Freddie de Boer at L’Hôte has a great post about the Libyan situation, which you all should read. It has set me thinking about two points that were not exactly relevant to the point of that post, (which is why I didn’t mention them in the comments) but nevertheless might be important to the Libya discussion.
-In the first place, it must be remembered that while the rationale for the attacks on Col. Gaddafi’s men seems ill-considered, the U.N. is probably privy to all manner of intelligence which the news media is not. Therefore, their actions may appear sudden and inexplicable when reported by the press, even if they are not.
This is not to excuse the “infantile Manicheanism”, as de Boer calls it, of the media’s presentation, which no one is happy with. Nor is it some attempt at defusing all criticism of the operation, as similar claims made by the Bush administration were. But it needs to be remembered.
-Secondly, there is claim that, again to quote de Boer that: “You cannot enforce democracy from without.” [Italics his.] This is technically true, but foreign intervention may be necessary for a revolution to succeed. Although some Nationalists would undoubtedly prefer to forget this, the colonists defeated the British at Yorktown with the aid of the French navy. So perhaps it is not wholly foolish for Americans to suppose that, if we wanted to remake another country in the image of our own, (and note I am not judging here whether this is moral or even possible) it would be possible to do so through military intervention on behalf of their rebels.
Neither of these are really “critiques” of his point in any way, but they occurred to me as I was mulling his post over.
I’ll probably post many more thoughts on this whole Libyan war later.