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Once you have a culture of empire - and we still do, not just in the Anglo countries, but elsewhere in Europe - intervention becomes the solution of least resistance.

It would be interesting to produce a map of how politics really works, as opposed to how everyone seems to think it works by default, as opposed to how it could/should work in a functional and enlightened (hmm...) democracy.

Currently there's a huge gap between the realities of realpolitik and the various modes of propaganda that sell intervention as a moral - as opposed to imperial and economic - necessity.

And let's not forget we have monsters of our own. For example Italy's more enlightened politicians have an unfortunate habit of meeting unexpected ends, and there have been more than a few questionable deaths in British politics over the last decade or two.

So while we don't have a full-time secret police and an explicit culture of permanent brutality, we do have a softer but analogous system which can be almost as repressive when it decides to be. And as the phone hacking and other scandals have shown, there's no oversight, and brutality is hardly ever punished as it should be.

The bottom line is that Western governments are now run exclusively for the benefit of energy and commodity companies, a small group of financiers, and arms dealers. (There are a few slots for corporate IT suppliers, especially if they also do large-scale business consulting, but IT typically doesn't set policy in the same way that the others groups do.)

So policy must benefit these groups now, by definition. If they can benefit from intervention, intervention will be pushed as a humanitarian option - while being of questionable real long-term benefit to 'liberated' populations.

There's no way to change that without lifting the lid on the sordid mess, getting some significant percentage of the public to realise what's been happening, and trying to clean out the infection.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 08:45:32 AM EST
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