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Issue #1496      6 April 2011

The hypocrisy of the West’s “humanitarian interventions”

Our post-Cold political lexicon has become not only useless, but also absurd. The United States, its NATO allies and a number of non-democratic (even anti-democratic) Arab regime puppets of the west have plunged the world into another misguided war – this time in Libya. This was possible due to a relatively new and dangerous international legal oxymoron known as “humanitarian intervention”.

What started as an international mission to protect anti-Gaddafi civilians, under the guise of a no-fly zone over Libya, is quickly turning into a full-scale war. There are signs that Washington may start arming Libyan rebels in a conflict that resembles a civil war neither side can win on the ground. This would be still another violation of the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 1973. This is an all-important sign that a “humanitarian intervention” is taking on a toxic life of its own.

I will not recount here the failures of “humanitarian interventions” in Kosovo, Iraq and other places and people who never deserved a visit from the US military. This paradigm is being played out in Libya now. A regime and its leader are identified for destruction and/or removal by the West and its “coalition of the willing”. The leader, in this case Muammar Gaddafi, undergoes a sudden PR hatchet job and is portrayed as evil and illegitimate.

A month ago Gaddafi was a dictatorial tyrant, but legitimate enough to be embraced by Western leaders, particularly by Europeans like France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi. At the same time, Western allies in the Arab world, like Saudi Arabia, crush a truly democratic and legitimate protest movement in Bahrain. But there is no mention of a humanitarian intervention there.

And let’s not forget the misery of the folks in the Ivory Coast, where there is no humanity and no intervention. In these cases it would appear that Western values do not apply.

Being accused of waging aggressive wars is a reputation the West is loathed to admit. This is why the West wages war in the name of the “right to protect” doctrine and the spreading of “our values”.

To prove my point, anti-Gaddafi rebels are called democratic in Western media and in the corridors of power in Washington and Europe. But where are their democratic virtues on display? What I see is armed men killing their own countrymen. Western sponsored “humanitarian intervention” always picks a side – and the winning side does what it pleases. This is one of the unspoken spin-offs of “humanitarian interventionism”.

The west’s doctrine of “humanitarian intervention” most assuredly means Gaddafi will eventually be killed. Gaddafi is stuck between the rhetoric of “he has to go” and “we aren’t aiming for regime change.”

The doctrine of “humanitarian intervention” does not allow for negotiations – it is a doctrine that is played out as a zero-sum game. Remember, Western values are absolute and should never be questioned, particularly when the West will enforce its values on anyone it wants, backed up with overwhelming military power.

I have watched closely all 23 wars and/or military conflicts the US has been involved since the end of the Soviet Union and the Cold War. Almost all have been rationalised or legitimised as humane and in the name of “superior Western values”. Western leaders and western mainstream media tell us we live in a world where war is now humane.

Moscow Times  

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