29 March 2011

A man whom I respect has a few words on the subject of the Libyan intervention

I encourage my gentle readers to listen to Dr Andrew Bacevich, professor of IR at Boston University, on the military action in Libya here; it’s well worth it.

As with the great majority of what Dr Bacevich has to say, it takes an insightful, broad view of American foreign policy. He is definitely cautious (to say the least) about the applicability of hard power in creating positive outcomes in the world; and he falls firmly into the growing ‘anti-war realist’ IR camp. Even though I challenge the primary assumptions of realism (it assumes in its political-scientific model a misreading of original sin which one may find in Machiavelli or Hobbes, what Dr John Milbank would call ‘ontological violence’ - the idea that the world exists in a state of anarchy wherein states must compete for power or perish), I think it is certainly offering a number of valuable insights now. If we are virtuous, we would do well to listen.

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