Posts Tagged ‘Muammar Qaddafi’

Can the U.S. make credible threats or promises?

April 19, 2017

President Trump reportedly hopes that cruise missile attack Syria and the 11-ton MOAB bomb dropped on Afghanistan will make American threats more credible when he deals with North Korea and other hostile countries.

But it is not enough for a leader of a great nation to be able to make credible threats.  He also has to be able to make credible promises.

It is not enough for foreign heads of state to feel in danger if they oppose the United States.  They have to be able to feel safe from U.S. wrath if they cooperate with the United States.

Otherwise the threats will make them redouble their efforts to be able to strike back.

Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi and Bashar al-Assad all found that appeasing the United States was more dangerous than defiance.

Unfortunately for President Trump, he—for reasons not of his own making—is in a situation in which neither his threats nor his promises are credible.

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Just how evil was Muammar Qaddafi?

May 23, 2016

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Hillary Clinton is proud of bringing about the downfall of Muammar Qaddafi of Libya.

Supposedly his rule was so evil, or so much of a threat to the United States, that his downfall and death were necessary.

Just what did Qaddafi do that was so bad and so threatening?

Qaddafi in many ways was like Fidel Castro.

He was definitely a dictator, although by all accounts a popular one.  Although he listened to advice from popular assemblies, he also crushed opposition.  As in Cuba, there were neighborhood watches to identify opponents of the regime.  He supported revolutionary and terrorist movements, including the Provisional IRA, the Palestine Liberation Organization and Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress.   He sent troops to defend the odious Idi Amin of Uganda.

He was a thorn in the side of U.S. foreign policy.  Libya was a founding member of OPEC, and an initiator of the Arab oil embargo of 1973.   He was accused of direct involvement in many terrorist attacks himself.

The best you can say of the crimes of Qaddafi’s government is that he was guilty of few things that the U.S. government was also not guilty of, and of nothing that U.S. allies have not been guilty of.

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Libya is Hillary Clinton’s Iraq

May 11, 2016
Hillary Clinton with Libyan soldiers in October 2011 (Reuters)

Hillary Clinton with anti-Qaddafi Libyan fighters in October 2011 (Reuters)

Since NATO-backed forces invaded Libya five years ago, the once stable and prosperous nation has been reduced to chaos and civil war.  Thousands of Libyans have been killed.  Millions are homeless and in fear of their lives.  ISIS has gained a foothold in Libya, which they never had under Muammar Qaddafi.

Hillary Clinton thinks the invasion of Libya five years ago was a success because it achieved its objective—the overthrow and death of its ruler, Muammar Qaddafi, who had opposed U.S. policy for decades.

Bernie Sanders thinks it was a mistakePresident Obama also thinks it was a mistake, but only because of failure to adequately plan for what came next.

Donald Trump thinks the main thing is to seize Libya’s oil wells, which, no doubt, is already an objective of U.S. policy, but by less obvious means.

The articles linked below tell why the Libyan intervention was a failure from the standpoint of U.S. self-interest.

The question that almost nobody asks—that I myself failed to ask at the time—is whether the United States has a moral right to wage a war of aggression against a foreign country just because somebody thinks it is in our interest to do so.

The Libyan invasion was worse than a blunder.  It was a crime.

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Libya’s Great Man-Made River project

May 10, 2016

ManMadeRiverImg 3 - Libya map 3

Muammar Qaddafi’s Great Man-Made River Project was one of the great engineering achievements of the 20th century.

Water was pumped thousands of miles from underground reservoirs in the southern Libyan desert to the coast, providing free fresh water to 70 percent of Libya’s population.

libwaterpipelaidBut the 2011 NATO attacks in 2011 greatly damaged it, and there’s no telling whether it will be repaired, let alone completed.

Construction of the project began in 1983.  The work was paid for out of Libya’s oil revenues, without any foreign loans.  The pipes were manufactured in Libya.  Foreign contractors were hired for the initial stages of the work, but over time were replaced by Libyans.

The first three phases, shown on the map above, were completed.  The NATO bombings hit a section of the northern part of the Phase One pipe, plus a concrete pipe factory in Brega (al-Buraqah on the map above).   Bombings also hit electric power plants, so that pumps even on the intact pipelines ceased to work.

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Libya invasion fostered chaos and terrorism

April 21, 2015

I read this morning about Islamic State militants beheading Egyptian and Ethiopian Christians in Libya.

So far as I know there was no ISIS / ISIL presence in Libya until after the U.S.-backed invasion and reduction of the country to chaos.   That has been the result of all the U.S. invasions—the creation of chaos in which terrorism spreads.

What Could Go Wrong?Muammar Qaddafi, the ruler of Libya, was a dictator and a supporter of terrorism in his day.  He was an imperialist who had designs on Chad and other countries to the soul.

But he was an enlightened despot who channeled his country’s oil revenues into schools, hospitals, roads and other internal improvements, provided free education and health care and improved the condition of women.

Libya under Qaddafi was a country in which a law-abiding person could lead a normal life without living in fear.  Now Libya has been reduced to chaos, many innocent people have been killed and the country has been given over to lawless militia bands and religious fanatics.

Who did that benefit?  Not Libyans.  Not ordinary Americans.  Qaddafi had tried to make peace with the West.  His overthrow and murder will be remembered by other rulers who are tempted to do the same.

Refugees are swarming across the Mediterranean from Libya and other countries, and being turned back.  Maybe the governments of Italy and France should have thought about that possibility before initiating the invasion of Libya.

Empires of the past imposed order.   We the American people do not want to take on the burden of empire, so all our government’s accomplsih is to spread death and destruction.

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