Wednesday, August 03, 2011


When you need a little light relief, turn to Simon Jenkins.  In the midst of the most awful guff he always comes out with a gem. In this terrible piece on Libya he pulls out a general principle, an 'iron law' no less:
The iron law of plunging into someone else's civil war is choose the side most likely to win and make sure it does.
So that's what you should do. Franco? A dead cert. Lets get the RAF up there with those Luftwaffe chaps and bomb the crap out of Guernica. Pol Pot? A clear winner - if you need any help spotting those intellectuals to be exterminated, we're your boys.

I don't think so somehow. In any international conflict with global implications (aka "someone else's civil war") the basis of choice is not who is the likely winner, that would usually be the best armed and equipped, it is who you would want to see win. It is a moral and political choice. And in many cases, the side who we would like to see victorious is often the least well equipped. It may well consist of popular, democratic forces lined up against the tanks and troops of a fascistic dictatorship. And that is why intervention is necessary at times, to prevent them being crushed with all the consequences that may result.

The amoral, 'realist' perspective that Jenkins comes out with is actually unreal, detached from a real world where we face the constant necessity of making ethical judgements, taking risks, fulfilling our responsibilities and standing up for our principles.


SnoopyTheGoon said...

Funny that. When I see his (Jenkins') name mentioned, I have to make an effort to remember where I have encountered it already, so I search my archive and find my own old post linked to this:

Then I say to self: "Oh, that dork" and my breath returns to normal again...

lostmysocks said...

Wow. I am awed by Jenkins' cynicism. But if its an Iron Law what can you do?

George S said...

'But if it's an Iron Law what can you do?'

Drop it in the sea and let it rust.

mikeovswinton, funky but confused said...

The thing to remember about Simon Jenkins is that he was the person who persuaded Tony Blair not to ditch the previous Tory government's plans for the Millenium Dome. I rest my case. Except... I went to a concert there the other week (Giants of Rare Groove3 featuring Patrice Rushen at Indigo2. Some guy called Domingo was on the main stage) and its a really good venue. And it was a fantastic concert. So Jenkins should stick to stuff he's good at. Perhaps.