Although Mamdani is writing from a perspective which views the foreign intervention as perhaps the greatest potential security threat in the conflict, a point of view in stark contrast to every emerging report from the front lines, he is correct regarding the need for demilitarization to occur before meaningful peacebuilding can begin. This point leads us to what in fact amounts a fourth, and perhaps the most important, condition for the application the recommended strategy: there must be afterwards be fundamental re-evaluation of the international community's strategies in preventing and mediating man-made humanitarian crises. The current order, which is focused on humanitarian intervention under the theoretical framework of pragmatic pacifism, results in a tragic paradox - such interventions are seen as necessary to prevent imminent catastrophes in cases of organized violence against civilians, and yet, as has occurred in Libya, the resultant long-term engagement of such forces can actually prolong the threat of violence to those they had set out to protect. The structure of humanitarian interventionism currently in place and legally reinforced by the United Nations made the ultimatum of prolonged disaster or regime change an inevitable one. Of course, Resolution 1973 did not provide or call for the removal of Gadhafi, but what is being argued here is that the manner by which it was enforces meant that such an action would eventually become a humanitarian obligation.
What does that say about the state of the international peacebuilding agenda? Perhaps its central tenets need to be reconsidered, if the results of its current operational orthodoxy are to be observed in the case of Libya. Let this be the most important subject of future reflections on this event, so that the international community does not have to make a choice between the preservation of human life and the spectre of humanitarian imperialism.
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About Author / Additional Info:
I am a 4th year student at York University in Toronto, Ontario in the Global Political Studies program. I invite all serious feedback and, of course, any proposal to the contrary!