Germans should not be ashamed for not waging war on Libya
Some days ago we had dinner with German friends. Despite the delicious alsatian wine (Gewürztraminer for those who are interested in oenology), they expressed some sorrow and even felt ashamed: they regarded their country as a nation absolutely unable to defend human rights and slaughtered populations, even in Europe's backyard.
In some way they were true: Germany was absent while France, the UK, Italy, Norway, Belgium, the USA, and so on and so forth were bombing Gaddafi's mercenaries and tanks.
Nevertheless, I would oppose German pragmatism to French enthusiasm for noble and great causes, as France was at the leading edge of this ad hoc coalition, as J. Solana was naming those alliances dictated by the circumstances.
Of course, protesting against French and British decision to act would be stupid and would be a form of support to Gaddafi's criminal rule of Libya. Now that this regime has been toppled, I should be proud of NATO and those European countries.
However, I am not that happy. Not at all. Because tactics cannot be mixed with strategy. Definitely, Gaddafi's downfall has been a great tactical victory. And so what? Does is provide European countries with an end state? What are the international organizations which will provide support to the establishment of democracy, rule of law and human rights -I mean the same rights for men and women?
For the time being, no plan, no idea has been explicitly put on the table, as we did for Kosovo, Bosnia and other countries. How can we make sure that Islamism will not expand within Libya? Of course we can raise some hopes and believe that Libyan leaders strive for democracy. However, this does not make a strategy. Therefore, the current lack of capabilities, assets, and may be will to lead the Libyans towards the building up of democracy, which could last much more than 10 years make fear that Libyan future might be much darker than expected, mainly after all European efforts to get rid of the dictator and his supporters.
Germans should not be ashamed, French and Britons should not be proud: in the past, many tactical triumphs have turned into bitter defeats, while many tactical defeats, turned finally into large victories thanks the support of a comprehensive, consistent and firm strategy. The most important would consist, now, in deciding what to do with this tactical victory:
-leave unexploited because we don't want to dedicate money and enough assets to the establishment of democracy,
-exploit it as much as possible, whatever the cost and the time needed may represent, thus making sure that China or other emerging countries will not seize the market shares that France and the UK can legitimately claim for?
That is the only important issue!