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Old 08-24-2011   #21
Rex Brynen
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Default war as source of national identity

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Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
The challenge facing Libya now is to transform a loose coalition united only by opposition to the dictator into something resembling a government that is able to provide the basic rudiments of governance. Where it goes from there - if that can be achieved - can be managed after that is achieved.
One refrain I heard quite often in Libya was that the prolonged struggle to overthrow Qaddafi may have helped to build a stronger sense of national identity and purpose. This isn't to say the challenges aren't serious--they are, given the factionalism that already exists. However it was striking to hear people say "perhaps its a good thing we didn't win in a week, and instead had to work together to achieve this outcome."
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Old 08-24-2011   #22
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Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post

The challenge facing Libya now is to transform a loose coalition united only by opposition to the dictator into something resembling a government that is able to provide the basic rudiments of governance. Where it goes from there - if that can be achieved - can be managed after that is achieved.
Dayuhan,

Sorry, but that sounds like a recipe for yet another failure to get phase 4 right.

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Old 08-24-2011   #23
Ken White
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Default I don't think the Libyans used US phasing.

Probably just as well, we also apparently do not...

A rather chaotic and somewhat spontaneous lurch into an unexpected revolt was highly unlikely to have developed US-like mathematic and simplistic phaseology. That's a plus for them. They'll work it out and they have -- quite wisely IMO -- rejected offers of Western aid and advice (less money, of course...) and are apparently requesting military training assistance from the Kingdom of Jordan. Pretty smart of them...

Events often do not cater for 'efficient' design and 'proper' planning; often one has to do what feels right and make it up as one goes along. Surprisingly, that generally yields results far better than those obtained using straitjackets, matrices and metrics...
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Old 08-24-2011   #24
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I am aware that Libya identified a large shortfall in management capacity approx. 18 months ago, for all sectors and were seeking externally validated training leading to a qualification (not MBA). It will be interesting to see if Libyan exiles and those who have been absent now return. There were numerous BBC TV news clips of families returning, even to Misrata during the siege. I concede some will now want to leave too. A number of Libyan families have sat out the war in Malta.
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Old 08-24-2011   #25
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Originally Posted by Graycap View Post
For Europe it could be a very good test if we europeans are able to conceive a unitarian foreign policy. If Italy, France, GB, Germany will have their "man in Tripoli" (with his own gang of armed individuals, tribe etc...) the outcome is predictable: total caos.
I guess we'll do something similar as we did with the Palestinian authorities, except with a bit more personal attention by the French president.




Now some relevant humour...

Last edited by Fuchs; 08-24-2011 at 04:12 PM.
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Old 08-24-2011   #26
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I guess we'll do something similar as we did with the Palestinian authorities, except with a bit more personal attention by the French president.




Now some relevant humour...
Gives new meaning to the phrase "the CNN effect"!
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Old 08-24-2011   #27
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Lots of smileys and lots of jokes in this thread.

After the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan the Taliban emerged.

After the PLO defeat in Beirut, Hezbollah emerged in southern Lebanon and Hamas emerged in Gaza.

After Saddam Hussein was ousted, Moqtada Al-Sadr emerged in Baghdad.

Lots of smiles and lots of jokes in 1988, 1982 and 2003 respectively, lots of tears and gnashing of teeth afterwards.

Are we to assume that democracy will emerge naturally in post-Gadhafi Libya?
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Old 08-24-2011   #28
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You might want to check the timelines.

There were multiple years, many events of relevance between your seeming cause-effect dates.
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Old 08-24-2011   #29
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The conflict isn't over and the rebels are not united, so this can still play out in a number of ways.

Posted by Rex,

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One refrain I heard quite often in Libya was that the prolonged struggle to overthrow Qaddafi may have helped to build a stronger sense of national identity and purpose. This isn't to say the challenges aren't serious--they are, given the factionalism that already exists. However it was striking to hear people say "perhaps its a good thing we didn't win in a week, and instead had to work together to achieve this outcome."
Intentional or accidental I agree that the duration of the conflict (it is still going on) allowed elements of the resistance to form a quasi-government and hopefully plans for a future that will no doubt be challenged by others seeking power, but without this organization it most likely would have been pure chaos.

I really can't imagine what would have happened if Qadafi fell in say two or three weeks, maybe a day or two of celebration and then a collective now what following by anarchy?
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Old 08-24-2011   #30
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Lots of smileys and lots of jokes in this thread.
Laughter OTOH is generally beneficial.
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... the Taliban emerged...Hezbollah emerged in southern Lebanon and Hamas emerged in Gaza...Moqtada Al-Sadr emerged in Baghdad.
And, lo, the world is still here.

A world that survived the Romans, Sassanids, the Khans and World War II didn't even blink at any of the post 1980 stuff. Nor should it have; they were small things. Very small. Not terribly significant until we made them seem to be...
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Are we to assume that democracy will emerge naturally in post-Gadhafi Libya?
I don't know who constitutes your "we" but I certainly do not assume that -- nor do I care whether it emerges or not. That's the Libyan's affair and no concern of mine. Nor should any American really be that concerned, none of our business and our foolish attempts to 'foster democracy' here and there over the past 60 or so years have done more harm to the world and people in it than have any of the post '80 events cited.
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Old 08-24-2011   #31
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Laughter OTOH is generally beneficial. And, lo, the world is still here.

A world that survived the Romans, Sassanids, the Khans and World War II didn't even blink at any of the post 1980 stuff. Nor should it have; they were small things. Very small. Not terribly significant until we made them seem to be...I don't know who constitutes your "we" but I certainly do not assume that -- nor do I care whether it emerges or not. That's the Libyan's affair and no concern of mine. Nor should any American really be that concerned, none of our business and our foolish attempts to 'foster democracy' here and there over the past 60 or so years have done more harm to the world and people in it than have any of the post '80 events cited.
Ken,

I'm not sure how to read your post. In the "any of the post '80 events cited" I included the emergence of the Taliban in Afghanistan in the late nineties (who later hosted AQ, who later conducted the attacks on the WTC). According to you, "A world that survived the Romans, Sassanids, the Khans and World War II didn't even blink at any of the post 1980 stuff. Nor should it have; they were small things. Very small. Not terribly significant until we made them seem to be." Does this mean you consider the AQ attacks on the WTC to be QUOTE "Very small. Not terribly significant until we made the seem to be"UNQUOTE? Could you clarify your position on all this?

Best regards,

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Old 08-24-2011   #32
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Default Relatively speaking, yes...

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Does this mean you consider the AQ attacks on the WTC to be QUOTE "Very small. Not terribly significant until we made the seem to be"UNQUOTE? Could you clarify your position on all this?
Compared to the carnage of WW II for just the most recent, yes. Quite small.

Bad, unforgivable and harmful no question but relatively minor to all except those involved in those attacks and their families with whom I can and do empathize. Still, the attack and its results really had comparatively small impact -- unlike the War which killed millions and affected many more millions of people worldwide. A response to those attacks in 2001 was required and was executed with initial good results. Results that we unfortunately squandered by the making of where we were as those results were obtained into a still ongoing campaign as well as a series of efforts in this country to 'enhance' security that give far more significance to the attacks and subsequent events than is or was IMO warranted. Every year more American are killed in automobile accidents OR medical misadventures than have been killed over the past ten years as a result of those attacks and our subsequent actions worldwide.

Many for whom those attacks were a defining event will not agree and I understand that and respect their position. Fortunately or unfortunately, viewpoint dependent, my defining moment was the attack on Pearl Harbor; fewer total US casualties but vastly greater costs in the long term. My wars were long ago but I do have a son currently on his fifth tour in this one who also thinks we did and still are over reacting. Maybe he's just old before his time...

To return to the thread and Libya, a democracy there would be nice but it is for many reasons really sort of unlikely and, as I said, it will in reality make little to no difference to most Americans. In the event, it is up to the Libyans and not to us. Hopefully, those in DC who are overly prone to 'do something' will realize that and not set out to do good and end up doing more harm as we too often do...
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Old 08-24-2011   #33
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Compared to the carnage of WW II for just the most recent, yes. Quite small.

...
Ok, Ken, I understand your position now, although I disagree with it. What I do not understand is why you want to post on a "small wars" website if you think that anything smaller than WWII is too small to be significant.

Best regards,

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Old 08-24-2011   #34
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Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
One refrain I heard quite often in Libya was that the prolonged struggle to overthrow Qaddafi may have helped to build a stronger sense of national identity and purpose. This isn't to say the challenges aren't serious--they are, given the factionalism that already exists. However it was striking to hear people say "perhaps its a good thing we didn't win in a week, and instead had to work together to achieve this outcome."
I remember citing this possibility, back in the early days of the other thread, as a reason to avoid external regime change, on the grounds that the need to overthrow the regime themselves would force the opposition to develop some degree of organization and coordination. I think the opposition is certainly better equipped to govern now than it would have been if NATO had simply removed the dictator. Whether or not it's enough... time will tell. Forming a government will be difficult, actually governing far more so.

The extent to which post-Daffy political groupings coalesce among tribal or individualist lines, and the ability of such groups to cooperate, or at least to compete without armed conflict, is something I'm not sure anyone can reliably predict at this stage. We'll see.
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Last edited by Dayuhan; 08-24-2011 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 08-24-2011   #35
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Ok, Ken, I understand your position now, although I disagree with it. What I do not understand is why you want to post on a "small wars" website if you think that anything smaller than WWII is too small to be significant.
I think the question is not whether or not they are significant, but whether or not the response is proportional to the scale and significance of the events. I'm not convinced that it is, and I suspect that the overreaction is not doing us any good and may be doing us harm.
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Old 08-25-2011   #36
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Ok, Ken, I understand your position now, although I disagree with it.
I'm sure many do and that's okay. OTOH, I do not disagree with your position -- but I do not share it. That's not quite the same thing...
Quote:
What I do not understand is why you want to post on a "small wars" website if you think that anything smaller than WWII is too small to be significant.
That's not what I wrote. This is:

""A world that survived the Romans, Sassanids, the Khans and World War II didn't even blink at any of the post 1980 stuff. Nor should it have; they were small things. Very small. Not terribly significant until we made them seem to be...""

That was an apparently poor attempt to say that all things are relative. Compared to the costs and violence of the things I mentioned, those more recent items were far smaller in costs and scale. To clarify a bit, Korea was significant, mostly because it still bumbles on due to our failures more than anything else. Viet Nam was significant due to its costs (in all respects and now as well as then...). The initial effort in Afghanistan was significant (the earlier rise of the Taliban was not particularly so) and Iraq was and is significant -- but not due to Sadr who is insignificant (which doesn't mean he isn't a bother, just that he isn't a major bother). Afghanistan and Iraq will always exist in one form or another, the Talibs and Mokey not so much, they're transients on the scene...

In most of those latter cases, the events and characters rise to more prominence (as opposed to significance) because of OUR actions, not due to much they did or do. So, if those things have significance in the eyes of some -- or many -- it's due to our habit of making things into possibly more than they might have been. Dayuhan has that bit right...

I post here because folks are civil, most are well informed and all facets of warfare and the politics thereunto pertaining are discussed without much effort being wasted on other political foolishness. Those are things that have been of interest (and employment) in a fairly long life.

I can discuss small wars, been to a few. I can and do advise against US participation in them unless all other options fail because in my experience the American psyche does not and will not ever do them well; we aren't ruthless enough (I have no problem with violence -- but many, particularly politicians, seem to...)and don't have the patience for (or a governmental / election process and cycle that supports) the long term approach. We can do them, have done a bunch marginally well -- mostly smaller efforts without huge troop commitments -- but we do not do them really well, the bigger they are, the worse we do...

Instead of seeking small wars, we should put the Intel folks and DoS to work and let Special Forces do their FID thing early and often while avoiding small wars, SFA and / or COIN support because the GPF will never do those things well.

Nor should they...

Last edited by Ken White; 08-25-2011 at 01:06 AM. Reason: Typos
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Old 08-25-2011   #37
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Are we to assume that democracy will emerge naturally in post-Gadhafi Libya?
No one is assuming this, least of all the Libyans who want it who are well aware of the magnitude of the task.

We can, however, say that the chances of some form of representative and responsive government are infinitely higher than they were when Qaddafi was ruling the place.
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Old 08-25-2011   #38
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Ken, Dayuhan, Rex,

Ok, thanks for putting things in perspective.

Marc
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Old 08-25-2011   #39
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I guess we'll do something similar as we did with the Palestinian authorities, except with a bit more personal attention by the French president.

The situation is quite different. Palestinians have no oil, and there is no Israel with its own power and policy.
In Libya (and Tunisia) the only international player with great opportunities and great risks is Europe and european countries. Europe could start a narrative closing its past and building better future.

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Now some relevant humour...
To see what CNN has become is really depressing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Bryen
One refrain I heard quite often in Libya was that the prolonged struggle to overthrow Qaddafi may have helped to build a stronger sense of national identity and purpose. This isn't to say the challenges aren't serious--they are, given the factionalism that already exists. However it was striking to hear people say "perhaps its a good thing we didn't win in a week, and instead had to work together to achieve this outcome."
Strongly concur. In another forum I wrote some months ago that I thought better for everyone a very slow evolution of miliary operations that could make possible a poltical manouvering of differet actors internal and external. We should also sayy that slowness is possible oly if risk of retaliation is little. This lack of any retaliation is the piece of the puzzle that is difficult to understand.
Rex do you know anything about the central bank situation? It seems strange to me that TNC, with its need for money, has not occupied it and take possession of the caveau.
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Old 08-25-2011   #40
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From my understanding, it seems unlikely to me that the future of Libya is going to be determined by anyone who actually lives there. Gaddafi did a really thorough job of pacifying most of his population--primary evidence for which being the hilarious ineffectiveness of the 'revolution'. The rebels had to be wheeled into Tripoli like an invalid. Now that they're there, I don't see them suddenly getting the healing power of Jay-sus and miraculously being able to walk again. The only question is who's going to be the power behind the wheeled throne. Given the US's disinterest, it seems like it'll come down to Britain and France versus the Arab League. And the AL has the money...

I mean, granted that running a war and running a country are two very different things--but if you can't beat the guys who couldn't beat pickup trucks with tanks, I'm not sure what you're going to have what it takes to run a country, either.

Last edited by motorfirebox; 08-25-2011 at 01:47 PM.
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