Monday 19 May 2008

Why an invasion of Burma is impossible

A very interesting piece on the death of liberal interventionism from the Acumulating Periferals Blog. Money Quote:

These kinds of interventions had an extremely mixed record in the ’90s. All were complicated, drawn-out messes. Even the successes, in Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor, resulted in countries that are still pretty much basket cases, though they’d be worse off without the interventions. But this model of international action, holding summits, setting deadlines, making coordinated demands, and holding out the vague threat of military action in the background, was a big step forward in establishing an international norm that countries can lose their presumptive sovereignty when they persecute or fail to protect huge numbers of their citizens.


The Iraq War torpedoed that project.

All people who supported the project of creating an international system in which the rulers of a country are no more entitled to infringe the rights of their own citizens than they are to infringe those of neighbouring countries will recognise that this project has been almost totally destroyed in the past five years. This destruction was wrought through hubris, slipshod planning, and above all, a sense of being above the law. And I supported it at the time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Foarp,

I don't think the idea about intervention is completely dead. It is at a low at the moment, and after the incredibly arrogant approach of the American government five years ago, re Iraq, that should be no surprise.
(I hope it will discourage any such "coalition-of-the-willing" action in the future, except for cases of really immanent danger.)
But I'm sure there will be cases in the future where people worldwide will continue to agree that intervention can make things somewhat better, not worse.
We just shouldn't overestimate the good effects of an "act of liberation", and underestimate the bad. Iraq deserves close study, I think, and no turning away. After all, there seems to be some fragments of Iraqi public who wants to make something good of the situation (and that, once again, is not the "new" Iraqi government). What has gone wrong - in detail? And what can become better?