Siding with ‘Evil’
The issue of (still undecided) military intervention in Syria recalled the debate on the shortcomings of “liberal interventionism” once again after the cases of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Nevertheless, this time, the case of objection against military intervention could not be confined to the limited space of anti-war critiques and protests, but had a serious impact on the politics of the “interventionist front.” It seems that this time some lessons were learned and the controversy turned to be more on the pro’s and con’s of a military intervention rather than being limited to the debate on the moral grounds of liberal interventionism. As a result, one of the most eager supporters of the intervention in Syria; the British government withdrew from the coalition of intervention due to the objection of the Parliament. Besides, the leader of the war coalition; the US had to postpone its plans and beforehand, President Obama let it be known that the intervention would be on a very limited scale and the target was to deter the Syrian regime rather than dismantle it.
Nonetheless, Turkey’s government is still adamant. Prime Minister has no second thoughts concerning the necessity and righteousness of military intervention. Besides, he recently stated that the intervention should not be on a limited scale; on the contrary it must be comprehensive and committed to regime change like in the case of Kosovo. It is true that it was the case of Kosovo (1999) which legitimized liberal intervention and paved the way for unilateral interventions without the consent of UN. Yet, the military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq (then Libya) turned to be so disastrous that the case of Kosovo, not only started to lose its legitimizing force but also turned out to be a historical controversy.
Then, there is the issue of moral and intellectual consistency on behalf of Islamist/Muslim conservative politics not only in Turkey, but in general, concerning Western interventionism. On one hand, the conservatives and the Islamists of the Muslim world define and denounce all sorts of Western interventions as the reason for all ills and promote a sort of right wing anti-imperialism. On the other hand, they occasionally call for Western intervention for injustices in their or their neighbors’ lands. Our PM, as one, has long been accusing the Western world, on one hand for meddling in the affairs of the Muslim world for so long, on the other hand for not doing anything in Syria to stop atrocities of the Assad regime.
We may think that after all, the political forces of the Muslim world have to make their mind up about whether Western intervention is desirable or not, or if it is just or not. It seems that Turkey’s Islamists know the answer now, since they invented a new excuse for their invitation of Western intervention in Syria that; “it is providence which leads evil forces to punish one another.” In this case, if the evil West punishes evil Assad, justice will be done. You see that the moral and political inconsistency can perfectly be put in the clothes of divine providence. We know that Occidentalism has its flaws, but this version is an extreme expression of having confused minds. Nevertheless, it works in our lands where the lack of moral, social, political responsibilities is easily compensated for with all sorts of excuses including divine. Under the circumstances, there is no need to remind our PM and his supporters that Bernard Henry Levy who was depicted as chief Zionist conspirator by them recently, was among the most enthusiastic supporters of the case of Kosovo. They should be thinking that it is no problem to be on the same side as those that they despise since “evil forces” always punish each other and Muslims should be expected to side occasionally with one against the other.