Sunday, February 27, 2011

Why The West Must Stay Out of Libya (And The Whole Middle East)

Face it. No matter what the US and "The West" does when it comes to Libya, it will get criticized harshly. Libya is in a difficult region where people are already pretty pissed off with "The West" for support of Israel and, of course, colonialism. Anti-Western sentiment runs very high, justifiably or not. The US/West getting further involved in the region would be, frankly, quite stupid. And there is no reason to.

What is happening right now in Libya is bloody, horrific and brutal. But, it is what Libya needs. It is a true, grassroots uprising. It is change from within. Many lives have been lost, and many more will be lost. But, with defections happening amongst Gaddafi's regime, more and more areas of the country falling out of his control, and a more determined than ever population, it is fair to say that those who want freedom and democracy are winning. This is good. If outside forces get involved militarily, even more lives or going to get lost and there will be a distraction from the real cause. Those who oppose Gaddafi but are equally defiant against The West will be stuck in the middle, those who are sitting on the fence not sure who to support could be emboldened to jump in with the pro-Gaddafi side to try and oust the "occupiers" and pro-Gaddafi fighters could get a new lease on life with a new reason to fight. It will, once again, be perceived in the same way as colonialism, an invasion of sovereignty, a spit in the eye of proud Arab people, and as an expansion of the great American empire (as it is seen). All around, it doesn't sound like a good scenario. There have been talk of sanctions already, and the concern is that the people being affected by them are going to be the population of Libya, not Gaddafi and his friends. So, even this attempt at action has the potential to backfire tremendously.

US President Obama has been hammered for not coming out quick enough with condemnation of Gaddafi or the violence. I think that Obama has made a number of very wise moves with this approach. Throughout the change in the Middle East, he and his government have not been quick to jump in. Good! That's exactly the way it should be. Revolution is happening. The people are taking to the streets and demanding change, and it is coming, slowly but surely, from within. This is the way it should have been in Iraq, and the way it would be optimal to have happened in Afghanistan. There is no doubt that those two wars have been pretty disastrous. The US became further hated around the world, hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost, and trillions of dollars have been spent. Already, there is so much anger because the regimes that are falling are seen as being "US backed" (a point that Al Jazeera LOVES to point out over and over again, but I digress). So, any new regimes will be dealt with pretty suspiciously if the US endorses them, or shows too much of a preference. The US will be seen as interfering if, on the surface, it appears to have too much of an opinion on how these revolutions should transpire.

So, like I said off the top, no matter WHAT the US, and it's Western friends do, it's going to get blasted from someone, somewhere. So stay out, let the revolutions unfold and hope for a much better future for the citizens of those countries and a better, more trusting and solid relationships with "The West" in the years to come.

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