Friday, March 11, 2011
Against agreeable forgetting posted by Richard Seymour
"It could reasonably be objected that this would rule out support for practically every military intervention Western states have ever carried out; but if so, it is not at all to be lamented, given the catastrophic consequences of the carte blanche that the humanitarian interventionists have frequently allowed to those states, often to their later regret. There is a temptation to say that, given a sufficiently catastrophic situation, these stipulations ought to carry less weight. This is to say that humanitarians ought to be more willing to take risks with the lives of others by urging intervention, whatever the motives of imperial states. Precise calculations of cost and benefit are not necessarily always available, it could be argued. Sometimes, the interests of powerful states might coincide with those of oppressed groups. Let us concede that this is at least a possibility: that the strategy of one military power, even one guilty of the worst crimes, can lead to a reprieve for a threatened population. But, if we are really concerned about the fate of oppressed groups, we also have to concentrate on the other possibility: that even given the best motives, the intervention of powerful states can exacerbate the baleful conditions they were supposed to eliminate – and the burden of history suggests that we are never dealing with the best motives or even very creditable ones."
|—||The Liberal Defence of Murder, Verso, 2008, p. 221|