« | Home | »

Cameron in Benghazi

Tags: | |

Rory Stewart may have been the first Tory MP into Libya after Gaddafi’s ousting from Tripoli, but he certainly wasn’t the last. David Cameron and William Hague were hard on his heels. Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy were ‘greeted as heroes’ by the crowds in Benghazi’s Tahrir Square, according to British state television. The prime minister had a tricky line to walk: how to take credit for the regime change and downplay the level of foreign intervention? Bending down to reach the microphones – or to make sure that Sarkozy could hear him – Cameron said in that particular loud, clear tone of voice that English toffs use for addressing foreigners: ‘While we are proud of the role that we played to help, we know this was your revolution’ – before reeling off a list of Libyan cities to show he’d done his homework (for some reason Sirte wasn’t one of them). The business in hand, as the BBC agreed last week, is to get the oil flowing as quickly as possible – for the sake of ‘Libya’s long-term prosperity’, of course.

Comments on “Cameron in Benghazi”

  1. Geoff Roberts says:

    When you peel off the sticky labels of modern jargon you’re right back in the realm of Kipling and flag-wagging imperialism. The labels may change, the agenda doesn’t.

    • Max.Grotius says:

      Really? Mercantilist opportunism, sure: that’s why countries without natural resources and/or with stronger armed forces don’t tend to get security council-authorised military interventions. But imperialism? While the new administration will likely be economically neoliberal or thereabouts, and while you might see that as the same thing, it’s not.

  2. willharwood says:

    Well, it _is_ for the sake of Libya’s long term prosperity, good for us too. Politics doesn’t have to be a zero sum game — and in fact, a not-too-bad definition of Imperialism would be the philosophy that politics _is_ a zero sum game.


    • Geoff Roberts says:

      “zero sum” makes it sound all very rational, like an insurance company or a bank calculating its profit rates, but doesn’t this ignore the lives lost, the damage done to property and enormous profits made by UK and French companies who palled along with the Libyan dictator until the people began to rebel? Sounds to me as if the British and the French have no interest whatever in ‘zero-sum “games”‘ but want to reap some big rewards rebuilding and prospecting.

Comment on this post

Log in or register to post a comment.

  • Recent Posts

    RSS – posts

  • Contributors

  • Recent Comments

    • name on Who is the enemy?: Simply stating it is correct doesn't make it so, I just wish you would apply the same epistemic vigilance to "Muslim crimes" as you do to their Hebrew...
    • Glen Newey on Unwinnable War: The legal issue admits of far less clarity than the simple terms in which you – I imagine quite sincerely – frame them. For the benefit of readers...
    • Geoff Roberts on The New Normal: The causes go back a long way into the colonial past, but the more immediate causes stem from the activities of the US forces in the name of freedom a...
    • sol_adelman on The New Normal: There's also the fact that the French state denied the mass drownings of '61 even happened for forty-odd years. No episode in post-war W European hist...
    • funky gibbon on At Wembley: If England get France in the quarter finals of Euro 16 I expect that a good deal of the fraternity will go out the window

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

  • From the LRB Archive

    Edward Said: The Iraq War
    17 April 2003

    ‘This is the most reckless war in modern times. It is all about imperial arrogance unschooled in worldliness, unfettered either by competence or experience, undeterred by history or human complexity, unrepentant in its violence and the cruelty of its technology.’

    David Runciman:
    The Politics of Good Intentions
    8 May 2003

    ‘One of the things that unites all critics of Blair’s war in Iraq, whether from the Left or the Right, is that they are sick of the sound of Blair trumpeting the purity of his purpose, when what matters is the consequences of his actions.’

    Simon Wren-Lewis: The Austerity Con
    19 February 2015

    ‘How did a policy that makes so little sense to economists come to be seen by so many people as inevitable?’

    Hugh Roberts: The Hijackers
    16 July 2015

    ‘American intelligence saw Islamic State coming and was not only relaxed about the prospect but, it appears, positively interested in it.’

Advertisement Advertisement