The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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> > The sad fact is John, that many people (including members of CASI) > basically beleive "we have the right to intervene" and "the right to > violate national sovereignty". After all the carnage waged in Iraq > they still feel the US is basically benevelent in its actions, even > though it may be "foolish" sometimes or even "mistaken" in its > policies, it is never, in their minds, acting as a terrorist state, > using its military and econmic might to win further gains in > whichever region its bloody hands are in. > > > I would also suggest that many people (even those who descibe themselves as > > "liberal") hold a deeply entrenched sense of superoirity over the "savage > > peoples" of the world (Middle East) and that the colonial instinct still > > survives in these people as a "god-given" right to intervene and "guide" these > > poor "uncivilised" non-westerners. > At the risk of being called an evil imperialist, I would suggest that it is a gross oversimplification to call every act of interference in the sovereignty of another country "colonial" guiding of poor "uncivilised" non-westerners. The image of a world made of cosy, defined, "sovereign" states is illusory. President Wilson had a vision of such a world for the former Yugoslavia after world war one; the ethnic conflict over the past century are a testament to how that vision failed. I do not disagree with the vision of the US as a terrorist state - it seems an accurate assessment. However, I do not see that this implies we should give up any notion of a world community. The ultimate ideal of the UN was precisely to get beyond the idea of a world of sovereign nation states where one country could dominate another - or oppress its own people - by virtue of might. If you admit the absolute inviolability of sovereign states you essentially throw away the right to any interference in any "foreign" situation. On this analysis, UN election monitors in Indonesia suddenly become evil imperialists bent on patronising interference in a "sovereign state". The wish to interfere in the Rwandan genocide becomes equally inadmissible. And Russia, of course, is allowed to continue bombing Chechnya with impunity. The ideal of a real and workable world community intervening against massacre and invasion may be just an ideal. But I see it as implicitly more desirable than a world of reified sovereign states. It is unfortunately necessary to stress that this does not (of course) mean I think that the US/UK have the right to bomb Iraq. It is a cause of regret to me that so much time and energy is spent in questioning the humanitarian and ethical credentials of those on our side. The accusation of "liberal imperialism" is not necessarily without strength and it is for this reason that it is far too easy to use it simplistically and unthinkingly. best wishes, Abi Cox -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi