Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mollycoddling Cruel Dictators

True to form, The Hindu has vehemently come out any military intervention in Libya. As Muammar Gadhafi's stronger forces crush the ragtag rebel army, The Hindu wants the world community (in particular the West) to continue to fiddle as Libya burns. We are told that otherwise grave dangers may come to pass. And pray, what are these?

Arming the rebels would bolster Mr. Qadhafi's claim that a colonialist plot is being hatched.

Is domestic butchery preferable to a colonial conspiracy? I doubt it. Lending material support to the rebels when they are desperately in need is likely to gain the West and the international community support rather than undermine it. In the face of an active civilian uprising the odds of the struggle leading to successful democratization are considerable. Moreover, the effort will gain the democratic world influence with the rebels to support its goals of freedom and democracy. The Arab league is not exactly known for leadership and waiting for it to make up its mind may well turn out to be a futile exercise - even if its support comes through, it may of little more than rhetorical value.

Mr. McCain's suggestions sound very much like the threats the U.S. issued in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Aside from the flagrant illegality, such an adventure would take a horrifying toll on civilian population.

The difference between Iraq and Libya is that unlike in Iraq, there is an ongoing humanitarian disaster in Libya. The situtation here is closer to Bosnia than Iraq. The intervention in Bosnia was and remains popular though the legality of that action continues to be debated academically just as the intervention in Iraq and the drone attacks on Pakistan are also being contested. Leadership entails that the UN and the international community show resolve and fulfil their obligations to humanity by acting decisively rather than pass worthless resolutions and enact useless dramas in seminar rooms much like a debating society. The UN is often paralyzed but that cannot be reason for all countries to stand by and watch the slaughter in silence.

As for the "horrifying toll on civilian population", it is not as if the ongoing civil war has been or is going to be a very peaceful affair. Would The Hindu prefer that the brutal and horrifying casualties come from Qadhafi's hands? The West has better weaponry that can at least limit incidental civilian casualties - "collateral damage" as it is called - much better than the Libyan forces which in any case are targeting civilians deliberately. At least with outside intervention, the lives lost will be for a worthy cause. If Qadhafi wins, what has anyone gained as a consequence of that besides him, his family and his loyal (and bloodthirsty) supporters who will continue to have a free hand to abuse their tyrannical power to plunder Libya's national wealth?

Worse, the editorial is opposed to even arming the rebels. If Qadhafi himself had written it, he probably could not have done a better job.

The Hindu's position is consistent with its past stances - its vehement resistance to the NATO's presence in Afghanistan while remaining silent about the atrocities of the Taliban and its soft support for the fraudulent elections conducted by the Burmese junta. Mollycoddling cruel dictators is just the latest. Yet the same newspaper preaches to us about the Indian government's human rights atrocities. The double standard is obvious.


Xinhua Ram said...

Off topic: Someone punctures Sainath's flawed arguments. I am not taken in by the hype surrounding this bleeding heart liberal.

Sainath’s prevarications


Another side topic: had something like the Pacific tsunami happened in India, this is how it would have been the reported:

Prime Minister Deplores Tsunami

President Says No Place For Tsunamis In Today's World

Home Minister Condemns Tsunami

Sonia Gandhi Terms Tsunami Unacceptable

cbcnn_Pilid said...

Thanks XR,

I saw that but he has not fully addressed Sainath's key points. I am still looking for someone to show whether, if all those so-called concessions to corporations are withdrawn, the economy would tank - TGA suggests that it would be effected but presents no numbers, so it does not go far enough. Secondly, the left is opposing cash transfers not because it doesn't simply like PDS but on the ground that pilferage will be, if anything, easier with cash than produce - again something TGA does not talk about.

This is not to say that I support Sainath's view. He may or may not be right but if not, we need a more convincing refutation of these arguments than what TGA has presented.