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EP PODCASTSXML

September 7, 2007

The Chessmen of Darfur

ChessmenWhen the Cold War ended we should've gotten a peace dividend. Less military spending, more peace. Instead, we got the first Gulf War. And then, Yugoslavia. Now the second Gulf War, and the beginning of what looks like a new Cold War. None of this even remotely supporting U.S. security interests — indeed, antithetical to them. The intellectual framework behind such adventures (intellectual may be an inaccurate term) attempts to replace three hundred and fifty plus years of the Westphalian idea of sovereign nation states with something else, something vague, to do with the exercise of untrammeled power. Darfur highlights the various dimensions of this paradigm shift, and policy wrangling over Darfur draws heavily, in turn, from the interventionist experience in Yugoslavia. To get at such markers of the larger context I turned to Brendan O'Neill, the original and brilliant editor of Spiked Online. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with Brendan and learned a lot. Hopefully, he'll be a return guest. Total runtime here of an hour and twelve minutes. Enjoy!

Listen

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Comments


This was a truly inspirational conversation — congratulations! Brendan's conclusions about "Bosnia" and the implications for national sovereignty are absolutely spot on. I have thought long and hard about this tragedy and have never heard so many of my own conclusions spoken out loud before are you both psychic or could it be we are just right?


What an interesting interview. The interventionist paradigm appears quite similar to the "Father knows best" authoritarian paradigm. Choose one side as good, and create an evil twin. Makes sense to me. The notion that we are creating a world full of "victims" is very insightful.


A very stimulating conversation and one I will listen to again soon. I am often challenged in my view that the US should never unilaterally intervene for alleged humanitarian reasons, and Brendan's rationale for that position is far better than mine.

Thank you again for a very informative show.


The dissolution of the Westphalian order has been talked about by the Fourth Generation War theorists for some time now, but Brendan O'Neill's theory that humanitarian intervention, if not starting the trend making it a major feature on the world stage, seems novel and compelling.

Regardless of the provenance, GWB has been accelerating the trend to a disastrous level. Among the many arguments against the Iraq War the likely creation of a failed state is one of the most serious. One of al-Qaeda's main objectives is to delegitimize sovereign states in the region which GWB has been accomplishing for them apace. The case of Afghanistan is problematic. If we hadn't subcontracted much of the ground war to the northern alliance and had caught bin-Laden, hadn't diverted/not committed the assets we sent to Iraq we may have been able to avoid the slow motion disaster that is Afghanistan. Iraq goes without saying. We have been undermining Pakistan with our high handed anti-terrorist activities and demands in the north-west territories. Of course it was our mistakes that put most of the al-Qaeda and Taliban there in the first place. We colluded with Isreal to destroy Lebanon. The refugees pouring out of Iraq are straining Syria and Jordan. It remains to be seen what we are going to do with Iran. If GWB didn't spend so much time on vacation al-Qaeda would have a continuous free range of operation from the borders of India to Egypt by now.

Your interviews and choice of guests are uniformly excellent — keep up the good work.

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