PHILOSOPHY WITHOUT WAR IS ONLY WISHFUL THINKING.
Main Ideas: There is a new, fundamental human right: the right of ingerence. Thanks to the right of ingerence, the total human toll of the Libyan dictator’s assault against the People he terrorized, tortured and executed may not exceed 50,000 dead (hopefully).
The French “droit d’ingérence”, is a concept distinguished by philosopher Jean-François Revel in 1979 (his son is a top Buddhist monk). The droit d’ingérence was also advocated by Kouchner and the “Medecins Sans Frontieres, Doctors Without Borders” (and rewarded by the Nobel Peace Prize).
The right of ingerence postulates that there is a right (“droit“) to interfere and intrude in some circumstances on behalf of human rights of others. Thus to fight, not in self defense, but altruistically. In a way, of course, it is inherent to the notion of a police force on behalf of justice, thus it is as old as the notion of police, and something which was necessary as soon as primates evolved, and descended from the trees (alpha males do a lot of policing in baboon troops).
Droit d’ingérence is a typical French attitude of making legitimate some forms of aggression of a state against another state, central to the (much unjustly decried) “Mission Civilisatrice”.
When ingerence is most justified, it involves the survival of one’s own nation (as when the Romans intervened in Gaul against Celto-Germans under imperators such as Sextus, Marius and Caesar). Ingerence is also justified for insuring others’ freedom (as when the Roman republic intervened against Macedonia, partly to free Greece, or when France intervened against Britain to free its American colony, or when France and Britain declared war to Hitler for serially invading countries).
Nowadays, due to the relative shrinkage of the world, ingerence of democracy and survival of democracy are pretty much the same notions.
European fighter-bombers flew in less than an hour from places such as Sicily or Crete, in the European Union, to bomb fascist forces in Libya. Less than an hour is of course the flight time from North Korea to Washington, for a ballistic missile. Crushing the North Korean dictatorship will not, at some point, be just about ingerence, but about survival. I know that Bush said stuff like that, but he was not just lying, but also delusional (which is worse), because his motive was NOT from altruism, but from the Dark Side. So it was ingerence, all right, but he had no right.
Ingerence of democracy is also an occasion to teach democracy to those obdurately challenged by obscurantism. For example, student (of democracy) Russia can try to explain to us in the United Nations what is so good about Assad’s dictatorship in Syria, and why we should not apply sanctions. After Russia fails to justify itself, it will have learned something, about democracy, as it hopefully is doing in Libya.
The forces of democracy are reloading, but cannot rest. Ultimately, democracy will have to reign all over, for democracy to be safe, anywhere.
Some will insist: what is the difference between the right of ingerence (in defense of human rights, and that include life and freedom), and Bush’s vicious aggressions? Well, everything: Bush was playing humanist on TV. Actually he was himself the problem. His invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the American Constitution were all charged with the will to destroy. which makes sense, as his plutocratic pedigree extends over two generations.
Even more damaging are those who supported the Libyan dictator through all this, arguing, idiotically, that the West ‘s intervention against the self described “king of kings of Africa“was all for oil. The devil is, among other things, in the details.
It’s profitable to say progressive stuff, because it sounds good, or it’s all over a teleprompter, but it better be right, cogent, and relevant.The psychological grandparents of the same idiots argued that France fought Hitler because of the French empire, and the vainglorious French mentality, and for the sake of hopeless European quarrels. Thus 72 millions died, precisely because of that criminally stupid reasoning, grounded in crass ignorance. France was not about extermination camps, Hitler was.
80% of Libyan oil and gas already went to France and Italy, and the reserves of Libya are the largest in Africa. So neither France, nor Italy, had any economic reason to disturb a system which served them well. Actually Italy was extremely reluctant to do so.
In truth the Libyan dictator was attacked for philosophical reasons, not at all for oil. The war started with the a number of professionals protesting in Benghazi, and then, after those pacific demonstrations were repressed in blood, immensely courageous rebels, typically young professionals and students, who came to defeat a large army with a mercenary army of top, highly paid, professional killers at its core .
Verily, the causal chain of events shows that it is philosophers, temporally led by yours truly, who were in the lead against Qaddafi. Reading the New York Times’ comments reveals many examples of poorly reconstructed Stalinists who are hysterical against human rights, in the guise of opposing “the West” alleged search for oil (which, as I said, it already got from the Libyan dictator; by the way, Sirya sends 95% of its oil to Europe).
I make no mystery that, for a civilization englued in delusional systems of thought, as was the Libyan dictatorship, the best way out is revolution. or more exactly, the only way out. Revolution can be gentle, and it is better, when it can be gentle. But, if the revolution cannot be gentle, the concepts of work and brutal force, as found in physics, have to be brought to bear.
Much of the so called Muslim civilization suffers from an historical dearth of genuine, thorough, secular revolution (secular means of the age, progress to what is known now). Hopefully the Libyan rising will change that. Sarkozy reminded the Libyan transition Council that he would not make their revolution on their behalf, and that the French did the 1789 Revolution on their own, as all real revolutions always are done.
Although, in the end, French help to the Libyan rebels was considerable, it did not reach the enormous help France provided to the American rebels during the American war of independence.
The American”revolution” was not really a revolution: they did not have to. If the Americans had made a real revolution, they would have freed the slaves; but they did not, because they did not have to, as the massive intervention of the French army and French navy did not force them to mobilize all their forces, physical and spiritual.
Philosophy, in truth, is about war. War against stupidity and the basest instincts, to start with. But, if need be, and it can, philosophy goes all the way.
This is how, overall, civilization progresses for the better. Some deny that there is such a thing as progress. As a forceful reminder for the clueless, in Pacific islands, where civilization had progressed less, it was often customary to eat people alive, over a period of weeks. OK, it was partly a technological problem, as there were no refrigerators, two centuries ago (and extensive salt and spices European Middle Age meat preservation technology was not known, either).
Of course, for philosophical reasons, the Romans had extinguished the man eating, and human sacrifices prone civilizations of the Mediterranean-European area. That the Romans were also predatory, is a secondary consideration. After conquest, the Roman rule was light, and fully assented to, in any case. Pax Romana was no myth… And now it is baaaack…
Most countries in the West acted admirably in the overthrow of the bloody Libyan tyrant. It was NOT 1939 all over again, with France and Britain going at Hitler alone, while several democracies were supporting the dictator, Hitler, all the more efficiently, that it was not talked about it much. This time most countries in the West understood that they had a duty of ingerence, and a duty of solidarity to their fellow democracies, and human rights. An Arab country, Qatar, siege of the free TV Al Jazeera, very courageously aligned itself on its ally, the French republic.
All the West behaved well, with the alarming exception of Switzerland, which insisted to do a repeat of its pernicious role in 1939-45. Switzerland gets a mention from me as the most lamentable, hypocritical country in the world for 2011 (we can be fairly sure that no other country will be as mentally mediocre before 2012). In the end, even Russia and China helped against the Libyan dictator. But not Switzerland. Worse; that forsaken country pleaded for an inverted ethics reminiscent of Ireland crying about Hitler’s demise in May 1945.
Switzerland’s notable contribution to the Libyan war was to help the mass murdering dictator. Switzerland built, all over Libya, the sort of sophisticated underground fortifications Qaddafi and his clan presently enjoy, in common with the rats they often evoke spitefully. This Swiss attitude is all the more alarming, as, in many ways, Switzerland is the most democratic place in the world. So is it the mountain air, is it the fact the Swiss are just all too greedy peasants, or is it something about democracy? In any case, following the debate in Suisse, it’s clear the Swiss do not have a viable concept of civilization. My guess is that Switzerland got used to get way with greed, same as Bush style American plutocracy. Both got away, and became much richer, from enabling Nazism. And, whereas the very small fry was prosecuted, and still is, to the end of the Earth, the really big fishes, deeply ingrained criminal thought systems in Switzerland and the USA tied to the reigning plutocracy were left alone, and prosper to this day.
Two weeks before the liberation of Tripoli, La Suisse had an attack of madness, as it found, to its fake horror, that some a few pieces of Mickey Mouse Helvetic military equipment made their way to Libya’s freedom fighters, apparently through Qatar. Well, I salute Qatar. Let 50,000 die under the boot of a dictator it was just arming: no problem for Suisse. Let a contract be violated, perhaps, on a few thousands Francs of material, and Switzerland orders an inquiry.
If everybody acted as Switzerland, the few among us still surviving would say:”Heil Hitler!” I say this without meaning to be funny. During World War Two Switzerland served as rear base for the Nazis, viciously efficient. The U.S. Air Force had to bomb a major ball bearing factory in Switzerland, which provided the Nazis with precious ball bearings.
To this day, Switzerland has not presented excuses for its abject attitude relative to humankind during Nazism, and the recent evidence with Libya shows that it persists self righteously in its error, and fake neutralism (rhymes with racism and nationalism).
Intellectuals in Switzerland, should view as their primary duty to be scathing about Swiss attitudes regarding civilization and the dictators which ruin it. This being said, I love Switzerland. Precisely.
If not for the massive iron fist of NATO, Qaddafi would have celebrated his 42 years of reign on September 1. Gaddafi’s power rested on people with so much blood on their hands, that they had nothing to lose, by drenching the desert with some more. The dictator’s power was also resting on thousands of mercenaries, some from Eastern Europe, some from black Africa, paid 10,000 euros, $15,000, a week.
Qaddafi used to be a hero of a delusional part of the left of the West, 40 years ago. Those wishful lunatics viewed Gaddafi as the successor of Nasser (as if Nasser was much to admire). Gaddafi was viewed as the captain who chased a king out (without spilling a drop of blood, meaning that the king’s army was not that ferocious that a simple captain could make a coup). Qaddafi nationalized much, directly into his own pocket. Superficial pseudo leftists overlooked those details: as many who are into superficiality, group identification provide them with a personality. Thus, in the guise of prostesting imperialism, they become themselves intellectual fascists, following brainlessly their thought leaders.
Gaddafi’s was a regime with officials one had to give a million dollars to, just to talk to them when trying to help the Libya they governed (my own father, representing a Western company, had to do make a personal check to the Libyan Prime Minister, of one million dollars, just to talk to him about conducting oil prospection).
The best wars are those started by a more progressive philosophy, and bold philosophers defending it in the court of public opinion. No Revolution, No Civilization.
The philosophical case for an armed intervention on behalf of the Libyan people against the (self promoted) colonel who had seized power 42 years ago was clear cut.
The strategy I advocated on March 8, was, in the end, followed against the Libyan bloody tyrant. France attacked March 20th, after getting the all clear from the United Nations. In the end, the UN mandate was tweaked, as special operations French, British and Italians teams operated on the ground. France, even to Britain’s alarm, and to impotent Russian anger, dropped weapons to the rebels in the Nafusah mountains, and then set up runways and sent heavy weapons, including tanks, through an aerial bridge in that Berber area (Berbers have their own ancient alphabet, which looks at least twice older than Arabic, and there is a revival of that civilization, crushed by the Arab invasion, all the way to Algeria and Morocco) .
A handful of philosophers such as Bernard-Henri Lévy (“BHL”, Jewish descent, born in Béni Saf, Algeria), Alain Finkielkraut (son of an Auschwitz Jewish deportee), and Alain Badiou (born in Rabat, Morocco), exerted pressure on Nicholas Sarkozy to not let the Libyan rebellion be smashed. I mention their place of origin, to point out that, like me, two of them call Africa home.
I have been often critical of BHL, but he was admirable in the Libyan crisis, taking great personal risks, as he often does. BHL has been influential in the French corridors of powers for more than 30 years now. Of course, being so practical a philosopher denies him some depth, but so was Demosthenes, say, with Athens, against Philippe (tyrant of Macedonia, father of the possible parricidal Alexander). Civilization needs all sorts of philosophers, some in the trenches, some at the edge of knowledge.
In France, because of a long, instructive, and often tragic history, political leaders know better than to oppose vociferous philosophers, if they want to leave a positive historical mark. Once, the police suggested to de Gaulle to arrest a mass agitating and protesting Sartre. De Gaulle replied haughtily, and correctly:”One does not arrest Voltaire.”
Well after I wrote my March 8 essay, BHL insisted that it was not too late to do something. Saif Al islam made clear declarations of intended extermination. At the last possible moment, responding to BHL’s fierce urgency, Sarkozy moved courageously, first with a diplomatic marathon, succeeding to hypnotize American, Russians and Chinese into assenting into an intervention in a timely manner. Years earlier, a French paratroop division had terminated the Rwandan holocaust, but after much of it had already happened. Two days after the UNSC vote, as a last minute conference about what to do occurred in Paris, the French president announced that he had unleashed supersonic bombers, and really very large precision guided bombs, to save the city of Benghazi. In all this, as usual, Britain knew better than disagreeing with her sister republic, and was very supportive.
It is often said that those who don’t know history are condemned to repeat it. However, those who know history are often rewarded if they listen to it. Retrospectively, the French republic should have moved unilaterally against the bloody tyrant Hitler, when the going was good, in spite of Anglo-Saxon, plutocratically minded opposition.
When Americans mention Qaddafi’s crimes, they always mention Pan Am 103, but never UTA 772 (the second French civil jumbo jet destroyed probably by Libyans). Of course, neither do Americans ever mention Qaddafi’s invasions of Chad, Tanzania, etc. Since the French don’t exist, apparently, nor do invaded Africans, perhaps they should just reciprocate… And ignore Americans in kind. All of this lack of knowledge goes a long way to explain the ignorant pseudo ethical position of all too many Americans. In general those who want to do something about the world, or not, ought to know something about it.
Another thing France learned from a very long history is that, sometimes she was on the very wrong side of history. It has been a big mistake for France not to have taken the side of the People in Algeria in 1945. If she had, there would have been no Algerian civil wars. (That, of course, will have been viewed as a catastrophe by many of the numerous enemies of Europe, France, and the Maghreb.)
On May 8, 1945, in Setif, Algeria, the day Nazi Germany capitulated, an Algerian demonstration of indigenes supported the Allied victory against the racist infamy. There were with many Allied flags, and just one, or two, proto-Algerian flags, green and white. Those two flags led to a (completely unjustified) repression by the authorities (at least one Algerian boy killed), which led to a counter-reaction (officially 103 dead “colons”), followed by a counter-massacre (officially 1020 dead Algerians). In a way, taking the side of the People in 2011 in Libya, is a distant compensation. It is also a indispensable buttressing of the budding democratization in Tunisia and Egypt, and a way to encourage reformers in Algeria and Morocco.
So, in 2011, the French republic took the side of the People in Libya. A lesson from Algeria, well learned. As I hinted above, it’s not about oil: French, British and American oil companies had perfect business arrangements with Kaddafi and his clan. Hence the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Gates, making excuses to not do anything against Qaddafi, on the ground that he was terrified of his air defenses. Either Gates was lying, incompetent, or the French much more advanced than the U.S. Air Force. Whatever it was, Libyan defenses proved 100% impotent against French aircraft, in spite of the fact that the French attacked against a 100% operative anti-aircraft system, as time was of the essence.
A recent poll showed that, when Americans were asked to name a scientist, 47% answered Einstein (dead for 56 years). Next, 23% answered:”I don’t know”. By contrast, people could probably give a long list of names of monkeys who can push a ball around. hey, they used to do this when they were three years old, and growing up beyond that is hard to do! Now, of course, people have no idea about what Einstein did, except that mass and energy are the same (it is not that simple, by the way). Even worse is their basic knowledge of science itself.
What is science? What is certain. So those who do not know science are certainly uncertain about some things which are certain. Even worse, they miss entire mental dimensions from which further scaffolding for the imagination can arise.
In physics, the definition of work is force times displacement. No displacement, no work. No force, no work. (Obvious joke: two reasons for Obama to have done no work. There was neither displacement, nor force…)
Physicists have thought hard for centuries to come up with that concept, that force times displacement is a worthy notion, best depicting work, and it… works. Such a notion is conceptually useful, and ought not to be confined to physics and engineering (as my Obama example demonstrates).
Many people who have studied many things, but no physics, are often struggling with notions that have finally been elucidated after centuries of efforts, and studies by top intellectuals, and are now so certain, tested and useful, that they have become part of science.
Unfortunately many standard philosophers have learned to worry exclusively about hermeneutics (although not the three philosophers mentioned above). I would claim that this infection with hermeneutics is one of the reason of the disaffection of many young people, in the West, from all and any deep critique, and their bovine acceptance of the corrupt rule of their financial rulers.
What’s “hermeneutics“? It is the study and theory not of reality itself, but of interpretation. It’s like crazies studying what they think about the world, rather than making an effort to think about the world itself.
It comes from the Greek hermeneutikos “interpreting,” from hermeneuein “to interpret,” a derivative of Hermes, the divinity of speech, writing, and eloquence. When one walks next to a swamp in summer, it is valid to worry about mosquitoes. But that is not what many Academic philosophers would do, according to their obsession with hermeneutics. They would instead worry about how mosquitoes are interpreted. (Revel did not use these words or argumentation, but he argued that the confusion between physical reality and interpretation of text made most of modern philosophy an object of ridicule. So he came to the same conclusion as me.)
Speaking of mosquitoes… Weirdly, Obama, observing the end of Qaddafi’s clan claimed that “Freedom is stronger than the iron fist“. I guess, he has exerted his freedom of not bombing Gaddafi much (I had actually recommended that Obama just let France and Britain do the job, which was better for everybody). But the iron fist of the French Air force conducted around 4,000 strike missions. France also sent special forces, advisers, parachuted weapons, and finally build an aerial bridge to the Berber held Nafusah mountains just south west of Tripoli, to transfer heavy weapons to the rebels with her faithful accomplice, Qatar.
Verily, the war against Gaddafi would have failed without NATO’s… iron fist intervention. Overall, NATO conducted 20,000 sorties and 7,500 air strikes (few of them by American planes; in one slice of time, out of 1,000 NATO sorties, just three (3!) were American; however, the few American drones were very efficient at the end).
Verily, dozens of thousands would have been killed, without NATO’s iron fist. Freedom is best, no least because it comes with an iron fist. There is no contradiction, Obama, quite the opposite. The iron fist is a lesson that the ancient Greeks taught in the tremendous battles of Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis, Plataea… And when freedom cannot use an iron fist, as in Afghanistan, it is precisely because it has fangs biting its conscience, because its cause is not just.
The dictators hellish columns of tanks, bristling with numerous giant mobile missile batteries the U.S. Secretary of defense had evoked to claim that one should leave Libya’s powerful arsenal alone were irresistibly advancing… They had reached the suburbs of Benghazi. Their complete destruction in a few minutes by undeterred French stealth bombers will stay one of the most spectacular tipping points in the history of warfare. A city was on the verge of being destroyed, as many were in the last century. Rwanda all over again, a few minutes away. And then a miracle from up high, as in the Bible…
Gaddafi’s dictatorship, often grotesque, using torture massively, would have kept on going. There is no reason it would not have gone on for centuries. Such as been the fate of the region, a stable pattern of anarchic, chaotic tyranny.
Indeed, this is the tragic history of Islam: dictators massaging the Qur’an fascist principle, Sura 4, verse 59: “O YE WHO BELIEVE! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and OBEY THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE IN POWER.” Actually, this deplorable slogan is word for word, a repetition of a much older Christian fascist principle, which had the same consequence: theocratic dictatorship, something Constantinople fell, in and out, for centuries, until it lost all control, in the 11C, as the Turks had just learn to massage the same ideas, to their immense profit.
The West veered away from the original version of Sura 4, verse 59 (I will quote the exact Christian text some other day; among other places, it is in Augustine’s élucubrations, or why to have faith in all the wrong reasons). How? Because the Franks were secularist in Christian sheep disguise. And they had more force, and more democratic assent, so they did what they wanted, in the area they governed, without having recourse to fascist mental tricks of the basest sort.
Speaking of tragedies, Dr. Saif Al Islam El Qaddafi, the son of the guide, was long felt to be, and long sounded as, a reformer. He was viewed as the hope one could believe would orient his father’s regime towards democracy. Hope all wanted to believe. Instead, he, the son of privilege, in spite of his sharp intelligence, became, when the rebellion started, very much the fulminating, crazed out, son of his father. Saif’s invectives, and orders to bloody mass murder, were instrumental in the hurried French airstrikes outside of Benghazi, and earned him a warrant of arrest by the International Criminal Court.
In any case, it was a jolly war. Nothing like being on the right side of war (yes, there is such a thing, and those indignant about the notion have it, only because there is such a thing!)
Many of the nations which ignominiously proclaimed themselves to be neutral until Hitler attacked them (Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway) this time intervened, and sent warplanes. Neutralism is another form of racism, so this was a welcome change.
As I have argued many times, one of the main cause of the French defeat in May 1940 against the Nazis was the desperate last minute help the French republic provided to countries which were neutral even after Hitler attacked them, and then asked France to rescue them.
The idiotic French attempt to provide hurried help to those who did not deserve it, disorganized completely the French Air Force and army. The seven armored divisions of the mobile armored reserve were rushed to the Netherlands, half of the French Air Force was not even in France when the Nazi tanks broke through. (By comparison, the Nazis had only a grand total of ten armored divisions, but they attacked next to Paris, while the French armored reserve was sent to the Netherlands.)
Interestingly, Sweden, which is, hypocritically, not even a member of NATO, sent 8 advanced Gripen fighter (then reduced to 5, with fewer restrictions).
Of course, readers will remember that Sweden fed Hitler with high grade iron, for years, so that the Nazi dictator could be stronger than Popeye. Sweden also graciously provided the Nazis with the 88mm gun, and its technology. The 88 was the AA and anti tank weapon of choice of Hitler’s armies, throughout the war.
France and Britain were not amused by Sweden’s friendship with Hitler, and the iron diet it all too graciously provided. The French Foreign Legion, having routed elite Nazi divisions in Northern Norway, was poised to cut Sweden in two, and grab the iron mines, when France started to fall, and the Legionnaires were recalled.
In other words, sixty years after their pathetic, greedy, deliberate, willing, abject, and extended collaboration with Nazism, even the Swedes have come to realize that it was high time to change philosophy. But, as I said, not yet so for the Swiss.
The same pattern has occurred in Syria, which was feared for Libya, or Egypt. And has happened in North Korea: hereditary dictatorship. The clever son of the bloody dictator, himself a British trained doctor, has become a full bloody dictator of his own.
Now what? Well, NATO is going to reload. Precision guided bombs are expensive. On the other hand they provide with quality, progressive employment: they push the highest tech, an intrinsic good, because only very high tech, of a type we do not have as yet, will allow us to steer seven billion people, soon to be ten billion, towards calmer shores, with not too degraded a biosphere.
Some will wonder what I am talking about, and whether the fall of Qaddafi and his sons has rendered me mad with happiness. But the inlandsis, the icecaps, will melt. Oceans will rise seventy meters… That’s the worst case scenario, OK, but, unfortunately, the most probable, in the fullness of time.
How do we know this? Because it happened in the past. It’s like earthquakes in the eastern United States, or northern France; they have happened, up and above Richter 7 (50 times more powerful than the one of August 23, 2011), so they will happen again. Total melting happened, 100 million years ago. And now there is a reason for it to happen again. And very fast, as CO2 equivalent gases skyrocket.
Seas rising in a non linear fashion, as they already are, however discreetly, means billions of refugees. And heavy fighting for resources. And soon. In other words, massive war. Except if we find a technological way to avoid that, through a combination of CO2 capture and artificial icecaps (my latest crazy idea).
Eastern Antarctica is presently gathering snow because it has got warmer, and so it snows more on this driest of all deserts. Artificial glaciers have already been created in the Himalayas, to compensate increasing desertification. They provide people with water in summer, during the dry season. Storing water in glaciers will have to be expanded industrially, on real, and artificial mountains, many kilometers high. Why not a very high mountain range in Saudi Arabia? This is just a small example of the sort of tech we do not have, but we need, and right away. So pushing tech is useful. China just decided to launch a 20 year program for a liquid thorium reactor (cost at least 10 billion; France has also research programs in this area). What’s the Tea Party and its bipartisan president going to do? Brew tea?
On the way to these calmer shores, on the other side of the good will of a technological ocean, regimes hostile to democracy will have to be sunk. Or then they will have to lay really low, and make all sorts of provisional excuses, as China is learning to do.
Qaddafi had actually started a nuclear bomb program, with the help of Dr. Khan, the Pakistani renegade. Other Weapons of Mass Destruction are within the resources of most states (Libya had also tried the chemical avenue). So the states have to be forced to cooperate with democracy. I know Bush used that reasoning (which he did not invent), but that does not make it false. I also know that the notion of ingerence is not new. The philosopher Grotius talked about it (17C). More prosaically, Julius Caesar used it in his war in Gaul (he invaded to prevent the migration of a nation moving across to their fellows in the West as he disingenuously claimed it gravely disturbed other nations of Gaul; the pretext was false, but ultimately Gaul benefited from his bloody, monstrous invasion… because the Celtic theocracy was a not an optimal civilization, to put it mildly). The Romans used ingerence systematically. And it was not really a crime. After their initial ingerence, the Roman boot was very light. Plutocracy was a different problem, and it tended to fester locally… So many people will say that Rome died of corruption. but of course plutocracy is a corruption of civilization.
Nowadays, the right of ingerence has merged with the right to survival. An ongoing dictatorship in Syria is incompatible with a safe and sound Mediterranean. Some will say: what of Israel? Why don’t you want to invade that too? Well, it’s a different problem: Israel has a high democratic index (although not to the point of having a constitution, democratic or not! Yes, tellingly, there is no such a thing as an Israeli constitution, as the contradiction between Judaism and democracy could not be resolved!)
Israel does not treat the Palestinians according to the UN human rights charter, right, but it is not very clear what is its exact responsibility in that state of affairs, and how to remedy it without a global evolution of all mentalities concerned. The way to extinguish the Arabo-Israeli conflict is obviously through a Mediterranean Union, a southern extension of the European Union, doing for the Mediterranean what Europe has done for Europe, that is extinguishing obdurate hatred down to a manageable level. This can work if and only if all the regimes democratize first. If other states in the region democratize (and that means secularize), Israel will be forced to do the same (which would rather be ironical).
So what of Syria? Well, to each day its toil. In the end, triage has to be used: the worst offenders have to be eliminated first. At this point, as the Gaddafi clan crumbles, the next target is the Syrian dictatorship. However, the situation in Syria is not as bad as it had got in Libya (Qaddafi killed an order of magnitude more in 2011 before the Western intervention). So pressure there have to be increased, and last week’s Western sanctions have first to be generalized. Russia, in particular, has to be made to understand what it all means, and cooperate.
France won against the dictatorships in Ivory Coast and is winning in Libya, but approval by the United Nations was essential to both processes. The lack of unity among democracies is why, for several years, Hitler went from victory to victory.
Democracy is a war against the constant temptation of plutocracy: you know, that sort of temptation, spending one’s vacation among one’s fellow millionaires and billionaires, on one’s remote island, wasting median family income every few days, maddeningly claiming to be concerned by the “little guy”.
In Ukraine the reigning president seems determined to break the past Prime minister. Yulia Tymoshenko is accused of “corruption or embezzlement of funds“. Representatives of international organizations, the European Union and the United States called this arrest a “political persecution of an opposition leader“.
There too, although no supersonic bombers need to be sent, force ought to be brought to bear, to insure human rights are respected. Using the justice system in the service of the basest instincts, is bad enough. When the justice system is targeted against people vested with popular authority, past or present, it is worse.
This was the major problem in the prosecution of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the official elected with the most representative votes in the world, as with the UN Secretary General, arrested at work, under diplomatic immunity in his plane, on unbelievable sexual charges, something one rather expects in Saudi Arabia or Malaysia (which used to be customary of this sort of legal persecution of the libidinous type, all the way to execution in some cases).
And what of Gandhi and its new age pop pacifism, in all this? Well Gandhi, a self declared admirer and friend of Hitler, as I have explained many times, was a complete fraud. Worse than that: he, indirectly, created Pakistan, and was the indirect cause of millions of dead.
Mandela, another British trained lawyer in South Africa (!), was not a fraud. Mandela used violence. And Mandela was right to do, because he had no better choice. In the end, Mandela got very few people killed, and the racist whites who jailed him also came to that conclusion, and they spoke to him, all the more since Mandela had learned Afrikaner in jail. Far from clinging to the identity of his origin, as Gandhi did, against the Muslims, Mandela crossed the cultural gap to his enemies. War is best fought in enemy territory, especially cultural war.
Only force can stop force. Sometimes physical force is opposed by pure mental force. But work is never about pushing one way, and pushing the other way, simultaneously. Only Obama seems to believe that. Force is never bipartisan, if it wants to go somewhere. To do work, force has to go somewhere. Too bad Obama did not study physics. It shows.