Why Libya skeptics were proved badly wrong
Anne-Marie Slaughter, former director of policy planning for the U.S. State Department, and recent guest on GPS, wrote an excellent op-ed in the Financial Times the other day. She took the skeptics of the intervention in Libya to task, calling out her friend (and frequent GPS guest) Richard Haass by name.
In her op-ed, Slaughter first claims that letting Gadhafi crush Benghazi would have emboldened the repressive regimes in Syria and Yemen. This would have been both morally unacceptable, and, she insists, strategically unsound:
"The strategic interest in helping the Libyan opposition came from supporting democracy and human rights, but also being seen to live up to those values by the 60 per cent majority of Middle Eastern populations who are under 30 and increasingly determined to hold their governments to account. This value-based argument was inextricable from the interest-based argument."
Anne-Marie Slaughter puts particular weight on the "Social forces [that] are increasingly powerful drivers of foreign policy" around the world, noting that "Those forces have now pushed both the west and Arab governments into taking a much harder line than simply geostrategic logic would dictate against Bashar al-Assad’s brutality in Syria...."
Slaughter closes her op-ed by re-framing the debate about Libya: "The skeptics must now admit that the real choice in Libya was between temporary stability and the illusion of control, or fluidity and the ability to influence events driven by much larger forces. "
Put another way: Supporting newly-energized, young masses seeking freedom is morally better and strategically wiser than doing nothing and letting an aging despot massacre his own people, even though the latter might ensure greater stability in the short-run.
Do you agree?
Read her full article over at the Financial Times......
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment