Some democratic interventions are more convenient than others

The West is overrun with choices of where to intervene to promote our values abroad. If we were true ‘humanitarians’ we would have intervened years ago in Darfur, where millions have been displaced, brutalized and where genocide has been in full swing, unimpeded by Western humanitarian concerns.

The West is overrun with choices of where to intervene to promote our values abroad. If we were true ‘humanitarians’ we would have intervened years ago in Darfur, where millions have been displaced, brutalized and where genocide has been in full swing, unimpeded by Western humanitarian concerns.

Today we have Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria, Jordan seething with revolution. . . we had Iran but that was quickly shut down and we didn’t say much. The Ivory Coast has imploded, but they are remote and ‘nobodies’. Hmmmm. . . where to send our forces that are already stretched a bit too thin in Iraq and Afghanistan?

And of course there are multiple global rescue missions that require Western military intervention in the form of aid as well: Haiti, multiple spots in deeper Africa, disaster recovery in Australia and New Zealand and the triple threat catastrophe of Japan – earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

So we picked Libya. Hmmm.

Despite equal or worse treatment of citizens in most of the non-Western ally countries noted above, Muammar Qaddafi was singled out as the guy to oust on humanitarian grounds.

You mean Bashar al-Assad in Syria is a nice guy?

Assad, like Qaddafi, has also been firing live weapons on his own citizens, no doubt following in the family tradition of his father who wiped out the town of Hama years ago in a single night and then paved over the evidence. Estimates say some 20,000 were killed that night. But that’s just a statistic now. Now Bashar, the son, is being painted as a ‘reformer’ by the White House, and encouraged to make peace with Israel.

Qaddafi gets spanked. Assad gets rewarded.

Israel is currently being encouraged to cough up the Golan Heights to this dictator as a means of maintaining ‘stability’ of his murderous regime; the same regime that likely also assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri of Lebanon.

Can you spell ‘hypocrisy’?

Libya is in our sights. Perhaps because Libya is next door to Egypt, where the crucial Suez Canal may fall victim to the recent transitions there. That one makes the most sense to me!

But, perhaps because it’s convenient to pay Qadaffi back for the Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie. Perhaps because there are convenient, friendly staging areas for the West in Malta — so it’s not like having to rely on Saudi Arabia or the UAE for an air base, where loyalties might suddenly flip. Maybe the West tired of Qaddafi’s female SWAT team, his bizarre but fashionable Euro-African royal attire. . . his long diatribes?

More likely we’re in Libya because Italy and southern Europe are being flooded with illegal immigrants from Libya and other North African states in turmoil. They won’t stop coming unless there’s calm at home. Or that’s the theory.

But it’s not really about a humanitarian response. If so, then we are also required to intervene in the other spots I noted above. And that’s really a bridge too far for the already burdened West.

As we bound into Libya like white knights saving a damsel in distress, Al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood are having the time of its life! Al-Qaida and the MB are cheering us on!

And what of the “Camp of the Saints,” so vividly described in the book by the same name? Refugees are now fleeing their chance at democracy at home in droves, for the safer and more generous shores of southern Europe.

The essence of the novel and today’s current crisis is simple. When several thousand desperate refugees turn up on your doorstep, your first reaction is pity and compassion. But when the next wave arrives, and the next, your charity turns to despair — and then rage as your own resources are stretched too thin.

As reported in the Daily Mail, some 19,000 migrants now outnumber the 7,000 residents of Italy’s southern island of Lampedusa. Garbage and abandoned boats litter the bay, police form barricades to hold back thousands awaiting food, and some migrants have taken to home invasions of local residents, threats and robbery.

The island will be completely out of food if government aid doesn’t arrive,

So the only thing you can do is invade their former homeland, so you can send all those refugees back. And you’ll have a clear conscience doing so once the bad guy is gone and good times are ahead.

You’ll feel good knowing the refugees will have been ‘empowered’ to take control of their lives and enact ‘change you can believe in.’ Or so you hope.

As reality dawns on Westerners, the US is already bailing out on the Libyan mission it began. Now let’s see how Al-Qaida and the MB use this chaos as opportunity.

Michelle Stirling Anosh is a Ponoka-based freelance columnist.