The U.N. Goes to War
Michael S. Rozeff
by Michael S. Rozeff
by Michael S. Rozeff: On
U.N. Intervention in Libya and World Government
The civil war in Libya is now a new war: the Libyan War. This new
war began when the West and/or the U.N. joined the war and escalated
it. NATO may be coming aboard too.
The U.N., that supposed instrument of international peace and security,
has escalated a civil war into an international war. If the principle
it has invoked in doing so stands, which is a supposed humanitarian
one, then we face perpetual war, for there are and will be hundreds
of civil conflicts within nation-states that are no different than
the one in Libya.
Since the nation-state is organized along territorial lines, any
secession movement or any movement to disavow a standing government
leads to civil disagreement, disputes, and conflicts.
I haven’t yet seen anyone who could forecast the course of a war
in much detail. I know I cannot. It’s not impossible to say
some general things accurately. It was probably reasonably clear
that the Allies would beat Germany once the U.S. came into it in
World War II, for example. The entry of the Chinese into the Korean
War was not expected by MacArthur. Bush and his gang didn’t foresee
the Iraq entanglement at all. Afghanistan is one large pit of improvisations,
blunders and entanglements, not to mention civilian killings
and casualties. It was easy to forecast an American "win"
in Granada in 1983. The Vietnam War saw an incredible array of wrong
forecasts and outright lies. Yes, there are always some insightful
people who see what lies ahead, but it’s very hard to know
at the time that their judgments are better than those of the people
who are making the wrong forecasts.
With that as an introduction, here are some thoughts on Libya that
are crossing my mind today for what they are worth.
First, the war is likely to grow in scope. Wars do that. It is
likely to grow in military scope and it is likely to grow in its
political and economic fallout as well. There are going to be ramifications
that are now unforeseen and unintended.
Second, I think that the West is lying when it says it didn’t target
Gaddafi personally. A missile landed on his compound, didn’t it?
They could say it’s a command center, but it all comes down to the
same thing. They’d be happy to see him dead. They’ll keep trying.
Third, air power doesn’t win wars. That’s my takeaway from all
I’ve ever seen or read about it. The exception may be the A-bombs
dropped on Japan, but no one is about to drop H-bombs today without
looking like the bad guy and losing all moral authority. So, when
some general or some politician starts talking about "winning"
in Libya, or needing more air strikes, I discount it. For example,
Britain’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, is quoted as saying
that the attacks won’t stop until Gaddafi observes a real cease
fire. He assumes that air power can make Gaddafi stop his ground
attacks. Maybe, but there’s a high likelihood that they cannot and
won’t. I know the technology has changed and the air attacks are
more targeted today than in past wars, but the technology on the
ground also advances to avoid being targeted. With Iraq and Afghanistan
as guidelines, it looks as if it’s going to take a helluva lot of
destruction going on for a long time to make Gaddafi capitulate,
and while that happens the civilian population is going to be getting
killed and suffering. Look what America did to Iraq and how many
innocents Clinton killed.
Fourth, there is going to be increased blowback and retaliation
by both Gaddafi and any other Arab elements elsewhere that interpret
this attack as an attack on Arab lands or Arab religions or Arab
peoples in general. They will fight back with whatever weapons they
have, including terrorism in Europe and the U.S. When this occurs,
this attack on Libya is going to cause the authorities in the West
to ramp up their own anti-terror efforts in their countries and
turn them even more into police states.
Fifth, countries all over the world that see how Libya is being
dismantled at the will of the West and the U.N. are going to look
for ways to arm themselves better than in the past, even to getting
nuclear weapons as a deterrent to such domination. This war will
intensify the procurement of arms and weapons of mass destruction.
Sixth, anyone can see that this has not been done for humanitarian
reasons, but to take sides. Britain has reverted to its colonialist
mindset and so have France and Italy. Other countries know that
this is about controlling the oil and having pliant regimes in places
where there is oil. The moral stature or moral leadership of the
West is going to go down because of this. This is not to say that
those who abstained in the U.N. vote are looking good. China or
Russia could have vetoed the resolution if they had had any guts,
but they didn’t.
Seventh, there are going to be and already are some voices of relative
moderation among U.S. politicians. Obama is trying to walk a line
between the most bloodthirsty hawks and the more reluctant hawks
(and occasional dove). He acts as if he had to do this. So does
Hillary. They are only saying that they are feeling the resource
pinch of making another war to preserve the Empire. Their regrets
are the regrets of people who discover that running an Empire is
not a free lunch. They face constraints like everyone else does.
They cannot do everything they’d like to do. Everything costs. They
are going to have to give up something in order to make war in Libya.
The costs of controlling events and other lands are non-trivial.
Their public expressions of regret are not humanitarian in nature.
They are simply finding the job tougher than they had supposed.
Eighth, the structure of law is further undermined by this war.
There is no declaration of war by Congress. Instead the war is generated
by a vote through the U.N. This further trashes the U.S. Constitution,
as if it needed any more trashing. It elevates power above law,
or transmutes power into law. Any real law is demoted or disappears
Ninth, those in the West and in the Arab League who joined this
civil war, in effect starting a new war of their own that I call
the Libyan War, are already dividing one from another. Each
has its own political and economic objectives. The objectives of
this war are already clouded. No one in the West really knows why
it is being conducted or can state clearly what circumstances will
bring the war to a close. When there is no declaration of war or
only a vaguely-worded U.N. statement that fails to present clear
objectives, this is one of the outcomes.
Tenth, I have the suspicion or expectation that the air attacks
will induce Gaddafi to adopt tactics on the ground that are even
more deadly to anyone who stands in his way. If he is killed, some
new colonel is likely to step up in his place. Libya could be at
war for quite some time.
This all suggests to me that the West will introduce ground forces
The West, under the umbrella of the American Empire, wants
to control the oil. This makes them, particularly the U.S., face
constant trouble spots of their own making. If they sat back passively
and bought oil on the world market, this would not happen. The oil
suppliers have to sell as much as the buyers have to buy.
goal – oil control – is a gigantic error. It is done to protect
oil companies, oil concessions, and investment in oil facilities.
But why should these have the protection of the government, paid
for by taxpayers? Every one of us depends critically on many things
(water, food, clothing) but we do not attempt to control the suppliers.
Instead we use inventories and alternative suppliers to reduce the
risks of outages. Instead we develop peaceful commercial relations.
Instead we build up a history of trust.
West also wants control so as to assure supplies to the West’s military. For
what purpose? So that it can be on call all over the world?
If the U.S. had an appropriate defensive policy, the need for oil
to oil the military machine would diminish considerably.
The West also wants control so that oil interruption cannot
be used as a weapon against Western policies that oil suppliers
dislike. This is just another way of saying that the West wants
its policies to go through and will go to great lengths to brook
no interference from those who may object. Is such dominance an
appropriate policy for the U.S. government? What does that buy us
at home except higher taxes, inflation, instability, constant warfare,
and loss of freedoms?
S. Rozeff [send him mail]
is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York.
He is the author of the free e-book Essays
on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book
The U.S. Constitution
and Money: Corruption and Decline.
© 2011 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
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