th century Britain, eh, the would be nothing we could do about it.
    If they're a highly ethical and advanced species, I don't really see them coming here to conquer us. I mean, maybe they'd go overthrow the North Korean government, but what would be their motivation for taking over the US or Denmark? If they have a moral system similar to ours, I'd think they would be mostly okay with how things are run in our various liberal democracies.

    They could be vegetarians who think meat is murder.
    I guess? Heckuva thing to travel across the galaxy for, though. We're a highly advanced species, but we're going to overthrow your government and make you give up rib-eye at blaster-point.

    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Couscous wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    If we get free awesome technology from it, I'm all for it. If they are just planning on taking over in a manner similar to 19th century Britain, eh, the would be nothing we could do about it.
    If they're a highly ethical and advanced species, I don't really see them coming here to conquer us. I mean, maybe they'd go overthrow the North Korean government, but what would be their motivation for taking over the US or Denmark? If they have a moral system similar to ours, I'd think they would be mostly okay with how things are run in our various liberal democracies.

    They could be vegetarians who think meat is murder.

    So India will be made overlord of the realm.

  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    If we get free awesome technology from it, I'm all for it. If they are just planning on taking over in a manner similar to 19th century Britain, eh, the would be nothing we could do about it.
    If they're a highly ethical and advanced species, I don't really see them coming here to conquer us. I mean, maybe they'd go overthrow the North Korean government, but what would be their motivation for taking over the US or Denmark? If they have a moral system similar to ours, I'd think they would be mostly okay with how things are run in our various liberal democracies.

    They could be vegetarians who think meat is murder.
    I guess? Heckuva thing to travel across the galaxy for, though. We're a highly advanced species, but we're going to overthrow your government and make you give up rib-eye at blaster-point.
    If they consider causing shitloads of suffering on an extremely high amount of animals as being an atrocity, why not?

  • ShanadeusShanadeus Registered User
    edited February 2011
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    If we get free awesome technology from it, I'm all for it. If they are just planning on taking over in a manner similar to 19th century Britain, eh, the would be nothing we could do about it.
    If they're a highly ethical and advanced species, I don't really see them coming here to conquer us. I mean, maybe they'd go overthrow the North Korean government, but what would be their motivation for taking over the US or Denmark? If they have a moral system similar to ours, I'd think they would be mostly okay with how things are run in our various liberal democracies.

    They could be vegetarians who think meat is murder.
    I guess? Heckuva thing to travel across the galaxy for, though. We're a highly advanced species, but we're going to overthrow your government and make you give up rib-eye at blaster-point.

    Why not?
    Western governments intervene in plenty of countries around the globe with the intention of protecting innocents (or at least, that's the "motivation").

    Just as you have peace keeping forces sent to africa and eastern europe back in the day to protect the civilan population these aliens might be sending peace keeping forces to protect the animals we hunt and eat.

  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    MKR wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    If we get free awesome technology from it, I'm all for it. If they are just planning on taking over in a manner similar to 19th century Britain, eh, the would be nothing we could do about it.
    If they're a highly ethical and advanced species, I don't really see them coming here to conquer us. I mean, maybe they'd go overthrow the North Korean government, but what would be their motivation for taking over the US or Denmark? If they have a moral system similar to ours, I'd think they would be mostly okay with how things are run in our various liberal democracies.

    They could be vegetarians who think meat is murder.

    So India will be made overlord of the realm.

    Again

    *segue to tin-foil thread material about Ancient India being a globe spanning, flight capable, nuclear weapon possessing empire.*

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  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Couscous wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    If we get free awesome technology from it, I'm all for it. If they are just planning on taking over in a manner similar to 19th century Britain, eh, the would be nothing we could do about it.
    If they're a highly ethical and advanced species, I don't really see them coming here to conquer us. I mean, maybe they'd go overthrow the North Korean government, but what would be their motivation for taking over the US or Denmark? If they have a moral system similar to ours, I'd think they would be mostly okay with how things are run in our various liberal democracies.

    They could be vegetarians who think meat is murder.
    I guess? Heckuva thing to travel across the galaxy for, though. We're a highly advanced species, but we're going to overthrow your government and make you give up rib-eye at blaster-point.
    If they consider causing shitloads of suffering on an extremely high amount of animals as being an atrocity, why not?
    I'm kind of assuming they have a relatively similar view of the universe as we do. So, they're super-advanced Hindus. Even if India was the sole superpower, I doubt they'd be forcing us to give up eating beef.

    If their morality and views of the universe are completely, well, alien, then all bets are off. They might genocide us for no longer appreciating the genius of disco music. But, if we're assuming they're pretty much like us, other than being more technologically advanced, then I don't see them executing our leaders for allowing the consumption of hamburgers.

    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    If we get free awesome technology from it, I'm all for it. If they are just planning on taking over in a manner similar to 19th century Britain, eh, the would be nothing we could do about it.
    If they're a highly ethical and advanced species, I don't really see them coming here to conquer us. I mean, maybe they'd go overthrow the North Korean government, but what would be their motivation for taking over the US or Denmark? If they have a moral system similar to ours, I'd think they would be mostly okay with how things are run in our various liberal democracies.

    They could be vegetarians who think meat is murder.
    I guess? Heckuva thing to travel across the galaxy for, though. We're a highly advanced species, but we're going to overthrow your government and make you give up rib-eye at blaster-point.

    I have no problems shooting animals to eat them, so if they tried this the real question is 'What would the aliens taste like'? Then again if they're vegan, I'm not imagining a whole lot of flavor/pleasing texture.

  • Smaug6Smaug6 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    It depends on what they would give us. Immortality to stop eating meat? Invade away!

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  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I think I would need to see specifics before making a decision.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • ShanadeusShanadeus Registered User
    edited February 2011
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    If we get free awesome technology from it, I'm all for it. If they are just planning on taking over in a manner similar to 19th century Britain, eh, the would be nothing we could do about it.
    If they're a highly ethical and advanced species, I don't really see them coming here to conquer us. I mean, maybe they'd go overthrow the North Korean government, but what would be their motivation for taking over the US or Denmark? If they have a moral system similar to ours, I'd think they would be mostly okay with how things are run in our various liberal democracies.

    They could be vegetarians who think meat is murder.
    I guess? Heckuva thing to travel across the galaxy for, though. We're a highly advanced species, but we're going to overthrow your government and make you give up rib-eye at blaster-point.
    If they consider causing shitloads of suffering on an extremely high amount of animals as being an atrocity, why not?
    I'm kind of assuming they have a relatively similar view of the universe as we do. So, they're super-advanced Hindus. Even if India was the sole superpower, I doubt they'd be forcing us to give up eating beef.

    If their morality and views of the universe are completely, well, alien, then all bets are off. They might genocide us for no longer appreciating the genius of disco music. But, if we're assuming they're pretty much like us, other than being more technologically advanced, then I don't see them executing our leaders for allowing the consumption of hamburgers.

    Well, what "we" think varies and if there are great number of humans that consider meat eating to be not just undesirable but also evil then what's to say that this hypothetical alien species that is supposed to be somewhat similar to us have an overal culture of considering the killing of animals to be evil?

    If India was the sole superpower, and were extremists in their beliefs, then I could definitely see them forcing us to give up eating beef.

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