The West’s Liberal War

Over at Al Jazeera there’s a stupendous article about the war in Libya, which was published yesterday. Written by Tarak Barkawi, a senior lecturer at Cambridge University, it explores the language of so-called “peace keeping” and calls into question the West’s participation in Middle Eastern affairs.

Liberal war’s last service is to locate the source of violence in the natives, on the backward peoples of the non-European world, not on the Westerners who exploit, invade, occupy and bomb.

If we go by official rhetoric, the problem in Iraq and Afghanistan apparently has to do with religious and ethnic prejudice among the peoples there, who irrationally keep killing one another as well as Western soldiers kindly sent to modernise them.

The great cost of liberal war is clarity. The West now risks creating a situation where it neither allows nor enables the rebels to overthrow Gaddafi, nor will it do so itself.

While pundits everywhere compare Iraq and Libya and completely miss the point, Mr. Barkawi drives to the heart of the issue. The entire article is well worth your time.


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