Kevin Myers: A sinister spring takes hold after a despicable fall
If you reduce the morality of international affairs to the politically convenient intervention against the bad guys just as they're losing power, then I suppose there is good reason to cheer events in Libya and the Middle East generally. To be sure, Gaddafi was a thoroughly evil man, and he should have been dealt with, by international fiat, once Lockerbie was shown to be his work. NATO should simply have overthrown him.
But of course it didn't, according to the bizarre rites and rules of the UN, which for decades allowed the world to be held to murderous ransom by men such as Gaddafi, Assad and Saddam Hussein. Yet such indulgence was part and parcel of the perverse bipolar global order, post 1945: evil men were allowed to run their states into ruination on grounds of "national sovereignty", even while they were subverting the national sovereignty of others. Only the invasion of a neighbour was outlawed.
However, we no longer have that priggishly hypocritical but at least vaguely comprehensible set of rules. In the utterly bizarre moral ethos of the 21st century, the UN has apparently authorised democracies to intervene in failing despotisms, provided the context is an Islamic insurgency, as in Libya. So watch affairs closely over the coming months -- and not just in Libya, but in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and Jordan. An entire region is being given access to democracy, of a sort, for the first time: and guess what? They're probably not going to behave as if it's Kansas. Sooner or later, it'll probably be one man, one vote, one time, and after that, at the very best, it will be democracy, Iranian-style, with a mullah-selected list of candidates.