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Total number of comments: 4 (since 2013-11-28 16:50:49)

Purple Library Guy

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  • Top Ten Myths about the Libya War
    • So what's your alternative view? If a policy intervention happens to benefit someone in a position of economic power, it must be a matter of pure chance and humanitarianism? Because of course their campaign donations, lobbyists, media influence and old boys' networks have no impact on what policy interventions are favoured or seen as politically possible.
      Distressingly formulaic? It's called paying attention to structure. Deaf? To what, exactly? The deep reservoir of disinterested idealism among American policymakers?

      I haven't seen anyone suggest a plausible alternative model. It's funny, when people on the left say idealist things about how stuff should be done, it's always "Oh, so naive". And when people on the left say realist things about how stuff in fact is done, it's always "Oh, so cynical", in both cases for lack of any real counter. Make up your flippin' minds, or better yet argue with substance.

    • Every ideology, no matter how vague, has lines that need to be followed lest one be considered an outcast. I don't think this should have been one of them--people of good will with similar ideas were on all sides of this question (and in many cases may remain so for some time yet), based more on different evaluations of the facts than on different ethical beliefs.
      But of course in general there has to be a liberal line that needs to be followed lest one be considered an outcast. I hope you would quickly cast out any "liberal" who came out in favour of slavery, for instance.

    • That's all fine, but the US *is* an imperialist monster. Now and then it may do things that happen to work out for the best, and so it's still worth looking at any given US, or NATO, action to see what the consequences are likely to be. One can't simply assume they will be bad, even if much of the time they are. This Libyan intervention, for example, may be an exception.
      But one can certainly assume that the motivations behind them are selfish, dedicated to the advantage of fairly narrow elites within the US and the NATO countries involved. Taking that as a basis for one's judgments is just common sense backed by massive documentary evidence as well as the dominant theories of state interaction in political science.

    • Well, speaking as more or less such a leftist, I found myself grappling with two basic questions.

      First, the question of which was likely to end up having killed more people, Qaddafi or NATO. Given the track record of NATO bombings, even if one accepts that Qaddafi was a decidedly brutal ruler, that was far from a slam-dunk. I was initially undecided and as time passed I leaned more and more to the "NATO will have ended up killing more people" side of the question. I'm not sure that question is a settled one. Glad it's probably over for now, though.

      Second, the question of how heavily beholden to NATO and hence to NATO ideas on the subject of privatization, austerity, renewed police state and so forth, a new regime would turn out to be. And, should the answer be "pretty heavily", the further question would be how democratic the regime could be or remain given that such policies tend to be unpopular, and how much support the regime would end up with, and how bad a resulting insurgency would eventually be. My suspicions remain that the genuine "Arab Spring" elements in this whole thing, the people wanting real democracy and public participation in government, will be sidelined as NATO sets up a government along the lines of Hamid Karzai II, and then props up that government against gradually growing resistance. Will such a result genuinely be better than Qaddafi?
      If this suspicion comes true the best that can be expected is that in the end the democratic elements that started all this will finally defeat NATO plus puppet/s. But if they become strong enough to manage that, I would have to figure they would also have been able to defeat Qaddafi without NATO support--not instantly, not even fast, but still probably quicker and with less loss of life than it will take them to run out NATO.
      Now, this may not happen. Time will tell. But the issues are certainly not as simple as "Supporting a dictator". Sure, I'm happy to see him taken down. But NATO has a track record of installing nasty satraps and ruining countries where their militaries get involved. I think it's a bit much to ask that we simply ignore this track record.

      Nonetheless, Mr. Cole's article is instructive on many elements. The one line that I find utterly wrongheaded is "The US has an interest in there not being massacres of people for merely exercising their right to free assembly".
      Um, sure, glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read that line. When people write fluff like that it makes me doubt even the apparently well fact-checked and soundly reasoned parts of their writing.

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