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Paul Farmer

Paul Farmer reflects on aid, his theory of accompaniment, and Haiti after the earthquake.

Essay, Jan/Feb 1996
Michael Mandelbaum

President Clinton's foreign policy, rather than protecting American national interests, has pursued social work worldwide. Three failed interventions in 1993--in Bosnia, in Somalia, and the first try in Haiti--illustrate this dramatically. Preoccupied with "helping the helpless," the administration alienated vital allies, changed direction repeatedly to repair Clinton's sagging image, and let special interest groups harm U.S. policy toward Japan and Russia. With his domestic policy stalled, Clinton's opponents may end up painting him what he never wanted to be: a foreign policy president.

Essay, Jan/Feb 1995
Sidney W. Mintz

The first U.S. occupation of Haiti lasted almost 20 years and, by creating a modern military, buttressed the forces that have historically polarized the nation. Now American soldiers are back. Will we repeat those mistakes? Or can Haiti-a nation born of a slave revolt, isolated by the discrimination of anxious European and American powers, and inflicted with a parasitic upper class-finally overcome its past? Real democracy will require economic transformation. America must pick a side in the class warfare that has immobilized Haiti for 200 years.

Essay, Nov/Dec 1994
Tony Smith

President Clinton has finally done the right thing in Haiti. Expanding democracy abroad squarely fits America's Wilsonian tradition. Historically, this approach has provided a proven alternative to communism and fascism, a healthy outlet for nationalism, and a sturdy pillar of America's Cold War success. A democratic Latin America holds the best prospect for good relations with the United States.

Essay, Nov/Dec 1994
Andrew Kohut and Robert C. Toth

Americans will readily endorse the use of force in foreign conflicts, if the conflicts impinge on domestic priorities such as oil prices, drug smuggling, and illegal immigration. In other cases, their definitions of "vital interests" vary widely. The last three engagements of U.S. troops - the Persian Gulf War, Somalia, and Haiti - underscore a common denominator: without a president who leads the nation by clearly articulating the principles at stake and the nature of the mission, the public is chary of taking action. Given President Clinton's approach, forbearance for a sustained Haitian intervention may not last long.

Essay, Sep/Oct 1994
David C. Hendrickson

President Clinton has tried to pursue a foreign policy agenda even more ambitious than his predecessor's. But as international realities and domestic priorities become clear, he has been forced to retreat in area after area of policy. The resulting flips and flops of policy toward Bosnia, Somalia, Haiti, North Korea, and China have undermined U.S. credibility. But more important, they risk making Americans turn inward in dismay, forsaking the prudent internationalism that has characterized American foreign policy since World War II. Let us abandon a kind of leadership we are not prepared to exercise on behalf of a world order the price of which we have no intention of paying.

Essay, Fall 1988
Robert I. Rotberg

Seeks to explain the failure of democracy in Haiti after Duvalier by reference to economic and historical factors. Haiti is a (1) "rural fastness" suffering from land erosion, lack of natural resources and a 90% illiteracy rate (2) a country which, since its revolution at the end of the 18th century, has been far more often ruled than governed. "The case for helping Haiti is overwhelming ... but exactly how and when to help are still open questions".

Essay, Jan 1971
Robert D. Crassweller

Haiti is in many ways a true social relic. Having lingered almost intact for more than a century and a half, this unfortunate country to a great extent is the past; its every ancient curiosity remains as precisely visible as a well-preserved archaeological artifact.

Essay, Jul 1941
John Gunther
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