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Humanitarian Imperialism: Using Human Rights to Sell War [Anglais] [Broché]

Jean Bricmont , Diana Johnstone

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Amazon.com: 4.6 étoiles sur 5  8 commentaires
45 internautes sur 46 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 superlative book 15 août 2007
Par Paul de Rooij - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
The adoption of the humanitarian war rationale has had a particularly damaging effect on what remains of the Left in Western countries; one of the basic tenets for Leftists should have been to oppose imperial wars, and it has been disconcerting to witness the adoption of the human rights lingo to either co-cheerlead wars, accept portions of the rationale for war or simply to demonstrate unreflective muddled thinking. Jean Bricmont's book, Humanitarian Imperialism, is a clearly written guide through this moral maze, an unmasking of tendentious interpretation of history, and an antidote to the principal malaise afflicting our times: hypocrisy. It is an important contribution to help the Left to assess critically history, and to break through an intellectual logjam surrounding the so-called humanitarian wars.
30 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Sheep's Clothing 1 octobre 2007
Par Douglas Doepke - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Recovering from the popular trauma of Vietnam has been agonizing for the nation's imperial managers. Running a global empire requires seizing opportunity when it arises, as well as strafing the unruly when they threaten to break ranks. But all that got a lot harder once the bloody realities of southeast Asia gave intervention a bad name. Still, there's considerable truth in the old saying, "Where there's a will, there's a way", and there's definitely a "will" in Washington-- an imperial will. But after Vietnam, the "way" took some time to crystallize. Enter the concept "humanitarian intervention", a phrase bound to engage the heart of every well-meaning liberal. What better reason to intervene in another country's internal affairs, than to do so under the cover of aiding human rights. No more need for an Ollie North running covert intervention from the White House basement, or being thwarted by a restive anti-war Congress. Now even liberals and anti-globalists can climb on board the interventionist train. And many did, riding all the way to Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Iraq before the wheels fell off in Baghdad.

Bricmont's succinct little volume is about as timely as timely gets. In a 150-plus pages, we're reminded why the US cannot be trusted to conduct any post-WWII intervention, "humantarian" or otherwise. Just as importantly, Bricmont points out how counter-productive these intercessions prove in advancing ordinary standards of human rights. Much of the material here is likely familiar to students of US foreign policy. Still, discussing the track record within the context of humanitarian assumptions serves a very timely purpose, and should be required reading for all who want to climb aboard that meretricious train.

Several miscellaneous points: Situating the left's present predicament remains a key requirement for moving beyond our present benighted stage. The Preface presents a provocative set of 20th-century comparisons as signposts, e.g., anti-imperialism, not socialism, characterizes that century's trajectory, thus placing the Third World's evolutionary advances in a clearer light. Also aiding the text are the author's well-placed efforts at dealing honestly with the Soviet experience. There's little of the reflex anti-Sovietism that characterizes much of current left opinion. In fact, it's hard to see how the left can revive without an honest eye-level reckoning with 70 years of "socialism under siege". Lastly, the book deals with the issue of interventionism within the present era of US dominance. It's not a work of theory. There may be scattered references to certain conditions justjfying foreign intervention, but Bricmont's not trying to arrive at general criteria. Put succinctly, we have a better idea of what does not justify foreign intervention, than we have of what does.

Anyway, Bricmont's is a highly topical work, deserving of much greater attention than what it's currently getting on this site.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Fine demolition of the big lie of 'humanitarian' interventionism 25 janvier 2010
Par William Podmore - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
In this brilliant book, French scientist Jean Bricmont exposes the liberal lie of humanitarian imperialism, showing that imperialism is never humanitarian.

Throughout the last century, the USA and its allies, principally Britain, constantly attacked progressive forces, upholding by force the unjust world order under which we live, attacking workers seeking justice and national sovereignty. The USA is the organ-grinder, Britain the monkey.

The key example is the Soviet Union, which was always forced to defend itself against aggression. As Bricmont notes, defending the Soviet Union, "The leftist discourse on the Soviet Union, especially on the part of Trotskyists, anarchists, and a majority of contemporary communists, usually fails to recognize that aspect of things in its eagerness to denounce Stalinism. But insofar as a large part of Stalinism can be considered a reaction to external attacks and threats (imagine again a regular series of September 11 attacks on the United States), the denunciation amounts to a defense of imperialism that is all the more pernicious for adopting a revolutionary pose."

Bricmont defends workers' nationalism, pointing out, "the `nationalism' of a people that wants to protect advantages gained in decades of struggle for progress is not comparable to the nationalism of a great power that takes the form of military intervention at the other end of the earth. Moreover, if it is true that national sovereignty does not necessarily bring democracy, there can be no democracy without it." Nations that lose sovereignty lose their democracy.

When peoples defend their national sovereignty against an aggressor, they are upholding international law. But for Britain to follow the USA into endless wars would militarise our foreign and domestic policies, destroy civil liberties and waste billions on the military, with no end to terrorism.

If Britain instead practised non-intervention and peaceful cooperation, and respected other nations' rights to self-determination and national sovereignty, we would free billions of pounds to invest in our industries and services.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Resurgence of Imperialism 3 avril 2012
Par jcb - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
The collapse of the Soviet Union and its associated political project in the 1990's had a number of consequences. The political movements which had a symbiotic relationship to the old Soviet Union i.e. left wing movements ranging from Stalinists to anarchists fell into political disarray. The economic impact was equally severe, the `planned' economies of `actually existing socialism collapsed and the free market re-emerged in a manner reminiscent of the 19th century. The most important consequence has been the resurgence of imperialism. This has manifested itself in the unending series of wars and interventions which began with Kosovo in the late 1990s. Today the West is at war in Afghanistan having wrecked Iraq. Military intervention in Iran is being proposed by Israel. In addition to military intervention, torture has returned once more as an instrument of state policy.
Unlike the 19th century when the slave trade or some such provided a justification for attacking other lands the imperialism of today requires a new ideological legitimacy cloaked in suitably soothing tones. This ideology goes under the banner of `humanitarian intervention'. Bricmont's book is an analysis and critique of this ideology.
Bricmont writes in a clear and simple fashion. In the chapter on Power and Ideology he makes the important points: a justifying ideology is always necessary when one one state attacks another. In democratic societies ideology is very important for thought and social control. Unlike North Korea where I imagine the populace have few illusions regarding their rulers, in democratic societies we believe ourselves to be masters of our own minds. In the 19th century King Leopold of Belgium took over the Congo, the ostensible reason was to defeat Arab slave traders. In a similar vein when Britain built its empire it was invariably for the good of those subjugated.
Bricmont defines the West as being USA and Europe.He defines imperialism to `designate Western colonial or neo-colonial policies in the Third World. He also makes the important point that decolonisation and not commumism was the most important feature of the 20th Century.
Bricmont's critique focusses on the disregard for international law in favour of human rights as a justification for interventions. Leftists who 20 years ago would have opposed interventions in other States. have now become liberal imperialists. He points out that unending interventions have one direction only: that of unending war., a war of strong states against weak ones
Chapter 4 "Weak and strong arguments against War" provides excellent examples. Quoting a Canadian professor Michael Mandel ` contemporary international law has as its aim ....to preserve future generations from the scourge of war. To achieve that no country has the right to send its troops into another country without the consent of its government. This `government' merely needs to control the armed forces. It does not have to an elected government. International law for Bricmont is better than no law at all. Using this argument he then raises the question of why some attacks are `legitimate' but not others. Was the Japanese attack on Pearl harbour legitimate?
Bricmont points out that liberal thought sees three political forms
* The war of all against all
* An absolute sovereign
* Liberal democratic order.
The liberal imperialists in the West support democracy at home but interventions abroad. One aspect missing from the analysis is the gross military imbalance between the Western powers and the many states that have been attacked by the West. The Battler of Omdurman in 1898 was between a british expedition led by Kitchener' and and Ansar army led by Abdullah Al Tashi. Numerically much stronger than the British the casualty outcome of the battle was "Around 10,000 Ansar were killed, 13,000 wounded and 5,000 taken prisoner. Kitchener's force lost 47 men killed and 382 wounded (see
(source:[...]. The military imbalance today is on a similar scale
The recent overthrow of the Libyan state facilitated by NATO bombing highlighted the disparity in military power and is possibly a reason why the West is emboldened to pursue further interventions. The UK newspaper The Guardian recently had an online poll on whether Nato airstrikes should be launched against Syria. This reflects a mentality and a confidence that these weak states cannot fight back against the West
The more subtle aspects of the ideology is the use ofWW2 as a n example of what should have been done in the 1930s. The futility of WW1 is rarely discussed. Similarly the ideologues have mutated Western Armies into a Mother Teresa charity operation. Armies by definition are for fighting and along with occupation comes torture , resistance etc.The liberal's response is to argue for a better planned `occupation'. Arguing against something on the basis that it doesn't work is not a principled approach, for instance torture worked for the French in Algeria. Similarly drone technology can be improved and bring less collateral damage. Although Bricmont decries moral absolutism,suppose international law is changed to reflect NATO's wish to use the UN as a proxy political force - how does one argue against that?
To this reviewer there is a case for a priori principles in arguing against pragmatism. Bricmont has written a fine polemical critique which deserves a wide readership.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A very lucidly written book 22 février 2009
Par Karl H. Hiller - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
The author tears into the hypocritical assumptions that underlie the various aggressions undertaken in recent decades under the guise of human rights. He shows that selective application of humanitarian principles is only the latest version of Western imperialism. Bricmont is, if anything, harsher in his judgment of the Left than of the traditional Right, believing that it has allowed the misuse of traditionally liberal-left values in the service of actions decidedly opposed to them.

Karl H. Hiller
Spring Valley, NY
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