US Foreign Policy and the Issue of Democracy in the Middle East - Essay Example

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The democratic peace theory is one of the most fundamentally held beliefs that US Foreign policy makers claim to hold. As such, the theory states that democracies are inherently peaceful and are not prone to fight each other…
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US Foreign Policy and the Issue of Democracy in the Middle East
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"US Foreign Policy and the Issue of Democracy in the Middle East"

This brief analysis will use the case of Libya as a vehicle to examine how the push for democratization oftentimes leads to destabilization and the complete and utter breakdown of a previously functional/peaceful society. Ever since the tumultuous 1980s when Muammar Gadaffi repeatedly came at odds with US President Ronald Reagan and US foreign policy in the region, the situation in Libya had been quiet (Williams 2012). The war hawks of the Libyan intervention would be quick to point out the prison uprising that was brutally repressed by Gadaffi’s troops back in 2004 as evidence to the contrary; however, from Libya’s perspective, they could easily point to Hurricane Katrina, the LA Riots, and a host of other government mishandling and mishaps to show an equally clueless government that was ineffective in meeting the needs of its populace or handling crises in an even handed manner. Regardless of this fact, NATO was quick to capitalize on what can only be described as a carefully coordinated, nurtured, and organized uprising in Benghazi to promote democracy and work to topple the stable and long-lived government of Libya. It is important to note that although this analysis does not support the laundry list of atrocities that Gaddafi is accused of committing, neither does it support an armed intervention in what was Africa’s most stable and prosperous country prior to NATO’s efforts to destabilize it. Libya provides a unique and insightful case of why forced democratization is not the path to pursue. The news media would have had us believe that the entire country was fundamentally against Gadaffi and wanted the dictator gone; however, this could not have been further from the truth. The fact of the matter was that Gaddafi was greatly respected and loved among various segments of society. The leader had invested heavily in the infrastructure of the country, building Libya from practically nothing to what it was 40 years after his rule began. Before Gaddafi there was little if any public services in any but the largest of coastal cities, agriculture was weak, and the oil industry was practically undeveloped. Because of these and a host of other reasons, it took thousands of sorties from hundreds of aircraft representing multiple nations 8 full months to bring the Gaddafi regime to a close (Haggerty 2012). Likewise, the manner in which Gaddafi and his remaining sons were slaughtered combined with the aftermath of the war led many to appropriately question whether the right course of action had been pursued. Gaddafi warned as early as February that elements of al Qaeda were threatening to destabilize the nation and were actively supporting those that sought his overthrow. However, this was unheeded as NATO and others were already preparing for what a post-Gaddafi Libya might look like. One by one, the coastal towns that had been controlled by the Gaddafi regime fell and one by one the flags of al Qaeda replaced the Green Republic flags that had flown over these cities. Again, the West and the news media paid little if any head to these warnings signs. Nearly a year after Gaddafi’s murder and the collapse of his regime, elements of al Qaeda attacked the US Embassy in Benghazi and murdered several of the staff of the embassy. A similar attack Read More
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