Libya paid high price for Obama’s mistake

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-4-12 0:48:01

In a Fox News interview aired Sunday, US President Barack Obama said "the worst mistake of his presidency was a lack of planning for the aftermath of the 2011 toppling of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi," but he still held that it was right to intervene in Libya.

Now a typical failed state, Libya has nearly faded out of Western press coverage. The chaotic situation and struggling people are an unpleasant truth to the West, thus many Western media outlets choose to be silent about it.

Perhaps because Obama needs to point out a mistake, he chose Libya, in which the West has lost interest and the US wasn't in a leading position in the campaign to topple Gaddafi. To some, Obama's admission of a mistake is equal to a minor self-criticism at a year-end assessment.

But Obama's minor self-criticism still raises a fundamental problem in today's world. When the West promotes political upheaval in a developing country, they normally don't have a follow-up plan. The West aims at destroying, not building. Whether the country being impacted can transform to a democratic and prosperous country or fall into the abyss of turmoil and war depends entirely on luck.

Germany, Italy and Japan, three defeated countries in WWII, were all industrialized nations of the time. They were able to quickly recover after the war. Eastern Europe is more complex. After two decades of political transformation, most countries have kept their position in Europe, but few managed to make a leap. When it comes to the Arab Spring, Libya, which was severely underdeveloped, had barely connected to Western civilization.

The US, during the Iraq wars, arrogantly launched the Greater Middle East Initiative in the Arab world, but was frustrated after the initiative suffered heavy setbacks. In the Libya crisis, the West only wanted to prove their capability of intervention, and probably never thought about Libya's political transition after uprooting Gaddafi's regime.

Washington's capability of providing politically oriented large-scale foreign aid is at the lowest level since WWII, let alone Europe, which is too preoccupied with other affairs. The Marshall Plan had covered the whole of Europe, but today Libya alone is perhaps a big burden to the US and Europe.

Western democracy, which encourages the pursuit of maximum benefits, must have abundant material resources as a basis. Democracy in the West succeeds on the back of the exploitation of global resources in the last centuries. Imitating Western institutions in poor regions is difficult and a bad fit.

Many Libyans, with trust and anticipation for the West, started to thoroughly destroy the original systems. They are not wrong. There is a learning curve to really understand our time. Sometimes we learnt our lessons in blood. Tens of thousands of people have died across Libya and Syria. Most people, at the very start of the Arab Spring did not expect such a heavy price. Obama, compared with other Western politicians, is more rational and willing to speak the truth.

However, the arrogant and selfish West is still accustomed to intervening in the affairs of other countries. The US and Europe haven't updated their understanding and acceptance to the world pluralism. There are still too many future uncertainties in the world.

Posted in: Editorial

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