Hey, let's intervene in Syria next

Of course, there is the case of Libya. There is an example, or, to be exact, a counter-example, where the international community has joined forces, has moved, has acted—and the example is that of Libya. Right. But wait! It is, precisely, the exception. It is the absolute exception. And that, moreover, is what makes this Libyan affair so enigmatic and, especially, so precious and so essential. It is the first time in the history of modern and contemporary humanity that anyone has intervened in this way and nipped in the bud the will, expressed by a dictator, to massacre his own people by drowning them in rivers of blood. In Benghazi, we did immediately what it took us three years to do in Bosnia. At the very first moment, we did what we did in Kigali only at the last moment, once the genocide was over. And we did—it’s true—what, for the moment, we have failed to do in Syria.

Am I saying one should resign oneself to this state of things? Does this mean that we should rejoice at what is happening in Libya and just write off the dead of Syria? No, of course not. But it does mean that the question should be worded inversely. Not “it’s strange, suspect even, that what we did in Libya has not been done elsewhere,” but “how is it that what we have done nowhere, absolutely nowhere, else, we have done in Libya?” And if we ask this question, here is the answer. A blend of factors is involved, a mixture of chance and necessity with, it must be said, even if one is not in his camp and agrees with him, as I do, on just about nothing else, this unforeseeable element that is, by definition, impossible to generalize: the political will of one man, the President of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy.

I come back, then, to the original question. What of Syria? How can we put right our awful failure to act with regard to Syria? Well, by trying to imagine and, perhaps, provoke a configuration such as that which has prevailed in Libya.

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