Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Hypocrisy of the Libyan Conflict

By Lawrence Davidson
March 20, 2011

Whether you believe that the United Nations resolution authorizing extensive intervention in the Libyan civil war is justified or not, and whether you believe that the admittedly eccentric 42-year rule of Muammar Gaddafi over a complex and fractious tribal society has been cruel, there is one thing that all objective observers should be able to agree on.

Read on.


Anonymous said...

While there is no doubt that the author, Mr Davidson, catalogs a litany of bad and hypocritical US foreign policies, his spin about how "a certain sense of nausea starts to gather in the pit of one’s stomach" is silly. It lacks an element of realism.

What I mean is that we are here in the year 2011. The bulk of what Davidson cites occurred under previous administrations and congresses, and are not actions initiated by the current administration, or by those who voted the current administration into office. Why should we feel bad about this because of the disaster Bush and his supporters created in Iraq?!

And certainly Obama is continuing some policies, such as the US's support of Israel - though even in this case, the Israelis consider him almost an enemy because he has criticized things such as settlement policies. But the reality here is that no one can currently be elected US President without some kow-towing to the Israeli/AIPAC lobbying conflict; that cannot occur politically until/unless J Street starts winning some battles. Unfortunately, that's a shade of gray one has to keep in mind.

So the way I think for a realistic American progressive to look at this intervention is this: it's great that the US is intervening to protect civilians against a vicious dictator in this case. If the military forces do a professional job of targeting, the collateral deaths due to Western actions are going to be much less than what inaction would have led to.

So let's get real. "Nausea" is not what i experienced when i saw the video of the Benghazi residents celebrating the UN Resolution. I felt a sense of relief for them, and for once it was nice to see someone in a Muslim country have reason to cheer us instead of to burn our flag. It is one step in the right direction.

Morton Kurzweil said...

The difference is that Libya produces light oil, the oil used throughout Europe.
That is the reason for NATO and the U N security council to quickly agree to "defend the rebels'.
There is no hypocrisy here. Governments always act in their self interests without concern for civilian collateral damage. The kind of government that replaces Gaddafi
is not of concern while the source of light oil is restricted.

Peter Loeb said...


Recent events concerning Libya
demonstrate once again the processes whereby a dominant
power can throw half-truths and
misstatements together and
thereby mislead and confuse.

Council Resolution 1773 (2011)
was a decision according to some
of "the world" which in this case
means two thirds of the members
of the UN Security Council. Five
members opposed the resolution but
did not vote "no". They

The UN has its own laws and
criteria and it is constantly
bullied by the US through delays,
vetoes, and threats called
"diplomacy". If the result is not
to the liking of the US or its
client states, it is simply

The Libyan resolution deplores
recent events in that nation but
advocates no regime change.
It proscribes all actions and also
provides parameters for them.
Actions taken by member nations
or coalitions must be coordinated
with the Secretary General of
the UN. Thus all actions are to
be bound to the UN itself.

II. NATO: NATO is an entirely
distinct entity from the UN
though its members are also UN members.

Historian Gabriel Kolko recently
wrote a brief but incisive analysis
including the following points:

1.During the so-called "Kosovo War"
of 1999 during the Clinton
Administration, all NATO members
had vetoes over American military
actions inhibiting them constantly.

Clinton indicated that "NATO could become a relic..." if Europeans
created a military organization of
their own whose decisions America
could not control...

2. After September 11...
[the US]...told its European allies
that "while they could supply
soldiers, the US alone would
determine how and where they would
be used..."

In sum, NATO is dependent on the
US alone for leadership and
not at all on any decisions of
the UN.

(See: Gabriel Kolko, "WORLD IN
CRISIS: The End of the American
Century", Pluto Press,2009,
Chapter 3.)

That NATO with its US warships,
US missiles, French fighter jets,
US military bases in Germany etc.
should have been designated to
enforce a UN decision is pure

addition to this soup of decisions
of the US government (Congress,
the Executive or both) only
adds to the confusion to be
manipulated. From this the US can
concoct reasons for its actions
which give an appearance of
"principle" and "virtue" whereas
in reality all that exists is coincidence.

It is no surprise then that what
is really going on is obscured as
a result.

As a side note, it should be noted
that those nations with particular
zeal for the execution of a
"no-fly" zone (by someone,
hopefully someone else) just
happen to be nations whose own
governments have recently
experienced domestic political
difficulties. These nations
include: France, the UK and of course the US. All these countries
therefore face ill-defined
political futures internally.

James Young said...

And here I thought you were going to talk about the REAL hypocrisy of President Barry's intervention in a nation in which we have almost no vital national interests, and which was effectively neutered by the prior Administration.

You far Lefties are wonderfully predictable: even when you get it right (the title), you're wrong.