On April 15, B. Obama, N. Sarkozy, and D. Cameron posted a letter in The Times, Le Figaro, and The Washington Post slamming colonel Gadhafi as a vicious dictator who kills citizens of his own country and pledging that NATO will pursue military action until he goes for good. The trio seems to be oblivious to the fact that just recently all of them used to cultivate friendly ties with Gadhafi and obviously had no problem with his alleged dictatorial tendencies. Leaders of other countries – Russia, for example – used to come under fire for such tendencies, but Gadhafi was treated as a perfectly acceptable figure.
Could things have changed overnight because the US, French, and British leaders expect the uprising staged by some of Libya's tribes to propel the country to unprecedented socioeconomic heights? The rebels in Libya are motivated by anything but the American dream. The children of deserts with the mentality shaped by the Bedouin history care about the American dream no more than the Pashtun nomads in Afghanistan do. The decade-long Afghan campaign should have led Washington to realize that no Western-style democracy looms on the horizon in the country regardless of who – the Pashtuns or the Tajiks – are at the helm. Afghanistan's democracy is loya jirga – an assembly of Pashtun elders – combined with day-to-day cultural norms the West would have a hard time embracing.
Suppose that the rebels in Libya manage with NATO backing to displace Gadhafi and to seize power in Libya. Truly speaking, little would change in Libya's overall way of life, but NATO's priorities lie elsewhere anyhow: the ouster of Gadhafi would help NATO spread its ever-expanding responsibility zone over Libya.
The message sent by Obama, Sarkozy, and Cameron with the commitment to keep Libya under military pressure until Gadhafi goes was a media offensive meant to become a prologue to an overland invasion of Libya. The hyperactive Sarkozy is ahead of others in probing into the public's potential reaction, and in no time debates within NATO are sure to produce a bold plan to come to the rebels' rescue. Since Beijing made it clear that it would respond with a veto to any attempts to obtain the UN Security Council's stamp of approval for the attack, NATO will evidently decide to pursue military action without it. These days, it does not take the UN Security Council's blessing to launch an offensive against a sovereign country. As soon as the Western coalition's servicemen come into play in Libya, the actual agenda behind the destabilization across a whole region will become an open secret, all talk about localizing the conflict and protecting civilians notwithstanding. In fact, the situation was lucid already back when the rebels, who were evidently unable to mount serious resistance to the government forces, daringly rejected Gadhafi's negotiation offer: the behavior made sense only provided that powerful outside players secretly promised to step in.
The escalation of the conflict in Libya combined with the intervention by a Western coalition would enable NATO to get entrenched in the Arab word and in Africa. Seen against the backdrop of the tectonic shift, the fighting between Gadhafi's loyalist and opponents is reduced to a minor circumstance.
NATO's priority is to gain control over Libya's strategic territory which can be used to launch offensives targeting various parts of the world. Importantly, as a parallel process China is also staking a bid for influence in Africa, and a clash between Beijing and the West over the continent seemsto be a matter of the foreseeable future.
Talks between Gadhafi and the rebels premised in the assumption that the current regime should stay in place but accommodate some of the demands pressed by its opponents could revive hope for a peaceful solution in Libya, but the forces of globalization would not suffice with anything short of getting rid of Gadhafi and his loyalists. No doubt, the West will be hammering Gadhafi at any cost. The three leaders – Obama, Sarkozy, and Cameron – may be expressing concern over the plight of civilians in Libya, but their real instincts are hard to disguise – they need to gain and to subdue, no matter what it takes.
Chances are NATO has already put together a plan for a powerful military foothold in Libya akin to Camp Bondstill in Kosovo, the province lawlessly torn out of Serbia. Camp Bondstill, the biggest military base in Europe, is the main award Washington earned by inducing the partition of Serbia. The issue draws surprisingly little attention, but the base will certainly play a role in any future military conflict.
Could NATO's far-reaching plans be the explanation why the rebels in Libya recklessly ignore Gadhafi's reconciliation initiatives and why the audiences across the world are brainwashed to believe that Gadhafi is a monster? The developments in Libya are increasingly reminiscent of those that culminated in the disintegration of Yugoslavia, and the message sent by the Western trio reinforces the above hypothesis.