From time to time, there emerge those who reprimand others, accusing them of calling for foreign interference in the country. Regardless of the claim’s veracity, “non-intervention” has reached a point where it has become doctrine, even a religion, to some of its advocates.
Iraq, which witnessed fully-fledged US intervention, is often used as an example, as is Libya, where NATO intervened partially. Were the Baathist Iraq and Qaddafi’s Libya free of flaws that merit intervention? Some non-intervention advocates deny having admiration for either regime, and they do not repudiate the need to change them; however, they add, either explicitly or implicitly, that peoples alone should undertake this task.
However, the previously mentioned Iraqi regime stayed in power from 1968 until 2003: 35 years during which there were several wars and an incalculable number of victims and costs, in addition to the grave afflictions that befell the population in general. Despite all of this, the Iraqis were unable to topple the regime. As for Libya, its regime lasted from 1969 until 2011: 42 years of the notorious Gaddafi’s arbitrary regime, and the Libyans did not succeed in overthrowing it either.
Certainly, it would be better for the people to overthrow such regimes without foreign intervention. This did not happen. The very fact that this didn’t occur indicates that the “people” themselves are in crisis and that there are deep schisms within their ranks, which this type of regime only expands and deepens. Thus, as soon as those regimes fell, the cracks were expressed with unprecedented clarity and fluency. Occupation and intervention may not be innocent in this regard, but their role remains meager and marginal in comparison to that of a long local history that culminated in these regimes. For the latter combined their almost total failure at everything with their almost absolute success at fragmenting their peoples and entrenching their inherited affiliations. They went about destroying the national social fabric, thereby destroying the future after they had destroyed the past and the present.
Non-intervention advocates not only assume that peoples are left unscathed under these regime’s leadership and that they remain a united, single and indivisible entity, but also that for change to be acceptable, it should resemble a single step that takes the country from hell to heaven. Since heaven is not on the horizon, it would be better to stick to hell.
However, this issue is not one of mere theoretical positions, which implies that these advocates, deep down, would like to remain in that hell. And when they themselves happen to reside in the “imperialist West”, their actual desire becomes compelling others to live in this “national” hell. They are, in this case, hell’s allies: This is evident in the fact that they “did not notice” the ongoing Iranian and Russian interventions in support of Bashar al-Assad in Syria because they were busy opposing the US intervention that did not happen in 2013 and which had been expected to strike Assad.
As for the political environment they come from, it is not known to have condemned acts of the magnitude of Russia’s intervention in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, Cuba’s intervention in Angola, or Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait...
Generally, then, there are acceptable interventions, most of which seek to maintain an authoritarian status quo, and unacceptable interventions, many of them, though not all of them, seek to change this state of affairs. This raises doubts about the moral credibility of those who say that they absolutely reject foreign intervention and are absolutely committed to the principle of national sovereignty.
On top of that, just like they imagine peoples that are not riddled with contradiction, they also imagine ideological humans without bodies or souls. The Syrians who have been enduring torture and pain since 1963 or the Iraqi Kurds who were hit with chemical weapons are expected, if they are to garner these critics’ respect, to vigorously reject foreign intervention! Fortunately, such people do not exist in reality.
This is not said out of love for the West or Western intervention. Indeed, the West does not always intervene for democracy’s sake, but it often does. And it is true that its interventions are assumed to serve their interests as well, but the attainment of these interests is far less costly than the perpetuity of despotic or totalitarian regimes whose people are unable to topple.
What these critics are missing is that the burning question, today, is no longer their fairytales about intervention and non-intervention. It is the collapse of national and independence projects one after the other. It is the emergence of a broad desire for interventions that, unfortunately, never were. As for the latest tragic symptoms of this collapse, it is the migration of millions that have struck the last remnants of any national contents of politics. But its most comical symptom is their moronic views on intervention.