VDH reflects on Libya:
I believe there is a Western veneer of rebels and these are good hearted and brave reformers. And I believe most don’t know an RPG from an IED. Those that do are not pro-Western and not about to remove Qaddafi and his odious bunch in order to foster republican government.
The truth is that in the Arab Middle East constitutional government works mostly 1) in Israel; or 2) when the U.S. (in Germany, Italy, Japan fashion) removes a tyrant, destroys his government, occupies the country, writes the Constitution, and puts tens of thousands of troops on the ground to rebuild the society and shoot those who would hijack the reform — as in Iraq. Oddly, these are the two countries Obama has most criticized.
So the chance of a lasting Libyan consensual state arising from the ashes of Qaddafi are rather slim without such Western tutelage and expense. I fear the removal of tyrants is not the end of the Middle East war, but merely stage I, in Iranian 1979-1981 fashion, followed by stage II when the Islamists either liquidate the Google executives or co-opt the military.
Niall Ferguson said pretty much the same thing. Bummer. What happened to this sentiment: “to feel the energy and pride of a people taking back the keys to their country and their future from a tired old dictator, was a privilege…It was started by youth and enabled by Facebook and Twitter. It was completely non-violent.”