Thursday, October 20, 2011

What Does Libya Teach Us?

Ghadaffi is dead. Lybia is liberated. Or so they say?

With guns firing in the air, dancing in the streets, and Ghadaffi's body dragged through the streets, the world is looking on with jubilant horror at the unfolding drama and latest leg of the Arab Spring. What now for Libya? What now for the world?

With NATO and the rebel Libyan forces joining in tandem to take down Ghadaffi, the transition council, pre-established before the take down, must now act as the provisional government of the Libyan people. What can it do? With no time to waste, these men must chart the course that Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Monroe, Adams, and the other Declaration signers attempted successfully. How to build a nation from tyranny and oppression?

What lies ahead is as daunting as any task our American founders might have faced. Consider:

* Ghadaffi's 43 year reign emasculated any modern and progressive integration with the western world. The divide between older and younger citizens is: the older speak English; the younger speak far less English...not a good sign
* No reliable judicial and economic institutions, or democratic foundations exist.
* 200 tribal clans are more likely to fight and war than implement modern civil government...see Afghanistan and various African states
* Of note, hundreds of terrorists captured in Iraq by American forces.. 20% of these were Libyan.

Who else but the Al Quaeda types or the Muslim Brotherhood could lead the Libyan citizens out of civil war and the brink of chaos back to normality? Is there a George Washington among the 200 tribal clan factions who will rise out of the desert country respected enough to bring strength, peace, and constitutional democracy to a revolutionary people? Is there a Selassie of Ethiopia who will rise to the noble challenge of leading a backwards people through the maze of political chaos?

In a land where where bad guys like Mengistu and Mugabe types rule tribal lands of Africa with brute force crushing opposition, what do the citizens of Libya have to look forward to? . Will strong-men turn their guns toward justice instead of looting? Where autocratic rule and force have been the law of the land for 43 years, will the majority of this land will turn in their guns for a purple finger election? Recall that the Muslim Brotherhood chief design is the overthrow of the Jewish state in Israel rather than equal coexistence. Would not a Muslim Brotherhood rule be strikingly similar to Hezbollah in Lebanon?

Yet-the people will vote for sure. The modern political world demands ballot boxes. But the deep pockets of the Muslim Brotherhood combined with incessant canvassing and saturation of neighborhoods, towns, and cities makes this group a powerbroker and big player on the stage of Libyan politics.

There are no good or clear advisable options to lead the post Ghadaffi Libyan era. And there are no rules for the Arab Spring uprisings popping up across the Arab world. Complexity trumps simplicity. Democracy amongst a people unaccustomed to justice and liberty can be another system by which Mullahs, thugs, or deeply entrenched Brotherhood types gain access to power at the expense of the people. Democracy, like a knuckleball, is unpredictable where it lands though aimed well.

But a civilized Libya must crawl before she walks. Mistakes, and there will be many of them, will litter the Libyan landscape with the birth pains of judicial, economic, and political reform. The fight for freedom has only begun. Gadhaffi's death is but easy part. Its the creation of modern institutions of courts, constitution, democracy, and commerce that will defend the people's individual rights that will require the shedding of blood against tyrants sharpening their daggers in an all too familiar fight for power.

Jefferson staunchly defended France's Revolution in 1789 and the freedom of the people. He recanted later amidst the horrors of the guillotine, blood shed, and tyranny of Napoleon by declaring that not all peoples are ready for the responsibility of democratic governance. Was Jefferson wrong to pen his support for revolutionary France, even though it gave us Napoleon Bonaparte? Today we have a France which is at the heart of liberal democratic institutions in Western Europe.

Was America wrong in the Kennedy/Johnson era to support the South Vietnamese people against the Communists of the North? We lost 54,000 young soldiers as our nation swallowed the bitter pill of 20th century Asian adventurism in the early 1970's. Though the South fell to the North in Vietnam, do we not have a thriving and unified Vietnam?

What about Tojo's Japan? Does not the 3rd largest peaceful economy in the world have America's direct invasion and western institutions to thank for its prosperity and peaceful coexistence among nations? Who do the Russian people thank? Was it the Germans, Swiss, Chinese, or Americans who rolled back repression, tyranny, and Communist rule?

Did Kennedy's airlift, and Reagan's Brandenburg Gate speech of "Tear down this wall" not direct the hope of Berliners and the world toward constitutional democracy?

What about Saddam Hussein's reign of terror? Did American force not bring 24 million Iraqi citizens purple fingers?

The fate of Libya's future

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