October 03, 2006

The penalties of action

Benjamin Disreali, British Prime Minister and general eccentric argued within the House of Commons that 'if it is not neccessary to change it is neccessary not to change". His advice has not generally been heeded since then by a succession of either politicians or pundits who through this century have lauded change for the sake of change. Today though we have a difference, on crooked Timber, Daniel Davies lauds the principle Disreali uttered- and challenges rightly the view that something must be done, this is something let us do it. Rather Davies insists that in the case of Darfur, any advocate of action make a case for how action will make the life of the Sudaneese people better. Recently in both the US and the UK the advocates of intervention whether on the right or the left have had it all their own way- governments have been rebuked for not intervening in Bosnia, Croatia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and the Sudan and have intervened in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Iraq and Afganistan. The voices against intervention have frequently been the same the voices criticising a lack of intervention and have argued upon the basis of universal responsibilities and rights. Davies is far from unique but he is in a minority in arguing against a possible but not proposed intervention, in arguing that there must be a test for applying force which is shown in all circumstances. He is thus beggining the task we must all turn to now and should have turned to before of working through the methodological debris that surrounds the concept of intervention- why we intervene in specific cases and why not in others. What constitutes a threat? What constitutes an emergeancy? And what is intervention designed to do? Such questions require more popular study...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

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Gracchi said...

Thanks very much. Glad you enjoyed.