SPEAKING FREELY Libya: Still Gaddafi's fault?
By Dieter Neumann
Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click hereif you are interested in contributing.
We blithely continue to blame the long-departed former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi for the complete mess that the Nations of Virtue created when they so boldly engineered his demise with "Operation Odyssey Dawn".
Last Thursday, the esteemed international human-rights careerist Ian Martin had an opinion piece in The Guardian decrying the dearth of support for Libya's imaginary nascent democracy. While imploring us to see "Libya's travails in its own terms", Martin
(former special representative of the United Nations secretary-general in East Timor, Nepal and Libya and secretary-general of Amnesty International from 1986 to 1992) also reminds us that those travails stem from the fact that the country was "left by Gaddafi devoid of almost every institution of modern governance".
Yup, it's all Gaddafi's fault!
Martin gives us a few paragraphs singing the praises of democracy in Libya, and then offers us this;
What should be the response of those whose concern is for Libya itself? A group of American experts has just written to John Kerry, the US secretary of state, advising him to increase Washington's engagement in the country. International actors should indeed stay engaged, as the UK has consistently sought to do. But any over-assertive Western approach will provoke a backlash in Libya, signs of which can already be seen.
Ah!... let's have a look at those disinterested altruists whose concern is only for Libya itself.
Here is the letter those American experts have just written to John Kerry,
If you cast a glance at the list of signatories and spend a few minutes with your favorite search engine you'll soon realize that this group of disinterested altruists represents a cross-section of folks who lobbied hard for the intervention and have spend the intervening time bemoaning the fact that the anticipated rebuilding bonanza has failed to materialize.
And then you have Stephen Hollingshead, founder, Friends of Libya Foundation. Stephen is given to uttering such imbecilities as "Libya is destined to become the United States of the Arab World". As in a shining beacon on a hill, etc.
Here is a small insight into the quality of analysis that Hollingshead serves up: "When the state crumbled in Iraq and Afghanistan, citizens stood around, hands in pockets, and wondered when the Americans would turn the lights and water back on. In Libya, people just made things work themselves. There is a very strong American-style spirit of individual initiative."
That's from that "plucky" Libyan newspaper financed by American money, The Libya Herald.
Seems that Libyans have that Yankee can-do spirit that the Afghans and the Iraqis are lacking. Those states mysteriously "just crumbled", and then the lazy populations just stood around waiting for the Americans to make it better. By contrast, the Libyans rolled up their sleeves and got it done.
Except that they didn't.
That nascent democracy is more nascent today than it was a year ago. The country is a shambles. It will take a generation or more to restore the standard of living it had before the US/North Atlantic Treaty Organization "liberation".
Isn't it time to stop blaming Gaddafi?
Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say.Please click hereif you are interested in contributing. Articles submitted for this section allow our readers to express their opinions and do not necessarily meet the same editorial standards of Asia Times Online's regular contributors.
Dieter Neumann writes the blog The view from Falling Downs, a unique conglomeration of political analysis, satire, investment tips, and more.