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On Libya and US Foreign Policy

By | March 20, 2011 at 4:37 am | No comments | Opinion | Tags: , , , ,

I’m not an expert on Libya. Both politically or sociologically. But, in my humble opinion, the recent developments as I write this piece within a few hours of UN intervention against Qaddafi forces, it constitutes an interesting chapter in US Foreign policy since President Obama implemented serious changes from the beginning of his presidency.

His administration aimed at several objectives best summarized by Z. Brzezinksy in his article “From Hope to Audacity” published on Foreign Affairs:

•Islam is not an enemy, and the “global war on terror” does not define the United
States’ current role in the world;
•the United States will be a fair-minded and assertive mediator when it comes to
attaining lasting peace between Israel and Palestine;
•the United States ought to pursue serious negotiations with Iran over its nuclear
program, as well as other issues;
•the counterinsurgency campaign in the Taliban-controlled parts of Afghanistan should be part of a larger political undertaking, rather than a predominantly military one;
•the United States should respect Latin America’s cultural and historical sensitivities and expand its contacts with Cuba;
•the United States ought to energize its commitment to significantly reducing its
nuclear arsenal and embrace the eventual goal of a world free of nuclear weapons;
•in coping with global problems, China should be treated not only as an economic
partner but also as a geopolitical one;
•improving U.S.-Russian relations is in the obvious interest of both sides, although this must be done in a manner that accepts, rather than seeks to undo, post-Cold War geopolitical realities; and
•a truly collegial transatlantic partnership should be given deeper meaning, particularly in order to heal the rifts caused by the destructive controversies of the past few years

In the rest of his articles which is the most comprehensive and current study on the matter that I had a chance to read, Brzezinksi briefs every major area of US foreign policy including only Palestine/Israel conflict in the Middle East.

Every sign in US politics since the beginning of Middle Eastern revolutions, and even the stand-off in Wisconsin showed us that the administration was ill-prepared for such a major change in the region. The quick contamination of the Tunisian movement to the neighboring countries in the Middle East, even as far as Azerbaijan and Armenia in some extend, caught all western capitals unprepared for such a change even for the Information Age.

In his assessment of Iran-American relations, Brzezinski stresses that “The wider the agenda — one that addressed regional security issues, potential economic cooperation, and so on — the greater the possibility of finding acceptable quid pro quos. Or should Iran be treated as if it is fated to remain a hostile and destabilizing power in an already vulnerable region?” Given the fact that maintaining the stability in Middle East is the highest of all priorities (not only because of the “oil problem” but also because an instability in the region increases sensitivity among the G-7 economical relations) blossoming revolutions in every certain corner of the region should have been an incredible challenge for any policy maker, let alone the bureaucratic conundrum of the United States.

Hence the seemingly long reluctance on both the Libyan and Bahraini affairs. The US worked really hard in the United Nations in cooperation with France to get that 10-0 vote and keep the abstaining 5 abstaining.

In his article Brzezinski notes the deterioration of US relations with Europe due to the internal aspirations of the leaders of latter countries for the last decade or so. It now looks like the administration got the better end of the stick even to create better cooperation and collective unity among historical partners.

And then there is Libyan people. It’s rather traditional to perceive any American International action with suspect at least. In the Libyan case, although the open cry for help by the people against Qaddafi forces was eminent and NATO action was backed with a concrete UN resolution and Arab League approval, many Middle Easterners started the chorus of Imperialistic attack against Libyan people immediately. The chorus spans even different and complex political divides of the countries in the region.

Yet Libyan crisis still holds the key to change the image and lebensraum of western politics once and for all. First intervention forces should avoid any action resembling an invasion. Second, both as an example to other dictatorial nations in the area, and maybe backed by another umbrella resolution to include likes of Yemen and Bahrain, UN should extend its protective sphere in all the countries affected by legitimate mass protests against undemocratic regimes.

If and only then the blood shed in Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and Libya could come close to be shed not in vain and western civilization could regain the credibility it lacks for some time now.

About the Author

Stratos Moraitis Stratos Moraitis

Blogger, writer & photographer of a free nature with a focus on human rights & minority issues in Turkey,Greece and Middle East. Follow Stratos at Twitter: @oemoral and Like our page at Facebook

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