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Liberal Intervention: A Talk Islam Debate

Guest post by G. Willow Wilson.

Over at TalkIslam, we’ve been having an ongoing debate about the merits of liberal military intervention around the world. The debate was sparked by an entry about the Shabab Islamist group, which is growing in power and influence in Somalia.

A condensed version follows:

Tariq Nelson: I hope that outsiders will just leave them alone this time. As long as
they do their thing inside Somalia and leave the rest of the world
alone then I am fine with that…

Let me clarify. I do not approve of them in the least. However, we
have to stop trying to police the world and establish our way of life
on others. There are plenty of sad atrocities going on all over the
world and we can’t impose our will in all of those places.


I think it is time that we leave well enough alone.

Aziz: As we learned in Afghanistan though, if you let extremism fester, it eventually comes back to bite us on our own shores.

I am an unabashed pragmatic liberal interventionist. I think democracy promotion
is sound policy, not to “impose our values” but because I believe the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights is truly universal and that the
Cairo Declaration falls short. I think this is not “imposing our will”
but rather a moral calling to let people express their own will.

Yes that makes me in some ways akin to the raving nutter neocons.
But there are nuances that are critical. As the new administration
says, it’s “smart power” not soft or hard.


Orwell was right – the history of the world is a boot stamping on a human face, forever. Until we change it.

Thabet: I think AE has slayed this beast

Aziz: oh, quite agreed, American Imperialism = Very Bad ++ungood. And yet, he
signed the Euston manifesto (as did I).

Abou Noor Al-Irelandee: Aziz and Tariq,

Your interchange is bizarre to me because you seem to be talking as
if the U.S. has not been involved militarily in Somalia for many years,
including backing and participating in the Ethiopian invasion of
Somalia which attempted to prop up an ineffective warlord based puppet
regime. Such foreign invasions and occupations will always eventually
lose and the result is that groups like AlShabab only become stronger
and more radicalized.

(see the whole discussion at Talk Islam)

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posted February 7, 2009 at 3:33 am

The only way America can stay out of international conflict is to become totally isolated. Our borders would have to deligently monitored for illegal entry from any country. Our military must maintain ultimate defensive strength. We’d have to turn a blind eye to atrocities that would surely increase while America is in the stay out of conflict mode. America hasn’t always delt with international conflict the right way, however if you take the good old USA out of the world picture it would be a much more chaotic world. There will always be tyrants and dictatorial forces in the world. Sadly part of human nature is to make others subject to someone’s twisted egocentric rule. The good part of human nature is to step up and confront the neighborhood bully, although I do belive that America has her far reaching hand in to many nieghborhoods.

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