Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's really all about ...

One of the many dubious arguments against liberal interventionism is the accusation of bad faith. Somehow, whatever the situation, the action is seen as illegitimate because the ostensible causes are not the real ones - the 'it's all about oil' argument. Chris Dillow nailed this in a post some time ago when he wrote that though there is much talk of 'collateral damage' we seem less willing to acknowledge 'collateral benefit'. In other words, the beneficial results of action are still felt even if the action was conceived for other than purely altruistic reasons.  Though this distinction is lost on some of the commentariat, it is not on the Libyan revolutionaries themselves, who continue to fully support the UN intervention. This is a typical example:
“Of course there are interests at play,” explained the man in the graffiti-covered tunic, listing oil and winning broader support among Arabs following the debacle in Iraq as possible reasons behind the intervention. “We’re not stupid, we know Western countries have their own interests when they finally decided to help us.” A man from Sirte who identified as being from Gadhafi’s tribe interrupted him, expressing a widely held sentiment: “It doesn’t matter what the West’s interests are, because we too have our interests—we want to survive and get rid of this regime and ultimately live like the rest of the world, without fear.” The crowd erupted in applause.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Every Friday in Leeds a crowd of Libyans has been gathering to chant their hate for Gaddafi and support a continued struggle. If many of the Guardianistas get their way then their friends and family back home would be put up against a wall. So much hand wringing over what seems to me to be a very simple choice!