Tag Archives: liberal interventionism

An Afghanistan catastrophe Part 2 (of 2)

In Part One, I offered a view of why and when the occupation of Afghanistan failed. In Part Two, I explore the future implications.

The first shorter term problem is the evacuation.

It could be used as pretext to keep a contingent of special forces in the country, and keep the conflict going. Liberal Democrats have emphasised the need for a land corridor from Kabul to Pakistan, but this would require negotiation with the Talebs, as yet absent.

A further dimension to this is the wave of Western media stories about ISIS and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, despite scant evidence on the latter, and formal ‘Western’ reports dismissing scare stories on the former.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged | 8 Comments

So, if Afghanistan was a mistake, what should we do next time?

Amidst the shambles that is the Johnson Government’s response to the collapse of the former Afghan government, the focus is – quite rightly – currently on getting as many people out as quickly and efficiently as we can whilst the incoming Taliban administration is willing to allow it. But, having set the wheels in motion, and determined who we want to evacuate and how many we should offer sanctuary to, we need to turn our attention to the question of why we should intervene in the affairs of another sovereign nation and how we can effectively achieve any set of clearly defined goals.

Posted in Op-eds | 23 Comments

The End of the End of History

Back in 1992 Francis Fukuyama wrote a highly influential but seriously flawed book; “The End of History and the Last Man”. The general idea was that after the fall of the Berlin Wall the great ideological conflict between liberal democracy and communism had been settled. Liberal democracy had won, was spreading rapidly around the world and in due course every country would become a one. Good would triumph over evil.

The end of history meant the end of ideological conflict. Democracy would continue but the disagreements would be relatively minor. Ironically this view was similar to the Marxist belief in historical …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments

The last thing the Liberal Democrats need is an ethical foreign policy

 

In yesterday’s article I alluded to ‘a central contradiction going on in the Liberal Democrats at the moment: the incompatible melange of pro-asylum seeker and pro-interventionist rhetoric and ideology.’

Today, I will say firstly that I do support accepting some asylum seekers in the UK; in accordance with a rather hard-headed ethic of prudence and restraint, rather than the gushy sentimentality that so often afflicts our party (of which more shortly). I will also say that my reasons for accepting asylum seekers are completely different from some dominant lines of discussion in the Liberal Democrats; and that this is far from inconsequential.

What does this mean?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

No criticism is bad criticism (and none is worse)…

Not long ago, I wrote a piece on how pacifists and non-interventionists might respond to the recent decision on foreign intervention.

Although, on balance, I don’t regret writing it, I am deeply dissatisfied with some aspects of my article. The feedback from a large number of people has been very helpful not only in helping me clarify my own views to myself, but also to think very carefully about matters of presentation and framing.

If I am reading them correctly, some commenters felt that my stance was not robust enough. My problematic reference to ‘maintain(ing) unity’ and worse still, to the purported risks of ‘irresponsible criticism’ (sic) could easily be read as conformist, condescending, authoritarian, or any combination of these things. Certainly, there were some poor choices of words.

I will acknowledge that as I only recently joined the Liberal Democrats, it is possible that I have a distorted view of the boundaries of criticism. Certainly, I would not wish to indulge in tone policing. I am as outraged at anyone else at the recent decision to go along with David Cameron and the self-styled ‘International Community’s’ self-serving crusade in the Middle East; the latest in a long line of cynical interventions.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 18 Comments

A longer read for the holiday weekend: The tangled path ahead for Liberal Democrat pacifists and non-Interventionists

Lib Dem pacifists and non-interventionists will no doubt have had difficult adjusting to the decision to assist the government in supporting the coalition that is currently intervening in Syria and Iraq. Here, I will provide a few simple suggestions for how we can keep to our principles, but also avoid irresponsibly divisive behaviour.

  1. No Irresponsible Dissent
  2. Disagreeing with the decisions a party makes is perfectly reasonable. And criticism, per se, is not inadmissible. But criticism of one’s own party is not the same as criticism of individuals and organizations outside one’s own in-groups. Even if party loyalty is not an absolute, it is certainly a very weighty consideration.
    As with so many matters pertaining to liberalism, the true test of loyalty is not the issues where most members agree, but the issues where there is a fundamental split on an issue of grave ethical importance. The true test for us is for grassroots and top level Lib Dems to maintain unity, even when it is genuinely heartbreakingly painful to go on.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

Opinion: Why Lib Dems should reject the doctrine of liberal interventionism

If the regular politics of coalition is a walk in a minefield, the Libya crisis presents Lib Dems with a walk in a minefield while being haunted by a pair of malevolent ghouls.

Those twin ghouls are ghosts of conflicts past, conflicts where Britain intervened and expedited disaster, such as Iraq , and the countries where the UK sat on its hands, and watched disaster unfold, such as in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

There are a number interesting, and from a Lib Dem point of view welcome, feature of the debate concerning the possibility of the western intervention in Libya, …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 42 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • David Evans
    Martin & David Raw, I'm sad to disagree with you both on this but facts speak for themselves. 1910 - 272 Liberal MPs, ... Four elections later ... 19...
  • David Raw
    Given tonight’s revelations, Afghanistan, Downing Street and Grenfell, the skids are under Johnson. Whoever is regarded as the most likely candidate to defeat...
  • Nonconformistradical
    "If a private for profit care home goes down financially it somewhat “restricts the freedom of those who use it." Quite. Like those residents who had to be f...
  • Joe Bourke
    The proposed increase in the employment allowance is targeted at helping small businesses recover from the pandemic and crucially be able to hire staff at highe...
  • Mark ValladaresMark Valladares
    @ Peter, I suspect that we'd run a candidate as we're little more than background noise in Islington North anyway - our strength was across the south of the ...