Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Not Shedding Any Tears

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I don’t understand articles like this. “It was a mistake to kill Qaddafi,” like we should have a say in the matter. Or, rather, a say is all we should have in the matter. They’re ultimately responsible for the doing.

Now, I’m not saying the rebels were thinking about it at the time, but if they actually thought, “do we do him now or take him to the Hague,” they’d probably have shot him a few more times in the face to make sure.

Yeah, let’s show our support for this populist uprising by making sure the guy who’s been killing them all these years gets to live a bit longer while northern Europeans – who, of course, always had North Africans’ best interests at heart – deliberate over how civilized they can be to a mass-murderer. How very paternalist, especially when his death now casts a shroud over the ‘trustworthiness’ of the new transitional leaders (at least, in the eyes of Republicans looking to qualify Obama’s foreign policy victory). As if our history in the region gives us any sort of moral high ground.

So it’s with this view that I wonder the motives of those looking to ‘temper’ Libyan hearts from afar; those who wax philosophic about their ability to self-rule. I’m not justifying revenge murders, but considering that this has been a success on all accounts precisely because of the considerable lack of force the United States has brought to bear – in effect, very pointedly not turning Libya into another Iraq – and as such has allowed the Libyans to effectively own their victory, they should, then, be allowed to own their transition.

We should support, not direct the proceedings.

Similarly, as we watch the Palestinian demand for statehood recognition die a slow death in the UN security council’s committee deliberations, it would seem that the question we should ask ourselves is just how much our sovereignty matters more than their sovereignty. I’m reminded of a Ted Rall comic on the matter: Just whose permission did we ask to exist?

Foreign Policy

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Foreign Policy magazine is coming down on Obama for failing to create much positive headway in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Israel. “Zero for Four.”

To which I ask, who has made headway with them in the last 30 years? Stephen Walt says he’ll be blamed for “losing” our two wars. We knew they would be lost in 2003. There is no other possible outcome. I suppose Obama could have said “damn the consequences,” fallen on the grenade, gotten us out of the wars post-haste, watched the region go to shit and had a world of bad press kill the Democratic party’s mandate as the Republicans mocked him for being a second Carter while secretly thankful that we were out of that mess, but… seriously now.

That said, what I got out of the article – the indictment – was that, by so much as having that byline, he has insinuated that Obama could use an executive mandate to fundamentally alter America’s antagonistic stance towards Iran and chummy relationship with Israel. Arguably, Obama does have more official power as the executive than anybody in this or the last century thanks to Bush’s policies and party, aside from, perhaps, the mandates of FDR. Whether that translates to real power, however, is up for debate.

The anemic ministrations of this current administration can only mean two things:

a) The Democratic party was unwilling to use the mandate it got in 2009

b) The Democratic party was unable to use the mandate it got in 2009

Just so I don’t go mad, I’m going to assume the latter. At which point we have our most damning indictment of democracy – its utter inability to turn the ship around in any time-line remotely necessary to stave off disaster.

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