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Freedom's Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention Paperback – October 13, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
Gary Bass, a professor at Princeton, has given us a very thoroughly researched and elegantly written history of humanitarianism that goes back to the early 19th century. In the 1820s Byron and other philhellenes agitated for Greek independence from the Ottoman yoke. Arch-realists such as Metternich and Disraeli were afraid it would upset the balance of power in Europe. The Ottoman Empire, in their view, was keeping order among many restless nationalities in the East.
There was another movement for intervention against the Turks in the 1870s. This time it was led by British Prime Minister Gladstone who campaigned to save the Bulgarian Christians from Turkish atrocities. (In fact Tony Blair invoked Gladstone before the invasion of Iraq.Read more ›
Thus in offering his historical parallels as role models for the present he shoots his case in the foot. The US did not intervene in Central America in the 1980s to stop mass-murder regimes, but bolstered and even created them. What if the USSR and Cuba had decided they must intervene in El Salvador to stop the slaughter in the name of "socialist humanism?" There would have been WW III, of course, with Washington firmly defending the Salvadoran government's national sovereignty no matter how many of its own people it killed. No outside intervention allowed in one's own backyard, irregardless how gross the reason or "necessary" the situation.
Just as the imperial facade and double standards of such interventions are easily exposed, the entire ideology of liberal interventionism takes its own self-serving intellectual paradigm as its pretext of power; transforming human rights into the private patrimony of Western elites determined to subjugate lesser breeds for their own uplift, as always. "Realists" may be cynical in disbelieving that politicians and generals, like lawyers, may also be "good people" with good motives.Read more ›
By dwelling on mainly three example ,Mr.Bass concludes that humanitarian intervention cannot in any case be equated with imperialism.Thus he describes in detail the plight of the Greek people who were under the Turkish yoke. Lord Byron is one of the main characters in the role of Robin Hood who has done his best in order to fight for the agonizing Greeks.
Finally,they won their independence after the famous battle of Navarino where the Turkish fleet did not have any chance of surviving against the British ships of war and was simply obliterated.Mr.Bass gives us a very fresh picture of what went inside the minds of the chief protagonists in this affair,namely:Castlereagh (who -in the end- took his own life),Canning and the bad guy Metternich who did not care at all about the plight of the Greeks(or any group which would endanger the political balance after the Congress of Vienna).
Next comes the story of rivalry and butchery that took place in Syria between the Christian Maronites and the Druze and the third episode-in my opinion:the best- researched one- is about the massacre of the Bulgarians in 1876 -an act committed by the Ottomans. The two outstanding figures here were again Britons: Disraeli,who dispatched the fleet against the Ottomans and Gladstone the eccentric British Prime Minister(who-we are told used self- flagellation after indulging in the pleasures of flesh).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Item arrived in timely manner with no problemsPublished 24 months ago by Acquisitions, UNLV Libraries
Well-written and entertaining description of the 19th-century conflict concerning the slow dissolution of the Ottoman empire through World War I, and Britain's response to various... Read morePublished on June 9, 2009 by BGL