On Libya

I usually understand Aretae’s posts, even if I sometimes disagree with him. This one, however, leaves me baffled.

I take Moldbug’s argument to be that most people who consider themselves to be anti-war and anti-interventionist are still highly interventionist compared to the reactionary ideal.

If Moldbug is wrong, how do you explain this? Incidentally, that link is the one that I would have juxtaposed with Moldbug’s piece. No one else’s theory of what is happening in Libya is capable of explaining why anti-K/G/Q(h)adaffi/y propaganda is written in English. The modern US is basically incapable of old school non-intervention. The form of non-intervention that would be practiced by the anti-war left or anti-war libertarians would still be interventionist by most reasonable historical standards.

The mainstream analysis of what’s happening in Libya goes like this: some – relatively small – segment of the Libyan population is rebelling against the unjust government and the unjust government is fighting back with disproportionate force. This is the end of the analysis. Any deeper analysis would require answering some unfortunate questions.

Why are rebels rebelling in the face of such disproportionate force? Who is fighting whom, anyway? What happens if we win?

I think the answers are: they’ve been convinced to rebel – largely by the US if in the convincing was done unconsciously. Sub-Saharan blacks have been imported to do the regime’s fighting. Victory by the rebels will possibly lead to an Islamic government, ethnic cleansing of the Sub-Saharans or a long drawn out Civil War.

Now, we’re officially involved in the conflict. As Sonic Charmer says:

“no-fly zone” is now the Western intelligentsia euphemism for “declaration of war”.

I don’t understand what I’m supposed to take from a comparison of Moldbug’s piece with neocon thinking. They’re speaking different languages on this subject – so much so that they’re almost mutually unintelligible.

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10 Responses to On Libya

  1. Kalim Kassam says:

    Would ethnic cleansing justify another regime change intervention?

  2. Well now there is an actual U.S. aggressive attack: http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/03/19/libya.civil.war/index.html?hpt=T1&iref=BN1

    Naturally here in Cambridge, the city squares are immediately full of peace protesters. Not.

  3. RS says:

    MM is rather anti-interventionist about the first world, and appeals to the golden age of war 1648-1914 as if it were the result of classical international law and not the result of technological-geopolitical conditions that tended to create rapidly decisive wars – and which totally ceased to obtain sometime before 1914. When he’s off, he’s often way off.

    Classical international law didn’t mean no nation ever allied with another; it meant that wars (and other acts) that might be percieved from some perspectives as amorally self-aggradizing were not really treated as immoral vis-a-vis ‘human rights’, the way they are today. MM believes this moralism has been counterproductive – even by rather typical nomal critera. So it would be moral to return to the more amoral perspectives.

    He is not against colonizing places beyond the first world – if it’s done both right (which he believes it easily can be, anywheresoever… this is probably not true). Doing it right entails, primarily, doing it rightist-ly, in a pre-WWII sense of the word rightism. He’s not against the recent Arab-Berber revolutions because of some anti-interventionism that applies there; rather, because it is because the events are leftist events.

    Don’t forget MM’s big and very fun debate with Cochran in which he maintained that Bush Jr’s move against Iraq was a defensible idea that was poorly executed. His reasons: that antiproliferation is generally good, antiterrorism too, and that the whole thing, done right, would do a deal of good in Iraq (or whoever else). Cochran never budged from saying that the whole thing stank, and they endlessly insulted each other in enviably artful styles.

    • RS says:

      I may have overstated that. He found the decision to invade Iraq more sympathetic than Cochran did. But he didn’t necessarily think it was a good thing to do, and said empire was a non-workable overall strategy for antiproliferation.

      Perhaps he’s much more neutral than pro, on colonialism. But I think he’s not significantly opposed to it, were it to be ‘done right’.

      • Steve Johnson says:

        I read that debate as well and I think the difference was more like this:

        Cochran – this is a bad and unworkable idea. Iraq is both not a threat and ungovernable.

        MM – this is a bad and unworkable idea. Iraq is a threat to American civilians. The USG is incapable of governing Iraq.

        Neither disagreed on the prudent course of action but they disagreed on why.

        MM of course would argue that with a different USG the Iraq invasion would have huge benefits for both Americans and Iraqis. This is sort of like the neocon position with the exception that the neocons have assumed a can opener.

    • Foseti says:

      I don’t disagree with what you’ve written, but it needs to be put into an historical context. Egypt 100 years ago was a better place than Egypt today. Thus, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to favor the old sort of colonialism.

  4. Tschafer says:

    I admire Greg Cochran, but there’s no doubt in my mind that MM won that round. Cochran was reduced to calling him “insane”, which is always a sign that you’ve backed GC against the wall. Some of Cochran’s arguments, such as the belief that we don’t need to worry about Iran producing nukes because the Iranians are too low IQ, are, well, insane…

  5. RS says:

    > which is always a sign that you’ve backed GC against the wall

    Cochran played that argument with one hand, for whatever reason. He was far more focused on shit-testing Mencius like there’s no tomorrow. Was he… ‘interested’? Was he administering a stern zen lesson? Just venting spleen, for maintenance purposes? We may never know; what’s clear is that Mencius turned a number of beautiful parries, doing our generation proud, before finally breaking down like a beta bitch boy. If this were the US Marines, the sarge would now be cordially building him back up again as a comradely honor-bound killing machine, but that is not the method for our varna.

  6. RS says:

    > he belief that we don’t need to worry about Iran producing nukes because the Iranians are too low IQ, are, well, insane…

    I’m pretty sure he said that only about Iraq. The Persians have always been cleverer, and fancy themselves quite the high-pates. I’m almost sure he also found that Iraq didn’t have the dough for a normal project. If they lack talent, their project would not be normal at all, but instead would be more expensive than a normal one. He emphasized that no Shias or Kurds would be politcally suitable for the project.

  7. RS says:

    > I don’t disagree with what you’ve written, but it needs to be put into an historical context. Egypt 100 years ago was a better place than Egypt today. Thus, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to favor the old sort of colonialism.

    I can agree with that. For Mencius, the presence of diversity and foreign beatniks was apparently a big plus. I think that is more equivocal from a native perspective. What’s not is the economics. Not only would they have made money en masse under foreign rule, but they wouldn’t be heading for demographic trouble like they have been and still are. Not that they are necessarily headed for mass starvation (they could be), but demography definitely is bringing them misery. They got a huge rush out of Nasser and the whole Suez thing, but I think that was rather transient.

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