In this article, Yash Tandon critiques the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) resolutions within the UN system to show how the forces of Empire have used ‘humanitarian intervention’ to advance their own interests. He also explains how the militaristic solutions advanced under R2P are part of a neurotic response to the various crises faced by the Empire.
In the last two columns on Libya I made a distinction between colony and neo-colony, going beyond Nkrumah’s initial analysis of neo-colonialism to show that in our times, the contradictions between the neo-colonies and the Empire are increasing in intensity. I argued that the ‘Arab Spring’ is, in essence, not just a challenge to the Arab dictators, but it is, above all, a challenge to the Empire itself. When the streets revolted against the neo-colonial regimes of North Africa and the Arab world, they were revolting, in effect, against the imperial order that is suffocating their democratic aspirations. In other words, in a larger and indeed more fundamental sense, the Arab Spring is part of a widening and deepening imperial crisis, which includes other aspects of its global economic crisis and the crisis of its legitimacy and moral authority.The Empire’s understanding and responses to the above triple challenges is neurotic. Neurosis is a condition of mind that is based on an irrational phobia and what is recognised in the medical world as an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This applies to nations as well as to individuals. With nations, the phobia is real; it has real-time effects, especially if it affects powerful countries, as is the case with the present day Empire.
A nightmare scenario for the Empire in the Arab region involves three basic ingredients. One is the rise of Iran and what the Empire ‘perceives’ as the Islamic ‘fundamentalist’ threat (the inverted commas are explained below). The second is a change in the balance of power in the region that in the long run is most certainly going against the security and wellbeing of Israel, unless the Empire and Israel make fundamental changes in their dealings with the Palestinians. And the third is the deepening economic crisis within the capitalist system.