As the Guardian leader, Foreign policy: intervention after Libya, puts it:
"But it can now reasonably be said that in narrow military terms it worked..."It's never delivered in Daily Mail or Sun-gloating style, but the Guardian's approval for Nato's annihilation of Libya is no less potent in its effect.
Citing Tony Blair as the defining figure of 'liberal interventionism', the Guardian explains that:
"this was the idea that stronger states could and should use the means at their disposal, including, as a last resort, their military means, to protect the populations of failing, weak, or oppressive states."The actual process, of course, isn't liberal intervention at all, but military-corporate intervention, legitimised by this kind of liberal-Guardian assent.
The very term 'liberal interventionism' serves a key agenda-defining purpose in setting the debate about whether and how 'we', the 'obvious good guys', should flex our 'our moral muscle'.
With that narrative comes all the liberal agonising necessary to help reach the end conclusion that, while murky issues remain, the bombing and overthrow of states 'we' dislike can be justified:
"That does not mean that there will not be a case for intervention in the future, nor that we should stop trying to think these ideas through. Liberal intervention is neither discredited nor fully validated. Too many very different things were bundled together under its rubric. They need sorting out and Libya may help us to do so."Yes, just like 'the lessons we learned' from Iraq; the idea that, with 'a little tweaking here and there', a little reflection on 'our mistakes', 'we' can get this invasion thing right. And, of course, Libya is just there to help us along in that noble task.
All of which helps pave the way for the next round of Western-directed bloodshed.
This piece should be preserved and cited as a precious example of liberal-Guardian apologetics.
Thankfully, beyond its hand-wringing editorial line, we find, from the Guardian's Seumas Milne, this more central truth about the West's real motives in Libya:
"If stopping the killing had been the real aim, Nato states would have backed a ceasefire and a negotiated settlement, rather than repeatedly vetoing both. Instead, after having lost serious strategic ground in the Arab revolutions, the Libyan war offered the US, Britain and France a chance to put themselves at the heart of the process while bringing to heel an unreliable state with the largest oil reserves in Africa."John