A blog from the West Bank, Notes From Amedinah , has posted an insightful article with a juxtaposition of positions by Edward Peck and James M Dubik who contribute to Foreign Policy magazine. This informative post balances Pack’s non-intervention and Dubick’s more practical assessment of the realpolitik of the Libyan situation.
We all know that diplomacy is conducted on many levels. Governments want, publicly, to be seen as moral entities acting justly for the benefit of all with certain restraints. In actuality any fit government must see that it cannot allow morality limit the ability of that government to survive. A government that does not survive is moot.
One of the, perhaps unanticipated results of this conflict, is a widening of the civil war into a regional war as refugees flee North to Europe, oil supplies disrupted, and opportunistic conflicts erupt in the shadow of the Libyan civil war.
There must be a coherent vision of the long-term costs and benefits for a course of action. The muddy start/stop, maybe we will, maybe we won’t assertions of the current players must certainly have rational undercurrent. Like a game of chess, a strategy or strategies for success must be in play. Certainly Gaddafi has one even if it is a strategy to keep his head above water. So, must the other interested stakeholders of the region. An action like a no-fly zone by itself seem limited but set the stage for a strategic conclusion later.
So, what is the evaluation of Gaddafi’s Libya? The Saudis must have some reservations because of a previous plot on the king’s life. The Syrians may be aiding Gaddafi because they see that a fall in Libya may give hope to Syria’s own internal resistance. A win by Gaddafi would reinforce Syria’s threat of violence against its opposition.
Egypt, in the throws of its own post-revolution confusion, is naturally cautious about any support for Gaddafi’s oppressive regime. A similar calculus applies in the rest of North Africa and the gulf.
Gaddafi’s intransigence and propensity to waste human life is Machiavellian in nature but Machiavelli would certainly view Gaddafi’s overtly brutal governance as not befitting a prince. In fact, I believe Machiavelli would view Gaddafi’s over the top and historical evil deeds a threat to the whole of the Mediterranean a Middle East stability.
The shock of the rebellions there is like a bell whose reverberations must be allowed to dampen and restore a semblance of balance.
It is in the interest of the countries of the Middle East and Europe to covertly remove Gaddafi from power. His record of retributive violence may set a spark for future conflict, especially as the disruption of oil to the engine to the world, if he survives. The uncertainty as to the flavor of the Benghazi regime’s ultimate composition is small in the face of Gaddafi’s revenge.