Mahinda and Gaddafi
China, India and Sri Lanka have opposed military intervention in Libya. That is, the two presumed future leaders of the world and, uh, where I live. As India’s Leader of the House said “No external powers should interfere in it… What is happening in Libya is an internal affair of that country. Nobody, no two or three countries can take a decision to change a particular regime in a third country.” The reasoning these countries use is that sovereignty is sacred. That the nation is the state and that its rights trump human rights. I don’t think that this is true.
One one level the self is an illusion, but the nation is a bigger illusion still. Borders are often random, the population is often diasporal and internal coherence is often symbolic. That’s on a broad, almost irrelevant level. Let’s assume that the validity of the nation is assumed.
Even then, it’s really not clear that the rights of the nation trump human rights. To a degree, yes. If people supply their silent consent to tyrannical systems then other nations feel fine looking away. When the people of a nation revoke consent, however, you have to question whether a particular regime represents the nation or if they’re just parasites. Colonialism has left us with the legacy that non-white tyrants are not tyrants, but that’s not true.
Almost always the nation and the state are not the same, but when the nation rejects the state I think you need to give priority to the nation. Hence, the idea that this is all an ‘internal affair’ is both callous and without too much sense. It has some sense, but not enough to justify someone like Gaddafi going house to house and showing no mercy, as he has literally said. In that case I think you could safely say that the state has come quite unhinged from the nation, from humanity and that the rest of humanity is probably right to intervene.