Al Qaeda preached violence and terrorism as the mantle for martyrdom. Sacrificing your own life and maiming countless others in the process was a heroic death; but the Arab Spring refuted that doctrine. Completely negated it. Martyrdom was restored to the disciples of liberty and freedom. On the 10th anniversary of September 11th, the revolutionary movement of the Middle East is a remarkable tribute. These young men and women helped captivate the true essence of the Arab people; they refused to be defined by Osama Bin Laden and rejected a call for bloody Jihad against the West and Israel. The principles of liberty and freedom were not just American values, but were genuine principles of humanity.
In the last 10 years, many have questioned the role of the United States-and the West-in foreign affairs. Especially the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. Critics will argue policy makers were consciously unaware, or ignorant, of increasing the threat of international terrorism during the ‘War on Terror’ and the subsequent attacks in Madrid and London justified those concerns. The adversaries of Britain and the United States were receiving unimaginable recruiting opportunities due to military conflicts in the Middle East, according to critics. With Mubarak and Gaddafi deposed; Assad losing authority and an uncertain future Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is the role of liberal interventionism unfairly stigmatised?
As I liberal, it is my duty to oppose authoritarianism – whether domestically or aboard. Tyrants are the antagonists of liberals and liberty. Granted, it is extremely controversial position to undertake, but it is morally correct. Opposing liberal interventionism because of the United States is a deeply preposterous position to take. There seems to be this fallacy, or moral equivalence, that Britain and American foreign policy is automatically wrong. For example, Saddam Hussein committed crimes against humanity towards his own people (and Iranians, during the Iraq-Iran War) but it was never mentioned during the Iraq War build up. The condemnation fell towards the West, not the actual fascist dictator. I recall an interview featuring John Stewart, where he said it was absurd for the left to characterise Bush as a war criminal and not reference the crimes committed by Saddam (he was later criticised for those remarks). And John Stewart opposed the Iraq invasion. The Earth will become a very dark place if the great democracies of this world became subjected to Vietnam Syndrome. Libyans would still be under the authority of a mindless dictator, if we turned a blind eye to their suffering.
In time, though, Brazil and India will no doubt join as potential protagonists for liberal interventionism. Brazil already maintains a significant role in the United Nations Peacekeeping operations and I suspect their expanding superpower status will provide an umbrella to the repressed in Latin America and other parts of the world. The stability and future prospects of Afghanistan will require a protective India, to ensure Pakistan does not exploit its neighbour and create a client state. The mantra of liberal interventionism should be a requirement of all democracies and their foreign policy, not a select few. Democratic nations have a moral duty to nurture young free nations, especially those building a free and open society.
The post 9-11 world showed how fragile we were, but how strong democracies could be. Revolutions in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and others provide the true insight into the political aspirations of the Arab people. Liberal interventionism is not a form of 21st Century imperialism, but a vital tool in promoting and defending democracy.