Saturday, May 10, 2008

Evil Imperialists Plot to Violate Sovereignty of Non-Western Nation...or something

Brief TIME magazine article on the possible need to invade Burma/Myanmar*:

Is it Time to Invade Burma?

After the debacle of Bosnia, the shame of Rwanda, the ongoing disgrace of Darfur, and the stale and outdated debate on Iraq, I was afraid the the ideal of humanitarian intervention--a necessary step on the road to the globalization of human rights and a truly international standard of citizenship--would be tossed onto the scrapbook of failed idealisms.

Yet reality has a funny way of butting into the dialog, so it was strangely thrilling--even in the context of this horrible natural tragedy and the disgraceful way the junta is willing to sacrifice the citizens of that long-suffering nation--to read this comment:

"We're in 2008, not 1908," says Jan Egeland, the former U.N. emergency relief coordinator. "A lot is at stake here. If we let them get away with murder we may set a very dangerous precedent."

In other words, the "dangerous precedent" would not be the invasion of a sovereign nation; rather, it would be allowing the government of that sovereign nation to inflict even greater suffering on its people--and put the world at risk by allowing a huge outbreak of infectious disease.

One can almost feel the rocking of ground underneath; could this tragedy provide the tipping point needed to regain the high ground from the new isolationists and the faux-progressive "anti-imperialists" with their specious defenses of sovereignty and the use of "non-intervention" as the last-ditch justification for anti-Western authoritarian regimes?

I eagerly await reading Diana Johnstone, Michael Parenti, and the rest of that lot jumping on this issue. The legal and moral issues, I am quite sure, will fascinate them all.

Or maybe not.


*I am not comfortable with allowing the vicious junta to rename the country, diplomatic protocol aside.

1 comment:

Owen said...

Kirk, I'm not sure if my first effort at posting got through, here's a second try, delete if appropriate.

Unfortunately Jan Egeland is talking with his experience of Darfur to inform him. That precedent for getting away with murder remains before our eyes.