Twitterstorm delong: October 21, 2011
Remember That There Is a Very Simple Solution to Europe's Current Financial Crisis?

Rhetorical Calvinball Watch: NATO Role in Gaddafi's Death Edition

I saw last week that Chris Bertram was asking me to comment on his writings. Here's one that's appropriate for today.

Chris Bertram wrote:

The People Disarmed: "[T]he involvement of France, the UK, and the “international community”... fundamentally changes the nature of what’s going on [in Libya]…. [A] successful popular uprising is no longer a possibility…. Most of the Libyan people have now been cast into the role of passive victims.... [E]ven if Gaddafi falls (which I hope he will) the successor regime will lack the legitimacy it might have had…

And yet he protests that my summary of his position as: "Chris Bertram's claim that NATO support means that the Libyan Revolution is illegitimate"

is not a reasonable inference from "will lack the legitimacy it might have had", since legitimacy can be a matter of degree rather than all or nothing.

This leads to the natural question: If all that Bertram meant was that NATO's air support had the effect of somewhat diminishing the degree of legitimacy possessed by the Libyan successor regime, then it what sense did NATO air support (i) fundamentally change the nature of what is going on, (ii) cast the Libyan people into the role of passive victims, and (iii) eliminate the possibility of a successful popular uprising?

That fish simply won't swim. That bird simply don't fly. That dog simply won't hunt.