Tag Archives: liberation
I wrote this blog post months ago, but decided to republish it after Tony Blair has been appearing on our television screens this morning. The former Prime Minister was commenting on the Arab Spring and the effects on the region. Seeing I’m quite busy with another project, I’ve decided to share an old post on my sympathies with Blair and liberal interventionism.
One of the most controversial and divisive figures in British political history, responsible for countless debates on his actions and conduct in office; Only Cromwell, during the English Commonwealth, has divided historians and academics more. Regarding the character, that is Tony Blair, one cannot help my see a very thoughtful and moral narrative – which the former Prime Minister tried to construct.I am a Liberal Democrat, who is not afraid to support and advocate the principle of liberal interventionism based on the merits and insight of the infamous “Blair Doctrine.” His [Tony Blair] Chicago speech of 1999 is arguably one of the most stimulated, articulate and carefully defined manifesto on how to build a more united international community. The cohesion of this new, broad and interconnected geopolitical consensus was – in the words of Blair – undermined by factions, who sought to obstruct the new world order. These antagonists gained the title “rogue nations” and shared a common denominator. Almost of all these regimes were ultra reactionaries and lacked basic democratic and human rights, including evidence of ethnic cleansing of minorities. UN sanctions, with all the potential to create and obstruct economic activity, were not truly productive in some cases and only played into the hands of the government. In order to defend and promote the liberty of the people, the international community did not only have to become a vox populi for the voiceless but military intervention should be a desired method. If the citizens could not defend themselves then it was up to us, the international community, to defend them.Contrary to popular belief, Tony Blair did not advocate cultural imperialism nor the creation of Western client states. It was the duty of the nation to decide on creating the foundations of a civic and democratic government – not for us to impose it. We, the international community, only provided the means to remove the regime. Tragically, though, the Project for a New American Century did alter the doctrine and insisted “pro-American” governments must emerge after the liberation. The neo-conservative movement did more damage, than good, in defending and advocating true liberal interventionism. Blair always believed action must be meditated by a powerful United Nations and not individual countries, but the unwillingness of Europe (regarding Iraq) made him contradict his passion for international unity and reluctantly abandoned a UN route – over Iraq.
Tony Blair is no war criminal. Jean-Pierre Bemba, the former Vice President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a true war criminal; Bemba instigated and administrated rape, murder, torture and ethnic cleansing in the Central Africa Republic. The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Nothing Blair ordered can be described as a war crime or a crime against humanity, he cannot be compared to Bemba or the military junta in Burma. If Blair’s conduct in the Iraq War constitutes a war crime then so is Winston Churchill for the fire bombing of Dresden; President Truman for the nuclear strikes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is another name added to the list, if one argues the former Prime Minister is a war criminal. Throwing around the term “war criminal” without no understanding of its meaning only helps to devalue and regulate the term meaningless. War crimes are meant to shock humanity and represent the most heinous crimes of them all, not a term that a protest group could randomly use to condemn an opponent. Using the title of “war criminal” loosely does not help the anti-war movement or strengthens their cause, it only helps to weaken their argument.
Saddam represented everything a liberal should despise. His reactionary, Stalinist, totalitarian administration used chemical weapons against his own population and neigbouring countries. Dissidents were publicly hanged to warn anyone that resistance would not be tolerated. Elections were rigged, with Saddam gaining 99% of the poll. The Iraq War, especially the after events, were disastrous and resulted in massive ethnic and religious violence, but Iraq is giving both a fragile democracy – that will flourish in time. Yes, Blair was not perfect, but there is one significant difference between him and Saddam. Blair had a Thatcher room at Downing street, Saddam had rape rooms under his palaces.
President Obama desires a two state solution based on the pre-1967 borders; prior to the war in the region. The European Union have actively held this position for decades and it is a welcome for the United States to final recognise it. Israel, unsurprisingly, rejects any notion of restoration of these borders due to ‘lack of considerable recognition to demographic and security changes.’ This translates into Israel refusing to abide by international law on illegal settlements and occupation of the West Bank.
Fabrication of historical aspects, deliberately pandering to religious schisms and myths is how Israel justifies illegal settlements. Messianic prophecy and religious nostalgia should not be acknowledge, or tolerated, in geopolitical negotiations. The Foreign Minister of Israel, Avigdor Lieberman, is a highly controversial figure, who objects to any peace deal. Lieberman is an ultra nationalist, proud Zionist, reactionary and a leader of a hostile political vanguard. He’s made the analogy of Arab members of the Knesset being comparable to Nazi collaborators; passionately believes Arab citizens must swear an oath of loyalty to Israel in order to achieve citizenship; Palestinians need to acknowledge Israel as exclusively and only Jewish – before a peace deal can be even discussed.
The Arab Awakening provides real prospects for Israel and the possibility of stable neighbours, who will embrace democracy and human rights. At the same time, though, these revolutions provide a great danger: Israel will no longer be, in the words of David Cameron, that “lonely beacon of democracy” in the region. The Palestinian question will inevitably be resolved and the Israeli political establishment understands this reality. The status quo cannot continue. However, the current regime in Israel will not remotely consider peace until after the 2012 presidential elections in the United States. An Obama second term might resort to actions of President Bush Snr, in 1991, and withhold aid until Israel stops settlement building and returns to the negotiating table. But election season prevents Obama from even considering such strong diplomatic pressure.
Netanyahu is protected and knows the United States veto will continue at the United Nations; there is no fear of the United Nations recognising Palestine. The Israeli Prime Minister was received like a glorious Caesar by the American Congress and applauded rapturously for ridiculing the President of the United States in his own capital. A Republican controlled Congress will never vote in favour of restricting or blocking aid to Israel – Netanyahu knows this. And because of that, Israel can continue obstructing all possibilities of peace. Of course, Israel has legitimate concerns about Hamas-and rightly so-but it cannot use it as an excuse not to discuss terms with secular Arabs. The Jihad philosophy of Hamas and the aspiration of restoring the Islamic caliphate is supported by a tiny minority; not all Palestinians desire an exclusive constitutional Islamic state of Palestine. Growing ambitions in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and other Middle East nations further dispel the bloody Jihad movement – these nations want Israel to be treated equally, not destroyed.
The Arab Spring was a moment for Israel to defend the Arab people. Israel could’ve shown it is a true moral force in the region, not an oppressive one. This was the opportunity to reject all misconceptions about Israel. Instead, Netanyahu chose not to. A Palestinian state brought about by Israel would politically destroy all extreme elements in the region. The ‘little Devil’, in the words of Iran, would’ve provided freedom – not the fundamentalists in Tehran. But Netanyahu does not see it that way. Him and Lieberman still believe in a one state solution with autonomy, not independence, for the Palestinian people.
The main arbitrator of global peace and justice is nonchalant to the events in Yemen. Question: How many individuals need to die in conflict, before the United Nations even considers calling an urgent Security Council meeting?
An ideology that divides the world into those who are worth more and those who are worth less, into superior and inferior beings, does not have to reach the dimensions of the German genocide to be wrong.
Amira Hass, Israeli Journalist
The Arab League have endorsed the Palestinian Authority policy to gain recognition of state hood, on 1967 borders, from the United Nations. Sarkozy is understood to be considering French support, with the British yet to determine a position; the French Foreign Ministry have commented on a possible European Union recognition, too, on a Palestinian state. Which would be a powerful endorsement.
I will not lament over the struggle for self determination. It has been a tragic history of deceit, destruction, war and broken promise, but this is the first real prospect of a meaningful conclusion.
If Israel remains a obstacle to peace then considerable sanctions will be required. Israeli policy on the occupied territories is an apartheid doctrine. United States political assistance prevents any acknowledgment of human rights abuses at the United Nations; State Department own documents share the same assessments as the UN, but the condemnation is never public.
David Cameron, at the G8, placed himself in the vanguard of democracy and freedom in the Middle East. It’s time for Cameron to recognise the Palestinian homeland.
Police use force to disrupt the peaceful Spanish revolution in Barcelona. This YouTube video was e-mailed to me this morning. There have been no reports of violence by individuals representing the camps; these actions are unjustified.
Within the next 24 hours British and French apache helicopters will begin operations in Libya. The Prime Minister has promised to intensify the administration of military force in order to break the Libyan regime.
The Russian Foreign Ministry have aligned with the international community and declared Gaddafi has lost all authority to govern Libya. Russia will mediate a possible transition of power and thus providing a means for Gaddafi to exit.
Reports this morning from British intelligence have uncovered a network being used by Gaddafi. The dictator is hiding in hospitals, in order to prevent a direct NATO strike on his location. A classic archetype of a dictator is cowardice: using civilians as shields.
We are witnessing the final conclusions of this abrupt conflict. It is difficult to envision a prolonged period of conflict occurring; Gaddafi forces are demonstrating possible evidence of capitulation. The regime is no longer in control of basic functions of the state and The National Conference for the Libyan Opposition (NCLO) is increasing diplomatic presence in capitals across the world. Either Gaddafi will accept Russian assistance and voluntarily venture into exile (in South Africa, possibly) or shall be captured by NATO special forces.
Either way, we are nearing the end game.
It was expected and anticipated. Protests do occur when government restrict, or reduce, public spending and reform the role of public services in our lives. It is a natural function of political debates.
The European Union did not, however, prepare for a scenario of large scale revolts in Greece, Spain and soon to be Portugal. Young people in Greece and Spain are not just protesting against the austerity measures imposed of them by the IMF and European Central Bank; the political system, in their eyes, is the heart of the problem.
European history is soaked in the most richest of revolutionary acts; Europeans, by nature, are more passionate about liberties and -unlike our American cousins- are willing to lacerate the current political arrangement to pieces. If necessary.
The catalyst for the French Revolution and destruction of the ancien régime was inflation on the price of bread. An innocent product in contemporary eyes provided the environment to remove Louis XVI. And his head, too.
A tempest is gathering across European capitals and it would be unwise for governments to ignore them.
Tags: anger, arab world, bailout, budget, crisis, debt, democracy, economic, economy, EU, European revolution, European Union, freedom, government, liberation, liberty, protest, protests, protests in Europe, Spanish revolution 2011
The Socialist government of Spain suffered heavy losses in local elections last night. The People’s Party, center right opposition, had an extraordinary night – a 10% lead over the government.
United Left, coalition of parties who opposed Spanish entry to NATO, increased their representation at local level, too.
Government officials have ruled out a general election, but the protest camps have voted to remain until noon, May 29th; markets opened negatively on the political situation in Spain. If Spanish debt encounters, as I expect, another downgrade then I cannot see how a general election will not occur.
Significantly, and more dangerously, the IMF and European Central Bank will face stiff resistance in unilaterally imposing austerity measures on Spain. A grand tempest is emerging in Spain; very difficult to maintain and even restrict. The protests are organic in nature and not aligned to any trade union or political party; they cannot be controlled.
And this is not a Spanish problem. I advise readers to monitor the political situation in Italy; the credit ratings have placed Italian debt on a negative outlook. The ‘Spanish revolution’ may transcend into a European revolt.