Liberalism’s two flagship newspapers, the Washington Post and the New York Times, have recently voiced concerns with Haiti’s left-wing ruler, Jean Bertrand Aristide – on the editorial page, no less. How have we come to this turn of events? After all, Aristide was put back in power by the U.S. military under President Clinton’s comically misnamed “Operation Restore Freedom” in 1994. Aristide is a “progressive” former Catholic priest expelled by his own conservative church, is black and would satisfy the PC Left’s portrait of what a Third World leader should be. And still, the very same Aristide, whose 1990 election and 2000 re-election were applauded by leftists everywhere, is now seen with increasing criticism even by the Left’s standard bearers. This change has come about because Haiti under the collapsing Aristide regime threatens to raise doubts over the very core of liberal orthodoxy on the Third World.
The basic problem is not Bill Clinton’s intervention in Haiti (or Somalia, or Bosnia), or Bush’s present interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq; it is, in fact, not a partisan problem at all but a cultural American/Western issue: the failed policies of the leftist Human Rights Establishment (HRE) toward the Third World.
Haiti is the perfect case study, but it is far from a unique case: Somalia, the Solomon Islands, Afghanistan, Zaire (oops! The Democratic Republic of Congo), Liberia, Sierra Leone, and a number of others are quite similar. All are pseudo-states enclosing profoundly dysfunctional societies, societies that are beyond repair from within, and too costly to repair from afar. Simply put, this is about the “black holes” of the international system, entire “states” where there is no civil society, no legitimate institution, no rule of law, indeed no law at all – all there is, in most cases, is a vote in the United Nations’ General Assembly and a limitless ability to absorb and demand Western aid. All of this is made possible by the equally limitless and nonsensical demands and claims by Western non-governmental organizations (NGOs), who take advantage of the taxpayers’ ignorance, gullibility, and innate sympathy for those Third World kids with distended bellies on their TV screens.
A recent piece in the far-Left British newspaper The Guardian illustrated the NGO dilemma well: “Aid agencies warn of Haiti crisis,” [i] but…(as usual) have no solution…”15 UK and international NGOs, including ActionAid and Oxfam, have warned that the economy is collapsing, with a threat to food supplies as transport breaks down exacerbated by a doubling in the price of petrol.”
The Guardian continued to paint Haiti’s developing "situation of ungovernability, of institutionalized violence and of insecurity." This is worsening "the already precarious socio-economic conditions of the population," in a country where about half the population - some 4 million people - have "insecure access" to food and 65 percent live below the absolute poverty line, the NGOs warned. But the agencies said the emergency situation cannot be solved by a massive influx of food aid "without reaching a resolution of the political situation which is the cause… Moreover food aid has traditionally had adverse impacts on the systems and structures of production of the country and can only put at risk the process of sustainable development."
The NGOs have also warned against armed intervention. They said the gravity of the situation in Haiti "must in no way serve as a pretext for the international community to intervene once again, militarily, in the country, particularly at the time when the Haitian people celebrate the bicentenary of its independence dearly acquired through struggle and self-denial." They added: "Any military intervention in the current crisis would not be sustainable if the structural causes of the decaying Haitian social situation were not addressed - notably a social structure which is extremely unequal and polarized, [and] the increasing poverty and social exclusion of the great majority of the population from the spheres of power. We reaffirm that international solidarity with the Haitian people must be characterized by the respect for national sovereignty and the right to the people of self-determination."
Let us translate this into normal, human language: The NGOs say Haiti is a humanitarian mess, the fault lies with Haitians and only they could solve it. On the other hand, they also say that outsiders could not and should not interfere militarily; the West must simply continue an endless supply of aid to Haitians, but never interfere, especially militarily, because Haitians have a sovereign right…to murder each other.
The NGOs affirm this right to slaughter is legitimate, “particularly at the time when the Haitian people celebrate the bicentenary of its independence dearly acquired through struggle and self-denial." Translation: Because black slaves succeeded in establishing a dysfunctional Republic in the Americas in 1804, the outside should “respect” it and do nothing about the present collapse of a hopeless descendent of slaves and tyrannical leader of Haiti – Jean Bertrand Aristide – nor the chaos his incompetence has wrought.
In other words, the only role for the West is to pay, subsidize and feed Haitians as they slaughter one another. This is the perfect example of the NGOs’ “human rights” and “humanitarian” terminal hypocrisy.
The ultimate responsibility lies with Western academia, which upholds multiculturalism, the notion that all cultures are equal -- except the immoral Western one, of course. These noxious notions have become the de facto ideology of the “human rights” and charitable NGOs throughout the world – a combination that could only be called the global Human Rights Establishment (HRE). Somalia is not a “state” and never should have been treated like one. Haiti could not be repaired because the locals choose a tyrant in (relatively) free elections supervised by Jimmy Carter and thus is deemed by the world a “democracy.” The Haitians voted for Aristide because, then and now, he represented their “values” – just as they elected Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier in the 1950s. Indeed, it should be remembered that the only two Haitian presidents ever elected in competitive elections in 200 years were…Papa Doc and Aristide.
Elections, even technically free ones, do not make a democracy any more than a rooster creates the daylight. Values make a democracy, and when they are absent, at least beyond the village or tribal level, elections become just a pretext for Aristides, Talibans, and similar monstrosities. But multiculturalists have told us – and generations of elite university alumni have agreed – that “tribe” is itself a Western racist notion (tell that to the Somalis!) and that political culture is an evil “Orientalist” fiction when it comes to the Arab world – where large majorities still believe that September 11th was the work of the Mossad and CIA.
(Is this attitude toward the Muslim world going to change? Probably so, since multiculturalists now have to deal with a new threat: the presence of those admired Islamist cultures in the midst of the West. It is one thing to explain away Islamic arranged marriages, the general treatment of women, or genital mutilation when it occurs in Saudi Arabia or Central Africa; it is another when the ordinary Joe Six Pack or Pierre hears of it in his neighborhood. Americans have forgotten Somalia – and even the “Black Hawk Down” movie – but the Somali black hole is still there, awaiting another scream for “humanitarian aid” from the HRE – hopefully one not accepted.)
In terms of Haiti, it is one thing for a Randall Robinson or Jesse Jackson to scream “racism” when Bill Clinton had doubts about restoring Aristide (as if his enemies were not also black), another for Americans to see that just a murderous gangs – the “Pink Army” in St, Marc, the “Canibal Army” in Gonaïves (now rebaptised as the Front for the Liberation of Haiti), the “Red Army” elsewhere – represented Aristide’s “popular support” and are now turning against him.
Unless Haitians once again try to invade Florida – and bring their culture, voodoo included, with them – Americans should let Haiti be…Haiti. We should let them sort out their own affairs, rather than attempt to impose a failed national “solution,” as Bill Clinton did. We should not continue to entertain the fiction that they are a stable “democracy,” as our guilt-ridden leftist academics and HRE functionaries do, and our aid should remain as absent from Haiti as our “imperialist” armies. But at least the academics get it half-right. For once, the NGOs have come up with a recommendation that should be taken seriously. For once.
[i]Tash Shifrin, “Aid agencies warn of Haiti crisis,” The Guardian, February 17, 2004