Ban Ki Moon being protested at in Sri Lanka
The UN is renowned as ineffectual genocide watchers and resolution passers. The French commonly known as surrender monkeys. Both however, have substantial strength of arms and are now using them in Africa. This is obviously not a good thing, but for the times it may be a lesser bad. The UN has authorized military action to protect civilians in Libya and participated in the same in Cote de Ivoire. France is sending fighter jets to the former and their troops have secured the airport in the latter. It’s a new turn of affairs.
I think both interventions are right. Some pundits like Andrew Sullivan seemed to have learned the wrong lessons from Iraq, that all military interventions not in self-interest are bad. There are cases where thousands of people are about to be slaughtered Zenga Zenga where intervention is called for. There are cases where a tyrant is cornered and force can force him out. The lesson should not be no action but right action.
That said, both interventions could go pear-shaped quite fast. But at the time, they seem like decent decisions. Another reassuring trend is that events which took months or years in the past are now compressed into weeks or months. Perhaps this is a function of attention. Or maybe it’s Twitter.