War etc

Peace in our time?

Put aside all your numbers for a while (It is statistically proven that there are too many threads open on that subject already.)

After reading Lancet editor Richard Horton’s defence of his survey in The Guardian I was struck by his final statement (not least because it is virtually the first time that I have seen somebody who argues against intervention actually even attempt to outline a progressive alternative to the overthrow of dictators.)

Unfortunately Mr Horton is very vague about what he actually means:

And finally, we can truthfully say that our foreign policy – based as it is on 19th-century notions of the nation-state – is long past its sell-by date. We need a new set of principles to govern our diplomacy and military strategy – principles that are based on the idea of human security and not national security, health and wellbeing and not economic self-interest and territorial ambition.

The best hope we can have from our terrible misadventure in Iraq is that a new political and social movement will grow to overturn this politics of humiliation. We are one human family. Let’s act like it.

So what do you think that Horton is actually advocating? A stronger UN? World Socialism? Something along the lines of Thomas More’s most famous work?

What “principles” might help the 21st century be a less bloody and painful era than it’s predecessor? Whose “human security” does Horton mean? The dictators, or his victims? Are we really supposed to sit back comfortably in our “safe European homes” as people “in far away countries of which we know nothing” suffer tyranny? Is “a boot stamping on a human face – forever” really the best “human security” that most of the worlds population can hope for?

Surely both sides of the intervention argument can come up with some creative “principles” for the 21st century.

Can’t we?