• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

We are inching along, but not as quickly as we (or you) would like. If you have already donated, thank you so much. If you haven’t had a chance, consider skipping the coffee this week and drop CounterPunch $5 or more. We provide our content for free, but it costs us a lot to do so. Every dollar counts.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Why the US Should Refrain From Intervening in Libya

Moammar Gadhafi seized power in Libya in 1969, only five years before a Hungarian sculptor invented a frustrating yet obsessively fascinating toy that came to be known as Rubik’s cube. The United States should resist the calls for military intervention in a tinderbox that outside force might cause to explode. If we tinker with this cube it may not only lead to a wider civil war, a danger already being discussed, but it will be certain to inflame opinion in North Africa and the Mid-East.

America is widely hated around the world, particularly by Muslims, because of its penchant for applying force to whatever issues it chooses to define as national security threats, or even social problems. Academics and intellectuals, along with our rulers in various Washington agencies, celebrate “cultural diversity,” except when they don’t like it. Thus we justify our continued presence in Afghanistan in part because of what to our western eyes is abuse of women and girls by some devout believers. And we support some dictators, but not others, because they promise to help us fight the Taliban or Al Qaeda, or simply because they sit on an ocean of oil.

Libya’s ruler is not one of our preferred dictators. His nation has more energy resources than any other African country, but most of it is sold to the European Union. Perhaps France or some other bold and heroic power will step in because of its national interest. America’s, for the moment, is not seriously threatened by the madman in Tripoli.

It is frustrating for Americans, and particularly the power elite in our government, to be faced with a situation about which we can do little or nothing, such as human rights in China. It may be even more irritating when a world event demands attention, but the right course of action is unclear for what we like to call the only global superpower.

The crisis in Libya presents opportunities and great hazards. Should we wait or act, and if the latter how and when? Each possible decision may have several quite different outcomes, depending on a variety of interlocking factors. The squares you turn on the cube turn others. How do we define a successful intervention, and how possible is it to predict the likelihood of success? What would be the goal of intervention, and how will success be defined? No one knows the answers to these questions, not even the most informed in our government. Watchful waiting, and being prepared for a range of scenarios, is better than sending in the Marines.

MICHAEL B. CHESSON earned a Ph.D. in history from Harvard in 1978, and has been a college and university teacher for thirty-three years. He is currently the Founding Professor and Dean of the American College of History and Legal Studies in Salem, New Hampshire. Dr. Chesson retired from the U. S. Navy as a captain after thirty-five years of active duty and reserve service.

 

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
October 22, 2019
Gary Leupp
The Kurds as U.S. Sacrificial Lambs
Robert Fisk
Trump and the Retreat of the American Empire
John Feffer
Trump’s Endless Wars
Marshall Auerback
Will the GOP Become the Party of Blue-Collar Conservatism?
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Trump’s Fake Withdrawal From Endless War
Dean Baker
Trump Declares Victory in China Trade War
Patrick Bond
Bretton Woods Institutions’ Neoliberal Over-Reach Leaves Global Governance in the Gutter
Robert Hunziker
XR Co-Founder Discusses Climate Emergency
John W. Whitehead
Terrorized, Traumatized and Killed: The Police State’s Deadly Toll on America’s Children
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A World Partnership for Ecopolitical Health and Security
Binoy Kampmark
The Decent Protester: a Down Under Creation
Frances Madeson
Pro-Democracy Movement in Haiti Swells Despite Police Violence
Mike Garrity
Alliance for the Wild Rockies Challenges Logging and Burning Project in Methow Valley
Chelli Stanley
Change the Nation You Live In
Elliot Sperber
Humane War 
October 21, 2019
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Wolf at the Door: Adventures in Fundraising With Cockburn
Rev. William Alberts
Myopic Morality: The Rehabilitation of George W. Bush
Sheldon Richman
Let’s Make Sure the Nazis Killed in Vain
Horace G. Campbell
Chinese Revolution at 70: Twists and Turns, to What?
Jim Kavanagh
The Empire Steps Back
Ralph Nader
Where are the Influentials Who Find Trump Despicable?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Poll Projection: Left-Leaning Jagmeet Singh to Share Power with Trudeau in Canada
Thomas Knapp
Excuses, Excuses: Now Hillary Clinton’s Attacking Her Own Party’s Candidates
Brian Terrell
The United States Air Force at Incirlik, Our National “Black Eye”
Paul Bentley
A Plea for More Cynicism, Not Less: Election Day in Canada
Walter Clemens
No Limits to Evil?
Robert Koehler
The Collusion of Church and State
Kathy Kelly
Taking Next Steps Toward Nuclear Abolition
Charlie Simmons
How the Tax System Rewards Polluters
Chuck Collins
Who is Buying Seattle? The Perils of the Luxury Real Estate Boom
Weekend Edition
October 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Trump as the “Anti-War” President: on Misinformation in American Political Discourse
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Where’s the Beef With Billionaires?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and the Violence of Environmental Decline
Paul Street
Bernie in the Deep Shit: Dismal Dem Debate Reflections
Andrew Levine
What’s So Awful About Foreign Interference?
T.J. Coles
Boris Johnson’s Brexit “Betrayal”: Elect a Clown, Expect a Pie in Your Face
Joseph Natoli
Trump on the March
Ashley Smith
Stop the Normalization of Concentration Camps
Pete Dolack
The Fight to Overturn the Latest Corporate Coup at Pacifica Has Only Begun
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Russophobia at Democratic Party Debate
Chris Gilbert
Forward! A Week of Protest in Catalonia
Daniel Beaumont
Pressing Done Here: Syria, Iraq and “Informed Discussion”
Daniel Warner
Greta the Disturber
M. G. Piety
“Grim Positivism” vs. Truthiness in Biography
John Kendall Hawkins
Journey to the Unknown Interior of (You)
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail