Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Foreign Policy Double Standards

Does it bother me that the US does one thing in Libya and something else inconsistent in similar situations in other countries? Not a bit. That's because I realize that the US is a sovereign state answerable to nobody except more powerful states. The US does what it does in Libya for a variety of reasons having everything to do with its perceived interests at the moment and in a particular geopolitical context and nothing at all to do with the stated purpose of protecting civilians from being killed. When it has suited the US to kill civilians, it has done so with gusto. Certainly, the US doesn't stand for the proposition that the murder of noncombatants is always something which warrants international interference. Had any nation sought to interfere with the US when it killed civilians, this would have been met with resistance. It has also stood idly by while millions of civilians were slaughtered on many occasions when it felt that it had nothing to gain from intervening. Perhaps if Libya maufactured teddy bears instead of producing oil, the US would be less inclined to meddle in the Civil War there. The humanitarian rationale for interference is just a rationale for public consumption.

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