French intellectual and philosopher, Bernard-Henri Lévy (commonly referred to as “BHL”), has an odd propensity for appearing alongside western proxy fighters in war zones. And new reports now place him on the ground amid the conflict in Ukraine.
The day after the February 24 launch of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, France 2, the main state-owned television network, hosted a debate featuring, on one side, former prime minister Dominique de Villepin, perhaps best known worldwide for his role during the run up to the Iraq war in 2003. Back then, he served as the foreign minister and represented France’s opposition to the American efforts under then president Jacques Chirac at the United Nations Security Council.
After then US Secretary of State Colin Powell made his now infamous speech imploring the international community to back an invasion of Iraq to prevent Saddam Hussein’s use of weapons of mass destruction, De Villepin argued in favor of inspections.
“Given this context, the use of force is not justified at this time. There is an alternative to war: Disarming Iraq via inspections. Moreover, premature recourse to the military option would be fraught with risks,” he said.
History has now proven him correct in his assessment.
De Villepin’s call for prudence and avoidance of military escalation in Ukraine was loaded with historical lessons learned. “Military interventions never yield the expected results,” recalled the former French prime minister. “History has taught us this in Libya, Iraq and the Sahel.”
On the other side of the France 2 debate table was BHL, who has a rather interesting relationship to some of the conflicts evoked by De Villepin. “[Russian President Vladimir Putin] launched this crazy war, without reason, against a people who had done nothing to him,” replied the philosopher.
It seems that in BHL’s world, wars start like magic with a need to protect completely innocent parties that just happen to be on NATO’s side, and not because of covert shenanigans that predate them — something that BHL should certainly know about.
During the NATO-backed war in Yugoslavia — the war in Europe that those commenting on the current situation in Ukraine seem to forget — BHL, who just happened to be hanging out in the region, overtly backed the NATO proxy, then Bosnian president Alija Izetbegović, who, his opponents believed, was a Muslim fundmentalist. Izetbegović was allegedly used by western forces to helm Islamist fighters against Serbia and ultimately carve out a zone of influence and military control in the Balkans. Later, in a 2019 tweet, BHL referred to the al-Qaeda-linked Izetbegović as “one of the great, luminous figures of the 20th century.”