West plays 'hot potato' with Libyan crisis

16:17, April 11, 2011      

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As the Libyan war reaches a stalemate, there have been increasingly louder calls for a peaceful solution to the current crisis through dialogue in the international community. Emerging countries, such as Turkey, South Africa and Russia, as well as European countries, such as Germany, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway, have all called for a resolution to the current crisis through peaceful dialogues.

The war has brought about too many uncertainties. Like many "unexpected consequences" that emerged in the aftermath of the U.S. military attack against Iraq, the military attack against Libya launched by the United Kingdom, France and the United States has also come across several "unexpected circumstances."

The first of these surprises is the resilience of Muammar Gaddafi's regime. Second is the weakness of the Libyan opposition. It was too early for the West to put a bet on the rebels. Particularly, France prematurely terminated its diplomatic ties with the Gaddafi administration, leaving no room for reconciliation between the two sides.

Thereafter, the West had expected the opposition to win and overthrow Gaddafi’s regime, so they could get paid at odds of 2-1 on winning their political bets.

Unexpectedly, the military forces of the opposition were fractured, lacking a single command, necessary training and access to heavy weapons.

Therefore, they were often defeated by the government forces and could only come to a stalemate with the government under the West’s air support.

Currently, the Libyan war has become a "hot potato" for the West.

First, the West cannot afford the war economically and strategically. Waging high-tech wars is like "burning money." The war is too heavy to afford for the European countries and the United States, which have not completely emerged out of the economic crisis. The longer the war is, the more countries in the West will find themselves at a disadvantage.

Furthermore, the war has also pushed up international oil prices, distressing European countries and the United States as oil-consuming countries. The United States has transferred military command to NATO, and the United Kingdom and France are already not as optimistic as they were.

Second, the West will encounter many military and legal troubles. Instead of "government oppressing civilians" that the West first believed, the situation in Libya has turned into a civil war with real guns. If the West continues to get involved, they will be considered as being partial to one side and their open intervention into a Libyan civil war will cause more civilian casualties.

This is completely contradictory to the West's original intention of "protecting civilians."

In regards to military actions, Western countries will have to dispatch ground forces in order to depose Gaddafi since the rebels lack fighting capacity. This is totally beyond the scope of the United Nation’s authority, and is likely to repeat the mistakes of the Iraq War.

In regards to legal principle, Western countries were suspected of taking advantage of loopholes in the U.N. resolutions and pursuing their own self-interests when they launched air strikes. The true faces of Britain and France will be exposed more significantly as the war continues.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad previously accused the West of fighting for the oil. Western countries have ignored the ongoing fierce civil war in the Cote d'Ivoire, which has again proven the charge against the West.

In a word, the military solution to the problem in Libya has come to an end and the political solution has been put on the agenda. However, military and political means are two sides of a coin and many unexpected problems are still waiting for solutions.

Written by Tian Wenlin, translated by People's Daily Online
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