Perfidious Albion

Rahul Mahajan rahul at hagar.ph.utexas.edu
Sat Jul 15 10:16:48 MDT 1995


Chris, you raise an important point here. Discussion of important current
world events is unfortunately still rather rare on the list. The perfidy of
the British and other western governments on this and other issues of
course does not bear much repeating to most of us. The question of the
responsibility of the left is, however, one on which there has been far too
little discussion anywhere.

It seems pretty clear (from what I have seen at least) that most of the
activism on the Bosnia issue has been by non-leftists, either ordinary
Muslims, religious peaceniks, or those who want to see the globocop kick
some more tail (since it's white tail this time, this strain has been much
more muted than say with regard to Iraq). (Before you all get up in arms, I
know there has also been some activism by the left.)

You mention racism as part of an explanation. I'm afraid I can't see it.
The anti-war movement in 1991 brought together all kinds of disparate
elements in the American left, at least. The simple explanation seems to be
that many on the left realize that saturation bombing by the western powers
is hardly the way to bring justice or protect people's human rights, etc.
For that matter, the Iraqis certainly had no right to occupy Kuwait and
commit whatever atrocities they did (granted, fewer than the western media
claimed, but they did happen surely) -- it would seem that the Americans'
cure was a wee bit worse than the disease, however. The two options that
seem at all tenable are to have the big boys unleash another orgy of
firepower, along with the inevitable chest-beating about how the smart bomb
is making the world safe for democracy, or to sell weapons to the Bosnians
so that the Balkans will settle down into a running battle for who knows
how long. Neither one appeals to me, and the first seems definitely
something to be avoided. What exactly can the left fight for in Bosnia?

That said, I readily agree that the role of Britain in the matter is even
more objectionable than that of the U.S., which is quite a coup for any
country.

Rahul




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