This excerpt from my Washington Times op-ed takes some of the themes I develop in my book and applies them to the current crisis in Libya. Follow the link below for the full article.
During the revolution in Egypt, the sentiment among most of America’s political and intellectual cadre seemed to be one of a hands-off approach, saying in effect, this is the time for the Egyptian people to be heard and take charge of their country.
This sentiment is waning when it comes to Libya. Calls for U.S. involvement are on the rise as the death toll rises and Col Moammar Gadhafi’s grip on the country seems to be strengthening. What the United States needs is a heaping dose of humility. We cannot solve every country’s problems, for as history has shown, our involvement usually makes the problem more complicated. The proposed actions - or the ones we have used in similar situations in the past - will fail.
It pains any decent person to watch what is happening in Libya, but that doesn’t mean an outside force working towards the overthrow of the regime is the right thing to do. We must remain humble in our ability to produce positive change but remain ready to help people put the pieces back together if they win and want our help. The West should not install a leader - even an interim one - but it should be a facilitator in the process, helping the tribes deliberate and choose for themselves the proper course of action. As facilitators, we should make recommendations about what the new government should look like - perhaps one that incorporates features of federalism to help eliminate tension among competing tribes - but most importantly, one that is “by the people” of Libya.
As with anything of value, self-government cannot be given or imposed - it must be earned. It is a hard, ugly truth we must deal with when we see suffering and especially when you are the one suffering. It was after years of denial and suffering that Fyodor Dostoevsky came to his faith. Without that process, he would not have had his faith and we would not have had his stories. “Thus it is not like a child that I believe in Christ and confess Him. My Hosanna has burst forth from a huge furnace of doubt.” Libyans, like all people, must come to self-government on their own. Others can be there to assist but no one can do it for them.
Causes Kyle Scott Supports
North Carolina History Project , American Political Science Association