Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Libya's Future

I’m not quite ready to celebrate Libya’s liberation from the heinous dictator Qaddafi.

Everyone seems thrilled by the advent of democracy in Libya. Most of us are delighted to see the Obama administration get something right.

Moreover, most savvy commentators are happy to pay lip service to the obvious fact that liberal democracy is not going to arrive in Libya any time soon.

It’s doing to be a long and arduous road, they tell us. And they are certainly right.

I am not, however, convinced of the inevitability of freedom. I felt that it was  naïve to think that  Egypt was going to be come a liberal democracy in the foreseeable future. Who knows how much damage will occur in the meantime.

I have often relied on the good judgment of George Friedman of Stratfor. Friedman was among the first to ask who the Libyan rebels were and what they were really planning.

Now, as the world is awash in good feelings over the end of the Qaddafi regime, Friedman is being derided as overly pessimistic and overly realistic.

For my part I prefer skepticism and realism to idealism, especially when idealism degenerates into wishful thinking.

Keep in mind that the press and the pundit class and the politicians are selling you a narrative. Some of them are certainly reporting the facts, but they are also crafting a story through which you can interpret the facts.

The current narrative, George Jonas suggests, bears an eerie similarity to the one that gave us the Ayatollah Khomeini. Remember when Khomeini was supposed to by the great liberator, the man who would bring republican government to Iran? Remember when everyone was cheering the overthrow of the brutal despot, the Shah of Iran?

Ask yourself what the world would look like today if Iran were still being governed by the Shah’s descendants?

Better or worse?

Today, George Jonas sheds some light on the situation in Libya. Even if his opinions are just cautionary, they are worth some reflection.

In his words: “Replacing killer colonels and ophthalmologists with Taliban-types in the Arab world seemed no cause for celebration to me”

And also: “For the West to welcome the replacement of a friendly despot with an unfriendly democrat may show altruism, but welcoming the replacement of a friendly despot with an unfriendly despot shows only naiveté. As for pursuing replacement policies without finding out who is about to replace whom — well, there’s a word for that, too. It’s called negligence.”

Of course, we do not know whether Libya’s new rulers will be more like the Taliban or more like the Democratic party. But before we break out the champagne, we should know who they are and what they want.

1 comment:

The Ghost said...

I would point out that NATO got this one right ... as Obama said, "We are not leading this effort ..."