Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Foreign fiascos


I wonder if someone can explain the rationale behind the foreign policy of this country at the moment, because I have no idea what’s going on or what our objectives are. I was tempted to write to William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, to ask if he could provide some light, a futile exercise, I concluded, because he gives every appearance of understanding even less than I do.

The problem is this. Here were are, ranged alongside France and the other idiot powers in NATO, attacking Libya day after day, with no conceivable end in sight. Oh, but it’s all about ‘protecting civilians', the cry went, all in pursuit of the wholly admirable UN Resolution 1973, fully supported by other Arab powers, fully supported by Syria, a power now busily murdering its own citizens, a power, incidentally, that has been lobbying for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, with the backing of the Arab League.

So, let me get this straight. We are attacking a country that had renounced terrorism, a country that had also abandoned its nuclear project, all in the name of human rights and ‘protecting civilians.’ Clearly there is nothing cynical at work here, no considerations of our own self-interest, no notion of realpolitik. It’s all about moral rectitude, all about doing the right thing, is it not?

So, what about Syria, what about a country with a far more savage record on human rights abuses than Libya, a country which actively encourages terrorism, a country that has links with Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran? Vague Hague is threatening President Assad with ‘sanctions’, that’s what.

It’s the simple-minded stupidity that I find most unsettling, that we walk into these obvious traps without the least understanding, not the way one expects a government to behave, a government with any strategic or political sense. Set the question of resources to one side, we are attacking Libya because we can, with no heed for the possible consequences; we are effectively ignoring Syria because we dare not do anything else, other than issue Hague’s vague threat of ‘sanctions.’

I’ve said this before but this laughable moral imperialism, this doctrine behind “responsibility to protect”, is shot through with glaring contradictions, act in one place, ignore another; ignore Syria, Bahrain, Darfur, Zimbabwe, the list just goes on and on.

Cameron and Sarkozy, that comic double act, decided to act against the Colonel because they thought the Colonel would be a push over, let’s be absolutely frank about that. The ridiculous Sarkozy wanted to bolster his popularity ratings in a country anxious that it is no longer able to ‘get it up’ on the world stage. That’s a motive, I suppose. What about Cameron, what was he out to prove? Oh, yes, I know – he is the heir to Blair.

Intervention in Libya is even worse in some ways than the Iraq fiasco. No account was taken of the fact that Gaddafi has considerable support in the west of the country, something I’ve alluded to before. Beyond that there is an ancient fracture between Tripoli in the west and Cyrenaica in the east, an historic division we have merely compounded by precipitate action based on ignorance. We found a civil war; we have ensured that civil war may now be endless. If the stupidity and the hypocrisy behind our actions in the Middle East is obvious to me it will be obvious to so many others. Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya, just how many more of these expensive and pointless Pyrrhic adventures can this country take?

22 comments:

  1. For the US Payback for the Lockerbie fiasco and oil, for the Euros primarily oil.

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  2. Hi Ana,
    NATO's involvement in Libya has almost pushed the country to a civil war. I hope it would not end up like in Irak and Afghanistan.

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  3. What you have to remember is that every year is Year Zero for our politicians. History is what happened to someone else, somewhere else, not to them. Your second paragraph also hits the mark. Find out what the French are doing - and do the opposite. It worked for hundreds of years. Till 1905 in fact.

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  4. Anthony, it's against all of our interests.

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  5. Michael, excellent advice. It's a pity it did not happen after 1905 also.

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  6. Ana, the UN Security Council Resolution 1973 that approved the establishment of a no-fly zone over Libya (among other measures) was carried unopposed by 10 votes in favour and with 5 abstentions. The message to the international community was perfectly clear – to protect civilians from massacre by the overwhelming might of a heavily-armed military.

    And it was done, because it was the right thing to do, and because it could be done.
    :-)

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  7. Yes, I'd like to say: it's just for the oil, but no. Not even that.

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  8. Brilliantly said Ana you're asking the questions that need to be asked. One might add Liberia to the list, Charles Taylor did some pretty nasty things, large numbers of people in townships wiped out by the covert infection of food products with a Prion, eugenics practised in the most cynical manner. It seems that the policies you seek to confront are written in a style Ben Jonson exposed mercilessly in his great satires about confidence tricksters, use as much smokescreen as possible and hope the punter won't get wise to the con. There is another possibilty. If a business had been run the way this country has been in recent years it would be bankrupt. We recently printed money. Have we picked a soft target for weapons manufacture? Nice place you have here.

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  9. It does seem odd Ana how these decisions to invade or not to invade are arrived at. Land locked countries are a problem I guess as the people of Tibet and their ancestors will have rightly claimed from 1950 onwards. Prior to this the British kicked themselves out of India and Chinese Communists took control of the region and have stayed ever since. I wonder when the Left will ever denounce Karl Marx? I digress. It is confusing isn't it Ana that Libya has recently gone from bad boy to good boy to bad boy again. This world of ours was predictable some years ago - not anymore. Too many amateurs in control of events they do not understand.

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  10. Osama has been dead for some time and they kept the Boogy-man in the closet for future use. It seems almost all administrations have to have a worst case public enemy for the public to focus on. Killing Osama now will be a popularity boost for Obama and deminish somewhat the threat in Afghanistan in the public opinion. This so they can concentrate on the agenda in Libya and there wont be a conflicting major demon with Gaddafi.

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  11. As Puck remarked in "A Midsummer's Night Dream"..."Lord what fools these mortals be! " I don't think anyone has explained it better or shorter since then. Fear is our master. My best.

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  12. CI, I know you and I have different views here from past exchanges. But do please look again at my previous blogs on this subject. Can you not see that the various Cassandra-like predictions I made are coming true, though it gives me no pleasure to say so? It’s obvious that this mission has gone well beyond UN 1973, turning in to a grand attempt at murder, which has now taken out some of Gaddafi’s grandchildren, though no admission on the point will ever be made. Had they no right to protection? You and I will never agree on this but I respect your view and your right to make your view known.

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  13. Richard, thanks. Now you intrigue me. I don't know Jonson's work very well, a gap I intend to make good as soon as. I very much like what you are saying about his satires.

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  14. Nobby, I agree with you ten times over! Are you on Twitter by any chance? I had a spot of fun today with the yes to AV crowd. :-)

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  15. Anthony, as I tweeted today, a brilliant military coup is turning into a political fiasco - Obama style.

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  16. CS, what a sage there is in Robin Goodfellow.:-)

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  17. Ana, where is the gift in predicting that innocents will die on both sides in urban warfare? Which side carries the greater guilt in targeting civilians, and which side is responsible for the greater civilian body count? Indeed, which side targeted civilians first, thereby precipitating Resolution 1973?

    I agree we are unlikely to agree here, but it is all in good humour, so I'll confess my real interest. I'm hoping for an outcome for the "Arab Spring" that leaves Egypt (among others) looking both ways at once and remaining focused on domestic issues.
    :-)

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  18. CI, are civilians then no longer dying? Are Libyan civilians somehow less important than civilians in Bahrain or Syria? Did you watch the news tonight? Have you seen how the Arab spring is turning on the ancient Christian community in Egypt? So many questions. No clear answers.

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  19. Ana, we are agreed on the answers to your questions! (Civilians are dying, no one civilian is less important than another, and ancient hatreds are easily re-ignited as secondary conflicts).

    Thank you for responding!
    :-)

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  20. CI, be assured that I will always respond. I have no objection whatsoever to intelligent disagreement.

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