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Western powers want to rehabilitate humanitarian intervention

Issue No. 2266

This is a dangerous moment. David Cameron and his allies in the US and Europe see Libya as an opportunity to rehabilitate the idea of “humanitarian intervention”.

They want to maintain influence in the key strategic regions across North Africa and the Middle East.

But they recognise the tide is turning against dictators the West has supported for decades.

This means they have to at least appear to be on the side of the struggles for democracy and freedom—even though, in reality, they are not.

Libya has given them the opportunity to install a compliant regime under the guise of fighting for the rights of ordinary Libyans.

But we cannot look to the likes of Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy or Silvio Berlusconi, and their armies and bombers, to make revolutions on behalf of the masses.

These rulers never act in the interests of ordinary people—at home or abroad. They side with dictators and keep them in place if it suits their interests and those of their rich and powerful friends.

If the war had simply been to “protect civilians”, why is Nato not planning to leave as soon as Gaddafi goes?

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg revealed the West’s true imperialist view of Libya when he said that Britain “should learn lessons from Iraq”—and that this was only the beginning of the West’s intervention.


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What We Think
Tue 23 Aug 2011, 17:58 BST
Issue No. 2266
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