With the world’s largest outbreak of Ebola taking place in West Africa amid rising violence throughout the region and neighboring regions, the struggle to contain the horrific disease has much in common with the failure to contain the violence afflicting so many in Africa and the Middle East. The connection is most obvious in a country like Libya where a self-serving, oppressive dictator squandered decades of a nation’s vast oil wealth on his own whims and intentionally starved the rest of the nation of basic civil, as well as social, infrastructure in order to suppress rebellion. Both the Ebola outbreak and rising violence in Libya are driven by a lack of proper social institutions within these nations capable of addressing the general welfare of those living in these territories, which is especially true when it comes to crises.
Although the idea that the world should concern itself with the welfare and socioeconomic standing of those living in the Third World is relatively new with the rise of the International Community model over the past hundred years, the Ebola outbreaks demonstrates a very tangible reason why this idea has merits. Globalization means the world is becoming ever more interconnected and that means something happening in one remote part of the world can affect people living in another remote part of the world. In regards to Ebola, the rapid and broad propagation of such a lethal disease obliviously results from our global transportation. Unfortunately, our global economic interdependency and online social world have helped propagate violence from one community to the next.
A largely peaceful transition of power is a means for a People to free themselves of a broadly unwanted government, so the ideas spread by the Arab Spring revolutions are a benefit of globalization. What went wrong for the Arab Spring revolution was the unwilling of embattled leaders to give up power before violence became the norm, the willingness of others to use violence to fill power vacuums, and the inability of social leaders to offer capable transitional governments that adequately balanced the interests of their Peoples. A large part of the reason the US and other Western democracies supported dictators in the Middle East and Africa for decades was a long held fear that any power vacuums left by the ouster of such regimes would lead to failed states like Somalia. Ironically, the oil revenue being paid to militias in order to fill in the gaps for a lack of police and army presence, coupled with the lack of national social institutions, may well make Libya most likely to become the next Somalia.
Unlike in Egypt, Libya lacks a powerful military capable of taking control of its civil unrest in the wake of failed leadership while it certainly will not see an outside benefactor willing to nation build as in the case with Iraq and Afghanistan. Had the International Community had some foresight when it came to recognizing the potential for armed conflict, efforts to funnel oil dollars into the hands of Libyans by lifting sanctions imposed on former President Muammar Gaddafi could have been curtailed with provisions that limited how oil revenue could be spent, i.e. those in control of the Nation’s finances would not be allowed to fund groups and individuals that present a security risk. In other words, the International Community should have forced Libya to build a real military and real police forces instead of a patchwork of militias. With Libya starting to ask for help from International Community to address issues like its oil depot fire, there might an opportunity for Libya and the International Community to make arrangements for an outside manager to help Libya do a better job of nation building, at least a means of better paying for nation building. Doing so, could be quite effective given the lack of an effective, stable Libyan government and the unwillingness of the International Community to do more.
Read old posts