Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Humanitarian Intervention vs. Angélisme


Christophe Bickerton, in a guest post, observes that some humanitarian groups worry that Kouchner and Sarkozy will "use" humanitarian intervention to serve French political interests rather than the other way round. Such angélisme seems to me misplaced. Very little good would get done in the world if it didn't serve less than spotless interests. Since I invoked Shakespeare in a response to another commenter today, let me call again upon the Bard:

Besides, there is no king, be his cause never so
spotless, if it come to the arbitrement of swords, can try it out
with all unspotted soldiers: some peradventure have on them the
guilt of premeditated and contrived murder; some, of beguiling
virgins with the broken seals of perjury; some, making the wars
their bulwark, that have before gored the gentle bosom of peace
with pillage and robbery.
--Henry V, IV,1
Humanitarians had better worry that their good intentions yield perverse consequences than fret that politicos might make sordid use of their nobler purposes.

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