Reuniting Europe

The military engagement by the “coalition of the willing” in Libya appears to me as the right thing to do, in a situation in which a dictator is killing his own people.

Not doing anything would have led to a bloodbath in Benghazi and other cities dominated by the anti-Gaddafi forces, I think.

However I have some questions.

Why is the international community, and the EU, less interested in the situation in Cote d’Ivoire, where people are killed by Gbagbo, another dictator? Because the fear from illegal immigration is smaller? Because this country is less rich in petrol? Because it is more far away? Because of some kind of racist attitude of the “international community”?

How long will the military engagement in Libya last? Six months? A year? Eight years, as in Iraq by now?Is this sustainable? Can the international community handle at the same time the “jasmine revolutions” multiplying and a military scenario in Libya? What happens if the next president of France is not interested in the exercise?

Isn’t there a substantial risk that the military operation would result in a division of Libya? If the ‘democratic’ half wants diplomatic recognition and so on, what do we do? Do we create a democratic Eastern Libya, like Western Germany in the past? With China and some countries in the Arab world being more sympathetic to Tripoli than to Benghazi, isn’t there a risk that Libya would divide the international community, more than ever before since the fall of the Berlin wall?

My job is to ask questions to the right people and that’s what I’m going to do in the following days. If there are questions you want me to ask, please write.

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  1. Georgi, I think these are good questions, and I think they should be asked mostly from national governments in Germany, France, UK and Russia. As a non-journalist I have some governance questions.

    There are another subset of questions that come to my mind, more technical, yet move around yours. What is the use of undermining the EU defense embryo ESDP with the behavior Sarkozy and Cameron have shown in the extraordinary EUCO on 11 March and Merkel since the UN resolution? Is the English-French defense co-operation announced a few weeks ago a new entente within the EU? Is this a perception or a deception? Will Germany form a new axis?

    What is the use of undermining the command structure of NATO due to an internal feud within the EU? Why Germany withdrawing ships from NATO command and why France suggests a command outside both ESDP and NATO?

    Who is in charge for the military operations, if not NATO? Coming back to your questions about the duration, who is responsible for the military command and who is responsible for civil oversight? Who can declare the mission ‘finished’, ‘halted’, ‘complete’, ‘incomplete’?

    For me this is an institutional nightmare. No proper EU or NATO decision procedure was followed, yet both institutions are fully part of it. No matter how Sarkozy, Cameron and Merkel will come out of this, but how can you restore order in EU and NATO, especially if things go in the wrong direction?

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