West Goes From Commanders to Cowards

Let me reveal a secret: The real reason the West is bombing Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is to put al-Qaida in power. Take for example Mustafa Abdul Jalil, head of Libya’s National Transitional Council. He defends radical Islam.

In my opinion, all of the turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East is the natural consequence of recent decades in which the world’s open society has weakened militarily and morally to the same degree that it has become stronger economically.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the West had no qualms about letting everyone know who was the boss. When Sudanese dervishes cut down General Charles George Gordon’s troops, they were ruthlessly massacred by Field Marshal Horatio Kitchener at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898. When Ethiopian Emperor Theodore took several British citizens hostage, Sir Robert Napier crossed 390 kilometers of arid desert to wage a wholesale slaughter that liberated the hostages.

But in the 20th century, the West turned out to be cowards.

When Iranian revolutionaries took U.S. diplomats hostage in 1979, Washington was powerless to respond. When Gadhafi publicly sponsored terrorists of every stripe, the international community couldn’t do anything.

There is a simple economic reason for this impotence. In the modern world, war is no longer profitable. It is simpler and less costly for the open societies of the West to pay exorbitant prices for oil and gas than to teach the Middle East a neat little Kitchener-style lesson in good manners.

With war no longer serving as a mechanism for natural selection, we see the emergence of bloody dictatorships that in the 19th century and first half of the 20th century would have inevitably fallen victim to their neighbors.

All of this created the demand for an ideology that would justify the cowardice of Western soldiers and the unprofitability of war. The ideology of “human rights” fit the bill perfectly, and the world’s terrorist scum has quickly learned to take full advantage of it, using it as a powerful weapon of conscious against the West.

Libya is the scene of a bloody mess, with all of the participants in the conflict held hostage to their own rhetoric.

In North Africa, the West is pretending that it believes the revolutions in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia will lead to democracy. Radical Islamists want the West to destroy Gadhafi for them so they can turn around and accuse the West of bombing civilians. Gadhafi is positioning human shields around military facilities so he can claim that the West killed thousands of children. Even if U.S. or British bombs don’t kill any children, Gadhafi is prepared to shoot a few kids himself and publish the photos on the Internet and claim that it was the result of a Tomahawk missile. In Libya, using a few bullets is faster and cheaper than having to doctor images with Photoshop.

What type of democracy can the West really expect to see in the Middle East? The same type that France had with the Jacquerie peasant uprising in the 14th century. Imagine if Martians had descended on Earth 650 years ago to bomb Charles V for refusing to give French peasants the vote. Not only Charles, but even the peasants would have wondered what all the fuss was over.

Yulia Latynina hosts a radio talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.

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