Opposed to the other wars in the Middle East the Libya conflict was against a clear foe and with the support of the majority. In the war in Afghanistan the US an its allies took sides with the Northern Alliance that had been in civil war with the Taliban, then quickly ended the current government and replaced it with this new government of militants and war lords. There was little control, it was poorly managed and the Taliban were turned from being in power to being nothing then re-emerging as a hard core terrorist organization with the new Afghanistan government being utterly corrupt and huge division in the country. In the Libyan war it was not power hungry war lords that were seeking to over throw Gaddafi but normal citizens. Equally the support for Gaddafi was relatively small if the country was united then it would not have huge sections of the population that would instantly be cast out.
Another key factor was that we didn't land troops or 'wage war' on Gaddafi, instead our approach was to give the rebels the military backing they couldn't possibly must them selves. 'lending' air support to the rebels helped them counter Gaddafi in ways that they couldn't have done other wise.
Yes we did intervene and while there is no denying that we went further than simply protecting civilians and actually removed the Government, yet there is also no denying if we hadn't intervened then there would have been far worse atrocities. The hidden mass graves slowly being uncovered are tell us that.
If we don't intervene then we become isolationist, if we had just kept our selves to our selves and let it sort out then what kind of country would we be. The people of Libya were asking for our help. I find it hard to tolerate the opinion that we have budget problems so we shouldn't save tens of thousands of lives. Isolationism militarily, politically and economically only leads to war, oppression and economic depression.
I accept that greed played a part in driving this war, oil! I guess to be an economist is to accept that greed can sometimes bring about good, capitalism is built on greed and while there is no doubt ( to most sane people) that unbridled capitalism has huge costs and the beast of greed must be controlled through intervention, along the way it creates great things.
I'm not being naive there are a lot of problems in Libya, a revolution causes lasting damage to a country. First of course being that Gaddafi isn't dead, there is still a risk of Gaddafi extremists but as we've seen actually so far this appears to minimal if existent at all? The biggest problem is of course that their is now an entire country flooded with arms! As a matter of fact the fact that Gaddafi is still fighting has some advantages, it channels the violence at an enemy, it's giving the transitional council time to prepare for when its all over and they need to deal with controlling the country. Essentially the fact that fighting is still going on means the council has yet to deal with it, all though of course I'm sure everyone is hoping that Gaddafi's supporters give up soon. Another risk is the council may also struggle to keep a fair open democracy going. The problem that new countries often end up falling back into the old traps of dictators is a very real risk for Libya although they have an key advantage, the support of powerful nations. Libya is now a close ally to Europe and is located near to Europe. It's quiet developed and willing to be democratic. There's reason to be hopeful.
Looking back at Libya it shows that while war is generally wrong, sometimes correctly managed and well executed with a bit of luck thrown in, it can be a really help to people. Still this doesn't mean we should be bombing the middle east until we've made it more westernized! Every siduation is different, were fortunate that in this case we actually got it relatively right and made a difference.
|Cameron looking smug|