Sunday, March 20, 2011

So why is a partitioned Libya worse than a Qaddafi-ruled one?

I'm not getting the argument behind the fear of a partitioned Libya. The alternative is more Qaddafi, more oil purchases from Qaddafi, and more weapons sales to him.

In a partition, the rebels will continue to assemble a government and maintain oil sales, while Qaddafi can't. Eventually they'll take care of him. Given that we've created a no-fly/no-armor/no-artillery zone, if the rebels can't fight off infantry at this point, then they don't have the support and drive to maintain a revolution.

As for Josh Marshall saying no genocide=no humanitarian reason to intervene, I think the rebuttal argument makes itself.

It's definitely a roll of the dice, but doing nothing isn't such a great play either. And while eastern Libya has been a hotbed of Al Qaeda recruitment in the past, a chance at a more democratic society could help there, and meanwhile we're destroying every weapon in Libya that can shoot down aircraft.


  1. I don't get it either. It seems to be very much a std one - we keep on using it in those bits of Africa where we created unreal countries during colonial times, which rather naturally would revert back into smaller states.

    "Keep existing borders" is a deeply stupid policy that has killed innumerable people; I suspect we keep it out of fear.

  2. I doubt the current split is stable, but I understand that Libya used to be three major tribal areas. If the people there decided they wanted to be three countries, that's up to them.

    I think a more likely and more positive outcome if democracy really arrives in the Arab world is Pan-Arab nationalism/federalism. Possibly all the beauty and efficiency that is the European Union government could be replicated. Sarcasm aside, it could help economic and political stability.

  3. See Juan Cole and Lawyers Guns and Money for a good workout to these arguments both ways


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