Middle East

28 March 2011
The Libertarian case for intervention in Libya - and I thought I was the only one. …link
19 March 2011
Lew Rockwell’s piece on why “we” shouldn’t intervene in Libya



Didnt’ like it.

Why’s that?

Not quite sure.  Too many assertions I guess.  Also, it says nothing about individual rights.  Let me explain.  As, indeed I have before.  I, as an individual, have the right to defend myself.  I also have the right to defend others.  So, presumably, I have the right to defend Libyans against Gadaffi’s forces.  And, indeed, anti-Gadaffi forces should they prove to be less savoury than we have so far tended to think.

Actually, all this introduces a rather troubling idea.  If I am allowed to defend Libyans then I am allowed to run guns to them.  As indeed is my next-door neighbour.  But what if my next-door neighbour takes the view that the best way to defend Libyans is to support the Gadaffi forces?  This could get nasty.

Maybe this is one of the reasons we have states - to stop far-flung conflicts turning into civil wars on our doorsteps.

21 June 2009
The Mullahs will win

I am sure I am not the only one who finds the protests against Iran’s stolen election exhilarating.  They raise the possibility of an end to an appalling regime and the beginning of a liberal, tolerant and progressive Iran and, by extension, a liberal, tolerant and progressive Middle East.  Which would be nice.  It’s just that I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Let me explain.  Ask yourself: what brings down an ideologically-driven tyranny?  In the case of Hitler’s Germany, Hussein’s Iraq and Pol Pot’s Cambodia it was invasion from abroad.  In the case of the Soviet Union (and by extension the Eastern European satellites) it was time.  The ideology had exhausted itself.  And that’s it.  Street protests, as China, Burma and Cuba have demonstrated, just get a lot of people killed.

Ah, you say, but what about Marcos or Apartheid or the Shah?  Just not ideological enough.  And the end of Apartheid - I suspect - had an awful lot to do with the end of the Cold War.

By contrast the Iranian theocracy clearly has a long way to go before it burns itself out.  Which is why it will survive.

So, why do ideologically-driven tyrannies last so long?  Ideas I would guess. Most people are not prepared to kill unless it’s for a cause.  But if you give them the cause…

06 April 2005
Dubai: the Las Vegas of Arabia - says William G Ridgeway …link
31 January 2005
Taliban: “...as good a government as Afghanistan could reasonably expect…” - says Laban Tall. Hmmm. …link
22 January 2005
Just when you thought you’d never have to shop in M&S ever again - they start selling Israeli goods …link