I read an article yesterday in Counterpunch which would never see the light of day anywhere else. It suggests that Libya under Colonel Gaddafi was the most prosperous, educated and genuinely free democracy in Africa. Well, this is not what we’ve been led to believe is it? Didn’t we liberate enslaved Libyans from this despotic regime in 2011? Wasn’t Cameron and Sarkozy cheered to the rafters when they briefly stood on Libyan soil after Gaddafi’s rather brutal demise?
Sometimes, even if you don’t believe it, it is worth reading an alternative narrative—because there could be some truth in it. I’m not sure that anyone would objectively argue that Libya prior to 2011 was a place they would choose to live, but what about today? The country is by any standard in a far worse state then it was prior to 2011, secret police or not. The Counterpunch article makes claims which are worth reading because they are counterintuitive, but they could all be tested against the historical record. For example, the treatment of women as equals with rights to education, equal pay, etc. That’s not something you would find in an Islamic theocracy.
I have doubts about the greater claims of this article, but it is well worth reading. It leads me to remark on something that has always been controversial, namely Tony Blair’s war record. There’s no doubting the folly and mendacious deceptions that paved the way to Iraq, but Blair was widely derided (and wrongly in my view) for meeting Gaddafi in his desert tent. He also met Assad in Syria. In his own messianic way, Blair thought he could somehow rein in their excesses and bring these nasty chaps into some kind of reformist mode. I am sure that Blair’s faith came into this, not just in his own charisma but also through his everyday conversations with God. I wish he had actually succeeded in his mission in those two countries, but perhaps his faith ran ahead of itself. As it is now, the instability of Libya and Syria are two of the greatest threats to European stability, and neither appear to have an endgame in sight (although with Russia’s assistance, things are beginning to look a little clearer in Syria).
As I write this news has come in that the warmonger John Bolton, Trump’s national security advisor has either been sacked or has resigned. This perhaps is good news. We’ll only know when we find out who his replacement is. I wonder who is really running Trump. He has so far—amazingly—avoided more war than most of his predecessors, including the sainted Obama. One day, we’ll be revising the old canard that any two countries with a MacDonald’s restaurant would never go to war with each other. So I’m hoping and praying that Moscow finally gets its Trump Tower—along with Tripoli, Damascus, Tehran and Pyongyang.