Multifaceted Intervention Practices

Article published on March 25, 2011
Article published on March 25, 2011
For years the EU has outlined a common foreign, security and defense policy (CFSP, ESDP) and has even created the EU battle troops (EUBG) and established its own European External Action Service. However recent developments in Libya once again clearly showed the insignificant role of these EU activities.
One could ask, if those new systems really are needed or could it be better for EU to go backwards redusing it to focus to the original visons and structures of the European Coal and Steel Community and European Economic Community (ECSC and EEC).

Somehow it was characteristic, that while United Nations and the EU were deciding their statements for Libya, the British and the Americans special forces had been operating there already for at least three weeks preparing military intervention. Wheter the intervention really was needed is a bit unclear for me. William Bowles gives one view about this inervention in his essay Kosovo Revisited (kind of)

It (intervention) started life with well-placed atrocity rumours, created by ex-Gaddafi sidekicks that got the whole ball rolling. A classic Kosovo move: plant fake stories of ethnic cleansing and genocide by the Serbians (all the while arming the fascist Kosovo Liberation Army, who had been committing atrocities and funding their operations from the heroin trade), then send in NATO and bomb the shit out of the natives.

Essential in any case from my point of view is that the preparation of military intervention, the decision-making and the execution itself took place outside the structures of the EU which was totally bystander during the whole process.

Interventions and wars have their own logic and its own motivations behind brave EU statements. In my previous article Libya Intervention is creating problems instead of solving them I described some motivations of intervention. Recently The Guardian gave a disgusting example from Afghanistan related to intervention practice on the ground. Officially international community and ISAF troops are building administrative capasity for Afghanistan, spreading there also democracy and other Western values. How this works at grassroot level – here an example from the Guardian related to new type of sports activities:

An American soldier has pleaded guilty to being part of a "kill team" who deliberately murdered Afghan civilians for sport last year. Army Specialist Jeremy Morlock, 23, told a military court he had helped to kill three unarmed Afghans. "The plan was to kill people, sir," he told an army judge in Fort Lea, near Seattle, after his plea. Morlock detailed how he and other members of his Stryker brigade set up and faked combat situations so that they could kill civilians who posed no threat to them. Four other soldiers are still to come to trial over the incidents. This week the German magazine Der Spiegel published three pictures that showed American soldiers, including Morlock, posing with the corpse of a young Afghan boy as if it were a hunting trophy. Some soldiers apparently kept body parts of their victims, including a skull, as souvenirs.

No wonder that local population in Afghanistan wants more or less to get rid of foreign "helpers" and Libya does not want (Western) "humanitarian" intervention either. The intervention has many forms and some of them appear to be relatively distant from official high flown ideals.