Give The Libyans Time


Hayes Brown wants pundits to hold off from claiming the Libya intervention as a model success or clear failure:

Tripoli fell just shy of six months ago; Qaddafi was killed four months ago. Going by the standards that many seem to arbitrarily set on either completely new political entities like South Sudan or new regimes such as the one in Libya, the United States itself was an abject failure for the first several years of its existence. Soldiers went unpaid and over-armed, the central government wasn’t sure how to enforce its will on new territory, the original system set up to govern was found to be completely unworkable, there were questions on how to handle loyalists who still lived in the new country. The list goes on. Two centuries of practice exist between now and then, leading many to believe that the country sprung forth in its current form.  The basic principles remain the same, so far as state-building goes, and those two-hundred years of practice aren’t easily transferred.

Paul Mutter thinks Western diplomats can help:

If Western countries are truly interested in seeing a democratic transition in Libya (or Syria), and not just determined to remove a brutal dictator who has outlived his welcome, then these countries have to accept the fact that their “responsibility to protect” (R2P) cannot end when the last bomber drops its payload and heads for home. This does not necessarily mean putting a foreign army on the ground, or full-scale subsidization of reconstruction efforts. But it does mean more international aid (especially from those who helped Qadhafi dig Libya into a hole despite its oil wealth) and assistance that will focus on getting militias to lay down their arms and commit to a political process, instead of pretending they don’t exist as stumbling blocks to that process.

(Photo: This picture shows houses and shops in Misrata that were destroyed during the year-long conflict to oust slain ex-leader Moamer Kadhafi and which are painted with the revolution-adopted Libyan flag, on February 12, 2012. One year since the revolution against Kadhafi erupted on February 17, 2011, Misrata — Libya's third largest city — is a clear example of the ferocity of the fighting. By Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images.)