Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How genocide becomes the logical thing to do

While the world stands transfixed by the unfolding disaster in Japan, Qadaffi has been systematically mowing down the opposition in Libya. They Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions earlier this year suggested that a freedom revolution might be in the works. But if Qadaffi mass-murders his way back into power, that could all come to a screeching halt. His approach to mass demonstrations- killing everyone- gives modern dictators two choices:

Firstly, they can refuse to shoot, and end up deposed and exiled, like the ex-presidents of Tunisia and Egypt.

Alternatively, they can gun down the protesters, and remain in power.

The emergence of mass murder as a successful regime-preservation measure is not an encouraging sign. However, this technique appears to be catching on rapidly.

The key to this approach is to find soldiers willing to mow down civilians, and to then deploy them with vastly superior military equipment.

Two days ago, the King of Bahrain, which has seen heavy protests over the past month, ‘invited’ several thousand foreign Sunni Arab troops into his country to deal with his Shi-ite protesters. Last night, they decided to take the Qadaffi approach, and cleared the protesters out of Pearl square, setting fire to the protest encampment.

Like Qadaffi, they have also refused to allow medical professionals to access the wounded, barring ambulances, and locking down the hospital. If the approach works, why change it?

Western governments have suggested, to various extents, that it might be nice to prevent this carnage, but their attempts to do so through multinational agencies like the UN have been stymied by governments who have used the kill-everyone technique in the past. And unlike 1986, we seem to be either unwilling or incapable of bombing him again, despite all the trillions of dollars of defense spending and technological advances since that time.

The take home message, of course, is that simply gunning down huge crowds of unarmed civilians will not incur a penalty from the western world that is anywhere near as severe as the penalty of acceding to the people’s demands. So unless there is a sudden and dramatic turnaround in the western response to the Lybian bloodbath, the technique of shooting anyone who gets in the government’s way will become the most logical course of action for a wide variety of regimes. Thus, we will probably see a lot more of this sort of response in the future. Indeed, if tonight’s reports from Bahrain are correct, the Qadaffi approach is already being emulated in other parts of the Arab world.

Is this “change we can believe in”?

5 comments:

Callan Bentley said...

Hear, hear!

Chuck said...

I hope that is not an indication that you are bringing in mercenaries from George Mason to restore order at NVCC.

Schenck said...

"The emergence of mass murder as a successful regime-preservation "

I'm a little confused, mass murder is the /oldest/ method of regime preservation, there's nothing 'emerging' about it. Usually, the regime that uses mass murder as a tool gets complete control of the media afterwards too, and they simply erase all evidence of it. With the opposition dead, there's no one to remember them and complain about it.

So there's nothing new hear, and Libya is hardly the only place where this sort of thing happens.

To be clear, I am not saying 'its not big deal' or "we shouldn't do anything" or anything like that.

Harold said...

Since Libya is under an arms embargo and blockade, how long will it take before the army runs out of ammo and fuel?

Harold said...

Since Libya is under an arms embargo and blockade, how long will it take before the army runs out of ammo and fuel?

Harold