Sunday, November 23, 2008

Libya: Which Way Do We Go?

Since 2003, Libya and Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gadhafi have been working feverishly to move back into the global community by renouncing, investigating, deporting, and punishing those within it's border that are or were responsible for terrorism. Moreover, in December of 2003, they agreed to reveal and end their WMD programs. (Without doubt, the seemingly unstoppable US military juggernaut that was crushing the Iraqi armed forces at the time played a large role in his behavior...after all, it certainly put credibility behind Bush's message of "If you're not with us, you're against us.")

Because of these "good faith" gestures, the US and its allies have begun the process of bringing Libya back in from the cold. In June 2006, the US removed Libya from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list, and in September of 2008, Condoleezza Rice visited Reagan's "mad dog of the Middle East" on his turf; this was the first American senior official to visit in 50 years.

Furthermore, the international community has also initiated relations through both commercial and governmental liaison. France has established a program to tie nuclear power generation to a desalinization unit. With this facility operational, Libya would have a solution to its largest problem: water scarcity. Also, as a somewhat recent emerger on the world oil production scene, Libya has established itself as a premier exporter of crude, refined petroleum, and natural gas to some powerful US allies: Italy, Spain, Germany, and France.

Certainly, Gadhafi's actions have been great for Libya. Libyans exist fairly well on a per capita earning of $12,400, and education, life expectancy, and population growth all seem to be on the rise. With all of this, some might view this former terrorist supporter (if not organizer) as wholly reformed. In the great words of ESPN's Lee Corso, "not so fact, my friends..."

Certainly, Libya has come a long way. In fact, it has met the benchmarks of the 2006 National Security Strategy in many ways. The NSS includes the following as three of its top four priorities...(
  • Strengthen alliances as to defeat global terrorism and work to prevent attacks against us and our friends
  • Work with others to defuse regional conflicts
  • Prevent enemies from threatening us, our allies, and our friends with WMD

Each of these ideas seems to fit rather well into the case of Libyan resurgence as a legit global player, but let us not forget the first, and most often mentioned portion of the National Security Strategy...

  1. Champion Aspirations for Human Dignity

Let's take a look at Libya's current rap-sheet:

Libya is a transit and destination location for the human trafficking of both men and women from the sub-Saharan and Asian locations for the purpose of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation. For failing to show improvement in investigating and prosecuting these acts, it is currently on the Tier 2 Watch List. Libya has ongoing (albeit dormant) territorial disputes with both Algeria and Chad. It also acts as a host to Chadian rebels from the Aozou region. Furthermore, it is on the radar of the Human Rights Watch for the incarceration of political prisoners, for failing to promote freedom of expression and assembly, and for torturing prisoners by means of clubbing, electro-shock, finger-breaking, and suffocation by plastic bag (and I thought those things had warning labels!!)

Does this contradiction in Libyan behavior put US policy makers in a bind? Are Ghadafi's reconciliations sufficient for the US and her allies to overlook human rights violations? If you ask me, I'd say...

"Libya, you have shown yourselves as a responsible nation, but we are concerned about the manner in which you view human dignity. Please continue to support the international quest to destroy terror networks, Your knowledge through participation in them is critical to our success. Also, your transparency about WMD is a tremendous example to other nations of the Middle East. In order to demonstrate our appreciation for this, we will support your mission to end human trafficking to and through your nation. We will also assist, as the French have, in solving your water scarcity concerns. For this, we ask that you continue to reform in terms of human rights. You have shown that you will change to become a more responsible global player, and we will reward you for that. You must continue to move in the right direction or we will cease aid to you and your people."

In other words, it took awhile, but the use of the stick with Libya eventually paid off. By using carrots, Libya can continue to evolve into a beacon of human dignity and global responsibility for northern Africa and the Middle East.


Pretzel Stick said...

I think we start by taking Qadaffi to Men's Warehouse and getting him some new threads.

OMARCOMIN! said...

What's with the bone protruding from the finger?