[Marxism] Liberal Defence of Murder review

J.M.P.Cloke at lboro.ac.uk J.M.P.Cloke at lboro.ac.uk
Sat Mar 21 03:24:29 MDT 2009

Surely the real problem with ‘intervention’ is that it is 
ongoing and everywhere – it ill-behoves the rich countries 
of the north and west to invent a separate kind of 
intervention labelled ‘humanitarian’ when the massive 
destruction of structural adjustment and enforced 
neoliberalism, interventions both, lie all around in 
Africa. It’s a peculiar kind of blindness, after all, that 
refuses to see enforced participation by the IMF, the 
World Bank and the WTO (all creatures of the north/west) 
in a destructive global economy on unfavourable terms as 
This critique goes nowhere near far enough; it talks about 
western violence during the colonial period as if it were 
a long-gone period of quaint historical interest. Was it 
not the intervention of France in Rwanda to defend its 
commercial interests that encouraged the Interahamwe? Did 
the US and the UK not do their level best to obstruct UN 
involvement in Rwanda for their own geo-strategic reasons, 
at least according to Lt. General Romeo Dallaire, the i/c 
of the UN force in Rwanda? How can a Belgium filled with 
the statues of Leopold II, an individual mass-murderer and 
genocide practically without equal, dare to issue 
international arrest-warrants on the grounds of crimes 
against humanity without first putting its own house in 
If the question really were “What is an appropriate 
response on the part of outsiders to mass atrocities or 
large-scale suffering within a nation state?”, then the 
answer would be obvious – stop causing the problems in the 
first place. Understand that your foreign offices, your 
state departments and above all your intelligence agencies 
themselves are the thing of which they purport to be the 
cure. If Zbigniew Brzezinski boasts in the journal Foreign 
Policy Review that the US went out of its’ way to provoke 
the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1978 on the grounds 
that this would involve the USSR in its very own Vietnam, 
then that was a policy decision to pay for the downfall of 
the USSR with Afghan blood, for which Brzezinski is 
responsible personally – how come he doesn’t qualify as a 
terrorist? If Afghanistan is a ‘broken state’ because of 
all that followed from 1978 onwards, then who fucking 
broke it? Who created the mullahs of Iran, if not CIA 
moron Kermit Roosevelt and his arsehole decision to 
overthrow the moderate nationalist government of Mossadegh 
in 1953 in favour of that mad, torturing bastard, the 
It may be that Kofi Annan believes that responsibility for 
intervening in acts of mass murder devolves to the 
international community, but if they can’t resist the 
temptation to meddle with and break the toys they take 
because of a vicious blindness to their own actions, then 
what will this do except continue a circle of abuse, 
neglect and opportune self-interest? Any real 
‘responsibility to protect’ would surely start with the 
principal “First – do no harm”, and if you want to look at 
the root causes of internal conflict and human suffering 
(i.e. doing harm on a massive scale), start with yourself; 
what are *you* doing? If during the famine in Ethiopia 
during the mid-1980s that started that fatuous, 
masturbatory irrelevance Live-Aid you understand that 
Ethiopia was a net exporter of grain for the entire period 
of the famine then surely even the densest person has to 
start questioning a system that allows a country where 
millions are starving to still be exporting food? Or is it 
just me?
All of the rest, equitable and sustainable development, 
duty to reconstruct is all just moral arse-wipe; what 
‘humanitarian intervention’ really does is allow the 
north/west to ‘other’ countries and situations (a la 
Edward Said, 1978), to pretend that they are not us and 
not our fault, to pretend that they are outside the system 
of moral globalised capitalism and that such situations 
are aberrations, not the norm. Which is, of course, us.

Jon Cloke

Member - Lumpenprofesariat

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