Tony Blair: Libya could be a “Gold mine.”

We have it from the former PM of Great Britain:

As Nato increased air strikes on the dictator’s forces, Britain’s former prime minister insisted Libya should open up its society and economy.

‘The thing about Libya is that potentially it is a goldmine of a country – it has got fantastic financial resources, it has got amazing tourist sites,’ Mr Blair told Danish TV.

‘If it opened up its economy and opened up its society and takes that route of reform once they change government, then Libya will be a phenomenally successful country but we need to be there to partner them to do that.’

He also warned that anti-Gaddafi rebels may disagree about how the country should be run if the leader is toppled.

‘I know quite a lot about what makes up the different compositions of the rebel groups – some will be people we would want fully to support, others would have a somewhat different view as to how Libya develops,’ Mr Blair said.

One would hope he means that we don’t want Al Qaeda in Libya, or groups that try and oppress women, or some other group, but the context of his little set of comments makes it pretty plain– we don’t want people in charge who might have their own ideas on how to run Libya and esepcially its economy.

Consider this– the move of NATO is right now setting the nation up for a long stalemate.  The US, UK and French armed forces are not staffed by idiots–they know this.  Even ignoring the illegal nature of moving UNSC 1973 from no-fly and protecting citizens to regime change, the current tactics are tailor made to insure that neither side can win quickly–and whatever side that does win is confronted with a shattered nation, and have seen their own forces bled white.  Not only that, but it’s safe to say the other outcome will be such a hardening of attitudes among the former combatants that whoever wins will need external support to maintain control.

Support which no doubt the UK, US and France will be willing to provide, for a few minor considerations, say favorable terms on the various oil concessions, perhaps a veto on any foreign agreements they might make, how about cutting the Chinese and Russians loose from any deals?  After all, you want to be a partner, don’t you?

Welcome to the 21st century– for nations like Libya, it’s going to be just like the 19th century was for Latin America with the US moving in changing governments to suit our economic interests.

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Wow, and people thought Bush was bad.

Remember one of the complaints about Bush?  That he got us into wars we didn’t need to be in, for bad reasons?

We probably owe him something of an apology, because certainly this Libyan idiocy is on a par with his adventures.

Now, Colonel Gaddafi is a very bad man.  He’s likely not as bad, on a bodies per year basis as Saddam Hussein, but he’s still a very bad man.  However, being a very bad man, if it is grounds for bombing you, would see the bomb industry probably become the worlds #1 employer.  We need more than that.

Well, he’s done terrible things to his citizens!  That was the argument we got, when the US entered into enforcing a no-fly zone, without mind you, the president getting permission from Congress. 

Fine.  The argument could be made that in this case, the facts on the ground were moving too fast for Congress to take action.  But now we’re seeing a move from no-fly to regime change.

All this from a no fly resolution– a resolution which it must be stated, in no place makes the statement that Gaddafi must go.

in fact, this part:

“6.   Decides to establish a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians;”  Refers explicitly to civilians, but groups engaged in armed rebellion are not treated as civilians– they’re treated as combatants.  The use of aircraft to directly support the rebels is nowhere backed by the resolution, which right now is the only legal fig leaf these attacks have going for them.

Now, why should we care?  Again, he’s a very bad man.  Well, first of all, so far he’s a very bad man who is winning. What happens when the air strikes alone, as has been proven from WWII on, don’t achieve the goal?  Do we storm the beaches?  If not, what than– he’ll have little incentive for ever dealing with the west again, since he’ll have pretty well eliminated his internal competition.

Second of all, we know very little about the rebels– if upon entering Tripoli, courtesy of Western fire power, they engage in a celebratory massacre?  Are we also now required to provide security and internal governance for Libya?

Lastly, and from the long term perspective, most worrying is Sarkozy’s statement here:

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – French President Nicolas Sarkozy has warned all Arab rulers that they risk Libya-type intervention if they cross a certain line of violence against their own people.

The president told press at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday (24 March) that UN Security Council resolution 1973 authorising air strikes on Libya has created a legal and political precedent on the “responsibility to protect.”

Very inspiring isn’t it?  Especially since the implication is that this single resolution, which never even referred to regime change, now has produced a lasting precedent, one which presumably means nations won’t even have to bother with that pesky security council.

Of course, because of the current problems with NATO’s bombs, it’s likely that it’s a precedent the  United States will have to back up– one hopes that this time, Congress, of either party, might be consulted.

So there you are– on flimsy reasons, an attack is launched against a foe that however nasty wasn’t at war with the US, which is now putting us in a position of not only risking an open ended involvement in  Libya, but opening up involvement in God knows how many other states, that has no end game, no exit strategy (well other than the good colonel dying and his replacements proving to be tractable democrats), at the very point that we continue to be stretched thin by our other military commitments.

Strangely enough, I thought one of the reasons we voted the Republicans out of the White House was to reduce this sort of thing.