The character of Roger Cohen at the NYT.

I havent agreed with Cohens’ (NYT) weltanschauung too many a times, but today he surprised many, me included, when he ended his “Be ruthless or stay out” OPED thusly:

“What’s clear to me is that there is no halfway house. Spurn conscience-salving gestures. The case against going in prevails unless the West, backed and joined by the Arab League, decides it will, ruthlessly, stop, defeat, remove and, if necessary, kill Qaddafi in short order. I’m skeptical that determination can be forged. Only if it can be does intervention make sense.”

Cohen shows cojones here. I dont agree with his comparison with the Bosnia situation. Not all no fly zones interventions are the same. Why? He gives the answer himself:

“Life must be lived forward but can only be understood backward, as Kierkegaard noted. He might have added: “And if not, you’re in trouble.” Iraq and Afghanistan have provided powerful lessons in the cost of facile planning (or none), the ease of going in, the agony of getting out, and the limits of Western firepower”

Aslam Farouk-Alli at Aljazeera understood-ands- backward as follows:

“The modern Middle East was born in crisis. Remnants of the Ottoman and Safavid Empires of the 19th century, the countries of this realm only took the form of modern nation states after passing through the brutal mill of European colonialism. Whereas state formation in Europe took centuries to develop, countries in the Middle East were created by the veritable stroke of a pen; by a line drawn on a map; by a decision taken in a smoke-filled boardroom. The results were catastrophic and for the people of this realm the transition from sultanic patronage, to colonial subject, to modern citizen of an autocratic state was overwhelming: little, if any, consideration was given to their political aspirations.”

Absolutely gut wrenching. Contrast in the fly with Cohens’ approach.

BTW (by peoples request):” Aslam Farouk-Alli completed a M.Soc.Sci at the University of Cape Town and lectured part-time in the faculties of religion, language and literature and historical studies. He left the academy to pursue a career as a diplomat in the South African Civil Service. He is also the editor of The Future of Palestine and Israel – From Colonial Roots to Postcolonial Realities (Midrand, South Africa: Institute for Global Dialogue, 2007).”

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