7/12/2007

hard power

I keep thinking I'm a realist until I read stuff about East Timor. Maybe I still am, because I am pretty skeptical about East Timor's chances in this world. Singapore did make it as an island state, but East Timor has a far bleaker location. It has some oil, but not the capacity to develop them, and Australia has the upper hand in dictating terms.

America has a strong tradition in undermining the UN, and certain ambassadors to the UN have always took great pride in "effectively" undermining the institution, to make it wholly ineffective in whatever resolutions in wished to undertake. And thus by proxy, the invasion of East Timor was legitimised, and the massacres, because in foreign policy, making friends with a country with 200 million people and pro-western is far more important than suspected communist sympathisers who will be no-hopers in the country league (and not much oil). Surprisingly, it was Australia's pressure which brought East Timor's considerations onto the US radar.

Intervention seems to be one thing, it is perhaps too much to expect governments to dabble in the issues of a small state (although Australia may have its own reasons for being in Timor, they withdrew from the Convention of the Sea so that they would have a free hand in drawing maritime boundaries to place the oil fields where it needed them). But for them to give support by deflecting international pressure from the massacres and providing arms and training seems pretty unfair. Thus, moral concerns dictate that I am probably not a realist. Maybe because I am influenced too much by the deaths of a few.

They shouldn't be a country in theory, but what can you expect from a people who have been pissed on and massacred every few years. They deserve their independence, though they really should stop fighting each other now.