The tyrant is dead, long live the tyrant.. This seems to be the general way of appreciating the Libyan situation expressed by the many 'antithetics' who appear to have lost all hope and every confidence in democracy.
They are convinced that democratic countries make military engagements only for commercial interests. This, even to such an extent that they will persuade themselves that a great nation is cretinous enough to stab itself in the heart, to create a totally unnecessary pretext to make an incursion elsewhere to bring down a criminal regime, just to stake their claim in laying gazoducts, for example.
One can spend far too much time exchanging views with such individuals. Lately I happened to defend an argument against the absurdity of this way of seeing things even with an ecclesiastic, which shows that negative opinions aren't just limited to disillusioned teenagers. And invariably one is accused of being naive and living in Cloud Land. But even so, it's better to be hopeful, idealistic and optimistic up there, than being resentful, bitter and pessimistic 'elsewhere'..
Naturally publishing such negative opinions, often including various links to such subjects, to try to add weight to the hopeless and often hateful way they tend- or prefer- to see things, is extremely harmful. It even contributes to the condoning of extremist attacks against civilians, perpetrated to destabilise, to wear down the population, in a rabid attempt to destroy young democracies, as well as the very principle of democracy itself.
They now refer to Libya as yet another example. Thus they affirm that the Libyans have been liberated thanks to the costly commitment of nations purely motivated by securing their future, commercial interests.
France and Great Britain however, made their engagement well before they had any guaranty of US support. France even recognised the legitimacy of the Libyan Delegation of Transition without any hesitation whatsoever. Certainly such a courageous commitment, immediately termed as a 'caprice' by the German Minister of Defence, wasn't made for the purpose of procuring future, lucrative, commercial advantages. At such an early period, there was no certainty at all regarding the outcome of a rebellion. Had things gone the wrong way, as then was feasible, both France and Great Britain would most certainly have been the prime losers concerning future, Libyan, trade deals.
In any case, for the noncommittal, whether an oil rich country is governed by a democratically elected government, or a tyrant, contracts still remain contracts. This is not incoherent hypocrisy, it's part of the necessary realities of the paradoxical world we live in.
Europe and France under Chirac, may have preferred to turn a deaf ear to the Afghan Minister of Defence when he came to Europe to try to obtain support in his fight against the Taliban well before the 11th September, 2001, but France wasn't deaf to the call of Libya in the spring of this year. The Libyan people will never forget that.
It's also because of this that the Libyans might appreciate that they have a moral obligation to honour the trust that France, Great Britain, the USA and NATO showed towards them. Not by granting any commercial advantages, but by showing the world that they are capable of establishing an exemplary democracy. They owe it to those who helped them, but even more so, they owe it to themselves.
By Mirino. Photo by AP, with grateful thanks. October, 2011