Why am I writing this?
- I have a lot of free-time (no classes till Monday).
- I’m interested in current affairs.
- The Arab revolutions have been on the news now constantly for the last 2 months.
- I feel enormously frustrated with the governments of our world and what I’ve been seeing daily on the news.
I’ve been following events with great interest and this is how I see it:
Colonel Gadaffi is a madman. There can be no argument. A sadistic, deluded, murderer.
I was still a foetus when Lockerbie happened, but I have read all about it. Son of a B*tch is responsible for the worst terrorist atrocity in British history. It was also well over 20 years ago and the world has moved on since. (No disrespect meant to families of those who lost loved ones). Our politicians seemingly ‘forgot’ that he was largely responsible for the deaths of 270 people over a small town in Scotland that is now synonymous with tragedy. But now I’m going to be controversial.
In 2003 (or whenever it was) Britain and many other countries started doing business with him again. In return Gadaffi promised to destroy weapons of mass destruction and co-operate in the so-called ‘War on Terror’ amongst other things. From an ethical perspective, we should never be doing business with a dictator – especially one that is widely considered guilty of atrocities on British, Libyan and many other countries soil. However, this is where I’m going to put it out there…………
British businesses (from what I have read) were getting a good deal from Gadaffi and the opening up and removal of sanctions upon the Libyan economy was certainly beneficial to our own, struggling economy. In addition, it seemed that a previously hated and ostracised dictator was now ‘seeing the light’ and on the right road to reformation (albeit it slowly) and reconciliation with the West. After all, pretty much every ‘civilised’ / ‘democratic’ country has vast economic interests wherever they stand to benefit economically. REGARDLESS of whether they are democratic and respect human rights, or not. *Coughs* China, Saudi Arabia anyone? *Cough*
I was outraged to see that the Americans had the audacity to criticise us for supplying Gadaffi with arms and investing in Libya. The Americans trying to act all noble and civilised, give me a break. As if they’ve never supplied a corrupt and immoral government with weapons. I’m pretty sure they armed Saddam Hussein, the Taliban and countless other dictatorships and oppressive regimes. That’s how hypocritical they are. Anyway, enough of that – back to Libya.
Gadaffi was appearing to become a relative ally to us. The hope I assume being that both nations (or at least our respective oil companies) would stand to gain both from economic ties and a warming in relations.
I hold our politicians responsible for many things. I do not however, hold our ‘useless’, ‘selfish’, ‘greedy’ politicians responsible for events that have taken place in Libya these past 2 weeks or so. It made sense to be doing business with Gadaffi until a few weeks ago, especially as he appeared to be changing his ways. I would even go as far as saying Tony Blair was actually acting in our national interest. (Ouch, it’s out there now – I said it).
I don’t consider him or any other British politicians to have blood on their hands for what has happened.
With hindsight it was bad judgement. But hindsight, they say is a wonderful thing.
“Hindsight is not only clearer than perception-in-the-moment but also unfair to those who actually lived through the moment” (Edwin Schneider, 2004)
I agree with this quote 100%. I’m sure Blair and the director of LSE (whatever his job is) had no idea when they ‘befriended’ Gadaffis regime that he would lose the plot and cling onto power in quite the way he has during this uprising.
I don’t think anybody saw this coming, hence why it’s such a story.
I very much doubt it’s possible to completely overhaul a nation’s foreign policy to a 100% ethical and moral perspective. If we were to do that, I imagine our economy would suffer, probably a lot. I also have no doubt that plenty of those criticising the government currently for helping to prop up a fundamentally wrong and corrupt dictatorship would also be among the first to moan about how ‘hard it is to find a job’ ‘ how they have had their benefit’s cut’ or ‘their taxes increased’ etc…
I don’t advocate doing business with corrupt dictators at all, it is wrong. Unfortunately though, we don’t live in a perfect world. This is the real world where nothing is straightforward or works quite how we would like it too.
My point being that the British have only been using the same policies as pretty much every other developed nation. Wouldn’t it be nice if the developed world could learn a lesson here, and actually collectively start to think twice about who they sell arms too, buy oil from and maybe even re-evaluate their foreign policy. But that’s not going to happen. I’m being an idealist and not a realist unfortunately. The West needs oil. The Middle East provides it. Stating the obvious I know, but that’s the world we live in. So long as we maintain an insatiable demand for oil and other natural resources the system it would seem, is here to stay.
So what do I think we should do about Libya and Colonel Gadaffi?
Personally I am all for an assassination, although I doubt this will happen!
More realistically I am of the opinion that we should be helping the rebel forces and and be pro-active in ensuring that they do eventually oust Gadaffis regime from power.
Am I in favour of western ‘humanitarian’ intervention on the ground? (Western troops on Libyan soil)
The Libyan people seem to be united (from what I have seen in the media) that they absolutely don’t want to be another Iraq or Afghanistan and would not welcome western ground intervention. I’m hopeful Obama is not as stupid as his predecessor, likewise with Cameron et al.
However, the newly formed rebel council have specifically requested that they would like to have a no-fly zone enforced by foreign powers. This would most probably help save lives and be a substantial blow to what is left of the regime’s military capabilities.
Unfortunately the Russians and Chinese are blocking that by power of veto on the UN Security Council. As per usual. (China defending North Korea angers me so much!) Their lack of co-operation hasn’t helped my feelings towards them. Nobody seems willing to actually assist the rebels. There appears to be a distinct lack of appetite to do anything militarily except for fly a few Egyptians and Bangladeshis home from Tunisia.
I hear plenty of people saying it’s not our problem. That is true. But it wasn’t our problem when Hitler invaded Poland and persecuted the Jews. We stood up for the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong though.
I’ve also heard people say ‘Oh, it’s only the Middle East’. This is not your standard middle-eastern conflict. Millions of people no different to you and I are living in poverty, oppressed and with almost zero opportunities in life. This is history in the making and our chance to maybe help them. I can’t help but feel world governments should be doing more.
Of course I could not think of anything worse than creating another Iraq or Afghanistan and more British servicemen losing their lives. It would also be a cost to the taxpayer. I can’t imagine any of us suffering financially because of it. I would have no problem in having to pay an extra couple of pounds or so over the course of a year if it were to help the Libyan people and end Gadaffi. Surely if all the nations who are condemning Gadaffi so publicly actually started taking action instead of just words, then perhaps the bloodshed might end and we might finally be able to finally rid the world of a truly evil and brutal tyrant. We have a chance to actually oust a corrupt, deluded murderer from power, but we are not taking it. I’m pretty sure Gadaffi is infinitely more crazy and dangerous in 2011 than Saddam ever was in 2003.
It’s our chance to put something right, and make amends for supporting and financing him for these last few years. It could also help end the bloodshed and liberate the Libyan people. With the exception of a few brainwashed fanatics and mercenaries in Tripoli it would seem that the people have spoken. All they ask is that we stop Gadaffi from bombing and attacking his own people from the air. If we don’t help them then there is every possibility of Gadaffi clinging onto power.
Forget about Russia and China, they are hardly qualified to be the judge of what’s right and what’s wrong. Between the Western powers and Arab nations condemning Gadaffi, we have the resources, finance and manpower to implement a No-Fly Zone. Yes it would be challenging, it would be expensive, and it would involve risk, but I for one think it is just and necessary if it will help to prevent a civil war and if good is to overcome evil.
Forget about the risk of Islamic extremists taking over in a power vacuum, these Arab uprisings have not been Islamist at all. The people have been calling for freedom, equality and a better quality of life.
At least give them a chance. Surely we could at least do a little to help?
On a final note…
‘In this very real world, good doesn’t drive out evil. Evil doesn’t drive out good. But the energetic replace the passive” – William Bernbach
So please, civilised governments of the world – DO SOMETHING!
Work together and co-operate to achieve something for once.