The world is a place where nations try to out beat each other in the race for the betterment of human civilization. They do so for the protection of their citizens and for the continuation of the ideals they believe in. At times, for the world to be a better place and for peace to reign, one country must intervene in the goings-on in another country. This does not mean that a certain country is better than another one, or that the invaded country does not know how to function properly. Instead, this simply means that one country wishes to help the other and make sure it does not have a corrupt government. Also, if a country is being ruled by a dictatorial ruler, they may be caught in an endless cycle of dictatorship if another country did not intervene. America invaded Panama in 1989 not because the US thought Panama was inferior, but because they wanted to help.
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George H.W. Bush was the president at the time of the invasion. The morning after he order the invasion, he gave reasons for why he did so; there were four in total. First, the safety of US citizens in Panama was at stake. The former president, Manuel Noriega, a military dictator of Panama and an indicted drug dealer, had both threatened US citizens and said that there was a state of war between America and Panama. Second, the democracy and human rights in Panama were at stake and had to be defended. There was a dictator ruling, who obviously had not come to power with the people’s help and acceptance. This had to be stopped because it was so wrong and went against what America stood for. Third, America wanted to stop, or at least fight, drug trafficking. Panama was known to be a place of money laundering and was also a good rendezvous to exchange drugs for money and other things. These drugs would then continue to America and Europe. The last reason for invasion was to ” protect the integrity of the Panama Canal Treaty  This treaty, also known as the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, guaranteed Panama control of the Panama Canal after 1999. The US had held control of the Panama Canal since 1903. US political establishment said that Noriega threatened the neutrality of the Panama Canal and that the United States had the right under the treaties to intervene militarily to protect the Panama canal.  Thus, America had numerous valid and understandable reasons for invading Panama that were kept in mind throughout the invasion.
The United States ad other countries had tried to resolve this issue in a diplomatic, peaceful way. However, with a dictator who did not want to listen ruling the country, invasion seemed to be the only option that would work. The US had 27,684 troops and 300 aircrafts while the Panama Defense Force (PDF) had 46,000 troops.. Operation Just Cause began by attacking various military command centers and the main headquarters of the PDF. Fort Amador was secured, which was vital. It was near the oil farms near the canal, the Bridge of Americas that extended over the canal, and the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. Also, there was a US housing area that had to be secured in order to ensure the PDF did not take US citizens as hostages. Navy SEALs sank Noriega’s boat and destroyed his jet in order to prevent his escape. Noriega, realizing there was little hope of his continued manhunt, especially with a million dollar reward for his capture, went to the Vatican diplomatic mission in Panama City. On January 3, 1990, after much psychological pressure on Noriega and diplomatic pressure on the Vatican mission, Manuel Noriega surrendered to the US military.
Naturally, the invasion of Panama affected the population and civil institutions in the country. Twenty-three US troops were killed and 325 were wounded. The US Southern command said that around 205 Panamanian troops died. The number of Panamanian civilians who died is estimated between 200-4,000. The United Nations estimated around 2,500 deaths. However, CBS had a pole whose results claimed that 92% of Panamanian adults supported the invasion. 76% even said that they wanted America to have invaded Panama even early, in October during the coup. For a short period after the invasion, anarchy ruled and there was much looting. The losses most Panamanian businesses had to deal with as a result of the looting took years to recover from. Also, about 20,000 people became refugees. Those who lost their homes after the Chorrillo fire were given $6,500 as compensation by the US government in order to rebuild houses or apartments. During the invasion, the Punta Paitilla Airport, a civilian airport was assaulted. The US began to work with the new Endara Government as soon as December 21. They restored important public services that included emergency medical services, water, electricity, and law enforcement. The US and nearby organizations provided the citizens of Panama with supplies and medicine. The Panama National Police Force was trained by the US and PDF vehicles were refurbished by the Army’s Maintenance Division and returned to the police. America also began a “Weapons for Cash” program where they paid Panamanians $811,078 for 8,848 weapons. American soldiers also stayed after the official end of the invasion to guarantee the continued safety of Panamanians. They also stayed in Panama in order to assure that the war on drugs was continuing to be effectively fought and to make sure that the main reasons for the invasion were honored. Of course, those who live in Panama had much to fix, and it was not easy. Though they could rely on international support, the main burden rested on Panamanian shoulders. If they wanted their country to rise from the ashes of the US invasion and create a country that was better than the one before, Panamanians would have to work hard to achieve that goal.
There are ways that conflict can be avoided and democracy can be promoted. Relations and support of other countries around the world should be encouraged from the beginning to ensure strong relationships that will remain. This will result in a more peaceful world, because, hopefully, everyone will be allies. Therefore, should a country go to war for some reason, two beneficial things will happen from the international community as a result. First, there will be global condemnation of the war because countries will be allies. Second, even if the war did continue for some reason, different nations and countries will help restore the countries in war to how they were previously. Treaties and negotiations should also be made between countries, and they should be continually renewed in order to remember the original reasons for them in the beginning. Also, the citizens of any and all countries must be remembered. They are at the mercy of those who rule them and must be treated in a firm yet fair hand. In this way, there will be no riots and uprisings, and the true goal that everyone must aspire to reach will always be kept in mind. Conflict can also be prevented by a leader’s remembrance of how he/she arrived in a place of power. It was, or should be, through the people. These people trusted what was said and voted for their leaders in a democratic way that was fair for everyone. The people also have an important part in securing peace. They must vote for someone who will make their country flourish and carry it to success and tranquility. The consequences of conflict must also be thought of. The possible, but likely, loss of money, time, resources, and most importantly, human lives, must not be forgotten. These things are perhaps the most important. If one keeps them in mind, it will be no easy thing to be in a state of conflict.
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An unfortunate, but effective, example of a military intervention is the United States invasion of Panama. The Us stated four reasons, most of them for the benefit of Panama, for the invasion. Overall, the US succeeded in its intervention. However, as can only be expected, there were many causalities, wounds, and destruction of buildings and resources. This had a direct effect on the Panamanian economy and government. For example, due to the looting that occurred during a time of anarchy, many businesses lost profit and supplies. These issues took years to repair, if they could be repaired at all. While military intervention may have seemed to be the only option at the time, and it is true that other, more diplomatic and peaceful ways to help Panama had been tried and had not worked, there were options that America could have taken. These strategies may not have been possible at the time of the intervention because they were not things that could be done over night. On the other hand, now that America has intervened in the happenings of another country and seen the results, hopefully it will take what it learnt and use it in future matters.
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