>Shashank Joshi

>Just as Iraq cast a pall over the idea of intervention, Libya will give a fillip to those who see the campaign as a template that can be applied elsewhere in the Muslim world. But a world in which a small group of former colonial powers can run roughshod over the interests of poorer countries has few takers in the capitals of the rising powers. And their resistance will not remain passive – China, for example, is already well practised at coercive diplomacy. Last year, after a naval spat with Japan, it simply cut off the supply of rare earth metals. The next time that China is unhappy with Nato intruding into its markets, can we be so sure that it will meekly follow behind Russia and abstain in the UN Security Council? There are other sticks to wield beyond a veto: China holds more than a trillion dollars of US debt. As Hillary Clinton asked in 2009: “How do you deal toughly with your banker?”

One thought on “>Shashank Joshi

  1. s.A

    >The growing web of constraints on the West can be seen in Nato’s reluctance to step in to stop the carnage in Syria (although there are, admittedly, plenty of other reasons for inaction). Neither India nor China will stop buying oil and gas from Damascus, as the US demanded last month – why should they sever their economic lifelines for the slender hope that Syria will turn into a democracy? Turkey, which has considerable sway over its neighbour, will hedge its bets to the end rather than prematurely burn any bridges. Syria sits at the very heart of the Arab world, and most regional powers would sooner see President Assad level every one of his cities than welcome a major Nato operation in the Levant.

    In Paris, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy will find themselves feted by the Libyans. They may even find time for a few self-congratulatory moments. But growing powers have growing vetoes. Further down the road, it is these states that will write the rules of the game and set its tacit expectations. Advocates of full-throated humanitarian intervention should not be surprised if Libya is one of its last hurrahs.


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