Western hypocrisy gives tyrants free rein
The legacy of our liberal elite’s castigation of Bush and Blair is a self-imposed spinelessness, writes JOHN WATERS
IT IS strange to read, in the liberal newspapers, articles and editorials demanding that the international community “do something” about Libya. Strange because it is impossible to forget that these same newspapers led the charge against George W Bush and Tony Blair when they “did something” about Iraq.
The truth is that the international community is immobilised not by military issues concerning intervention in Libya, or by any argument concerning the justness of such an initiative, but by a cultural paralysis that has rendered the western “powers” powerless in the face of tyranny and evil. The ideology promulgated by liberal western media is the most significant cause of this paralysis.
It has been fascinating to observe the demeanour of Muammar Gadafy since the outset of this present episode. At first, three weeks ago, he seemed confused and besieged, a tyrant who appeared to be losing his twisted grip on his people. But, after this initial period of hesitation, he has become a new man. It is as if he has assessed the mood of the world and realised that the West is all hat and no bottle, that nobody is going to take him on.
He kills his own people in air-attacks and strikes back at rebel insurgents with force and confidence, promising an “amnesty” to those who leave down their weapons and abandon their burst for freedom. Their surrenders – in effect their suicides – ought to shame the West, its leaders and peoples, except that, due to the influence of its dominant generation of leftist agitators and opinion formers, our cultures are too choked by hypocrisy to any longer have any shame about these matters.
Gadafy affects to blame al-Qaeda for the uprising in Libya, knowing such claims to be nonsense. But he has understood something al-Qaeda intuited years ago: that the West was too weakened by complacency and populism for its leaders to offer it any real resistance.
Al-Qaeda was briefly proved wrong, back in 2003, when Bush and Blair embarked on a mission to reassert the right of the West to police the world according to its own much-vaunted principles: freedom, democracy, justice and truth.
The invasion of Iraq was only in part about taking out the tyrant Saddam; it was also about sending a signal to the world that the West was awake and watching.
We know what happened. Both leaders were pursued by the elites of their societies, led by mischievous and cynical media forces, and eventually subjected to cultural impeachment and banished in disgrace. So far, there have been five major British-government investigations into Blair’s decision as prime minister to support the US-led invasion of Iraq; thus far, four of these have found that he acted legally and in good faith.
But still, he is compared to murderous tyrants like Radovan Karadzic and Saddam Hussein by people who have never been called upon to stand up for a principle in the whole of their lives.
Employing a spurious calculus of carnage that factored out the million Iraqis killed by Saddam, the ageing counterculturalists of the West have conducted an eight-year trial of the only western leaders who have been prepared to face down tyrants on the basis of moral principle and human empathy.
The unmentioned legacy of all this is a cultural paralysis that promises any tyrant anywhere a free rein to torture and obliterate his own people.
Compared with Saddam, Gadafy is a sitting duck, hated by his people far more than he is feared by them, and elaborately surrounded by female bodyguards as though further to taunt the West with its own spinelessness and self-imposed impotence.
For several weeks now he has been there for the taking, but the western powers have prevaricated and procrastinated, tabled resolutions and debated the imposition of a pointless no-fly zone, hoping for an outcome – any outcome – that would not involve them having to do anything.
Barack Obama is the embodiment of this culture of hypocrisy and childishness: a black president who is president because he is black, a walking advertisement for left-liberal vanity, a man who can match, word for word, the verbal flatulence of an era characterised by delusion, cowardice and empty talk. A fortnight ago, when Gadafy was still vulnerable, Obama loudly declared that the Libyan leaders “must go”, but since then he has done precisely nothing to enable such an outcome.
Obama is the elected representation of the postwar generations who never understood that politics is about choosing the lesser of evils. Even had he the personal courage and determination to act against Gadafy, Obama could not do so, because the commitment to do nothing in such situations is central to the unwritten contract he has made with those who delivered him to what was once the most powerful political position in the world.
Gadafy knew exactly what he was doing when he warned the West that an intervention could cause “another Vietnam”. This phrase is the hypnotist’s code word, calculated to invoke the trance of a generation of opinion formers who remain in a repetitive loop of retro-sentiment defined by the counter-cultural mantras of youths lived out in a completely different world.