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Libya, what’s going on?

Lately I have been trying to make sense of the U.S.-led coalition with Britain, Italy, and France bombing of Libya. Many in the West believe this bombing is for humanitarian purposes, but I disagree. The right way to deal with problems on the ground is to authorize U.N. troops to get into Libya and ensure no civilians are targeted by either Gadhafi or the rebel faction soldiers. NATO (fine, short of Germany) is not a humanitarian organization nor a peace organization. It is a military alliance.

The question is then why did Germany abstain from the ‘no-fly zone’ vote? It is interesting to note that China, Russia, India, and Brazil (the BRIC countries) all abstained from the vote. The remaining 10 of the 15 Security Council members, Bosnia, Colombia, France, Gabon, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal, South Africa, Britain and the U.S. voted in favor.

Russian President Medvedev was reported saying the U.N. “no-fly zone” resolution was a signal to Gadhafi to not attack civilians on the rebel factions side. However, he went on to say, Russia absolutely did not want a military strike as part of the “no-fly zone.”

Medvedev’s explanation doesn’t make complete sense. U.S. and coalition forces (CNN has reported other members to include: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Qatar and Spain) were already moving ships toward Libya and mobilizing for an attack prior to the vote in the U.N.. The attack came immediately following the resolution passing. I suspect it would be naive to think that the BRIC countries + Germany didn’t anticipate an attack forthcoming. Why didn’t Russia and China veto since they are permanent members of the Security Council?

Also note that Norway is supposedly a peace-loving country with the Nobel Peace Prize and what not. Given that they awarded the 2010 Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, I guess their behavior is at least consistent.

But I must point out the combined population of the BRIC’s + Germany vs. the U.S.-led coalition attacking Libya right now. This is a real divide in terms of world opinion.

Obama has publicly stated his goal to ousting Gadhafi. Also note that France is joining the fray. Remember, “Freedom Fries” in the U.S.? France was vehemently against the 2003 Iraqi invasion. What’s going on this time around? Could this be related to an old score? Remember the UTA Flight 772 bombing in 1989? The French blamed it on Libya. Apparently, majority of French approve the current operation.

Coalition military has bombed Gadhafi’s Tripoli compound. It is also interesting to note a reader comment at CNN:

Waiting for CNN to report that a British Tornado attack on Gaddafi’s compound was thwarted last night by CNN reporter Nic Robertson on scene at the compound.

Perhaps CNN was dispatched to report “success” and showed up a bit too early?

Russia Today had an interesting segment showing a pattern of U.S. Presidents and their wars. Could this Libya bombing be Obama’s pet war for 2012?

Some argue this is too costly for America. But, in my view, the incremental cost is not that high. NPR has some interesting numbers on the previous “no-fly zone” and air campaigns. In the grand scheme of things, these bombings cost very little.

Like bread, bombs and cruise missiles have limited shelf life. Since the U.S. has some $700+ billion in military budget, some of that will definitely go towards newer cruise missiles. If the U.S. doesn’t spend the 150+ cruise missiles, she will likely spend them in future military exercises anyways. Dismantling them is probably viewed as a waste. Why not spend it on Libya especially since the U.S. has been wanting to topple Gadhafi anyways?

NPR earlier today reported U.K. politicians expecting high returns from oil and reconstruction deals once Gadhafi is taken down.

Ever wonder what happened to Iraqi oil money after Saddam Hussein was taken down? NBC reported back in 2005, “What happened to Iraq’s oil money?” I would look at it this way. U.S. destroyed Iraqi bridges, electricity plants, and other infrastructure. Guess who took those money and paid who for reconstruction of the said infrastructure?

If ground invasion occurs (many predict otherwise) I think the above formula will take place.

Back to the China and Russia abstention from the U.N. resolution question. I can’t quite make up my mind which of these two cases are true: China and Russia fear reprisal from the U.S. or China and Russia think this will drag the U.S. into further mess so she won’t have the energy to meddle in their respective backyards?

  1. March 22nd, 2011 at 05:20 | #1

    I think everyone is this is confused as to what this action is for, who it is designed to benefit, and what Resolution 1973 actually allows. The mixed messages which have been coming from all parties is indicative of this. Even the future leadership of this operation is highly dubious – will it be France or Britain? No-one knows. This is all indicative of indecision at the top, despite the obvious desired outcome of all this being the toppling of the Gaddafi government by the rebels.

    You are right to dubious about Medvedev’s announcement that he had not intended the Resolution to lead to airstrikes. Indeed, Vladimir Putin criticised the Resolution on exactly the grounds that the Resolution allowed pretty much everything except an “occupation” – which does not even specifically prevent invasion of Libya.

    The declared reason why China did not veto the resolution was that it had regional support. Whether this was the actual motivation is hard to say. Certainly Gaddafi has not done much to please Beijing in recent years – he allowed Chen Shuibian to stop off in Libya, blocked oil deals with Chinese companies, and his government openly accused China of “imperialism” in Africa. Furthermore, Chinese citizens (of whom there were 30,00 in Libya at the time of the uprising) could easily have gotten caught in the crossfire during Gaddafi’s assault on his own people, and he forced China to carry out an expensive evacuation operation as a result. It would not be strange if this caused the Chinese to be less than entirely sympathetic to Gaddafi’s government, especially given the likely opportunites for Chinese firms in a post-Gaddafi Libya.

    However, is it worth mentioning, again, that neither Norway nor the Norwegian government awards the Nobel prize? That Norway, unlike Sweden, is not an officially neutral country? That it has never made claims to being especially pacific in policy or character?

  2. March 22nd, 2011 at 05:28 | #2

    I guess I should also add that, despite what I’ve said previously about the specific requirement for unanimity in NATO decision making, the UK government is still talking about eventual NATO leadership. How exactly this can be acheived without the co-operation of at least one of the NATO states (Germany – the place where the majority of NATO forces are based) is beyond me. It would seem that David Cameron is being disingenuous about this and that, most likely, we will end up with Anglo-French leadership. This is simply a mess.

  3. TonyP4
    March 22nd, 2011 at 05:50 | #3

    US should not be the policeman of the world, and cannot afford another prolonged war. I disagree the country should bomb their own citizens, but also disagree to participate in others’ civil war. If oil is the reason, then shame on us.

    The Crusade has been for centuries. It is the war between the two religious groups, and not ours. The Jews are pushing up to their dispute for a long while.

  4. March 22nd, 2011 at 06:27 | #4

    UK is eager to go along with any war that US is in.

    US isn’t sure about this war, but want to make a show of its force just for the “humanitarian credit”.

    France? Well, the French Veto’ed in 2003 against Iraq action, but realized that there was a lot of profit in War, and does not want to be shut out of any new “contracts” like they did during the Bush War.

    Like I said, US will leave soon enough, and UK and France will declare a quick “victory”, and take their oil spoils/ protection money, from both the Rebels and Gaddafi.

  5. March 22nd, 2011 at 06:27 | #5

    4 warplanes from France. That’s such a joke.

  6. Charles Liu
    March 22nd, 2011 at 08:22 | #6

    We are violating resolution 1973 when we take sides in Libya’s civil war:

    - When air strikes target non-air-defence related target, they are no longer about the no-fly zone, and beyond the UN resolution’s authority of protecting civilians [by preventing Libyan AF from bombing.]

    - When air strikes target government force in aid of the rebels, they are violating the resolution’s stated limit of not intervening in dividing Libya’s sovereignty. By encouraging the rebel incursion, these air strikes not only fail to protect civilians from rebel hostility, they also prolong Libya’s civil war, further harming the cilvilans.

    Bomb the rebels and stop all hostility, yet our selective airstrikes, taking sides and protecting non-civilians involved in the conflict, prolonging the violance, violates the core of UN resolution 1973.

  7. March 22nd, 2011 at 08:47 | #7

    @Charles Liu – Resolution 1973 was not only directed at the Libyan AF, but at Libyan ground forces also. There is no mention of the Libyan Airforce in the section of the Resolution directed to protecting civilians, nor would there be any need for this section if the Resolution were directed only at the Libyan airforces, since the No Fly Zone would ensure that the Libyan Airforce remained grounded. The only limitation contained in the Resolution is that there should be no “occupation” of the country, a vague term which may not even exclude the temporary introduction of ground forces.

    The statement regarding Libyan integrity/sovereignty was not listed as a decision of the UNSCR, but is instead merely a restatement of a long-held principle which must be considered in all actions. The very resolution itself requires the violation of Libyan sovereignty throught the imposition of an NFZ and other measures for it to be put into effect, so it would be ridiculous if this statement were considered limiting.

    Finally, a UN Resolution is not “violated” if a member state exceeds the mandate declared in it. Instead, a Resolution is only “violated” if a member state acts directly contrary to a decision contained within it. You can argue that it is the UN Charter itself, or other international law that is violated, but not the Resolution.

  8. pug_ster
    March 22nd, 2011 at 09:54 | #8

    FOARP

    The declared reason why China did not veto the resolution was that it had regional support. Whether this was the actual motivation is hard to say. Certainly Gaddafi has not done much to please Beijing in recent years – he allowed Chen Shuibian to stop off in Libya, blocked oil deals with Chinese companies, and his government openly accused China of “imperialism” in Africa. Furthermore, Chinese citizens (of whom there were 30,00 in Libya at the time of the uprising) could easily have gotten caught in the crossfire during Gaddafi’s assault on his own people, and he forced China to carry out an expensive evacuation operation as a result. It would not be strange if this caused the Chinese to be less than entirely sympathetic to Gaddafi’s government, especially given the likely opportunites for Chinese firms in a post-Gaddafi Libya.

    Geez, if China hated Libya that much, they could’ve voted for the UN resolution 1973 just to spike them, but they didn’t. Meanwhile, you seem to neglect the whole conversation of NATO and the nations who voted for the resolution 1973 who are bombing the hell out of Libya. Maybe they are the problem and not China. If countries like the US, UK, France, and Italy have itchy trigger fingers, there’s not much China can do.

    Resolution 1973 was not only directed at the Libyan AF, but at Libyan ground forces also.

    Can you point to where the resolution directed at ground forces also?

  9. Charles Liu
    March 22nd, 2011 at 10:44 | #9

    Resolution 1973 is also directed at rebel force, but we are not bombing the rebels, but usurping the resolution to provide air cover in aid of the rebels.

    Prolonging Libya’s civil war only brings more harm to the civilians, and faciliating division of Libya’s sovereignty, are contravening/violating the resolution.

  10. March 22nd, 2011 at 10:58 | #10

    We can argue technicalities, but everyone knows the current U.S.-led bombings are towards weakening Qadhafi and to bolster the rebel opposition. Obama and the Coalition publicly say so.

    Its like seeing a thief caught on video sneaking around in a store and after seeing no one around, pockets the candy. He also says he is stealing.

    Now we are suppose to “prove” it? That’s quite retarded.

  11. March 22nd, 2011 at 11:57 | #11

    @Pug_ster – The resolution authorises attacks on ground forces here:

    “4. Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory, and requests the Member States concerned to inform the Secretary-General immediately of the measures they take pursuant to the authorization conferred by this paragraph which shall be immediately reported to the Security Council”

    The Resolution is very clear. It allows “all necessary measures” “to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack” “excluding a foreign occupation force”. It is not only directed at the Libyan airforce, but at any “threat of attack”, including ground forces.

    I have not disputed the motives of the Western powers for seeking to dispose Gaddafi. However, the subject of China’s reasons for not vetoing the Resolution was a mentioned in the OP, and this was what I was answering to. And, of course, China did vote for Resolution 1970 referring the Gaddafi government to the ICC.

    @Charles Liu – The Resolution is addressed to all threats to civilians in Libya. No doubt the Rebels, just like Gaddafi, will argue that they do not threaten civilians.

    @YinYang – I’m not sure who your comment is directed to.

  12. xian
    March 22nd, 2011 at 12:18 | #12

    See this is what I’m talking about: the world revolves around realpolitik, everything else are just insubstantial means to that end.

    It’s shocking how easy Hillary Clinton can come out and TV and declare that Libya’s government has “lost all legitimacy”. Perhaps Gadhafi is a murderous tyrant, but that’s not really relevant. Simple parsimony explains the diplomacy revolving this event. Deep down, I think we all know the following:

    1. The large will bully the small. I doubt the US would pull the same tricks on an ally, or a larger/wealthier country. Gadhafi is notoriously anti-West, and a bit eccentric at that. NATO would love to get rid of him, here an excuse has been provided.
    2. Practical relations trumps moral pressure. BRIC countries have nothing to gain from rallying against Libya, not to mention none want to get pulled into the conflict between the Western and Islamic worlds. Voting for would drag the countries into unwanted trouble, voting against may make the country look bad, ergo abstention is the correct political path.

    …are my comments not showin’ up? Sorry for double postage

  13. Charles Liu
    March 22nd, 2011 at 12:49 | #13

    “under threat of attack” clause includes threat of attack by the rebels, yet we are not bombing them for their incursion outside Benghazi. This violates the preamble’s stated limit of military authorization to not divide Libya’s sovereignty.

    Not withstanding any sort of red herring and semantics wiggling, the selective air strike in aid of the rebels violates UN resolution 1973, while 1970 gave no legitimacy to the armed rebellion in Libya, which the legitmate government of Libya has the sovereign right to sanction against.

  14. March 22nd, 2011 at 13:25 | #14

    …are my comments not showin’ up? Sorry for double postage

    Lots of spams lately. Our new anti-spam plug-in has some false positives. Meanwhile, we are screening our spam queue and manually approve legitimate comments. Hopefully the newer version anti-spam we are using now works better.

  15. March 22nd, 2011 at 13:37 | #15

    @Charles Liu – Resolution 1970 specifically limited what the Libyan government could or could not do within its own borders:

    “Mindful of its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security under the Charter of the United Nations,

    Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, and taking measures under its Article 41,

    1. Demands an immediate end to the violence and calls for steps to fulfil the legitimate demands of the population;

    2. Urges the Libyan authorities to:

    (a) Act with the utmost restraint, respect human rights and international humanitarian law, and allow immediate access for international human rights monitors;

    (b) Ensure the safety of all foreign nationals and their assets and facilitate the departure of those wishing to leave the country;

    (c) Ensure the safe passage of humanitarian and medical supplies, and humanitarian agencies and workers, into the country; and

    (d) Immediately lift restrictions on all forms of media;”

    Specifically, the demand that the Libyan government bring about “an immediate end to the violence” and “fulfil the legitimate demands of the population” shows that the UNSC did not agree that Libyan government had a right to attack its own people with heavy weapons, and believed that the population had legitimate demands.

    Let us be plain what this means. In Resolution 1970 the members of the UNSC committed themselves to the principle that the leaders of a state cannot simply do whatever they please within the borders of that state. Now, it may be that some, or all of the UNSC members will latter disavow this, but it will be in contradiction of their stated position in Resolution 1970. Anyone in any doubt of this need only look at the names of those subject to sanction listed in the Annex to the Resolution, which includes:

    “11. Qadhafi, Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar
    Date of birth: 1942. Place of birth: Sirte, Libya.
    Leader of the Revolution, Supreme Commander of Armed Forces. Responsibility for ordering repression of demonstrations, human rights abuses.”

    It was the view of the Chinese delegate that this resolution was necessary in light of the special circumstances on Libya, and they voted for it based on this understanding.

  16. Charles Liu
    March 22nd, 2011 at 14:06 | #16

    End to the violence include violence perpetrated by the rebel.

    Legitmate demand of the population – majority of Libyans supports Gadaffi.

    Resolution 1970 absolutely gave no credence, nor legitmacy to the armed rebellion, that is just your imagination.

    The fact 1973 called for the rebels to stop fighting, so civilian can be protest, yet we are giving them air cover to attack civilian supporting Gadaffi is plainly evident to me we’ve violate resolution 1973.

  17. March 22nd, 2011 at 14:14 | #17

    @Charles Liu –

    “11. Qadhafi, Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar
    Date of birth: 1942. Place of birth: Sirte, Libya.
    Leader of the Revolution, Supreme Commander of Armed Forces. Responsibility for ordering repression of demonstrations, human rights abuses.”

    Give it a good read. This is what Gaddafi has been sanctioned for in Resolution 1970. By the UNSC, including China.

  18. Charles Liu
    March 22nd, 2011 at 14:18 | #18

    Read it yourself – that does not give the armed rebellion one iota of legitmacy. It’s moral to support non-violent protest, while supporting armed rebellion is inmoral, IMHO.

    Back to what’s happening in Libya. US pilots protects civilians by shooting them, in accordance to resolution 1973:

    http://www.smh.com.au/world/us-troops-open-fire-on-villagers-as-fighter-jet-crashes-report-20110323-1c5fz.html

  19. March 22nd, 2011 at 15:54 | #19

    FOARP,

    I thought you believe the current Libya bombings are wrong.

    It is clear the BRIC countries are calling for a cease fire by the U.S.-lead coalition. It is clear how they view this resolution.

    I just don’t understand your mindset in wanting to interpret the U.N. resolution in such a way – what, to “justify” this bombing?

  20. r v
    March 22nd, 2011 at 19:05 | #20

    “Give it a good read. This is what Gaddafi has been sanctioned for in Resolution 1970. By the UNSC, including China.”

    You can “include” whoever you want, doesn’t matter to any one with sense.

    If things go sour, don’t shift responsibilities by “including” others.

  21. colin
    March 22nd, 2011 at 23:52 | #21

    I just don’t understand why the bombing is taking place at all.

    1) It is a civil war. Why should be west take sides?
    2) Wasn’t Qaddafi the US’s pet since Bush II? Why is the US seeking to remove one of their puppets? Is the US/west looking for another Iraq?

    I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if this war was instigated by wall street looking to make a killing on oil and commodities.

  22. March 23rd, 2011 at 04:37 | #22

    @YinYang – I’m not trying to specifically justify the bombing.

    As far as I’m concerned, Britain, France, and the United States owe a grave responsibility to the Libyan people for their previous support for Gaddafi. The best way in which to have met this responsibility would have been to have supported the Rebels much earlier and with meaningful support such as the imposition of a blockade and the supply of weaponry much earlier.

    Instead we have seen a litany of indecision, tardiness, and fudging which has left the world in a state of dismay. I still have no idea what exactly the British government has committed itself to. The idea of “protecting civilians” is all very well, but carried to its logical conclusion, this means a permanent division of Libya into Rebel and Gaddafi-held zones. David Cameron says that he seeks to remove Gaddafi from power, but also says that Resolution 1973 does not give a mandate to do this through military force. It is also clear that the US does not wish long-term involvement in this matter, which could leave the UK and France abandoned by the US as they were in 1956. It is an utter mess which can only be resolved by a swift Rebel victory and the toppling of Gaddafi, something which seems very unlikely.

    Furthermore, the idea of protecting civilians through airstrikes is highly dubious. Reduced to its most simple components, an airstrike is the dropping of an explosive weapon, the accuracy of which will always be less than 100%, from an altitude at which the absolute identification of the target is difficult. Civilians will inevitably be killed in such strikes if they take place anywhere near a populated area. Therefore, airstrikes can only be justified to “save civilians” if they save more people than they kill. It is hard to believe that this will necessarily be the case. Anyone who has good reason to believe that the airstrikes are causing more casualties than they prevent is entirely correct to criticise them.

    My only dispute is that:

    1) Resolution 1973 clearly allows airstrikes for the purpose of protecting civilians. There was no deception about this, nor have any of the actors in this game claimed to have been deceived. The criticisms levelled at the airstrikes have been based on the fact that they have caused civilian casualties.

    2) Resolution 1970 clearly sanctioned Gaddafi for his attacks on demonstrators, referred his government to the ICC, and required his government to cooperate fully with the ICC investigation and meet the legitimate demands of his people. The UNSC were very clear on this.

  23. March 23rd, 2011 at 06:14 | #23

    (1) Resolution 1973 does not explicitly mention “airstrike”. It can’t be that “clear” if it doesn’t even mention that simple word. Again, that’s US, UK, French doublespeak. They don’t say what they mean. That’s the precise criticism. I think Arab League’s criticism is precisely on that fact, even if it is not quite “deception”. It’s a diplomatic slight of hand.

    (2) AGAIN, referring someone to ICC investigation does not mean removal of a sitting head of the state. ICC has no authority to do so.

    (3) Abstain votes are NOT “yes” votes. You can get a “pass” to TRY your “resolution”, but you can still FAIL, and get blamed for it.

    (4) Let’s get this clear, no one is in this “resolution” other than US, UK, and France. They are doing the bombings, they will deal with the consequences.

    You can argue “all necessary means” clause in the Resolution all you want, but what’s “necessary” may not be up to you, US, UK or France.

    Let’s remember, Gaddafi may defend his own actions as “necessary”, and now he’s investigated by the ICC.

    So if China and Russia finds the US/UK/French bombings “unnecessary”, will they refer Obama/Cameron/Sarkozy to the ICC for investigation?

    Sure, why not?

    “Necessary means” doesn’t always justify EVERY thing you might consider as “necessary”, and certainly will not shield US/UK/France from ICC, now that door is wedged WIDE OPEN!!

  24. March 23rd, 2011 at 08:46 | #24

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/24/world/europe/24germany.html

    Germany withdraws from NATO Libya naval operations.

    Germany is far more pragmatic in this case than UK and France and US.

    *This is what I was talking about, “Moralization”, Justifying the cost/expense and unintended consequences of a military action on Libya based upon vague “humanitarian” reasons that are inconsistently applied.

    A pragmatic rational nation, such as Germany, can easily see that the cost/expense of such an operation is not rational for the mess that it will undoubtedly cause.

    Some would characterize it as “military adventurism”, but it is simply irrationally justified by pig-headed rationales of “necessary to protect civilian lives.”

    I mean, seriously, if the Libyan rebels are vocalizing that they are “willing to die for freedom”, are they really that interested in protecting anyone’s lives??

    OOps, yet another glaring self-contradiction in “moralizing” warfare of this kind: It’s a CIVIL WAR, no one is interested in protecting lives!!

  25. pug_ster
    March 23rd, 2011 at 09:05 | #25

    FOARP,

    The Resolution is very clear. It allows “all necessary measures” “to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack” “excluding a foreign occupation force”. It is not only directed at the Libyan airforce, but at any “threat of attack”, including ground forces.

    Then how come, according to Gadaffi, dozens of civilians were killed as the result of the bombing by the Nato forces? Shouldn’t Nato announce that they are bombing the place so the civilians could get out?

  26. Charles Liu
    March 23rd, 2011 at 10:25 | #26

    @pug_ster

    I don’t mind the “moralization” so much as the hypocrisy:

    - Resolution 1970 refering to ICC, so what? Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? What about the fact 1970 has no effect of legitmacy of the Libyan government?

    - What is “legitmate demand”? While peaceful protest is, armed rebellion is not legitmate in anyone’s book, but we are aiding the rebels by giving them ground cover, so they can threaten and pro-Kadaffi civilians, effectively punishing them. Resolution 1973 stated all civilians to be protected.

    - Resolution 1973 only authorized bombing of air defense related target. The “all necessary measures” is limited to stopping the Libyan air force, not any ground force engaged with non-civilian armed rebels. We’ve violated that.

  27. March 23rd, 2011 at 15:06 | #27

    China likely knew the No Fly Zone resolution was going to happen well ahead of 3/17th. Few weeks prior to that, most Chinese nationals were evacuated from Libya.

    “Some 12,000 Chinese nationals evacuated from Libya: FM”
    2011-02-25 21:27:40
    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-02/25/c_13750562.htm

    I still believe Russia, China etc knew the U.S. was going to lead a bombing, regardless of how the U.N. resolution was named. Or, they expected a bombing even if the resolution did not pass.

  28. r v
    March 23rd, 2011 at 18:41 | #28

    It’s a historical pattern of these UN Resolutions, including way back when the Korean War started, that “all necessary force” is the general catch phrase for “unrestrained warfare” limited only by what weapons are available.

    Now, even the high cost of the cruise missiles, $1 million a pop, is not enough to deter the launching of 100′s of these.

    Well, I guess we are going to see the cost, sooner or later.

  29. March 24th, 2011 at 09:00 | #29

    @Charles Liu – Innocent until proven guilty is a fine principle. But since we live in the real world, and since we know that Gaddafi is going to be charged and found guilty, and since we also know that the Libyan government has been instructed by the UNSC to cooperate with the ICC, and since we know that this includes the execution of arrest warrants issued by the ICC, we can draw our own conclusions as to the legitimacy of that government in the eyes of the UNSC.

    What we can say for certain, though, is that the morally bankrupt idea that a leader of a country can unleash heavy weapons including airstikes and armoured vehicles against unarmed peaceful demonstrators without receiving sanctions is finally in the grave. The sovereignty of a nation does not give its leaders carte blanche to exterminate whole peoples, political classes, and social groups, and we can only welcome China’s withdrawal from that idea, which was still its position at the time of the Rwandan genocide.

    As for what a “legitimate demand” is, we can resonably assume that it was a “demand” that was “legitimate” but which was not being met, otherwise the UNSC would not have needed to issue a resolution demanding that the Libyan government meet it. Since we know that the Resolution was precipitated by Gaddafi’s men firing on peaceful Libyan protesters demanding basic freedoms, we can safely conclude that at least some of the things that the demonstrators who were fired on were demanding were “legitimate”.

    As for the Resolution only covering the Libyan Airforce and Libyan air defences, since you are the only one asserting this, and since neither the Chinese nor the Russian UN delegates have made this specific assertion, the burden of proof lies on you to say where Resolution 1973 specifically limits action to airstrikes against the Libyan AF and AD.

    The criticism so far has concentrated on whether the airstrikes are proportionate to the goal being pursued, whether they do not in fact endanger civilians instead of protecting them, whether they are necessary for the protection of civilians. I think that, if you believe that civilian casualties are being inflicted disproportionately to the goal of protecting civilians, this is an entirely reasonable goal to have.

    @Raventhorn –

    1) Do I gather that your position is not that airstrikes are forbidden by the resolution, but that they are allowed where necessary, and that you do not believe they are necessary in the present circumstances? This is an entirely reasonable position to have if you beleive that the airstrikes do not protect civilians or are disproportionate to that goal.

    2) The ICC only has the authority to remove a head of state if the UNSC gives it the authority to do so. Since the UNSC has demanded that Libya’s full cooperation with the ICC, this includes the execution of arrest warrants, even against the head of state.

    This, of course, begs the question of whether the UNSC itself has the power to topple leaders.

    Given that the UNSC was formed of the nations which banded together to topple Hitler and Tojo, and given the authority given to the UNSC under the UN Charter to take steps against threats to peace, it seems very uncontroversial to say that the UN can topple leaders where it determines that they are a threat to the peace.

    Since successive Resolutions, including Resolution 1970, have shown that a threat to the peace need not involve the crossing of borders, a leader’s actions can be sufficient grounds for his removal even if other nations do not come under direct attack or the risk of direct attack.

    It should also be remembered that the UNSC’s authority to protect the peace was something which was argued for vociferously by the ROC representative to the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization that formed the UN in light of the failure of the League of Nations during the Manchurian crisis. There was, at the time, some debate as to whether it should have rested with the general assembly.

    3) An abstention is not a “yes” vote, but by the same dint, an abstention is not a “no” vote, and an abstaining nation cannot claim to have opposed a Resolution when in fact they did not.

    It should also be remebered that all Resolutions are binding, even on those nations which abstain or cast a (non-veto) vote against them. Hence, whilst the Resolution did not require member states to use military force against Gaddafi, it did place specific restrictions on what nations could and could not do in their dealings with Libya, and these are now binding on all member states, Russia and China included.

    4) The US, the UK and France voted for the Resolution, but so did seven other nations, and other nations are supporting the strikes against Libya.

  30. March 24th, 2011 at 11:00 | #30

    “1) Do I gather that your position is not that airstrikes are forbidden by the resolution, but that they are allowed where necessary, and that you do not believe they are necessary in the present circumstances? This is an entirely reasonable position to have if you beleive that the airstrikes do not protect civilians or are disproportionate to that goal.”

    Let me put it this way simply:

    (1) Disproportionality of force, by definition, means, it was NOT “necessary”, ie. EXCESSIVE force.

    (2) NOT required to protect civilians, ALSO by definition, means, it was NOT “necessary”, ie. using force UNRELATED to the intended purpose.

    *I don’t know why you bother to twist the words and the logic to try to differentiate “necessary” from “disproportional” and unrelated to the goal.

  31. March 24th, 2011 at 11:11 | #31

    “2) The ICC only has the authority to remove a head of state if the UNSC gives it the authority to do so. Since the UNSC has demanded that Libya’s full cooperation with the ICC, this includes the execution of arrest warrants, even against the head of state.”

    You are just stretching and jumping logics here.

    An international body like ICC exists ONLY by cooperation treaty. See Rome Statute of ICC. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rome_Statute_of_the_International_Criminal_Court

    Israel, Sudan and the United States—have “unsigned” the Rome Statute, indicating that they no longer intend to become states parties and, as such, they have no legal obligations arising from their former representatives’ signature of the statute.

    45 United Nations member states have neither signed nor ratified the Rome Statute; some of them, including China and India, are considered by some to be critical to the success of the court.

    and by definition, ONLY has authority over those nations that CHOOSE/volunteer to cooperate. (US and all members of the UNSC have taken this legal position, in that US has EXPLICITLY refused to cooperate with actual or potential ICC investigations against any US personnel).

    Libya does not recognize ICC’s jurisdiction, and did not sign on the ICC treaty.

    By ICC’s limited mandate, it has no authority over those nations that are not members.

    UNSC cannot compel cooperation of Libya, any more than it can compel Libya to enter into the treaty.

  32. Charles Liu
    March 24th, 2011 at 15:07 | #32

    Even the military is admitting they are violating resolution 1973, by aiding the rebels who are not civilians:

    http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2011/03/22/military-admits-challenge-of-distinguishing-civilians-and-rebels-in-libya/

    “national security adviser Tom Donilon’s struggles to distinguish between “rebels,” who U.S. forces are not supposed to protect in Libya, and a “civilians,” who U.S. forces are charged with protecting”

  33. March 24th, 2011 at 16:05 | #33

    @Raventhorn –

    1) The difference between “not allowed” and “not, in my view, necessary” is an important one.

    2) Everything you say about the Rome treaty is true. However, the UN can give the ICC the authority to investigate, and to issue arrest warrants, even in countries which are not signatories of the Rome treaty, by demanding that they cooperate with an ICC investigation. Resolution 1970 makes it clear that the Resolution applies to all member states, including those which have not signed the Rome treaty.

    UN Resolutions are binding on member states. Member states are not free to dis-apply a UN Resolution under international law.

    The UNSC is empowered under the UN Charter to do anything it feels necessary to protect the peace. If this includes forcing a nation to sign a treaty (such as, for example, a peace treaty) it can do this. It can also compel compliance with a Resolution, and we have seen this on many occasions, either through sanctions, or via direct military action.

    Put simply, the binding effect of a UN Resolution would be meaningless if the UNSC were not empowered to enforce it. States most definitely can be forced to obey UN resolutions.

    @Charles Liu – Once again, “exceeding” is not “violating”. If you want to say that the US, UK, France, etc. have broken international law, you should say which one.

  34. r v
    March 24th, 2011 at 16:49 | #34

    (1) you show no logic in your difference. If “airstrike” is not “necessary”, then it doesn’t fall under the allowance of the Resolution. Simple.

    (2) “Demand” doesn’t mean Libya has to cooperate, because Libya did not sign up to cooperate with ICC any more than US did.

    Under the fundamental concept of ICC as a treaty organization, “demands” by UN cannot exceed what UN do not have in authority, ie. compel any nation to “cooperate” with a treaty that they are not party to.

    “The UNSC is empowered under the UN Charter to do anything it feels necessary to protect the peace”.

    Flat WRONG! There is no such authority for UNSC to violate sovereignty of a member state.

    “If this includes forcing a nation to sign a treaty (such as, for example, a peace treaty) it can do this.”

    Ridiculous! You cite no evidence for this ridiculous claim! UNSC has never had authority to do this! Name 1 nation that the UNSC compelled to sign a treaty!

    “It can also compel compliance with a Resolution, and we have seen this on many occasions, either through sanctions, or via direct military action.”

    Sanctions and Wars are not a compelled compliance. They are ultimatums and threats, and they are issued BECAUSE UNSC has no authority to compel compliance! (Frankly, even sanctions are borderline illegal, since UNSC itself has no means to enforce sanctions, and enforcement is entirely upon individual nations taking up on themselves).

    You make ridiculous logical leaps! If I threaten you with force and sanctions, does that legitimize my “authority” to make you cooperate with me?! Ridiculous!

  35. Charles Liu
    March 24th, 2011 at 18:33 | #35

    RV, It hypocrisy pure and simple.

    - Resolution 1973 preamble clearly stated dividing Libya’s sovereignty is not allowed, yet we don’t bomb the rebel incursions, effectively aiding the rebellion, dividing Libya’s sovereignty.

    - Resolution 1973 also stated all necessary measure to keep civilian safe. Yet civilian casualties from coalition bombing keeps coming out:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42260250/ns/world_news-africa

    Our media must think we are all dummies – hundreds of cruise missile and not one civilians were injured. Who are we trying to kid?

  36. silentvoice
    March 24th, 2011 at 20:31 | #36

    raventhorn2000 :
    UK is eager to go along with any war that US is in.
    US isn’t sure about this war, but want to make a show of its force just for the “humanitarian credit”.
    France? Well, the French Veto’ed in 2003 against Iraq action, but realized that there was a lot of profit in War, and does not want to be shut out of any new “contracts” like they did during the Bush War.

    The French are also afraid losing relevance. They have always punched above their weight in international affairs, and this time they are leading the effort to say “hey don’t forget us!”.

  37. March 25th, 2011 at 00:12 | #37

    1) RV – Nations which the UNSC has compelled to sign treaties? Half of the Resolutions issued by the UNSC require member states to agree to something, the most obvious examples being the sanctions brought against North Korea for conducting nuclear tests in Resolution 1718, the text of which reads:

    “3. Demands that the DPRK immediately retract its announcement of withdrawal from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons;

    “4. Demands further that the DPRK return to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, and underlines the need for all States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to continue to comply with their Treaty obligations;

    “5. Decides that the DPRK shall suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile programme and in this context re-establish its pre-existing commitments to a moratorium on missile launching;

    “6. Decides that the DPRK shall abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, shall act strictly in accordance with the obligations applicable to parties under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the terms and conditions of its International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safeguards Agreement (IAEA INFCIRC/403) and shall provide the IAEA transparency measures extending beyond these requirements, including such access to individuals, documentation, equipments and facilities as may be required and deemed necessary by the IAEA;

    “7. Decides also that the DPRK shall abandon all other existing weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programme in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner;

    “8. Decides that:

    (a) all Member States shall prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK, [a long list of sanctions]

    (My Emphasis)

    You can read the full text here:

    http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/sc8853.doc.htm

    Does the UNSC have the power to compel member states to sign treaties on threat of sanctions and military action? it is apparent from at least the above that it does.

    The UNSC has the power to make international law through the issuing of Resolutions as well as by other means. The Resolutions are therefore not merely “suggestions” or “advise”, such as the Council of the League of Nations was empowered to give, but actually binding. Sanctions, military action etc. are the means by which these Resolutions are enforced by the member states. The authority to do this comes from the UN Charter, of which all member states are signatory.

  38. raffiaflower
    March 25th, 2011 at 01:02 | #38

    It is the Hungarian peasant immigrant Sarkozy who’s afraid of losing relevance. He’s desperate to pick up where Tony Blair left off,as his master’s poodle – or, politely put, America’s go-to man in Europe. Go fetch!
    He runs an unpopular presidency but – according to a Malaysian artist who lives in Paris – will win the next election anyway due to a lack of strong candidates.
    The French may not approve much of their little Napoleon, but they do favour the Libyan adventure – the sting of the colonial retreat from North Africa in the 1960s smarts…

  39. March 25th, 2011 at 05:16 | #39

    “Does the UNSC have the power to compel member states to sign treaties on threat of sanctions and military action? it is apparent from at least the above that it does.”

    Obviously WRONG! None of those demands amounted to anything. Empty “demands” don’t mean a thing.

    FOARP,

    You are clearly making ridiculous arguments on legal issues that you know nothing about. Here are some of your glaring mistakes:

    (1) UN “compel treaty” by sanction or war?

    #1 rule of international treaty law: TREATIES signed under DURESS are invalid!

    Why would you make a ridiculous assertion that UN would contradict the above rule by “compelling” a nation into a treaty by threat of sanction or force?!

    (2) UN resolution 1970

    “5. Decides that the Libyan authorities shall cooperate fully with and provide
    any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor pursuant to this resolution
    and, while recognizing that States not party to the Rome Statute have no obligation
    under the Statute, urges all States and concerned regional and other international
    organizations to cooperate fully with the Court and the Prosecutor;

    (3) UN resolution 1970 sanctions are punitive, not ultimatums designed to compel Libya’s cooperation. There is no “or else”. Sanctions are there, whether Libya cooperates or not.

    (4) UN resolution 1973 no-fly zone is for the purpose of “protecting civilian lives”, not to compel Libya’s cooperation. No-fly zone is there, whether Libya cooperates or not.

    (5) “The UNSC has the power to make international law through the issuing of Resolutions as well as by other means. The Resolutions are therefore not merely “suggestions” or “advise”, such as the Council of the League of Nations was empowered to give, but actually binding. Sanctions, military action etc. are the means by which these Resolutions are enforced by the member states. The authority to do this comes from the UN Charter, of which all member states are signatory.”

    That’s plainly illogical.

    If the Resolution merely “urges”, and recognizes no obligation to cooperate, then it is hardly “binding”.

    And ICC can “investigate” all it wants. It doesn’t mean anything.

    I can “investigate” Libya for all anyone cares, it also doesn’t mean anything.

    You turn “investigate” into “indict”, “charges”. That’s just you stretching.

  40. March 25th, 2011 at 05:40 | #40

    UN resolution 1970

    “5. … while recognizing that States not party to the Rome Statute have no obligation
    under the Statute, urges all States and concerned regional and other international
    organizations to cooperate fully with the Court and the Prosecutor;”

    I think this says it all. UN resolution 1970 pretty much admitted/affirmed once again, that States not party to the Rome Statute have no obligations to the ICC.

  41. March 25th, 2011 at 07:04 | #41

    @Raventhorn – I did write out a long argument, but lost it because I forgot to enter the captcha (for some reason the browser doesn’t store the comment) so I’ll be brief:

    1) There is no concept of durress or co-ercion in international law as there is in criminal and contract law. To say otherwise would render almost every peace treaty in history void or voidable, as in war there is almost always a victor and a vanquished, and even a victor can claim that a treaty was signed under durress of the war continuing.

    Whilst the Germans before WW2, and the Chinese in the meantime assert that there is such a thing as an “unequal treaty”, the Germans abandoned this idea following their defeat in WW2, and neither the Chinese nor the Germans ever asserted that third-parties had entered into unequal treaties. It is clear, therefore, that even this dubious “unequal treaty” theory is not of general application.

    2) UN Resolution 1970 does not put countries under the statute, but requires the Libyan government’s co-operation. Libya has not been forced to sign the Rome Statute by this Resolution, but must comply with the ICC investigation, including the execution of arrest warrants.

    3) The “or else” in Resolution 1970 was in point 27:

    “27. Affirms that it shall keep the Libyan authorities’ actions under continuous review and that it shall be prepared to review the appropriateness of the measures contained in this resolution, including the strengthening, modification, suspension or lifting of the measures, as may be needed at any time in light of the Libyan authorities’ compliance with relevant provisions of this resolution;

    .

    4) Point 28 of Resolution 1973 made it clear that the sanction could be strengthened or lifted based on Libyan co-operation.

    “28. Reaffirms its intention to keep the actions of the Libyan authorities under continuous review and underlines its readiness to review at any time the measures imposed by this resolution and resolution 1970 (2011), including by strengthening, suspending or lifting those measures, as appropriate, based on compliance by the Libyan authorities with this resolution and resolution 1970 (2011).”

    5) The UNSC can “urge”, but it can also “decide”. The requirement that the Libyan Government co-operate with the ICC was a decision.

    As an example of how this works, consider Resolution 827, which founded the Internation Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which said:

    “4. Decides that all States shall cooperate fully with the International Tribunal and its organs in accordance with the present resolution and the Statute of the International Tribunal and that consequently all States shall take any measures necessary under their domestic law to implement the provisions of the present resolution and the Statute, including the obligation of States to comply with requests for assistance or orders issued by a Trial Chamber under Article 29 of the Statute [i.e., the section requiring states to comply with arrest warrants issued by the ICTY];

    When Serbai failed to execute arrest warrants issued by the ICTY, the UNSC issued Resolution 1207, which said:

    “Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

    1. Reiterates its decision that all States shall cooperate fully with the Tribunal and its organs in accordance with resolution 827 (1993) and the Statute of the Tribunal, including the obligation of States to comply with requests for assistance or orders issued by a Trial Chamber under Article 29 of the Statute, to execute arrest warrants transmitted to them by the Tribunal, and to comply with its requests for information and investigations;

    2. Calls again upon the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and all other States which have not already done so, to take any measures necessary under their domestic law to implement the provisions of resolution 827 (1993) and the Statute of the Tribunal, and affirms that a State may not invoke provisions of its domestic law as justification for its failure to perform binding obligations under international law;

    3. Condemns the failure to date of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to execute the arrest warrants issued by the Tribunal against the three individuals referred to in the letter of 8 September 1998, and demands the immediate and unconditional execution of those arrest warrants, including the transfer to the custody of the Tribunal of those individuals;”

    There you have it, at least according to the UNSC, it is empowered to require states to co-operate with international court regardless of domestic law, and its resolutions are binding.

    In Resolution 1970 the UNSC decided that the Libyan government must co-operate with the ICC prosecutor. Failure to do so, including through the failure to execute arrest warrants, ia a breach of international law. 1970 differs from 827 in that it did not require member states to enact the Rome statute, but the burden it placed on at least the Libyan government to co-operate is binding.

  42. March 25th, 2011 at 08:11 | #42

    FOARP,

    You are “drilling the bull’s horn”, as Chinese say.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=ZboLAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA26&lpg=PA26&dq=treaty+duress+invalid+international+law&source=bl&ots=XQO4_1Uahl&sig=OtAHkRvnNAzw-x0TY2UGkrRS7Tc&hl=en&ei=Vq6MTcP6BMuB0QHR8Pm1Cw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=treaty%20duress%20invalid%20international%20law&f=false

    “There is no concept of durress or co-ercion in international law as there is in criminal and contract law.”

    you are flat WRONG! I can’t say that enough times apparently, since you are just making arguments without any factual basis for support.

    “Whilst the Germans before WW2, and the Chinese in the meantime assert that there is such a thing as an “unequal treaty”, the Germans abandoned this idea following their defeat in WW2, and neither the Chinese nor the Germans ever asserted that third-parties had entered into unequal treaties. It is clear, therefore, that even this dubious “unequal treaty” theory is not of general application.”

    Unequal treaty is the legal basis from which, MANY of pre-WWII treaties of Colonialism were invalidated or “renegotiated”.

    Without the “duress” basis, UK would never had any rationale to negotiate the “return” of HK back to China.

    The whole point was that China did not recognize the validity of UK’s treaty holding of HK.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transfer_of_sovereignty_over_Hong_Kong

    “However, the PRC took a contrary position: not only did the PRC wish for the New Territories, on lease until 1997, to be placed under the PRC’s jurisdiction, it also refused to recognise the “unfair and unequal treaties” under which Hong Kong Island and Kowloon had been ceded to Britain in perpetuity.[1] Consequently, the PRC recognised only the British administration in Hong Kong, but not British sovereignty.”

    “Dubious”?? I don’t think so, PRC made that legal position plenty clear. You are making sh*t up.

  43. March 25th, 2011 at 08:15 | #43

    “2) UN Resolution 1970 does not put countries under the statute, but requires the Libyan government’s co-operation. Libya has not been forced to sign the Rome Statute by this Resolution, but must comply with the ICC investigation, including the execution of arrest warrants.”

    You are talking out of both end of yourself now. The resolution specifically said, “recognizing that States not party to the Rome Statute have no obligation under the Statute…”

    NO OBLIGATION under the statute of ICC means NOT required to cooperate with ICC.

    What logic are you using to say Libya still has obligation to cooperate, when it is explicitly stated in the Resolution that it, as NOT party to the Rome Statute, has NO OBLIGATION?!

    How do you define “NO OBLIGATION” into “must comply”???

  44. March 25th, 2011 at 09:07 | #44

    @Raventhorn – RE: the book, errrr. . . you do know that things have moved on a bit since 1906, don’t you? And that all I can see from that link is that the book doesn’t have a heading on the subject of duress?

    RE: Hong Kong – I guess it’s also worth noting that the UK never conceded that the treaty of Nanjing and the other Opium Wars treaties were void or voidable. That was the Chinese position. As far as the UK delegation was concerned, the new agreement merely superceded the previous ones, similar to the return of Weihaiwei and the other concession ports to the R.O.C. during the 30′s and 40′s.

    Tell you what, why don’t you go and find a genuine reference supporting your position? I would love to read an actual piece on the concept of duress in international law, even in Chinese. So far all I have been able to find are pieces on the effect of duress on war crimes trials (i.e., Soldiers claiming to have been “just following orders” or afraid of execution if they failed to obey).

  45. March 25th, 2011 at 09:20 | #45

    @Raventhorn – 2) No obligation under the statute, but under the Resolution. Hence, in this particular matter that is covered by the Resolution, Libya is required to co-operate. In other matters not covered by the Resolution but covered by the Statute, Libya is under no obligation to co-operate.

    The UNSC makes international law through binding resolutions. Therefore, when the UNSC “decides” that Libya must co-operate with the ICC in their investigation of the actions which precipitated Resolution 1970, this becomes binding on Libya, even if Libyan national law conflicts with this. The case of Resolution 1207, where the UNSC explicitly stated that “a State may not invoke provisions of its domestic law as justification for its failure to perform binding obligations under international law [i.e., the decision in Resolution 827]” is quite sufficient to illustrate this point.

    You know, I actually quite enjoy these discussions. It is very interesting to explore how exactly international law has developed over the last 10-20 years in this field.

  46. March 25th, 2011 at 10:20 | #46

    What is International Law? Is it like Intellectual “Property” – i.e. a misnomer – allowing for hegemonic policy to be pushed around in the name of “law”?

    International Law is ultimately about International Politics – International Diplomacy. Some might want to use its standing as “law” to justify normatively diplomatic actions – but that is ultimately backward thinking. International Law serves diplomacy not the other way around. (some might say it’s diplomacy that must conform to law, that law constrains unbridled diplomacy – i.e. power play – but I suspect that sort of talk is brandied around only because it’s convenient, because the law currently serve the interests /vision / norms of those who are in power, when in reality, laws always evolve to satisfy the demands of realpolitik)

    As for the developments of International Law over the last 10-20 years, I don’t think of those as “developments” as “advancements” per se. Those merely reflect the framework that best fit the world order of the last 10-20 years. As the distribution of global political power re-balances in the coming decades – as the voices of more customs, cultures and peoples previously silenced get increasingly heard – so will International Law.

  47. March 25th, 2011 at 11:06 | #47

    @Allen – Ten years ago I would, by and large, have agreed with everything you have just written. However, the events of the past ten years, particularly those surrounding the war in Iraq, as well as the development of the European Union, have convinced me that we must develop a strong legal framework for containing disputes between nations.

    I also believe that the developments of the last 20 years have only been possible because conditions have allowed them to do so. I hope, however, that they are indicative of future developments. Particularly, whilst I have grave doubts about the wisdom of Resolution 1973, I whole-heartedly endorse the unanimous decision behind Resolution 1970.

    [EDIT] I guess I should also say, that I also hope that the UNSC doesn’t retreat from these principles. Whilst, as you say, it seems likely that countries will simply adopt the position most convenient to them, they cannot do so without exposing themselves as hypocritical. In the end, it is the people of the world who must ensure that they don’t abandon the ideals that they have committed themselves to.

  48. March 25th, 2011 at 11:22 | #48

    @FOARP #47,

    I have a question for you: do you think International Law applies predominantely to states or do you think it’s a mechanism for devolving centers of powers around states to International Organizations? If the latter – what’s your view of the role of democracy in international governance, which is currently dominanted by NGOS and bureacrats and diplomats…

  49. March 25th, 2011 at 14:33 | #49

    @Allen – People want to be ruled by their own. Chinese want be ruled by Chinese, Scots by Scots, Japanese by Japanese, Jordanians by Jordanians, the very last thing they want to be told is that they can’t do something because foreigners say they can’t. For this very reason the nation-state is not going anywhere, as it is the best way for a people to find the expression of their national will and conditions.

    All the same, if nations are to export violence to other nations, there must be some forum, with set rules and the ability to set meaningful precedent with binding decisions so that there is some form of consistency. Sovereignty must be shared through international organisations to the minimal extent necessary to allow this.

    Moreover, many on this forum may disagree, but there are some very basic standards which everyone on this planet can agree to. Genocide is one thing that everyone whose mind is not blinded by hatred can agree should never be allowed. Nowadays the UN uses the flow of refugees and other consequences to find genocide a threat to international peace, but this is actually a proxy for abhorrence of the thing itself, an abhorrence which is an expression of the horror which everyone in the world has of mass killing of innocent people. Sovereignty must also, therefore, be shared through international bodies to the extent necessary to allow this, whilst allowing a democratic process through which the minimum standards to which all nations can agree can be decided on, and develop over time.

    International law is, or at least in my view should be, the mechanism by which states share sovereignty to the extent required to ensure that some level of order and predictability govern in the relations between states, and to maintain minimal standards in world affairs. Rather than devolution to a broader decision making body or bilateral relations being the true subject of international law, it is, or should be concerned with the sharing of sovereignty through an international body by a community of peers.

    The nations of the world should make the decisions, not a higher body, since it would be easy for such a body to become tyrannical. Likewise, third parties must be given a say in bilateral relations within very narrowly defined areas, as they may find the same standards developed in those bilateral relations applied to them.

    The question is how to achieve this. In the United States, my understanding is that any power which is not explicitly given to the federal government remains with the states. In the European Union, on the other hand, an ad hoc system has developed where some powers explicitly remain with the member states, and others are given to the Union bodies for certain purposes, and still others are the subject of dispute, and are argued out on a case by case basis. I don’t know how other power-sharing structures in the world work, but I would not be surprised if they were some variation of either of these models.

    The European system has the advantage of allowing sovereignty sharing to develop over time, the American system has the advantage of giving greater certainty. No doubt as regional bodies develop in other parts of the world we will also see East and South Asian systems, African systems, and South American systems develop.

    The one thing that is certain is that the current system seen in the UN is imperfect, anachronistic, and concentrates much power in the hands of a nuclear club. It is, however, the only world-wide international body we have, and has done a much better job of maintaining peace and containing conflict that its predecessor or individual nations by themselves could have.

    I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

  50. r v
    March 25th, 2011 at 14:43 | #50

    “RE: the book, errrr. . . you do know that things have moved on a bit since 1906, don’t you? And that all I can see from that link is that the book doesn’t have a heading on the subject of duress?”

    I would love to see ANY reference you can come up with at all on that subject, rather than your own empty assertions.

    “I guess it’s also worth noting that the UK never conceded that the treaty of Nanjing and the other Opium Wars treaties were void or voidable.”

    Not worth noting at all, BUT SURE, some day, UK might have to pay all that money back.

    AT LEAST in territory question, YOU were WRONG on what China asserted!! END OF STORY!

  51. r v
    March 25th, 2011 at 14:56 | #51

    “2) No obligation under the statute, but under the Resolution.”

    Are you going with the Chicken or the Egg logic?

    HELLO?!! The Resolution just REAFFIRMED “NO OBLIGATION”.

    Are you suggesting that the Resolution 1970 just put EVERY NATION under ICC jurisdiction?! INCLUDING US and China??

    (Afterall, EVERY NATION need to “cooperate” under 1970). So, I guess hauling OBAMA into ICC might be in the future??!! Ridiculous! I doubt US, China, Russia would take your position on this.

    *Yeah, I know you are just sh*tting your opinion on this all over the place, with literally NO support, just your own wild interpretations.

    But frankly, it’s old and tired.

    (And, your “might is right” type argument, ie. UN can “compel treaties”, is showing your positively Medieval true color. Talk about OLD arguments, your rationale dates back to the 1400′s Europe).

  52. March 25th, 2011 at 16:41 | #52

    @RV – 1) It is you who are asserting that a principle of duress exists in international law which would render the conclusion of a treaty mandated by a UN Resolution under threat of sanction invalid, and hence it is on you that the burden of proof must fall.

    My advice would be to start with Article 52 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1961, and to consider whether a UN Resolution can be considered to be against “. . . the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations” when it is conducted in pursuit of those principle. Since a UN Resolution carried out under Chapter 7 of the Charter cannot conceivably be against the Charter, no concept of duress can exist that would render treaties imposed by the UNSC under threat of sanction invalid.

    As a corollary to this. You might also consider whether the threat of being forced to pay a fine or go to jail counts as duress and thus exempts people subject to fines or jail sentences from obeying the law.

    2) The resolution said that the UNSC has decided (note the word, “decide”) that Libya must co-operate with the ICC. It is not a chicken/egg issue, but a straight-forward matter of construction.

    Resolution 1970 did not put every nation under the ICC, but it did put every nation under Resolution 1970, and Resolution 1970 obliged Libya to co-operate with the ICC investigation. This can easily be seen from the following passage:

    “Decides that the Libyan authorities shall cooperate fully with and provide
    any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor pursuant to this resolution . . .”

    The UNSC has not put any nation under the Rome statute, it has merely obliged Libya to fully co-operate with the ICC. To be “full” this co-operation must include the execution of arrest warrants, as with Resolutions 827 and 1207. The latter section is merely there for the purpose of reminding member states that they are, other than as required by for the purposes of the ICC’s investigation, not required to co-operate with the ICC by the resolution.

  53. March 25th, 2011 at 16:56 | #53

    @FOARP #49,

    Thanks for sharing your thought.

    I think you already anticipated a large part of why I asked the questions in #48.

    I, too, undertand International Law to be a regime that regulates states, not people (although a world gov’t is not necessarily bad in my mind, if it’s truly a world gov’t that is just and fair – loaded terms I know – to everyone). All the fears people here in the West have regarding a “democratic deficit” in defering to International Law can be re-formulated, from my perspective, as a sovereignty deficit. As you know, I believe national governance – “democratic” or not – is still the primary guarantor of human rights in the world, not NGOs, churches, civic institutions, media, U.N., etc..

    In #47, you wrote:

    In the end, it is the people of the world who must ensure that they don’t abandon the ideals that they have committed themselves to.

    I do not know what this “ideal” might be. Is it multilateralism? If so, it appears to provide at most a semblance, not any substance, of any “ideal.”

    The current Libya episode provides just one such example. I can’t help but see this Libyan internvation as something driven by the “West” (France, UK, and U.S. primarily). Yes, the West did get the Arab world to ride along (albeit in a very limited way) – but not because of some international sense of peace or good but because of long-time politicial fissures that exist between Saudi and Libyan gov’t. The West did get China and Russia to back off – but again not because China and Russia saw this as good for world peace, but because neither has strong interests in Libya nor see the benefits of confronting the West over Libya. Ultimately, UNSC 1973 is just the result realpolik coated in the nicities of legal mandate, nothing more.

    If multilateralism is not the “ideal” you speak of, what is?

    To be sure, all nations have a stake in an International Regime. Cooperation provides value – a win-win -for everyone. Weak nations in particular also have a stake because it provides some buttress against pure unchecked power politics. Strong nations also have a stake because it provides some efficiencies in projecting power. But the fundamental way the system works is by power. When weak nations violate the law, strong nations can come down strong on the weak (including making war) waving the banner of law. When strong nations violate the law, the strong nations not only get away with it, but often also have the resources (legions of lawyers) to reframe the issues or change the law in a way that reduces any consequences of immoral behavior.

    Now let me briefly touch upon the most nagging point you brought up: shared soveriengty. (This is a point separate from merits of cooperation between states, which is to be had without impinging on sovereignty.) You wrote: surely there are some values and norms we can all agree upon, values and norms so powerful that they trump sovereignty, our common abhorance against genocide being one example.

    Not to nitpick, but what is genocide?

    Genocide can be defined as the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of a people. But what is “in part” – 100 out of 1000, 1000 out of 1 million, 100,000 out of 100 million? And what is a “people” – any ethnic, cultural, racial, religious, national (at that level, it really means any political group, any group that is successful enough to define an “ethnicity” or form a “nation”) group? Without a clear definition, the powerful can run circles around the weak by playing with the notion whenever it is convenient. I mean, without a clear definition, the dropping of the bomb in Hiroshima, the American Civil War, the operations in Afghanistana and Iraq can all be deemed to be genocidal (destruction of some group of “people”) – yet we don’t…. (is what happened between North and South Sudan civil war or “genocide” … or is the killing in Darfur a conflict over resources or “genocide“…)

    My problem with genocide (or any other norm held to trump sovereingty) is that without a good moral definition, it becomes but a legal tool for realpolik lawyering as discussed above. It reminds of when I and my friend argue over morality and religion, and someone will inevitably bring up, surely you believe in god, karma, or some eternal spirit? Problem is even if I did, it would not necessarily be their god: i.e. Christ, Allah, Muhammad, or maybe even the Dalai Lama. Just because I believe in a god doesn’t me I have to submit to a particular god or norms. Thus, even if we can all agree that “genocide” is bad, without a clear definition of what it is, one person’s just war can be another’s genocide and vice versa. Genocide as a notion inherently must be applied selectively and discriminately (lest all war and military conflicts be deemed “genocidal”), and as such it can all too often become a tool for realpolitiking in the guise of moral righteousness.

    In light of the proven, important role national governments traditionally play to provide for the people and the ease by which aggression can always be couched in the name of doing good (colonialism, crusade, and all sorts of “holy wars” have all been justified on grounds of doing humanity some good), I submit that we must value sovereignty over nebulous notions of common humanity.

  54. r v
    March 26th, 2011 at 06:09 | #54

    “1) It is you who are asserting that a principle of duress exists in international law which would render the conclusion of a treaty mandated by a UN Resolution under threat of sanction invalid, and hence it is on you that the burden of proof must fall.”

    I gave you the proof, a VERY OLD proof indeed.

    If that’s not good enough for you, you cite your evidence that say “treaty under DURESS invalid” is no longer a proper legal principle.

    So far, you have cited nothing for your Medieval “Might is Right” argument, ie. UN can “compel treaties”?!

    * and your silly example of threat of “forced to pay fine”??? Are you nuts? We are talking about Sovereign-Sovereign treaties, NOT Sovereign-subject relationship.

    If you want to extend to that logic, are you implying that UN has authority over ALL nations by threat of force?

    * AGAIN, I say that shows your true Medieval colors. “Might is Right”?! OK, If that’s the extent of your legal knowledge, you are misapplying Vienna Convention, UN Resolution, and whatever you think you are talking about.

  55. r v
    March 26th, 2011 at 06:14 | #55

    “2) The resolution said that the UNSC has decided (note the word, “decide”) that Libya must co-operate with the ICC. It is not a chicken/egg issue, but a straight-forward matter of construction.
    Resolution 1970 did not put every nation under the ICC, but it did put every nation under Resolution 1970, and Resolution 1970 obliged Libya to co-operate with the ICC investigation. This can easily be seen from the following passage:”

    WRONG! The resolution clearly REQUIRED ALL nations to cooperate with the sanctions and investigations, according to YOUR LOGIC!!

    AFTERALL, US was AIDING Libya at the time of the shooting of civilians, some of the weapons were probably made in US.

    “Necessary assistance to the Court”? According to whom?

    I guess if US/UK can decide what is “necessary” in the “no-fly zone”, Libya can decide what is “necessary” to cooperate.

    That is YOUR logic.

  56. r v
    March 26th, 2011 at 06:36 | #56

    US doesn’t submit to ICC, even though it initiates an ICC investigation of Libya.

    And if Libya investigation leads to US, will US submit to ICC investigation for its involvement in Libya? Will Bush stand trial for his part of aiding Libya? Afterall, Bush made agreements with Libya, in exchange for Libya’s abandoning of Nuclear weapons program.

    * Duplicity is not new to Imperialistic “Might is Right” Doctrine.

  57. r v
    March 26th, 2011 at 06:55 | #57

    “My advice would be to start with Article 52 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1961, and to consider whether a UN Resolution can be considered to be against “. . . the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations” when it is conducted in pursuit of those principle. Since a UN Resolution carried out under Chapter 7 of the Charter cannot conceivably be against the Charter, no concept of duress can exist that would render treaties imposed by the UNSC under threat of sanction invalid.”

    My advice would be to start by getting a LAW DEGREE! And then you can tell me more about conflicts in legal issues.

    You see the conflicts, but you pick 1 side and brush aside the other. WITH WHAT principles or evidence for support?

    “DURESS” is an OLD valid principle of International Law.

    FROM 1984, on Vienna Convention’s discussion of “DURESS”.

    STILL VALID concept!!

    http://books.google.com/books?id=igcNAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA176&lpg=PA176&dq=vienna+convention+duress&source=bl&ots=mGmSnz5WTU&sig=icD_YGxEP1TZNA-Isxz9h_cgmuk&hl=en&ei=seyNTdWUDIOI0QGqlICiCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=vienna%20convention%20duress&f=false

    “to consider whether a UN Resolution can be considered to be against “. . . the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations” when it is conducted in pursuit of those principle.”

    Your position is “End justifies the Means” here now??!!! On top of “Might is Right” to “compel treaties” on non-signing states??!!

    What principles of International Law are you pursuing exactly?! NAME IT!

    DURESS is the OLD PRINCIPLE that says you can’t compel treaties by force.

    What legal principle of international law are you pursuing?!

    Nope, you are just pursuing a justification that has NOTHING to do with INTERNATIONAL law.

  58. r v
    March 26th, 2011 at 07:05 | #58

    “5. Decides that the Libyan authorities shall cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor pursuant to this resolution and, while recognizing that States not party to the Rome Statute have no obligation under the Statute, urges all States and concerned regional and other international organizations to cooperate fully with the Court and the Prosecutor;

    I guess US just submitted itself to ICC for perpetuity, according to FOARP’s logic, because the UNSC resolution says to cooperate, they must cooperate “FULLY”. Otherwise, that whole “cooperate fully” bit would mean nothing at all, to carry out the principles of international law.

    Hey, wait, didn’t Gaddafi call Obama “his son”?! Let ICC investigate that corruption link. Obama is hiding money for Gaddafi, or don’t want to pay it back?

    :)

  59. March 26th, 2011 at 11:52 | #59

    @r v,

    You’ve made several good points. I however especially like this:

    We are talking about Sovereign-Sovereign treaties, NOT Sovereign-subject relationship.

    Many people like to argue so and so is “law” until you ask them to cite the source of law. They usually then hand wave and point to some charter when read in context of certain customary law, practice, or norm.

    It’s important to note how high a bar customary law, practice, or norm is. After all, “[w]e are talking about Sovereign-Sovereign treaties, NOT Sovereign-subject relationship.”

    It’s not sufficient that some activist, some politician, some NGO, some officials in the UN, or some scholars say so. It’s not sufficient some judges or some Court say so in some case since all courts (if you want to call them that) have very limited jurisdiction and serve very limited purposes. “International court” judges might be more accurately called administrative bureaucrats – they exist to serve a role within the international polity as needed by the international polity – not to make law that generally bind on the sovereigns legally as a matter of law – outside of the context of the background political reality. It’s not even sufficient that the U.S. or a large number of European Union members – or members of the NATO alliance – or members of the entire Western alliance say so. For if that alone makes customary law, then we might as well just say the mighty makes the law and be done with “law.”

    Now, I am not saying that experiences of European members or U.S. do not matter. They do – but only as experiences that other traditions can draw from. It’s one thing to say, hey in the West, we do this when countries within Europe have conflicts. China – what do you think? Is this something you want to adopt to help you resolve conflicts you might have with others. This is very different from saying, hey this is what Western nations, Western scholars, and Western institutions say is law, hence everyone else must obey those norms because we say they are law … backed up by our combined annual military spending (U.S., France, UK) of over 50% of the world’s military budget (on a per capita basis, that’s about 20 times more than the rest of the world).

  60. March 26th, 2011 at 12:15 | #60

    @rv – Please yourself. To be frank, I think this discussion went south right after you started citing the contents page of a book from 1906 as demonstration of a principle which was not even mentioned in it. I am happy to hear that, like me, you have legal qualifications, but I would advise you not to rely only on them as proof of ability.

    @Allen – The state is the guarantor of rights, however states can and do fail to meet their promises to their people. I doubt that NGOs at least claim to be better guarantors than governments, but this is not their purpose, which is instead as a watchdog. International bodies can also perform a not dissimilar function, but with the added power of being able to give teeth to their declaration. International courts can also act as a final court of appeal in instances where nation states have failed to live up to their commitments to their citizens.

    Here in Europe, we have two main bodies through which European affairs are managed.

    The first is the European Union, the main purpose of which is ensuring and regulating the four freedoms (movement of goods, services, capital, and people between states). To accomplish this it requires a whole cavalcade of bureaucratic offices, courts, committees and decision bodies. There is much that is wrong with it – I think the EU must be the original source of the phrase “democratic deficit”, but I am surprised to see that Americans use it also. However, once you have experienced the difference between being able to move between and work in as many countries as you like, and the whole bureaucratic rigmarole of registration, visas, and immigration found in much of the rest of the world, you have to admit that the EU way has definite advantages.

    The second is the Council of Europe, a rather meaningless body except that it is the home of the European Court of Human Rights, the court of final appeal in Europe for human rights. The main success of the Court, in my view, has been to act as a steadying hand on governments when they might otherwise have been tempted to resort to abuse, and to act as an independent source of justice against national excesses. The “murder on the rocks” case is a good example of this. In the UK, the decisions of this court must be taken into consideration by judges, and the European Convention on Human Rights has been given legal effect in UK law.

    Both the EU, and the Council of Europe, were formed essentially voluntarily, through consultation between their members. This does not mean, though, that these member states can easily remove themselves from either body, nor, really, should it. Solemn commitments should not be thrown aside merely because of temporary circumstances, just as they should not be committed to for temporary gain. It is understandable that states should be able to remove themselves from a body if the character of that body changes in ways which are unacceptable, but otherwise the position of the UN that no state can voluntarily withdraw from the UN is a good one.

    I do not think that a world government is likely to be acheived within the next century, but I hope that some worldwide (and therefore necessarily minimal) equivalent to either the EU or the ECHR, tailored to fit world circumstances, decided on democratically, can eventually be developed.

    As for Resolution 1970, I welcome it because it showed, for the first time, the agreement of all the members of the UNSC that the actions of a leader within the borders of their own country were not beyond sanction where they were of such a nature to be abhorrent to the world at large. I do not so much support it out of multi-lateralism, as out of opposition to the idea that state sovereignty trumps human rights in any and every circumstance.

    At the very least, the UNSC, by passing a Resolution under Chapter VII censuring Gaddafi’s actions, has told us such acts are, in their view, a threat to world peace. The origin of criminal law in England is that certain acts constitute a “breach of the King/Queen’s peace”, and it is interesting to think that a similar concept may develop within the UN.

    We have argued at great length about the meaning of the term Genocide, a term which I’ll admit is often applied to thing which by no means should qualify as such. I’ve recently also been getting some stick for my criticism of Eamonn Fingleton’s assertion that the breaching of the Huayuankou dams under Chiang Kai-Shek’s orders during the Japanese invasion was a “massacre” worst than that inflicted on Nanjing.

    Would it help things if I changed the term to “mass murder”? I think we both know the meaning of the word “murder” and can agree that where the state carries out murderous acts in large numbers, that this is abhorrent, and may require collective censure and action. Yes, of course his still leaves the problem of what “mass” murder might be, and there is still the problem of countries simply using the bad behaviour of a leader to carry out an attack on his country – but is this not what collective decision making is there to avoid?

    Finally, given that the alternative to actions like Resolution 1970 is to sit by idly whilst innocent people are killed, and that to me this seem almost as bad as being complicit in such acts, I will put my hope in the idea that “nebulous” human rights can develop in to something more solid. The best way in which it can do so is through collective negotiation and decision making by leaders enjoying mandates given to them by informed populaces. I do not think this will be acheived now or in the near future, but gradually over time, and I hope that Resolution 1970 is a sign-post pointing towards such a future.

  61. March 26th, 2011 at 12:23 | #61

    @FOARP,

    You and I both know we disagree a lot on politics. But regarding law, my fundamental disagreement is over the purpose of laws. I see them as tools for further manipulation – Libya being a prime example. To me, the Libya intervention is motivated by political gain, not by what is good and fair and definitely not for world peace. You don’t…

    I do agree with you on one (important) thing though: I do believe there are limits to sovereignty. Nation states are really just figments of imagination of “International Law” anyways. While it’s an important concept (the most important single concept in International Law in my opinion), it’s not the end all and be all (since International Law is not the end all and be all). But beyond that, we – for now – just don’t see eye to eye.

    Figuratively speaking: we both believe there is a god that transcends sovereignty – but we just don’t agree on what that is – or what it might look like.

  62. raventhorn2000
    March 26th, 2011 at 13:14 | #62

    “@rv – Please yourself. To be frank, I think this discussion went south right after you started citing the contents page of a book from 1906 as demonstration of a principle which was not even mentioned in it. I am happy to hear that, like me, you have legal qualifications, but I would advise you not to rely only on them as proof of ability.”

    Speak for yourself.

    Most of Western laws are from WAY before 1906 sources.

    While you are arguing nothing but “Might is Right” and “End justifies the Means”, which are both from Medieval times, and both LONG condemned as arguments of barbaric times of Europe.

    If that’s the basis of your imaginary authority for the UN, I don’t need much more than 1906 sources.

    You want me to cite some thing new, against your Medieval arguments/rationale? Why would anyone sane bother?

  63. March 26th, 2011 at 17:31 | #63

    @rv2k #62,

    I contend that the only real significant development of International Law since 1906 occurred after WWII and on only two fronts: 1.) global institutionalization (U.N., WTO, etc.); 2.) a struggle to redefine a modern set of International Norms as a response to the holocaust (the never again problem) and imperialism / colonialism (something that is obviously morally repugnant).

    As far as 1 is concerned, it resulted in the building of institutions that facilitate cooperation such as the UN. Nation states agree to invest in institutions that might sometime be perceived as a loss in the short-term but that in general – provides over the long-term – a win-win for all. This is not a “surrender” of rights. It is about a “choice” by nation states that has to be continually nurtured – not the creation of an ultra sovereign.

    The creation of these new institutions created a great opportunity: the inclusion of many new states which were former colonies as full-fledged members in these institutions helped to create the “impression” of a new world order that has moved on beyond imperialism / colonialism (I put “impression” in quotes because as case after case has shown, the Libyan case being the most recent, the world is substantively not fair, substantively run by the powerful).

    As far as 2 is concerned, the search for a response to the Hitler/Holocaust problem has devolved into the idea it is the most significant problem facing the human race and that “human rights” and democracy is the solution to all human problems – a simplification is then subsequently politicized – in my opinion – to support political interference by the West throughout the world (see, e.g., http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2009/01/on-the-mind-numbing-sensationalistic-use-of-emotionally-charged-words-in-international-politics/ – a post you probably have read already).

    The search for a legal basis of why colonialism is morally repugnant has devolved into the idea that only democratically elected or ethnically homogeneous states are legitimate. (see also http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2008/05/is-self-determination-a-tool-for-liberation-in-todays-world/). This has subsequently been politicized to support political interference by the West in the name of “self determination.”

    This new neo colonization thus has taken 2 forms, through selective and one-sided application of a narrow conception of human rights and democracy around the world and through selective and one-sided support of separatists / rebel movements around the world whenever politically expedient

    I don’t think any development since 1906 has taken away from the fundamentals of International Law as a framework for sovereigns to work together to promote justice, peace, and stability. Sure the European Union may represent a sort of (mild) ultra sovereign (but that’s the choice of Europe). It is not necessarily a model – and definitely does not represent any sort of customary norm or law – that the rest of the world must follow.

  64. raventhorn2000
    March 26th, 2011 at 20:00 | #64

    I agree, Allen,

    1 sided application of human rights devolved into the “End justifies the Means” sort of old Medieval justifications for wars.

    It’s obvious that US has no intention of submitting to ICC/UN’s authority, and yet it flies UN’s banner when it feels like it, even without UN resolutions.

    That is not international law, and it does not promote peace.

    Indeed, Western military interventionism will ultimately erode UN’s authority, as more and more countries will begin to challenge UN resolutions for the interpretations and jurisdictional authorities.

    *Just look at ICC’s own records:

    23 indicted total in ICC’s history, 14 refused to brought before court, 0 convicted, 1 acquitted.

    *African Union has already criticized ICC for “double standards”, and called on its members to withdraw from ICC.

  65. March 26th, 2011 at 20:38 | #65

    I liked Oli’s post on a similar topic.

    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2008/10/on-human-rights-intervention-and-the-international-order/

    I don’t think he necessarily offer a good soln (see comment) but I still liked his treatment. The comment discussions are long, but also has some interesting thoughts as well.

  66. March 26th, 2011 at 22:32 | #66

    Allen – Oli said it very well. Until those questions are addressed, we are stuck in a power dominated world.

  67. March 27th, 2011 at 01:36 | #67

    I feel like puking upon reading this (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2061112,00.html):

    As Muammar Gaddafi’s troops closed in on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi on March 15, President Barack Obama put the fate of the city’s 1 million residents in the hands of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. At a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) that afternoon, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, leery of another war in the Middle East, told Obama a U.N.-proposed no-fly zone would not stop Gaddafi from taking the town. Rice, participating via video teleconference from New York City, said she could get a tougher resolution allowing broader intervention — including the ability to attack armor and ground troops — that would do the trick.

    Obama gave Rice the go-ahead — and in doing so, put her on the spot. Rice, 46, was a staffer at the NSC in 1994 when the world failed to stop the genocide in Rwanda. A participant in deliberations on the crisis, she later said the White House failed to see the larger moral imperative to act and told Harvard scholar Samantha Power, now an Obama NSC aide, “I swore to myself that if I ever faced such a crisis again, I would come down on the side of dramatic action, going down in flames if that was required.”

    The question of humanitarian intervention — going to war not for imminent national-security needs but to save innocent lives — is one that continues to vex the governments of the U.S. and other democracies. Rice had come to believe that the 2003 war in Iraq had set back the cause of humanitarian intervention by discrediting U.S. military missions abroad and making it harder to rally consensus to stop a massacre. But against the backdrop of the Arab Spring — and given both Arab leaders’ hostility toward Gaddafi and the determination by France and Britain that intervention in Libya was in their interests — Gaddafi’s violence, and his threat of more to come, placed the question of when to intervene to save lives squarely on the table.

    Rice, a Rhodes scholar and experienced diplomat, is not the only one in the Administration with deep-seated ideas on this issue. Power, a former journalist and academic, wrote the definitive history of America’s often timid response to genocide in the 20th century. Obama said in his Nobel Prize speech that “force can be justified on humanitarian grounds … [because] inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more-costly intervention later.”

    Rice and her allies on the U.N. Security Council duly delivered a resolution — a strong one, authorizing “all necessary measures” to defend Libyan civilians — and the first air sorties, by the French air force, flew on March 19. On March 21, Obama said, “The core principle that has to be upheld” is when “there is a potential humanitarian crisis about to take place … we can’t simply stand by with empty words; that we have to take some sort of action.” Thanks to the advocacy of Rice and others, Obama saved the people of Benghazi from an uncertain fate at Gaddafi’s hands and re-established the doctrine of humanitarian intervention. But whether armed intervention can provide a quick peace in a troubled land remains a proposition in search of a proof.

    More opiate for the masses…

  68. raventhorn2000
    March 27th, 2011 at 13:00 | #68

    I must again return to my “moralism” vs. “subjective rationalism” arguments:

    “Rights” like human rights are inherently moralistic, and irrational, because “rights” cannot be quantified or measured in any scientific way.

    Contrast, subjective rationalism demands that if we are outcome oriented, we must focus on measurable things.

    For example, “Right to Life” is a very fundamental right, even in Western societies. But this is based upon the moral value of “do not kill/murder”.

    Yet, all society condone some taking of life by the state collective, but we do not call it murder. But does Capital punishment violate “right to Life”? Absolutely. Thus, there is a conflicting exception to the “Right to Life”.

    *Contrast, if we focus on results, then we instead focus on “deaths”, not the specific morality of any acts of causing deaths, because LOTS of things can cause “deaths”, such as starvation, disease, guns, etc.

    Moralistically, it’s a tangled web of things that could all be EQUATED to murder. It’s hard to draw the boundary lines.

    Instead, rationally, we should deplore all “deaths” as results, but do not pass specific moral judgments on what caused them.

    Obviously, the actions of causing deaths, are ranged on a vast scale of moral righteousness vs. wrong. There can be no absolute.

    *The point of the logic is simply that, “human rights” should be rejected as a notion of measurable political outcome, because they never were.

    Talking about them as so, only makes them into slogans.

    The “solution” is to change the subject to REAL results, real subjective rationalism.

    *”Rights” should be stuck to the historical notions of legal rights, not “human rights”. And most legal rights do not arise, except by contract or government decree, or custom.

    “Human rights” are thus meaningless in any realistic legal fashion.

  69. Charles Liu
    March 27th, 2011 at 13:34 | #69

    Anyone who doesn’t belive we’ve usurped UN resolution 1973 to give the rebellion air cover against Qadafi, instead of protecting all civilians. Hundreds of missile/bomb raids have no collateral damage, who are we kidding? While allowing rebel incursion threating civilians as we bomb non-air-defence related ground targets engaged with non-civilians, even punishing cvilians that support Qadafi. At the same time Quatar will now work with the rebels to get oil out of Libya to finance the rebellion:

    http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/libya-air-raids-hit-886954.html

    All this are enabled by the coalition attacks, in violation of UN resolution 1973. Where’s the outrage?

  70. Charles Liu
    March 27th, 2011 at 19:52 | #70

    All this at the hands of a Nobel Peace Prize winner, so disappointed.

  71. vulnavia
    March 28th, 2011 at 00:44 | #71

    south africa is now a part of BRIC…so the name has been changed to BRICS

  72. March 28th, 2011 at 05:33 | #72

    Charles Liu :All this at the hands of a Nobel Peace Prize winner, so disappointed.

    I’m not surprised. One should get used to the disappointments, considering how Nobel awards the prizes.

    I definitely would not pay $1 million for any of these would-be saviors.

  73. March 28th, 2011 at 06:44 | #73

    Sobering history of Libya, and US/UK’s former involvements of Colonial occupation.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12882213

  74. March 28th, 2011 at 15:41 | #74

    @raventhorn2000

    It’s a good read on Libya’s history.

  75. Charles Liu
    March 28th, 2011 at 16:11 | #75

    They want Kadafi out b/c they want to keep on controlling the oil. Here’s a report of coalition air strike targeting pro-Kadafi civilians, in violation of resolution 1973′s stated goal to protect all civilians:

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/international/western-coalition-strikes-key-civilian-and-military-areas-in-libya-1.352401

  76. March 30th, 2011 at 00:45 | #76

    Heard on NPR today talking about supporting rebel groups taking over oil fields and how soon to turn them into cash to pay for Libya reconstruction.

    Ponzi scheme: destroy Libya infrastructure, ‘pay’ them for oil, take their oil money and pay Western contractors to rebuild. Take their oil money and give the rebels more weapon.

  77. March 30th, 2011 at 05:43 | #77

    It is logically inevitable.

    Once intervention sets in, one naturally has vested interests to see the outcome to “favorable” to one’s own interests.

    The fundamental tenent of any intervention is that one always has self-interests going in.

    The West masks their “self-interests” with words like “regional peace”, “human rights”, but in the end, it does come down to the outcome, to be justified by seemingly non-self-interests.

    It is a 2 way corruption.

    The Goal of the outcome is corrupted by the moralistic slogans. Afterall, if one is going in for “human rights”, then one cannot allow Gaddafi to remain in power.

    The Morality is corrupted by the Outcome and the means in achieving it. There is no much “human rights”, when one is willing to resort to “End Justifies the Means” doctrine.

    *In contrast, a pure subjective rational goal oriented governance, would forego such moral justification/rationalizations.

    And in doing so, the goal is not corrupted by the moral justification, and the goal is continuously checked against the subjective relative notion of “Greater good”.

    For example, in reality, Gaddafi’s replacement may not be a better alternative, and may also have a dubious understanding of “human rights”. So why go through all the expense and destruction, merely for a potentially meaningless civil war?

  78. Charles Liu
    March 30th, 2011 at 13:15 | #78

    @YinYang

    Don’t be naive DW, the oil money is to finance a protracted war for regime change, dividing Libya’s sovereignty, and the Libyans from their oil wealth.

  79. Charles Liu
    March 30th, 2011 at 23:46 | #79

    CIA in on the ground in Libya, taking sides in Libya’s civil war:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-cia-libya-20110331,0,4151799.story

  80. March 31st, 2011 at 01:11 | #80

    @Charles,

    U.S. is openly debating whether to arm the rebels.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/world/africa/30diplo.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

    P.S. By the way, NYT is starting to charge for content – but the link above should be free and not count toward anyone’s “free” allotment of 20 free articles per month. For more on skirting the paywall (we strongly advocate no one pay any $ to NYT), see http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2382579,00.asp?kc=PCRSS03079TX1K0000585.

  81. Charles Liu
    March 31st, 2011 at 11:04 | #81

    Just read recent news that NATO said it is against arming the rebels, and warned that rebel incursion had attacked civilians:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/01/world/africa/01civilians.html?src=twrhp

    Coalition air strikes killing civilians:

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1101275.htm

  82. r v
    March 31st, 2011 at 11:25 | #82

    Rationally, arming the rebels by US is a stupid idea.

    The Rebels have proven themselves incompetent even to exploit the NATO bombing of Gaddafi.

    If US arm the Rebels, there is a serious danger of Gaddafi getting the weapons instead.

    *The point is, you can’t help someone who can’t help themselves.

    If the Rebels could take over, they could have done it by now.

    And if they need US/NATO help, they won’t be able to hold Libya for long. Even if the Rebels manage to take over Libya with the help of US/NATO, They will fall apart at the seams at the first sign of insurgencies (by other militant factions or Al-Qaeda). And it will turn into another Iraq or Afghanistan.

  83. Charles Liu
    March 31st, 2011 at 12:05 | #83

    Obama should have never intervened. Now, matters are worse.

    This is going to cost him. I’m seriousely thinking about switching side and vote against hime next time. I guess this is how liberals become neo-conservatives.

  84. April 1st, 2011 at 00:22 | #84

    Yes, this is a humanitarian war — that is what makes it so deadly
    No more terrible fate can befall nations like Libya than to become objects of Western liberal pity.

    They’re back. Having spent the past 10 years pretending to be anti-war – describing the attack on Iraq as ‘criminal’ and the war in Afghanistan as ‘a trifle ill-judged’ – the liberal and left-wing set that originally invented the idea of ‘humanitarian warfare’ in the 1990s are once more at the forefront of public debate. They’ve cast off the anti-imperialist garb that they temporarily donned to make their disappointment with Blair and their snobbish disdain for Bush appear principled, to reveal that, underneath, there lurk the same old laptop bombardiers keen to visit their moralistic fury upon some wayward nation. This time they have Libya in their sights.

  85. Charles Liu
    April 4th, 2011 at 10:34 | #85

    Sadly, it’s the same “humanitarian imperialism” we in the left accused the right of. History is repeating itself. During the 1st Gulf War no-fly zone was followed with divided Iraq, and oil export under the guises of various humanitarian reasons:

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3370af26-5ec3-11e0-8e7d-00144feab49a.html?ftcamp=rss

    Think the Libyan rebel really will buy food and medicine before arms?

  86. pug_ster
    April 4th, 2011 at 12:27 | #86

    Looks like Gaddafi was right that the Al Qaeda affiliate Libya Islamic Fighting Group is fighting against them. In any case, whatever the outcome, Nato countries won’t have a friend in Libya if either side wins.

  87. April 4th, 2011 at 15:19 | #87

    If the U.S. ends up occupying Libya, then the presence there will ensure a government that is fully friendly to the U.S..

    Japan and Germany are occupied countries, and that fact will always factor into their consciousness. “Unfriendly” leaders can always be forced to quit.

  88. April 5th, 2011 at 06:36 | #88

    Japan and Germany were also industrialized nations. US and Allies knew that they couldn’t occupy them for very long, and they were willing to compromise for a “friendly” exit.

    Libya will be more like Iraq and Afghanistan. Actually, Libya will be more like Libya itself. UK installed a “friendly dictator”, King Idris, before Gaddafi took over.

    It’s a historic pattern, if West installs a “friendly” government, it will be half-assed and incompetent, and it will be overthrown. (Even South Korea and Philippines overthrew US backed governments).

    Whether the overthrowers will be “friendly” is a crapshoot.

  89. Charles Liu
  90. April 7th, 2011 at 06:41 | #90

    For the 2nd time in recent week, Libyan Rebel positions were bombed by NATO airforces, perhaps by “accident”.

    However, I wonder if these were not “accidents” but signs of fractures within the Rebel ranks. (By some estimates, there are at least 6-7 factions in the Rebel forces. Perhaps some factions felt it advantageous to them to call in NATO airstrikes against their competitions, by designating them as “Gaddafi positions” for NATO).

  91. Charles Liu
    April 7th, 2011 at 12:13 | #91

    Libya would’ve been better off, if the nation turned the tied on the chaos. But instead, people who want their oil has sunken the country down the abyss of statelessness, for their own self-interest:

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gGvsXC38FmvkLBKKFNIgsUc-nxEw?docId=CNG.6f1a3c295003e2f3af5b879590880652.101

    Tell me it’s not about keeping China out of the $10 per barrel oil concession the colonialists been enjoying?

  92. April 8th, 2011 at 06:22 | #92

    That defector is an idiot. The rebels are already sending oil shipments to China.

    He’s just saying what he thinks the West wants to hear. It’s not reality.

    When the dust settles, even if the Rebels win, they will need rebuilding to get the oil flowing. And no Western companies will want to go in there as cheaply as Chinese companies do. The West want to charge premiums for the risks. That’s their Greed. That’s how they are always losing to China in Latin America and in Africa.

  93. Charles Liu
    April 8th, 2011 at 13:25 | #93

    It’s the same colonialism playbook – keep the locals down thru chaos, weakend sovereignty, then exploit their natural resources as our own:

    http://www.npr.org/2011/04/07/135208979/oil-a-major-prize-in-fight-for-control-of-libya

    Didn’t this happen in Iran (installation of the Shah), Iraq (both Gulf Wars), Afghanistan (USSR then USA now)?

  94. Charles Liu
    April 11th, 2011 at 02:27 | #94
  95. April 13th, 2011 at 05:40 | #95
  96. Charles Liu
    April 13th, 2011 at 10:20 | #96
  97. April 14th, 2011 at 07:19 | #97

    At a news conference, Mr. Rasmussen said the campaign had three military objectives — an end to “all attacks and threats of attack against civilian and civilian-populated areas,” the “verifiable withdrawal” of all pro-Qaddafi forces, including “snipers, mercenaries and paramilitary forces,” to their bases and “immediate, full, safe and unhindered” access for humanitarian aid to “all the people in Libya in need of assistance.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/15/world/africa/15nato.html

    NATO’s conflicting objectives in Libya above.

    “the “verifiable withdrawal” of all pro-Qaddafi forces, including “snipers, mercenaries and paramilitary forces,” to their bases”.

    That’s rather tenuous proposition, since NATO is bombing Qaddafi’s bases. Snipers and mercenaries are not that stupid to withdraw back to their bases, to wait for NATO bombs to hit them.

    Rationally, they are probably thinking that their chances of survival are better when they are going up against the disorganized and untrained Rebels.

    And since there is little incentive for the Qaddafi forces to withdraw back to their bases, their chances of confronting the Rebels and civilians increase.

    NATO is escalating the violence with no end and no political resolution.

  98. Charles Liu
    April 15th, 2011 at 10:55 | #98

    it is about regime change. whatever happened to UN Resolution 1973?

    http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/uk/news/article_1633222.php/British-lawmaker-demands-recall-of-parliament-over-Libya-mission

    Where’s some people’s sense of justice, outrage?

  99. Charles Liu
    April 16th, 2011 at 18:14 | #99

    Media propagandizing about Libian military using cluster bomb, but neglect to mention US prolific use of cluster bomb in Iraq and Afghanistan:

    http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Broadcast_Media/Embedded_BBC_Fallujah.html

  100. April 18th, 2011 at 05:51 | #100
  101. Charles Liu
    April 18th, 2011 at 09:45 | #101

    http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/8622840-libya-the-oil-factor

    Kaddafi’s real crime – trying to further nationalize Libya’s oil wealth for Libyans. Reminded me what happened to the democratically elected Mossadegh government in Iran.

  102. April 19th, 2011 at 06:06 | #102

    I guess Gaddafi proved North Korea right, that disarming only leads to war.

  103. Charles Liu
    April 19th, 2011 at 14:34 | #103

    UK ground troops sent in now, definitely no longer about no fly zone and protecting civilians (ground troops job is to kill people):

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/19/libya-mission-creep-uk-advisers

  104. Charles Liu
    April 19th, 2011 at 14:37 | #104

    Now some powers that be are saying what some of us have been saying from day 1, the attacks on Libya are violating UN resolution 1973:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/19/us-russia-libya-idUSTRE73I26D20110419

    Doesn’t that make it a war crime? Hey China here’s your chance to write a Human Rights Report.

  105. raventhorn2000
    April 22nd, 2011 at 15:40 | #105

    US now authorizing use of drone armed with smart bombs to aid the Rebels.

    I guess no more pretense of “preventing civilian deaths”.

  106. Charles Liu
    April 24th, 2011 at 23:51 | #106

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42737249

    Nato has been bombing Tripoli, where there’s no fighting endanger civilian, only to threaten and punish Pro-kadafi civilians and forcing regime change, which are in violation of UN resolution 1973.

  107. Charles Liu
    April 27th, 2011 at 10:59 | #107

    http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/foreign-policy/7251-former-guantanamo-prisoner-now-us-ally-in-libya

    US is unleashing Al Qaeda, opps, Mujahadeem freedom fighters, in Libya. I predict a blow-back in the future.

  108. Charles Liu
    April 30th, 2011 at 23:09 | #108

    NATO strike residential neighborhood, killing Said Al Arab Kaddafi and 3 of his children.

    It was an attempt to assasinate Kaddifi while he visited his civilian son and grand children.

    This is inconsolable.

  109. Charles Liu
    May 3rd, 2011 at 16:26 | #109

    China voices opposition to actions beyond UN authorization in Libya:

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-05/03/c_13857294.htm

  110. Rhan
    May 4th, 2011 at 06:25 | #110

    Another perspective from a Muslim :

    I have to DISAGREE with you on this one. The Arab Spring or Jasmine Revolution – is a popular, people power movement against cruel, authoritarian regimes. It is NOT like Iraq.

    The West must show that Islam is compatible with Democracy by adopting Unity In Diversity as its ethos. The West must show to the Arabs that they can remain Muslim within a Democratic framework. The West must NOT add to an “inner Clash of Civilizations”. It cannot – like the PAP & LKY – demand a dilution of Islam as some kind of condition for Democracy to take hold in the Arab world.

    The wisdom of the the late Tunku Abdul Rahman & Bung Hatta – lies precisely in making Unity In Diversity a foundational principle for a multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious Democracy. In Islam – the basis for a multi-religious harmony – is precisely the Quranic verse, “to you be your beliefs/religion – and to me mine”. That is the only way forward.

    I strongly believe that NATO’s actions in the Mid-East i.e. in Libya etc as regards to the Arab Spring – is CORRECT. Europe must support the nascent Democratic Movement in the Arab world in this Arab Spring. This is NOT Iraq which was an American miscalculation. The Arab Spring is supported by the Arab masses.

    If Europe fails to support this popular Arab democratic movement – then China will fill up this power vacuum in the Mid-East – to Europe’s loss. Whether we admit it or not – it is very clear that the West and China are headed for a “balance of power” competition to build up “spheres of influence” in order to gain market access and resources. Its very very obvious ! And the Mid-East is a 400 million strong market plus huge petroleum reserves in an era where the Energy Crisis looms large…..

    One does NOT build a Stealth fighter jet in order to dance with Santa Claus. One does NOT build a blue-water navy to tickle the toes of Santa Claus. This balance of power thing between the West and China is very real. There are limited resources in this world. Whether you admit it or not – the West will have to compete with China for “influence” to gain access to such resources and markets.

    I put it to you that the world is headed towards a new kind of Cold War between the West & China – and the Muslim world lies between the West and China. There will be competition between the West and China for influence in the Muslim world. It has already begun. It is in the European interest to build and cultivate good relations with the Muslim world. Failing which – China will fill the gap and that would set Europe back by almost a century. Europe must think very carefully about this.

    In the meantime – IT IS IN MUSLIM INTEREST TO EXTRACT THE MAXIMUM BENEFIT FROM THIS COMPETITION BETWEEN THE WEST & CHINA !

  111. May 4th, 2011 at 07:05 | #111

    The chances of the West allowing “Unity in Diversity” in the Muslim world is very low.

    The West is about the need to control Muslim interests.

    And I wouldn’t bother to play China against the West. China is unlikely to confront the West over markets and resources.

    China will fill “vaccuums”, but China won’t directly stake out its claims of interests in the Muslim World.

    Even if the Muslim World decided to confront the West for any reasons, China won’t directly help.

    China is just the business, it won’t imitate any liberators.

  112. Charles Liu
    May 4th, 2011 at 10:05 | #112

    Libya is certainly getting the maxium benefit of destruction and mayhem right now. What part of UN resolution 1973 does it authorize western nation to abandon the pretence of “protecting civilian” and overtly support insurrection, underwrite division of Libya’s sovereignty?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8492745/Libyan-rebels-to-receive-1.8-billion-trust-fund.html

    Mind you, 1.8 billion pounds to wage war inside Libya needs to be paid back with interest. How will the Libyan people pay back this kind of money after utter destruction of their nation? You guessed it, turn over their natural resource on the cheap to the creditors.

    The restoration of Libyan monarchy with a prince born in UK is the same colonialism playbook from 1960 era vis-a-vis Shah of Iran.

    In comparison what does China offer, having it’s own experience with colonialsim? Construction instead of destruction, partnership instead of subjugation, sharing of wealth instead of plundering of wealth.

    Then again, what do ignorant Americans like me know about history?

  113. Mr. R
    May 7th, 2011 at 17:26 | #113

    The Libyan rebels have committed a serious crime against their country by lobbying for a Chapter Seven resolution. Such a resolution is being used to this day against Iraq in order to force it to do things that the American government wants such as impunity for Blackwater, “enduring bases” and favourable oil contracts. Iraq has lost its independence because of Chapter Seven. Thanks to the Libyan rebels, Libya has also lost its independence which is why those rebels are the worst traitors and Qaddafi in fact has been too charitable in describing them as “rats”. Why, it’s an insult to rats! Everything that has happened so far as been very predictable and my hope is that Qaddafi does as promised and holds out until the very end and makes things as hard as possible for the aggressors. There really is no alternative for him, the treachery of the Western powers is well-established.

  114. May 9th, 2011 at 06:10 | #114

    Misrata will run out of food in a couple of weeks, as pro-Qaddafi forces bombard the ports and the fuel depots.

    Undoubtedly, NATO will deploy ground troops if they wish to save the Rebels.

  115. May 9th, 2011 at 11:40 | #115

    @Mr. R #113,

    I think many Western commentators (including here on this blog) would argue that since the rebels – who are Libyans – asked for help, whatever the West does would not be called “interference.” In fact, what they are doing is humane – it’s to help Libyans overcome their own oppressive leader.

    This is the sort of immoral moralizing I see, hear, everyday, everywhere…

  116. May 9th, 2011 at 11:47 | #116

    @Rhan #110,

    You wrote:

    In the meantime – IT IS IN MUSLIM INTEREST TO EXTRACT THE MAXIMUM BENEFIT FROM THIS COMPETITION BETWEEN THE WEST & CHINA !

    Given your worldview, that is surely a rational thing for the Muslims to do. However, I think history may show that it is more profitable to pick, join, and invest in one side.

    Look at India. It tried to be neutral and to play U.S. off against U.S.S.R. It gained some tactical advantage, but in the end, it picked up scraps of spoils between the two rivals, nothing more.

    Compare that against the case of Japan. It lied squarely within the sphere of U.S., strengthening U.S. hands to the extent it could. Japan became an economic superpower in its own right (it could be a military superpower too if it wanted to) and today is still considered amongst the most developed of nations.

    Even China’s rise today can be explained as a result of it deciding to side with the U.S. against the U.S.S.R. at the height of the Cold War.

    The Muslim world needs to decide what kind of world order it wants to live in. Simply playing one power against the other – as India did – can bring some fruits, but eventually it will only leave the Muslim world inconsequential – pawns on a chess board to larger powers, but nothing more…

    To be more, it needs to pick a decide, and then work with that side to become co-architects of a new order.

  117. Rhan
    May 9th, 2011 at 22:47 | #117

    Allen,

    Sorry the comment was written by a Malay Muslim from SEA region, but I fully concur when you said “that is surely a rational thing for the Muslims to do.”

    As long as there is Israel, I don’t think even a “democratize” Middle East will pick USA/West. And look at Europe, their people resentment toward Islam and bigot toward Muslim is extremely severe. However similar to many others, most Muslim appreciates the West lifestyle and freedom the moment they depart from their own country and society/religion restrain. In this context, there is similarity between Chinese and Muslim, but Chinese lean towards culture and not religion ease rigidity. I could not understand why the path is at vast difference between Christian and Muslim since their belief system is actually more or less same. I always think to myself perhaps Muslim needs something like Renaissance (Jasmine Revolution?).

    At this point of time, I think most Muslim will side China, but don’t forget XinJiang is mainly Muslim, their brotherhood bonding is sometimes beyond our understanding. Hence the clash of civilization may have some truth. However, I do agree with rv that Chinese is relatively more tolerance in geopolitical issue (but not to dissent voice?) :)

  118. Charles Liu
    May 9th, 2011 at 23:29 | #118

    Alternative voice on what’s really happening in Libya:

    http://original.antiwar.com/kevin-carson/2011/05/09/libya-hifter-bankers/

    “head of rebel forces in Libya, Gen. Khalifa Hifter, is a CIA asset. Hifter has lived in the Greater Washington area of Virginia (cough cough Langley cough) for almost 20 years, enjoying an unusually comfortable lifestyle considerably disproportionate to his visible means of support. Hifter has headed the military wing (Libyan National Army) of an opposition movement in exile (NSFL) for most of that time”

  119. May 10th, 2011 at 00:10 | #119

    @Rhan #117,

    Do you consider Xinjiang to be occupied Muslim territory like most Muslims consider Israel to be occupied territory??????

    Do you think Chinese version of secularism is compatible with modern Muslim belief and way of life?

    I personally think Chinese culture is secular and compatible with all sorts of religious beliefs. That doesn’t of course mean there are no problems.

    Besides secessionist movements (I don’t see how reconciliation can be made; if you want an independence, you want independence; if you want a clash of civilization (even though Chinese civilization considers its Muslim roots an important part of its culture) you can blow problems out of portion to suit that cause), there are social problems (stereotypes, misunderstandings, racism), socio-economic problems (caused by economic reforms, use of one standardized language), and political problems arising from mistrust (in hunting down secessionist groups, Chinese gov’t may come to distrust Muslims or resort to racial / religious profiling in certain aspects of its governing there). These of course can be solved, should be solved, and I think, with them solved, a dynamic harmonious multi-religious, multi-cultural society can emerge.

    What’s your take?

    If you want to contribute a post on SE Asian Mulim’s perspective of Xinjiang that is presumptively not ideologically too anti-Chinese, it would be accepted with great enthusiasm (contact me or yinyang about writing one).

  120. May 10th, 2011 at 06:37 | #120

    “However, I do agree with rv that Chinese is relatively more tolerance in geopolitical issue (but not to dissent voice?)”

    There are dissents, and there are rebellions. They are different in nature, even Western nations recognize that.

    Tolerance is a 2 way street.

    If the dissent is intolerant of the ruling power’s position, then it is no longer an academic differences of opinion, it is extremism.

    While the ruling power should tolerate true “dissent”, true “dissent” must also agree to disagree and leave it at that.

    A “dissent” that resort to public gesture to make a point to “confront” or sabotage the ruling power is not a true “dissent”, it is stepping on the edge of “rebellion” and treason.

    I look upon the Republicans and Democrats in US, who when in minority tried to “shut down” the government, I say, how is that not treason to cause one’s country to come to a stand still or emergency over ideological differences?! Or to even make such threats to shut down a government?!

    What happened to tolerance, FROM the dissent?

    When does it cross into “Rebellion” or treason?

    I was an engineer in my 1st career. And I had plenty of times when I dissented from my colleagues’ opinions at work, but I always did my team part, and agreed to disagree, AND did my job in projects, even if I disagreed with the decisions made by my team.

    I never tried to sabotage or half-ass a job because of my disagreements. I voiced my dissenting opinions loudly in meetings, but I never tried to make a fuss of the disputes outside of meetings.

    Things don’t always work out, with my ways or with my colleagues’ ways. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes they are right. But it didn’t matter who was right, because the TEAM did the work.

    That’s what it means to “dissent”.

    People who turn their “dissent” into confrontations and harassments to get their way, don’t last long in good companies.

    I have also seen a lot of brilliant PhD’s that no one wants to work with, because they think they are always right. And even if they are right most of the time, they don’t give other people or the team the chance to learn from their own mistakes.

    Occasionally, we also get a “team” of loud smart people who all want to have their own ways, do none of the work, and take all the credits and none of the blames. That’s when the managers decided to put a bunch of troublemakers together in their own team, because frankly, it’s less trouble for everyone else. (1) everyone else would be left in peace to do the actual work, and (2) the troublemakers learn real quickly that they are put on the “Exile team”, they can’t get anything done, and they learn to appreciate the “slow people” they used to complain about.

  121. Rhan
    May 10th, 2011 at 08:17 | #121

    @Allen

    “Do you consider Xinjiang to be occupied Muslim territory like most Muslims consider Israel to be occupied territory?”

    I don’t but I believe most Muslim does. I paste here the very common view among Malay Muslim : “The Han Chinese themselves are pendatang in much of China, having terrorised and supplanted the hundreds of indigenous groups beyond their ancestral Yellow River basin, including the Miao, Bai, Dai, Dong, Uygur, Kazkh, Kirghiz, Lahu, Lisu, Naxi and Zhuang. The persistent violent social upheavals in Tibet and East Turkestan (Xinjiang) are livid examples of this pendatang-isation process, where the Han Chinese pendatangs methodically usurped the power and influence and socio-cultural and demographic essence of these vast once proud conquered nations.” (*Pendatang = immigrant)

    The West media also play a major role to depict an impression that Muslim were badly discriminated in China, as they are the major news sources for world affair and China still lack far behind in the ‘propaganda’ war, therefore we could read from time to time such annoyed sentiment were divulged via their writing, however unlike the West, they talk very less on human rights and intervention. (FM and HH does play a role to mitigate such effect, at least people like me learn more from here and able to explain to the rest of Malaysian a different perspective)

    “Do you think Chinese version of secularism is compatible with modern Muslim belief and way of life?
    I personally think Chinese culture is secular and compatible with all sorts of religious beliefs. That doesn’t of course mean there are no problems.”

    I agree Chinese version of secularism were the most inclusive and historically, Chinese have less conflict pertaining to religion. However, the hardcore Muslim have the tendency to preserve their way of life encompass not only religion, but politic.

    “What’s your take?”
    Base on my limited understanding and knowledge as of now, frankly I don’t know. I used to believe liberal democracy with election could be a way out but looking at Thailand, I am not so sure anymore. Assimilation as suggested by xian is another option but again, the militant Muslim in Thailand and Philippines tell otherwise. I often said perhaps we could learn from our ancestor, both Tang and Song did quite well hence I think China with the present generation that is with wider worldview and adequate education shall do better.

    My view with regards to Malay Muslim impression towards China

    Positive:
    1) Generally they respect and think highly of Chinese culture and their thrifty manner.
    2) They are well aware China has many Muslim, and Islam was existed in China long before arriving to Malaysia.
    3) Saying of Prophet Muhammad “go in quest of knowledge even unto China”.
    4) The enemy of my enemy is my friend (Refer to US/West)

    Negative :
    1) Wary of China imperialism, can’t blame them because China use to support the Communism movement in SEA, they also think that communism ideology ban religion.
    2) Chinese is over aggressive in almost everything: career, politic, making money and etc.
    3) Singapore independence and economy success create the insecure feeling.

  122. Charles Liu
    May 10th, 2011 at 10:21 | #122

    Former US official claims Libya oil war is to destroy Chinese oil infrastructure and push the Chinese out of Libya:

    http://www.arabmonitor.info/news/dettaglio.php?idnews=33796&lang=en

    “Craig Roberts said: “You see, in my opinion … there is no legitimate rebellion in Libya. It’s a CIA operation and the US government is trying to get China out of Libya because China has extensive energy investments in Libya and also in two other North African countries … So Washington is trying to evict China from the Mediterranean and that is why the Libyan so called rebellion is unique … It originates in the east where China’s oil investments are located and so this is an effort to evict China from Libya.”

  123. May 10th, 2011 at 11:27 | #123

    It’s possible, but it’s a very short-sighted plan.

    A war-torn Libya will only end up inviting China back, regardless of who wins. China will only end up recouping all the lost investment, as payment in cheap oil and National debt of Libya (which will be repaid from NATO aid).

    In short, it may be short term disruptive, but long term stupid.

  124. Charles Liu
    May 10th, 2011 at 12:08 | #124

    @raventhorn2000

    Well, western backed puppet Libyan monarchy or government will likely get western oil companies in.

    Remember what happened to the oil concession Saddam gave to Russia and China? After the 2nd gulf war the first arrivals to Port of Basra were BP and Chevron oil tankers.

  125. May 10th, 2011 at 14:07 | #125

    @Rhan #121,

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I want to respond in particular to your quoted comment:

    The Han Chinese themselves are pendatang in much of China, having terrorised and supplanted the hundreds of indigenous groups beyond their ancestral Yellow River basin, including the Miao, Bai, Dai, Dong, Uygur, Kazkh, Kirghiz, Lahu, Lisu, Naxi and Zhuang. The persistent violent social upheavals in Tibet and East Turkestan (Xinjiang) are livid examples of this pendatang-isation process, where the Han Chinese pendatangs methodically usurped the power and influence and socio-cultural and demographic essence of these vast once proud conquered nations.

    My very first post on HH/FM is on my problem with the ethnocentric ways of viewing things. Here are some quick observations:

    * immigration and movement of population, culture is natural. Every ethnic group comes about through movements – and in many cases displacements – of people. You can say that of the Tibetans and Uyghurs … as well as the Han Chinese. What is unnatural is movements across long distances over short time by one with advanced technology dominating others with little technology – i.e. European imperialism. If one must characterize Chinese movements as imperialistic, one can say that of Tibetans, Uyghurs – from the perspective of the minority in those regions, of the people they once had displaced.

    * Han Chinese is not really an ethnic group. It is a political construct of inclusion and tolerance passed down from the Han Dynasty. Many groups of Hans exist today – each of which can be considered an ethnic group within themselves. This brings me to the issue of my first post: is the natural division f political unit really the ethnic group, the religious group? If so – what is such a group? One appears to always be able divide a people into peoples – and that is the problem. Thus when Saddam fell, a sense of disunity led to sectarian violence between rival religious / ethnic groups. In Europe in the last few centuries, religious antagonism between different sects of Christianity actually drove many to America in the name of “religious freedom.” In Egypt, the fall of Mubarak has also bred renewed religious violence. In India, religious intolerance and violence has always been a major problem. If we focus on who are the “emigrants” – who are the rightful people – I believe we will only breed the karma of intolerance and suffering.

    * If people want to focus on the inclusion of “Miao, Bai, Dai, Dong, Uygur, Kazkh, Kirghiz, Lahu, Lisu, Naxi and Zhuang” as part of the Chinese tapestry as proof of Chinese imperialism, what should we make of the many ethnic groups within say Malaysia or Indoesia (many of which can be further divided and subdivided) – do the existance of these groups within the territories of these nations mean the dominant group in Malaysia and Indonesia are engaging in Imperialism?

    Finally regarding your statement:

    Base on my limited understanding and knowledge as of now, frankly I don’t know. I used to believe liberal democracy with election could be a way out but looking at Thailand, I am not so sure anymore.

    Liberal democracy can actually be a tool to inflame tensions by exaggerating and giving force to ethno-religious differences. I am planning to do a book review on Amy Chua’s book Wolrd on Fire some time soon. For all the faults of China, China stands for inclusiveness – not imperialistic aggression – and its model of secularism is the best hope for peace in the world, in my humble opinion.

  126. May 10th, 2011 at 14:23 | #126

    Since the discussion between Rhan and I touched on themes of ethnic and religious sentiments, I thought I’d include part of the summary of a great course my friend took at Wellesley College, a course which I had the pleasure of dropping in once when I was visiting.

    Many social scientists once argued that ethnic, nationalist, and religious sentiments would soon wither under the light of modernity. They were wrong.

    Ethnic, national, and religious identities are pervasive in contemporary politics. Moreover, these identities are strongly implicated in mass violence. Annually, tens of thousands of people are murdered in violent conflicts between ethnic, national, and religious communities. In Rwanda, within the span of 100 days in 1994, Hutu militias butchered 800,000 Tutsi civilians by hand. In Indonesia, over the several months in 1965 and 1966 that General Suharto took to secure power, Muslims helped to murder tens of thousands of presumed communist ethnic Chinese. In the late 1990s, a Hindu nationalist government in India gained, and then lost, control of the government through use of anti-Muslim violence. In Sri Lanka, a Tamil organization has used suicide bombings since 1988 in an attempt to establish a separate state while Sinhalese Buddhist governments of Sri Lanka have attacked and blockaded the Tamil community including civilians. Serbs, who are predominantly Christians, elected leaders who murdered and drove Muslim Albanians and Muslim Bosnians out of Yugoslavia. Christian ethics were used to justify mass murder in Nazi Germany and continue to be used to justify racial violence in the United States.

    What are the causes of these kinds of violence? In what sense is this violence ethnic, nationalist, or religious? How do politics, history, and economics contribute to such violence?

  127. Rhan
    May 11th, 2011 at 01:53 | #127

    @Allen,
    I perfectly agree to your view. Most of the time, the crux is actually political power, not really race, religion or whatever.

    I want to expand my comment a little on liberal democracy with election when I read yours: “Liberal democracy can actually be a tool to inflame tensions by exaggerating and giving force to ethno-religious differences.”

    Malaysia outlawed Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and bar them from participates in election, CPM resort to guerrillas and combats Malaysia government. Ceased their action only in the eighties. An Islamist said if Government bans their Islamic party, they will do the same. Therefore the “tool” can work both ways. It helps to channel the violence resistance into election. What do you think?

  128. raventhorn2000
    May 11th, 2011 at 07:10 | #128

    It only shows that politics and laws are still based upon Morality, secular or religious morality.

    Morality based arguments cannot be rationally resolved, because moralities are ultimately not rational, but rather based upon sets of unchallengeable assumptions.

    Giving freedom to speak and debate issues of morality cannot resolve the problem, it only radicalizes the factions.

    Elections don’t necessarily resolve these issues either. As can be seen in India and other places, election related violences merely continues the radicalization of ideologies and moralities in other channels.

    The solution is not open “free election” or “free speech”, but tolerance of dissent with the price that the dissent MUST de-radicalize. (Legitimate dissent without extremism, on probation, and not necessarily right to election).

    “It helps to channel the violence resistance into election.”

    Legitimizing extremism in elections don’t necessarily lessen the extremism. The Nazi party was once banned in Germany, Hitler was in jail for attempted coup and treason, and when they were allowed back in elections, they didn’t become peaceful. They merely furthered their extremism with violent intimidations of voters, politicians and businesses, until eventually they seized total power in Germany.

    So NO, your assumption that somehow “elections” can channel violent extremism is wrong.

  129. Charles Liu
    May 11th, 2011 at 11:07 | #129

    @raventhorn2000
    Speaking of moralities that are not rational:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/11/libya-accused-of-exploiting-humanitarian-crisis

    Gaurdian accuses Kadafi of exploiting humanitarian crisis, but tells reader to forget the humanitarian crisis was created by UK-led NATO invasion.

    Had Libya’s sovereignty respected and it’s military allowed to end the insurrection, peace would have been restored relatively quickly, and society and government would be functioning again for the greater good.

    But then again British oil company would not be allowed in Libya.

  130. raventhorn2000
    May 11th, 2011 at 11:47 | #130

    “Gaurdian accuses Kadafi of exploiting humanitarian crisis, but tells reader to forget the humanitarian crisis was created by UK-led NATO invasion.”

    Yes, NATO was also exploiting humanitarian crisis to justify its own agenda of ideological preference based bombing.

  131. Charles Liu
    May 11th, 2011 at 13:07 | #131

    It’s akin to blaming the Qing court for the opium epidemic after British imposition of unequal treaties.

  132. May 13th, 2011 at 15:49 | #132

    @Rhan #127

    You wrote:

    Malaysia outlawed Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and bar them from participates in election, CPM resort to guerrillas and combats Malaysia government. Ceased their action only in the eighties. An Islamist said if Government bans their Islamic party, they will do the same. Therefore the “tool” can work both ways. It helps to channel the violence resistance into election. What do you think?

    I definitely would agree with the premise that when political forces are simply trampled on, they will simply find another channel – perhaps a violent one – to express themselves. It is better to include them in the system than not.

    This is why I have some sympathy for bin Laden. Yes – they did resort to “terrorism,” but to me, that is because their interests were never taken seriously in the global political system led by the West…

    Applied to China, the same thing applies. To the extent Uyghurs and Tibetans have grievances, merely outlawing the showing of grievances will do nothing. If anything, it will only raise the temperature and pressure on the kettle.

    Addressing the grievances of Uyghurs and Tibetans of course does not mean including all movements – including the radical movements – that raise the torch of those grievances. Free elections can fan – not necessarily address – grievances (democracy works by fanning people’s emotions – so they go to vote). Allowing radical movements to free election will only radicalize the democratic process.

    The CCP has tried to draw people of influence of all races, religions, classes to join their party – with the goal that the party will better be able to provide for the people. I think an activist gov’t that tries to seek remedies is better than factions of people fighting for attention to address their specific interests – with truth often lost in the battle for attention, emotions blindly pumped high to actuate oligarchy’s fights to consolidate power.

  133. kchew
    May 14th, 2011 at 02:04 | #133

    The story of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) is much more complicated that what’s being mentioned earlier. When the British military in Malaya surrendered / evacuated after being defeated by the invading Japanese army in 1941, the CPM was the only organised group left to resist the Japanese occupation. They were not well equipped and had to fight guerrilla wars, sheltering in the countryside and the jungles.
    After the Japanese surrendered, the British came back to rule. The British wanted the CPM to lay down all their weapons, but the CPM refused and wanted the British out of Malaya. That was basically how the guerrilla war in Malaya started.
    The CPM is still barred in Malaysia today, or for that matter political parties with communist ideology are barred in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. The reason why there is no armed resistance today is because there is no foreign backing or support. Prior to 1980, the communist parties in these countries have the backing of China. Things have changed much with Deng Xiaoping opening up and reform of China.

    If multi-party democracy is so great in preventing armed conflicts, why are there armed militant groups in Asian democracies like the Philippines and India?

  134. silentvoice
    May 14th, 2011 at 04:33 | #134

    It was a little more complicated than that. The confrontation was not only between the British and MPAJA (CPM) but also between its mainly Chinese members and the upcoming Malay politicians at the top, as well as Malay villages they harassed (for food) at the bottom. It wasn’t just ideology but also race. Also, the CPM was hardly united. Some groups laid down their arms, some continued the ‘struggle’.

    Multi-party democracy does not prevent conflicts but they help if the parties are not organized along racial lines. In Malaysia for example, most parties are organized along racial lines. In Singapore, they are not. Hence one-party rule can work in Singapore whereas in Malaysia they need to form a government from a coalition of parties.

  135. kchew
    May 14th, 2011 at 06:28 | #135

    I was merely pointing out that violent struggles by CPM is not merely a consequence of it being banned, but started out as a fight against Japanese invasion and then as a struggle against British rule in Malaya. The fact that it could fight on until the early 80s, is because it has external supports.
    External support and encouragement are important for rebellions to thrive. Thus, the rebellions in Arab world thrive today because of the external supports. In India and Philippines though, I would say these are mainly due to poor governance and extreme poverty, notwithstanding their democratic credentials.

  136. Rhan
    May 15th, 2011 at 20:40 | #136

    @Allen

    I sometimes find it hard to believe you were from Taiwan. I have great admiration toward Taiwan political system and truly believe Taiwanese were among the best in the world to illustrate what democracy is about though I agree that DPP racial divided and nativism approach is as you said, fanning people’s emotion. However, I also believe that in a longer period, peoples tend to understand that all this is merely kind of politicking and the harm it created will lessen. For instance on hate speech, the first time we have it truly hurt but in the long run, most probably we would get use to it until a stage (I hope) where nobody perceive that it would bring any effect or helps to achieve any personal agenda. But of course some government wants to play with fire and this happen in any country, including the one with the most authoritarian or most democratic system in order to serve the interest of politician.

    I hope CCP model work but no one knows, particularly in the long term when economy turn bad. Many Malaysian used to criticize the wish of the hardcore Muslim to create an Islamic State, asking them to show us one Islamic State model in the world that works well.

  137. May 15th, 2011 at 23:05 | #137

    @Rhan #136,

    Yes I am from Taiwan, and I am (according to DPP) a native Taiwanese (though not an aborigine).

    Taiwanese politics pains me. I have great admiration for Taiwanese turning Taiwan from a backwater region in Asia to a leading economic and technological center. But Taiwanese politics is a soap opera. It is corrosive, divisive, and has done Taiwan zero good. Taiwan is going through its own “cultural revolution” … an indigestion which may take – in its entirety – a decade or two to work through.

  138. Rhan
    May 16th, 2011 at 02:15 | #138

    @silentvoice @kchew

    Interesting perspective. Admittedly my analogy using CPM is a shallow one, my intention is to ask whether democracy and election help to solve/minimise internal conflict that involve militant revolt, particularly if we equate to China policy towards Tibet and Xinjiang.

    1) Support from external force play a role but I doubt if that is a major factor. I agree that CCP did influence and support CPM exactly like how KMT support MCA, however after the relationship between Malaysia and China were established in 1976, I think CPM struggle were inclined towards self dependent and the objective is to liberate the people from continual imperial.

    2) No one would think that multi-party democracy is great enough to prevent arm conflict as democracy was not with such goal in the first place, and the nature of conflict can be varied. However, I think we can’t deny the fact that if CPM were allowed to participate in general election after independence, there is huge possibility that their violent struggle would cease. Actually the election did help to neutralize many lefties that were lean towards communism and socialism, they were given a choice to make use of Labour Party and Socialist Party as political platform to continue their ideal and struggle.

  139. raventhorn2000
    May 16th, 2011 at 06:11 | #139

    Rhan,

    If Nepal’s recent tolerance of Communist party is any indication, the Communist party would likely seize dominant position in politics in many of these countries.

    And that is precisely what India and other countries are afraid of.

    It’s rather funny that for all the “democracies”, India and other Asian Democracies have not improved the welfare of most of their population, and thus still fear “Communists”.

    You think the Rich ruling Elites of these countries would tolerate the prospect of the poor peasants becoming rowdy “Communists”?

    Any more than US would tolerate “Sharia laws”, even the non-existent prospect of it?

    Any more than France tolerates Burqa’s, or Gypsies loitering around their cities?

    No. Even “democracies” have some limit of “tolerance”, which only shows that the ideologies of “democracy” is merely an illusion for propaganda.

  140. May 17th, 2011 at 06:17 | #140

    India’s continual obsession and fear of Naxalite Maoist Rebels is not paying off.

    http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&hl=en&tbm=nws&source=hp&q=naxalite+Golden+Corridor+Committee+&aq=f&aqi=&aql=f&oq=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=b82287656e226d6

    While 1/3 of India’s Eastern territory is characterized as “infested” by Naxalite sympathizers, the so-called “Red Corridor”, now it appears the problem has festered into the 1/3 Western territory, the newly termed “Golden Corridor”, where Naxalite activities are picking up.

    Either it’s a massive government conspiracy to build up fear in order to justify cracking down on leftist activists, or it’s a real serious problem that appears to be growing out of control of the Indian government.

  141. Rhan
    May 17th, 2011 at 08:46 | #141

    @rv

    I agree “democracy” have limit of “tolerance”, but “democracy” does offer an illusion that they are much more tolerance, would this not make it a better tool to manage a country?

    I often think Great Britain was really great in politic and know the game of divide and rule well. During the colonization era, a few thousand British officers can control and handle a big country like India without much problem. The same were almost true in most other Asia country, can’t tell the same during Japan occupation. I have the impression that generally the West are more inclusive in politic.

  142. raventhorn2000
    May 17th, 2011 at 12:10 | #142

    Rhan,

    “illusion” as a tool to manage a country and populous only shows Democracy to be propaganda.

    The problem with this kind of propaganda, like all propaganda, it can only run so far.

    The West is suffering from the exhaustion of running empty on propaganda fumes of “democracy”. And the “impression” of tolerance and inclusion may be on empty as well.

    “Impression” is nothing when bumped against harsh reality of intolerance and “preemptive paranoia” in the West.

    For weren’t the Barbarian tribes of the Goths who were in admiration of the Roman ways, the Roman culture, the Roman cloths, the Roman currency, that they soon adopted and carried on the Roman traditions.

    But that didn’t stop the Goths from sacking Rome, because the Goths knew well enough that if Rome had the chance, it would not be tolerant of barbarians as it made itself to be.

  143. Charles Liu
    May 17th, 2011 at 18:16 | #143

    In the case of Libya there’s to tolerance at all. Where is the respect for sovereignty? Where’s the accountability for violating UN resolution in attacking Libya’s de jure government?

    NATO just killed more civilian, these are even peaceful men of cloth:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703730804576323321398818648.html

    “Friday’s predawn bombing killed clerics who were part of a private peace initiative by 150 religious and tribal leaders”

  144. pug_ster
    May 20th, 2011 at 23:40 | #144

    Looks like Obama has violated the War Powers Act. He authorized the use of force but after 60 days he must get congress’ approval. So what else is new?

  145. May 23rd, 2011 at 06:39 | #145

    US has pretty much transitioned to the “full time war” mode without any authorizations.

    Laws designed to prevent precisely this mode were completely forgotten, after so many decades of one fear mongering after another.

    And yes, we have the “Free Press” to thank for that.

    “Free Press” complains when the guns are pointed at them, but they love it, when they get to point the guns/bombs at someone else.

  146. Charles Liu
    May 23rd, 2011 at 11:00 | #146

    NATO is again violating UN resolution 1973; sending helicopters to give the rebels air capbility violates the no-fly zone order that also applies to protecting pro-Kadafi civilians:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/23/apache-helicopters-libya-britain

    Should NATO simply respect the UN resolution it asked for, or should China/Russia send jet fighters to shoot down these choppers?

  147. May 23rd, 2011 at 11:10 | #147

    Back in March, China Daily (through the link in OP above) reported this about Obama’s plans to get rid of Gadhafi:

    Traveling in Chile, US President Barack Obama said removing Gadhafi is not the military’s mission. A combination of other measures including United Nations sanctions are the correct approach to hastening his fall, Obama said, adding that the UN Security Council resolution authorizing military action did not sanction regime change.
    “We are going to stick to that mandate,” Obama said.

    Whether NATO take down Gadhafi on the pretense of ‘protecting’ the rebels or NATO takes him down directly is probably just a detail.

    Obama had already declared Gadhafi to be taken down back in March.

  148. Charles Liu
    May 24th, 2011 at 10:24 | #148

    This is sickening, NATO isn’t pretending anymore. Apache is an attack helicopter, it has absolutely no humanitarian use. Giving the rebels air attack capability effectively endangers and punishes pro-Kadafi civilians, absolutely violates UN resolution to protect civilians.

    Alas, China is in no position to challenge Western colonialism, as the Chinese general visiting state side recently alluded to.

  149. Charles Liu
    June 19th, 2011 at 19:41 | #149

    NATO finally admits it’s killed civilian (for the 1st time), when the reality is all these weeks of bombing had collateral damage all along:

    http://news.google.com/news/more?pz=1&cf=all&ned=us&cf=all&ncl=dVz2RrhImHarJnMk8bVp7vyUK6tvM

    So whatever happened UN resolution to protect civilians?

  150. raventhorn2000
    June 20th, 2011 at 06:09 | #150

    It’s the old “breaking eggs to make omalet” justification/moralization.

    But in reality, escalation of war of this kind is merely an egg throwing contest.

    It’s not about protecting some “eggs”, it’s about ruining your enemy’s basket of eggs.

  151. Charles Liu
    June 20th, 2011 at 11:42 | #151

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/20/libya-nato-missile-attack-children

    More civilian death being reported, after weeks of doubting reporting of civilian casualty.

  152. raventhorn2000
    June 20th, 2011 at 13:09 | #152

    To paraphrase Stalin,

    “A single lie is an outrage, a thousand lies are statistics.”

  153. xian
    June 21st, 2011 at 00:26 | #153

    One should assume any kind of military action will cause “collateral damage”, i.e. dead civilians. The only way to actually avoid is to not take those actions in the first place.

  154. June 21st, 2011 at 05:31 | #154

    yes, thus, because NATO and US are well aware of collateral damages in their many past wars, they are obviously being willfully blind to the civilian deaths. Thus, their purpose was never to prevent civilian deaths.

  155. June 21st, 2011 at 09:01 | #155

    So in 1946, judges at the Nuremberg Trials called the initiation of a war of aggression the ultimate war crime because it unleashed many other evils which we consider to be crimes of war. Consequently, ten leading Nazis were executed.

    Similar trials were staged against Japanese leaders although for political reasons, the trials were much less severe and toned down.

    Now when it comes to NATO or U.S. starting wars – big and small – all over the world since WWII, including most recently Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya – for political reasons – there has been no talk of applying Nuremberg principles to today’s warmongering Western leaders.

    The truth is, as Noam Chomsky has duly noted,

    If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.

  156. Charles Liu
    June 24th, 2011 at 09:33 | #156

    People talk about regime change as if it’s mandated by UN resolution or something:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8597107/Nato-lacks-firepower-to-ensure-collapse-of-Gaddafi-regime-experts-claim.html

    Oh wait, Res 1973 was about protecting ALL civilians not dividing Libya’s sovereignty and oil wealth.

  157. July 13th, 2011 at 09:01 | #157

    Bump as relevant topic today.

  158. Charles Liu
    July 13th, 2011 at 12:26 | #158

    the west continues to aid the Libyan rebels who are violating UN resolution:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/07/13/libya.war/
    http://blackstarnews.com/news/135/ARTICLE/7517/2011-07-13.html

    Tell me it’s still about protecting civilians not regime change and/or oil. Where’s the call for ICC prosecution?

  159. Charles Liu
    August 4th, 2011 at 15:43 | #159

    Madam Clinton, as you announce death figure to indict Syria, where’ the Libyan civilian death toll caused by NATO?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8682499/Nato-accused-of-killing-family-in-botched-bombing-raid.html

  160. pug_ster
    August 5th, 2011 at 05:51 | #160

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44031003/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/

    I guess that NATO doesn’t care even when it is Ramadan, they go out and bomb the hell out of Libya anyways.

  161. raventhorn
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