‘Humanitarian Intervention’ the language of British Imperialism?

It seems absurd that current thinking in Britain equates ‘humanitarian intervention’ with ‘military intervention’. The two have become synonymous, interchangeable phrases that justify the ventures of British Imperialism. This is a travesty.

In essence the phrases are nothing alike; they are in fact complete opposites that cannot be reconciled. As incompatible as fire and water.

A humanitarian response does not involve military aggression. Bombing campaigns do not reduce casualties, and selling guns and weaponry to ‘rebels’ will not evoke a humanitarian solution but further divisions, cause more bloodshed and make arms companies even richer.

It happened (is happening) in Iraq, and the same is happening in Libya all over again. Soon to be Syria. Don’t be fooled by official terminology. Have we learnt nothing?

The phrase ‘humanitarian intervention’ as the William Hague’s of this world would have us believe suggests something benevolent; an act of good will with the aim of helping a besieged community.

In principle this is all well and good but humanitarian intervention is the very opposite of a military campaign of terror that bombs governments into submission. This is no way to establish peace and democracy.

Yet the British public have been hoodwinked once again, failing to acknowledge the business interests at play.

Modern warfare in the 21st century – with an arms race that has acquired dominance over other forms of trade – is as much about technocratic power over media platforms, like the BBC, as it is about brute force.

In actuality the term ‘humanitarian intervention’ is used by the men in Westminster merely as a disguise for military expansion, a strategic economic move to secure resources in foreign climes.

The situation as it stands has nothing to do with humanitarianism, but is about perpetuating cycles of war and violence in order for large multinationals to capitalise on the volatility of third world nations, particularly in north Africa and the middle-east where a current wave of revolution is threatening to undermine Western Imperialism.

Arms companies are making millions with every bomb dropped; ‘humanitarian intervention’, in its politically corrupt sense, is a gold rush for every arms dealer, while oil companies fare just as well. As Tony Greenstein comments in a recent article:

“It is no coincidence that the bombing has functioned to enable the rebellion to retake some of the coastal towns such as Misrata, which are also oil ports. There is without doubt an urgent need to get Libyan oil flowing again and prevent the oil price skyrocketing. However although there have been beneficial side effects from the imperialist intervention its purpose is not one of liberation but consolidation of imperialism. Imperialism has historically intervened in the name of humanitarianism and the results are there for all to see – greater catastrophes.”

Perhaps it’s naive of me to presume a difference, but I always took to the assumption that ‘intervening’ meant becoming involved in, or entering into a situation with the resolve of ending a dispute, not aggravating it through military force.

I’m bemused as to how the idea that bombing a sovereign nation or sending in armed troops to bring so-called ‘peace’ gets brandished with the word ‘humanitarian’. Intervention it may be, but humanitarian it is not. As Greenstein goes on to say:

“[We shouldn’t be] ignoring the fact that US and British planes have also bombed cities like Tripoli, undoubtedly killing many civilians. We shouldn’t believe the spurious excuses about taking out air defence systems, given the antiquated nature of Libya’s. This is an attempt to impose shock and awe on a whole city and completely contradicts the ‘humanitarian’ label attached to the imperialist bombing campaign.”

Since when did the word ‘humanitarian intervention’ come to mean the same as warfare? Well predominately in the last few decades since the Gulf War.

NATO is a euphemism for corporate America, and its allies in Europe.

The British establishment has never worried about dictatorships, in fact has actively sought to encourage dictators who pledge allegiance to the empire of old. It’s only dictators who stand against British imperialism that have worried us because of their ‘undemocratic’ and ‘tyrannical’ rule. Otherwise they are free to reign without ‘humanitarian intervention’. Or as Madeleine Bunting puts it:

“Bahrain is characterised as evidence of the west’s endemic hypocrisy: it promotes democracy and human rights only when it suits its self-interest.”

No-one would, nor should, doubt the value of humanitarian intervention in Japan after the recent earthquake that decimated huge regions of the country, or in south-east Asia after the tsunami hit, or even in Sudan in the wake of civil war. Sending food, essential resources and even unarmed civilian workers to aid populations struck by disaster, whether environmental or war related, is admirable and should be encouraged.

This is the true essence of humanitarianism. Charities, NGO’s and other liberation movements standing in solidarity with people struck by disaster or subject to abuse and domination by corrupt regimes.

Humanitarian organisations, like the ISM (International Solidarity Movement) stand side by side with the people; they are there on the ground trying to provide medical treatment, safe housing, clean water and food supplies and the rights to a life free from the brutality of military occupation.

Our duty is to encourage people to fight against imperial power and unite the worldwide struggle for justice. It is not to dictate to the people of other nations how they must do this, and intervene by way of military invasion, but stand shoulder to shoulder with resistance movements.

Intervening humanely requires an unarmed response. Sending in armed troops or raining a blitz of bombs does nothing to aid humanitarian needs.

Drop packages of food, acceptable, but dropping bombs will solve nothing.

Yet somewhere along the way the two very separate forms of intervention have become fused together.

British politicians, journalists and alike have us believe it’s for ‘their own good’ that we invade Iraq or bomb Libya, but it’s not. It’s a farce, a reversal of truth; it’s not for their own good but our own good.

British companies get the oil contracts and BAE Systems profit from war.

It’s about time we reclaimed what it really means to be humanitarian. It’s time the pressure mounted on our British government; no more military interventions in the name of humanitarianism that disguise British imperialism.

For info about the ‘Spring Revolutions’ visit http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2011/04/arab-revolutions-at-crossroads.html


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