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Tuesday 22 Aug 2017 | 17:26 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 22 Aug 2017 | 17:26 | SYDNEY

The no-fly zone madness

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17 March 2011 10:42

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on Lateline last night:

My overriding principle is this, Tony, and that of the Government's: let's look at the UN. Look back to Rwanda: fail. Look back at Darfur: fail. Look back at the Balkans: partial fail. Too late, really. Srebrenitsa and the rest.

It's 2011. I would hope the international community would learn from history, because in a month's time, two months' time, three months' time, if for whatever reason Gaddafi begins to prevail and we see the large-scale butchery of Libyan civilians, I am deeply concerned about how the international community will reflect on itself, and secondly, then explain itself to the Arab countries of the Middle East who have called for this action.

But slip a few different places and phrases into that passage, and you can make the opposite point:

My overriding principle is this, Tony, and that of the Government's: let's look at foreign military interventions. Look back to Iraq: fail. Look back at Afghanistan: fail. Look back at the Balkans: partial fail. Too late, really. Srebrenitsa and the rest.

It's 2011. I would hope the international community would learn from history, because in a month's time, two months' time, three months' time, if for whatever reason we see that a no-fly zone cannot prevent large-scale butchery of Libyan civilians and that we will have to send in ground troops, I am deeply concerned about how the international community will reflect on itself.

Meanwhile, Chris Uhlmann's question to Kevin Rudd on Tuesday evening is still a good one: 'You were one of the loudest voices calling for a no-fly zone over Libya. How many Australian planes did you offer in meetings talking about this''

See Hugh White's op-ed for more.

Photo by Flickr user *Meredith.

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