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Friday, August 30, 2013

Syria: A History of US Decisions to Intervene or Declare War in Other Conflicts.

HISTORY IN THE NEWS

Dedicated to the background of contemporary events around the world. 

 
The United States.




IN BRIEF:  Of all the humanitarian interventions that the US has helped to enforce, the prospect of a Syrian operation bears only a passing resemblance to the major strike on Libya against Qaddafi with UN and NATO support- but bears most resemblance to the U.S.-led NATO intervention against Serb atrocities in Kosovo, where action was taken without the UN. However in this case any sort of NATO-led mission would have to go ahead without Britain. If the US goes it alone, there will be uneasy reflections on the unilateral arrogance of the Bush 2003 invasion of Iraq.
 
IN THE NEWS:  AS A BRITISH PARLIAMENTARY VOTE BACKS DOWN ON MILITARY ACTION IN SYRIA, AND EVEN AS AS FRANCE PROMISES TO SUPPORT U.S. ACTION,  PRESIDENT OBAMA DITHERS ON A VARIETY OF OPTIONS, ALL OF WHICH SEEM BAD. THE PROBLEM IS, HE IS COMPELLED TO STRIKE, OR HIS 'RED LINE' ON THE USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS WILL LOOK RIDICULOUS AND THE U.S. WILL LOSE PRESTIGE. 

THE FACTS: 

-the First and Second World Wars and the invasion of Afghanistan (in the wake of 9/11) are the United States' only truly defensive wars.



-the Korean War and the Gulf War against Iraq were in defense of the United Nations.

-the Tripolitan War and the War of 1812 were largely about trade and maritime law.


-the United States occupied Haiti and Nicaragua because those countries had defaulted on international loans but the United States had murkier interests as well.

-the Mexican War and the Spanish American War were essentially wars of territorial acquisition by the United States.

-the CIA's covert Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba was in a sense an extension of the Spanish American War.

-American aims in the invasions of Grenada and Panama are debatable. The War in Vietnam and the 2003 US invasion of Iraq had little real justification.

-the US-led NATO bombing of Kosovo was a unilateral NATO humanitarian action taken without United Nations approval.


IN HISTORY:
  

THE WAR IN VIETNAM.
1962- February 7- The first sign of a looming Vietnam conflict emerges when President Kennedy admits that advisers already in Vietnam would engage the enemy if fired upon.  The sending of these advisers acted as a compass-point of no return and there was no turning back once they took this crucial step which would inevitably lead the country into this conflict. Many believe that this day was the day that step was taken.

KOSOVO
1999- January- Serbs driving out Kosovars through mass murder or ethnic cleansing. NATO bombs Serb Positions in Kosovo.
1999- 24 March- 10 June- NATO, led by US NATO forces, launches air strikes, destroying government offices, bridges over the Danube, and power stations. The Serbs are forced to withdraw from Kosovo.


RELEVANT DATES:

THE TRIPOLITAN WAR.
1801-1805- war between the US and the Karmanli Dey of Tripoli (present day Libya) about the amount of tribute US shipping should pay to the Dey for protection from pirates.  The US settles the issue by invading Tripoli.

THE WAR OF 1812
1812-15 - War of 1812 between the US and Britain, partly over the effects of British restrictions on US trade and Britain's boarding and searching US ships for deserters during the Napoleonic Wars.

THE MEXICAN WAR
1846-May 8,  The US invades Mexico to protect the independence of  Texas which had separated from northern Mexico. The first conflict of the Mexican War occurs north of the Rio Grande River at Palo Alto, Texas when United States troops under the command of Major General Zachary Taylor rout a larger Mexican force.  Zachary had been ordered by President Polk to sieze disputed Texas land settled by Mexicans

THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR.
1860-61 - Eleven pro-slavery southern states secede from Union and form Confederate States of America under leadership of Jefferson Davis, triggering civil war with abolitionist northern states.
1861- the firs shots of the war are fired by Southern troops on the Union held fort, Fort Sumter, in South Carolina.

THE SPANISH AMERICAN WAR.
1898- April 22, 1898 - The blockade of Cuba begins when the
 United States Navy 
aids independence forces within Cuba.  
Several days later, the U.S.A. declares
 war on Spain, backdating its declaration to April 20.  
On May 1, 1898, 
the United States Navy destroyed the Spanish fleet
 in the Philippines. On June 20, 
the U.S. captured Guam.
1898, May 12-  San Juan, Puerto Rico is bombed 
by the American navy 
under the command of Rear Admiral William T. Sampson.  
Puerto Rico is overtaken by
 the United States between July 25 with its landing at  
Guanica Bay and August 12.  These acts during 
the Spanish-American War would 
ultimately result in Spain deciding in December 
to cede lands, including Puerto Rico, 
to the United States. 


NICARAGUA
1912- August 14 - The United States Marines are ordered
 to Nicaragua due to its default on loans to the United States and its European
allies.

THE FIRST WORLD WAR.
1917- February 3- The United States government cuts diplomatic ties with Germany.  The Zimmerman Telegram is given to the United States by Britain on February 24, showing the offer by Germany to give Mexico back the southwest United States if they would declare war on the United States.

1917-18 - US intervenes in World War I, rejects membership of League of Nations.

THE SECOND WORLD WAR.
1941 - Japanese warplanes attack US fleet at Pearl Harbour in Hawaii; US declares war on Japan; Germany declares war on US, which thereafter intervenes on a massive scale in World War II, eventually helping to defeat Germany.

THE KOREAN WAR.
 1950- Backed by Stalin, North Korea invades US-occupied South Korea. The US, with allied UN countries, occupies and defends South Korea.

THE BAY OF PIGS INVASION OF CUBA
1961 - Bay of Pigs invasion: an unsuccessful attempt to invade Cuba by Cuban exiles, organised and financed by Washington. 

THE WAR IN VIETNAM.
1962- February 7- The first sign of a looming Vietnam conflict emerges when President Kennedy admits that advisers already in Vietnam would engage the enemy if fired upon.  The sending of these advisers acted as a compass-point of no return and there was no turning back once they took this crucial step which would inevitably lead the country into this conflict. Many believe that this day was the day that step was taken.

THE INVASION OF GRENADA.
1983 - US invades Caribbean nation of Grenada, partly prompted by its concerns over the island's ties with Cuba.

THE INVASION OF PANAMA
1989 - US troops invade Panama, oust its government and arrest its leader, one-time Central Intelligence Agency informant General Manuel Noriega, on drug-trafficking charges.

THE GULF WAR
1990- August 2, 1990 - Iraq invades its neighbor, Kuwait, setting into motion the beginning of U.S. involvement in the Gulf War.  Four days later, the United Nations begins a global trade embargo against Iraq.  On November 29, the United Nations passes a resolution, #678, stating that Iraq must withdraw its forces from Kuwait by January 15, 1991 or face military intervention.
1991 - US forces play dominant role in war against Iraq, which was triggered by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and ended with the expulsion of Iraqi troops from that country.


KOSOVO
1999- January- Serbs driving out Kosovars through mass murder or ethnic cleansing. NATO bombs Serb Positions in Kosovo.
1999- 24 March- 10 June- NATO, led by US NATO forces, launches air strikes, destroying government offices, bridges over the Danube, and power stations. The Serbs are forced to withdraw from Kosovo.

THE 9/11 ATTACKS.
2001 11 September - Coordinated suicide attacks on various high-profile targets, prompting the US to embark on a ''war on terror'' which includes the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.
2001 October - US leads massive campaign of air strikes against Afghanistan and helps opposition forces defeat the Taliban regime and find Saudi-born dissident Osama Bin Laden, who is suspected of masterminding the 11 September attacks.

THE IRAQ WAR
 2002-2003- The United States, searching for a pretext to invade Iraq as part of a Middle Eastern democracy project, attempts to gain United Nations approval by claiming that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has concealed Weapons of Mass Destruction, namely agents used in bacterial or chemical warfare. United Nations inspectors find no such weapons. The United States then invades Iraq unilaterally.


2011- CIVIL WAR IN LIBYA- 
No fly zone and air support for Libyan rebels fighting the Qaddafi regime in U.N. operation led by France, the United States and Britain.  
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