TRANSCEND Media Service — At the time of writing, what BBC and NATO call the Final Chapter is being written in the Libya-Gaddafi tragedy. Like the final chapter for Yugoslavia-Milosevic, for Afghanistan-Omar, for Iraq-Saddam, for War on Terror-bin Laden, its objective – get “The Bad One.” There will come more final chapters in this neo-crusade, like in the 1090s crusade, when orthodox Christians were also a target of their “mission.”
We do not know how this “final chapter” will read, but let us use past experience as a guide to the chapters beyond. It is a trivial, but quite useful, approach. As somebody said, he who does not learn from history will relive it, first time as a tragedy, then as a farce.
After destroying Gaddafi symbols, there will be a ceremony celebrating the NATO victory, so all know who brought down Gaddafi; so vulgar as to fill a large space with heads of state and government; a Sarkozy, a Cameron, a Stoltenberg, a Berlusconi, all key bombardiers-in-chief declaring “Mission Accomplished” and lining up for oil contracts promised. There may be some European style to the ceremony. Or they may drop that part and go straight to a routine conference, like Petersburg I for Afghanistan – drafting a constitution, setting dates for free elections and, if captured alive, the West’s International Criminal Court routine for Gaddafi.
Before that, there will be burning of Libyan uniforms and “loyalists” dressing up in everyday garb preparing for the long haul that lies ahead of them. After a week, a month, a year, who knows how long, there will come wayside bombings; sabotage of pipelines, of refineries; the inability of the Benghazi clan and its adherents to counter the Sirte clan with its adherents. The drift toward a NATO occupation with ground forces, of course to “train” the new Libyan army. Ever more drones and Apache helicopters. In short, everything as usual.
Let two basic points emerge from the fog of history, only for those with fog on their eyes.
Yugoslavia-Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, all are artificial constructs of global architects obsessed with world maps filled with “nation-states” in one color. The “nation”, in their view, are the citizens of each state on the map. When will they ever learn that such nations do not exist? That the blood of clans, tribes, ethnic groups is thicker than the water of party ideology. That “one person, one vote, free and fair elections” work well in “homogeneous I-cultures” like Norway, Germany, Italy, Japan. But in “heterogeneous we-cultures” people will vote their clans, tribes, ethnic groups, races into power. Do you want to keep your artificial state structures in one piece? Then pay the price: heavy repression, to contain centrifugal forces, by a local dictator or by foreign occupation. Wasn’t Yugoslavia broken up by centrifugal forces?
Now to the second point. What is imposed by violence tends to lead to further violence, and violent rule, not democracy. But wasn’t democracy imposed on Germany, Italy and Japan after the Second World War and it worked, one may ask? No, all three were homogeneous; all three had a tradition of electoral democracy and majority rule; all three had dictatorship-militarism for other reasons than to keep disparate ethnic groups forcefully together. The violence restored what was already there.
This war against atrocious Gaddafi is a lost cause then. If the goal is a “stable secular democracy,” then that will mobilize Islamists and clans, tribes, and races for endless bickering and violence.
If key goals are something else, that is a different matter: for instance, a private, not state, central bank, as done by the Benghazi clan; the goal to kill an African Investment Bank in Sirte, Libya; an African Monetary Fund in Nigeria; an African federation; and an African currency in gold dinars. If these were the goals, then there is cause for celebration. (The Obama administration had already confiscated Libya’s 30 billion dollars deposited in the USA for these purposes.) And if the goal was to prevent Libya emerging as the African country able to meet the Millennium Development Goals, then celebrate now.
In the meantime, the Arab Spring matures and has spread to Israel in the form of massive protests against inequality. Rockets and attacks from Gaza, under de facto occupation, are deplorable, but to be expected. The late summer harvest is there: a changed Egypt reacts and a 30-year truce evaporates. There will be more.
There will also be more empires after USA-Israel. My book about “The European Community” from 1973 had the subtitle “A Superpower in the Making.” In my book “The Fall of the US Empire” from 2009, I see the Europeans and NATO as the likely successors to the United States. Even little Norway, not an EU member, but with the highest surplus of all AAA rated countries (Der Spiegel, August 15, 2011, p. 65) is in it. Will the Europeans and NATO do the job till the USA recovers and can be world sheriff again, hunting The Bad Ones, dead or alive? Or reconquering Africa?
Probably none of the above. This fourth imperial scourge on the Middle East and North Africa after the Ottoman Empire, then the West (Italy-England-France), then USA-Israel, will probably be short. They now say “Libya is not Iraq” like they used to say “Iraq is not Vietnam”. Certainly, there are differences, but also overwhelming similarities. They will wake up. Maybe a more decentralized Libya, and then playing up one Africa, playing down 54 states and playing up 500 sub-states is a much better solution, with rule by consensus for the many diverse parts instead of the Western “winner takes all.”
 Johan Galtung, The Fall of the US Empire – And Then What?, TRANSCEND University Press, 2009 http://www.transcend.org/tup/.