Armed Protestors Bring Libya to Its Knees
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  • Andrew Allison

    History shows that the only way to keep tribal societies under control is a ruthless dictatorship. The failure, for decades, of US foreign policy to recognize this has been the source of enormous human suffering, and is a damning indictment of the State Department establishment.

    • Fred

      I think it goes deeper than that Andrew. It’s deeply ingrained in American culture. We’ve always been a rather naive and overly optimistic people. Americans’ reaction to the “Arab Spring” reminded me of that great line in Full Metal Jacket, “Remember son, we’re here to help the Viet Namese because inside every gook there’s an American struggling to get out.”

      • Andrew Allison

        Thank you for your thoughtful response. I agree that, at least until recently when the BGI resurrected it, our strength was a lack of tribalism. But, IMHO, it’s the job of our foreign policy establishment to recognize the way the rest of the world works and advise our leaders accordingly. Can we agree, in retrospect, that the removal or attempted removal (or, if you prefer, introduction of democracy) of strongmen has been an unmitigated disaster for all concerned? We need pragmatists, not idealists steering foreign policy.

  • Anthony

    The vulnerability of countries like Libya to conflict, State fragility. poor governance, etc. turns on the resource curse as well as social organizational patterns. Libya can be correctly identified as an anocracy with a resource curse where control of government is a winner take all proposition. Therein lies Libya’s ongoing problem which basically extends from its former autocracy.

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