The current war on Libya was sanctioned by United Nations Security Council resolution #1973 that was passed on March 17 and authorized “all necessary measures … to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.” It should be noted that the resolution expressly excludes “a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory” which means that another resolution will be required if bombing alone does not result in the removal of Gadhafi from power and they want to send troops in.
The resolution passed with ten votes in favor and five abstentions. It is noteworthy that apart from Germany, the other four abstentions consisted of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, countries that constitute the newly formed so-called BRIC bloc, that is emerging as an economic counterweight to the US and Europe.
Immediately after the vote both Russia and China issued very critical statements on the bombing campaign. Since either of them could have vetoed the resolution, it seems highly hypocritical for them to complain now since they had to have known what was coming. (Even if they had vetoed it, the US, Britain, and France would have found some other pretext for bombing, but that is not the point at issue here.)
So why didn’t China and Russia veto the UN resolution? I wonder if they want to lure the US and its NATO allies into these wars so that they will simply bleed themselves dry by one misbegotten military adventure after another. Russia, in particular, learned this painful lesson first hand when the US lured them into a long, costly, tragic, and ultimately losing war in Afghanistan. Maybe this is their revenge.
Stephen Walt discusses how the neoconservatives and liberal interventionists in the US, supposedly on the opposite ends of the political spectrum, are actually very similar when it comes to taking the country to war.
The only important intellectual difference between neoconservatives and liberal interventionists is that the former have disdain for international institutions (which they see as constraints on U.S. power), and the latter see them as a useful way to legitimate American dominance… So if you’re baffled by how Mr. “Change You Can Believe In” morphed into Mr. “More of the Same,” you shouldn’t really be surprised. George Bush left in disgrace and Barack Obama took his place, but he brought with him a group of foreign policy advisors whose basic world views were not that different from the people they were replacing.
Libya is another example of how we really have just one pro-war/pro-business oligarchy that rules the country.
Walt also wonders if whether China may not be the ultimate beneficiary of the Libyan war, saying “And who’s the big winner here? Back in Beijing, China’s leaders must be smiling as they watch Washington walk open-eyed into another potential quagmire.”
It might seem to a naïve or conspiracy minded observer that there is some plan being implemented, aided by the political leadership, to deliberately drive America into the ditch. Look at all the efforts currently underway to defund the government and thus destroy public services so that libraries cut back, regulatory agencies are made toothless, public schools are undermined, workers are impoverished, retirement funds are looted, national parks are destroyed by development, logging and mining, roads and bridges fall apart, police and fire protections and other social services are reduced or eliminated, all the while waging more and more wars on other countries that not only cost a lot but breed anger and resentment against the US.
Of course, such an explicit plan is unlikely and is unneeded. All these things are happening as a logical consequence of an oligarchy run amok that seeks only to advance its immediate short-term interests by cutting taxes on the wealthy and eliminating any form of government oversight and restraint and doesn’t give a damn about anything else. When coupled with outside forces that seek to draw the US into expensive overseas military adventures and overblown internal security measures (these are, after all, the stated goals of al Qaeda), we are well on the path to the implosion of a once powerful country.