Monday, April 4, 2011

Libya: No Oasis for Western Ways

Libya is a decidedly dry country with 6.5 million residents and 85.3 billion dollars GDP.  The country produces roughly 12,951 per capita and the average yearly income is piddly. Italy Germany and France are it's main export partners, and it's main imports come from Italy, Germany, and China in that order.  50% of the country under 20 is unemployed, and one fifth of it's labor force is expatriot labor.  Libyan nationals making $320 per month only account for 12% of the population. The country's corrupt regime is run by a wildly wealthy dictator who cares little for his people and has solidified his position with graft, position jockeying and tribal real politik all at the expense of the common Libyan.

Which leads us to our current issue, The Libyans are revolting.  A former French colony, the Libyans had previously viewed their leader as a liberator, but have over time come to see him for the opportunist he is.  Now Western powers are reticent to become involved.  With the U.S. quagmires in Afghanistan and Iraq, and a growing rage in the Middle East, should the West become involved?  The answer is maybe.  We have several issues to address prior to our involvement.

Do we have the capacity to intervene? America has stretched herself thin, and in many ways, so has Europe.  The West is quickly learning the costs associated with being the worlds policemen are more than the the benefits.   We are forced to decide if we will represent Western corporate interests behind the veil of freedom and equality, or do we cut our losses and run?  The answer is uncertain.

Can we control the outcome? Wars involving poor and impoverished countries always end in a long and protracted engagement with less than desireable outcomes.  Throw Islam into the mix, and you have a highly volatile concoction.  The answer historically, is that the Middle East is a powderkeg of chaos which can be set off, yet never extinguished.

Is there a plan post action?  If recent actions in the Middle East are any indication, an exit strategy is a must.  The truth is, without more detailed knowledge of the disposition of rebel and government forces, the will to fight, and the desired goals of the rebels, we cannot give accurate information.

Do we know what we are getting? Who are the rebels?  In a society where thier opinions and views have had to be underground, we have no evidence of their connections, associations, or aspirations.  We don't know, and certainly if they were terrorists or agitators, they would never admit it to us.  Thus we are mired in intrigue.

For these reasons and more, we should let Europe fight this one out.  We should remove ourselves and allow NATO to handle it, sans US troops, US leadership, and US equipment.