The results of yesterday's referendum are coming in, and guess who's really happy about the results and who isn't?
Oh, wait, what's that? The protesters opposed these minimal reforms, fearing that the remnants of the old regime would find it easier to revert to the same old system than if more vigorous reforms were passed? So the established elites, including the Muslim Brotherhood, are the real victors? But...but...there was record turnout! That's gotta be good for something, right?
Even if not, at least we can be happy that things are going well in Libya, and the US and its allies won't get dragged into occupying another country. I mean, the government told me they won't, so obviously it must be true. Just like the US only advised the South Vietnamese government in the 60s and the US was greeted as liberators in Iraq. Ezra Klein is just so off the mark when he says,
(C)onsider the promises made. "The United States is not going to deploy ground troops into Libya. And we are not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined goal, specifically the protection of civilians in Libya." Those two sentences are at war with each other. Protecting civilians might well require more than bombing runways. If Gaddafi is deposed and the state collapses into tribal warfare, does our pledge to resist ground troops trump our pledge to protect civilians? Or will it be the other way around?I mean, really Ezra. What possible cause for concern could you have?
Oh, and here's an interesting little bit of trivia for you, from Abu Muquwama (h/t the Duck)
On a per capita basis...twice as many foreign fighters came to Iraq from Libya -- and specifically eastern Libya -- than from any other country in the Arabic-speaking world. Libyans were apparently more fired up to travel to Iraq to kill Americans than anyone else in the Middle East. And 84.1% of the 88 Libyan fighters in the Sinjar documents who listed their hometowns came from either Benghazi or Darnah in Libya's east (emphasis in original).
So let's sum up. Referendum -> victory for old guard, defeat for protest movement in Egypt. Meanwhile, the US and its allies wisely maneuver into a situation from which it will be all but impossible to walk away when and if a post-Qaddafi civil war breaks out, supporting rebels who hail from a region whose population was very eager to kill Americans in Iraq not long ago.
Hurray for democracy, and also for the promotion of democracy by force! Nothing ever goes wrong with that. And democracy certainly never fails to live up to its promises. Like ensuring that the government will only use force if it is sure it can accomplish its goals quickly and easily. Or in any other way, really.
Of course, I've been wrong before. Most recently, when I said the US wouldn't intervene in Libya. Maybe I'll be wrong about how said intervention will unfold. Anyone care to place a bet as to whether the US will (still) have ground troops in Libya come January 1st, 2013? If so, please email me: parena at buffalo dot edu.