Libya intervention: US cannot afford to 'go in search of monsters to destroy'
Change in Arab governments may come moderately, as in Morocco, or with the blood of thousands, as in Libya. But it is not in America's interests to intervene. US action in Libya may result in big civilian causalities, anti-US blowback, and a loss of treasure America can ill afford.
From Iran to Algeria and across the Middle East, a generation of young people has demanded that its voice be heard, calling for new or reformed governments. On either extreme of the spectrum of Arab revolutions, there are two different models for today’s uprisings: Morocco and Libya, each with implications for stability in the region.Skip to next paragraph
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America's support and involvement have wavered along a range, with serious implications, as well. We see the most drastic US action in the recent military strikes against Muammar Qaddafi’s forces in Libya, as part of a UN resolution authorizing a no-fly zone and other necessary measures to protect the opposition and civilian populations. But such an intervention is fraught with complications that not only jeopardize the US but also the very people the allied military mission seeks to protect.
While Libya’s dictator, Mr. Qaddafi has fought protesters with brutal force, leaving as many as 10,000 dead, by some estimates, Morocco’s King Mohamed VI has agreed to slight reforms, in an effort to appease the protesters. Morocco has been under a sea of protests for over a month now. Many of the protesters’ demands are not different from those recently heard around the Arab world: more jobs and lower food prices.
The Morocco model for change
Mr. Mohamed has responded with a speech in which he pledged to expand “individual and collective liberties.” He announced that he would give up power to name a prime minister. He also announced amendments to the constitution that include an elevated judiciary and a parliament drawn from free and fair elections.
But these reforms have not altered the very basics of the government as they have in Egypt, which experienced a drastic collapse of the government and an exit of its leaders. Morocco’s king will still retain most of his executive powers, and the nation remains a constitutional monarchy. Changes are much more conservative in nature: small incremental shifts that reflect the culture and times of the world without looking to radically alter or systematically change society in the name of ideology.
Though the chances that the Moroccan people will be completely and quickly lifted out of their poverty may still be slim, the compromise between the people and the ruling monarchy will make transition and eventual change much more stable.
Consequences of West in Libya
Qaddafi’s Libya is another world entirely. The United States, Britain, and France, in their latest cold war victors’ reunion, have begun bombing Qaddafi forces. Once seen as the new prince of peace, President Obama recently gave a speech that could have been written by David Frum and other hawkish neocons: "Today we are part of a broad coalition. We are answering the calls of a threatened people. And we are acting in the interests of the United States and the world." Somewhere in the White House there is a portrait of Dick Cheney smiling.