Political Promise

Military Intervention in Libya: A Misguided Option

In Newswire on March 18, 2011 at 11:21 am

In his first post for Political Promise, Ust Oldfield suggests leaving the Middle East to sort itself out will be the best course of action.

There has been a push for a No Fly Zone in Libya, with potential for further military action. This course of action stems from a misguided, imperialist view of the world.

The West has benefited from a millennium of development that has involved internal conflicts, butchery and, eventually, enlightenment ideas. These enlightenment ideas form the basis of our world understanding.

The Arab states have not benefited from the same direction of development. They have not had their internal conflicts, they still have a tribal culture. They need to have the series of wars that the West had in the middle ages and early modern period.

The reason why the Arab states have developed differently is because they have been ruled, almost from the start, by a Caliphate or Empire. The people have always been subjected to the whims of an elite against a “common enemy” – the West. This is not to suggest that the Arab states are backwards, without the Caliphates advances in science and maths may not have happened so early.

It’s time that the West let things evolve naturally, let the Arab states have their tribal conflicts, and end the misguided policy of intervention.

  1. I think you must be fundamentally misguided over your view of the desire of the West to intervene as “misguided, imperialist view of the world”.

    I suppose the desire to save life, overthrow a corrupt and brutalising regime, and to encourage democracy is a careful sham?

    Everyone, whether in the West or East has a responsibility to preserve life. Inaction from the West is tacit support of Gaddaffi, and complicity with his crimes.

  2. And I happen to think you have a misguided view of what imperalism is. One fundemental and glaring problem with how the left especially views imperialism is that it hasn’t updated its definition for roughly 100 years.

    You criticise ‘imperalism’ then display a breathtaking Western-centric eliteism in your language about ‘enlightenmet’ and ‘tribal society’ all of which rather sadly implies you think one of the problems is that Arab states simply aren’t ‘ready’ for democracy. Indeed you go onto say that! If this isn’t example of an imperialist superiority complex then I shudder to think what is.

    How is letting Gadaffi get away with a massacre a ‘natural evolution’?


  3. While the US has a very hypocritical record (Guantanamo bay, Iraq), to suggest that genocide in Libya is part of a “natural evolution” is a bit extreme when there is nothing natural about Gaddafi using military power to exterminate his own people.

  4. Examples of nation states developing through ‘Natural development’ in terms of development without foriegn influence is actually quite hard to come by. As mentioned we use ideas about science and mathematics derived from Arab expertise. All countries are influenced by foriegn ideas, some of which are often freely adopted as oppose to being imposed by imperial will. It is worth considering whether various factors such as the global media and social networking have further interwined nation states. Perhaps to the point where the development of one nation state is seen not quite as seperate as it did many years before. Consider how quickly the Arab uprisings spread, one after the other. I think this proves more than anything how interwined the world is getting.

    I fear the shadow of Iraq may cloud the judgement of the public in Western nations, as well their governments. Iraq Syndrome is still potent. I fear the wrong lessons will be learn’t from Iraq. If we are not careful the anti-war lobby will make every international crises that requires intervention look like Iraq. If that happens then horrific events comparative to the massacres in Kosovo and Rwanda will be perpetrated by evil men undisturbed.


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