We are getting closer to seeing the testing moment of whether or not the Transitional National Council (TNC) will be able to work together as a stable interim government rather than a rather fractious fighting rebel force. They have gained recognition by a wide group of nations including now the U.S. and the Arab League, which sets the stage for external help.
The proof will be if the TNC’s efforts successfully create a better future for its people and provide the basis for promoting reconciliation and democracy as well as create democracy and prosperity for that nation. Certainly, they have the advantage of some major resources in their oil producing capacity (about 3% of world production) and their now “embargoed” massive Libyan assets which can soon be made available for useful investment in the country. They also have a fairly high literacy rate unlike what we see in Afghanistan.
Equally, we will be seeing if the NATO powers and the Arab allies will be able to provide the vital necessary assistance in a timely way and in forms that immediately impact the lives, well being, and especially employment–particularly of the youths of that nation, who are now so armed and engaged that they present both an element of instability and a promising source of talent to rebuild their now fairly devastated nation.
Libya needs an economic plan not dissimilar to what Obama would have liked in America if the Republicans had not vetoed it and thus prolonged our sad economic decline we are now seeing. But clearly, for Libya, a real stimulus is just what the doctor ordered to achieve growth and economic renewal.
We made some major mistakes in Iraq and in Afghanistan regarding getting their economies and security systems established and working. Let’s not make the same mistake while the Arab world is watching and its implications loom large for the future of the “Arab Spring” and, thus, the evolution of the Arab world towards modernity and democracy.
There are plenty of “shovel ready” projects in rebuilding the damage that six months of civil war have created. (Just like there are in America with our own deteriorated infrastructure where the government can employ millions for massive long term national benefits.) In Libya this can, in the end, all be paid for by oil money. (In the US it can be paid for by our own increased productivity and revenue plus savings from less imported oil and fewer unemployment checks and destitute families.) But it requires the full mobilization of both national resources and help from outside experts, companies, and international organizations with expertise in rebuilding countries that have experienced major damage. It means massive educational and training programs that lead to real jobs. Such an effort is likely to make building national unity easier when all have a stake in success. The coming six months of victory and rebuilding will be even more important than the six months of civil war!
By Harry C. Blaney III.