But revolts, to become revolutionary advances, will have to overcome many obstacles: on the one hand they will have to overcome the weaknesses of the movement, construct a positive convergence of its components, formulate and implement effective strategies; on the other they will have to defeat the interventions (including military interventions) of the imperialist triad. Any military intervention of the United States and NATO in the affairs of the Southern countries must be prohibited no matter its pretext, even a seemingly benign “humanitarian” one. Imperialism wants neither democracy nor social progress for those countries. Once it has won the battle, the lackeys whom it sets up to rule will still be enemies of democracy. One cannot but deplore that the European “left,” even the radical “left,” has lost all understanding of what imperialism really is.
The dominant discourse today calls for the implementation of “international law” authorizing, in principle, intervention whenever the fundamental rights of a people are being trampled. But the conditions necessary to advance in that direction are just not there. The “international community” does not exist. It comes down to the U.S. ambassador, followed automatically by those of Europe. Do we have to bring up the long list of the interventions that are worse than unfortunate, whose results are criminal (Iraq, for example)? Does anyone need a reminder of the “double standard” common to them all (obviously one thinks of the trampled rights of the Palestinians and the unconditional support of Israel, of the innumerable dictatorships still being supported in Africa)?
Samir Amin is director of the Third World Forum in Dakar, Senegal and author of The Liberal Virus (Monthly Review Press, 2004), The World We Wish to See (Monthly Review Press, 2008), and most recently The Law of Worldwide Value (Monthly Review Press, 2010). The text above is an excerpt from Samir Amin, “2011: An Arab Springtime?” (Monthly Review, 2 June 2011).