Libya: Lingering Doubts

From the outset of the Libyan episode, there have been ample grounds for reservation. Both the manner in which events have unfolded, and also the longer-term implications, are troubling.

Objections to the lack of public debate, to NATO’s tendency to reach for the gun before exhausting all alternatives to the use of armed force, to the ambitious pursuit of goals well beyond those authorized  by the UN Security Council,  and to the near complete incoherence of Western policy in the region seem well-founded. Quite apart from the unknown number of people killed during the rebellion, respect for international law and for the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect have been among the more notable casualties.

The broader concern is that for NATO participants, policy has become an instrument of war.   But that, and a host of other issues remain unaddressed. With Gadhafi’s execution, these kinds of considerations have by and large been lost in the orgy of triumphalism and self-congratulation.

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Libya and the World after Gadhafi: Preliminary Thoughts

It is perhaps premature to propose potential conclusions and lessons learned in the immediate wake of the rebel victory over the Gadhafi regime. On the surface, it appears that NATO support for the rebellion assisted materially in achieving the objective of ridding Libya of a widely detested dictator.

In terms of success, this would seem to represent more than can be said for Western efforts in backing one side in the Afghan civil war, or intervening under manifestly false pretences in Iraq. Both of those episodes have proven extremely costly. Still, before breaking out any more champagne, there are several issues regarding the Libyan affair which require more sober and sustained reflection than they seem to have received at the international meeting on Libya’s future held September 1st in Paris.

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United Nations Security Council Elections and the Canadian Brand: The End of the Illusion?

On October 12, 1957 the Nobel Committee announced that Lester Pearson would be awarded the Peace Prize for his role in addressing the Suez Crisis. Fifty-three years later to the day, Canada lost out to Portugal – a small, former colonial power –  in its bid for election to the United Nations Security Council.

To my mind that irony, and those bookends provide compelling testament to the fact that Canada’s place in the world has a come a long way in half a century.

Wherever this country is now, it is certainly not where we were then.

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