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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

How should the U.S. aid Libya?


Opening the New York Times the day after the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi to horrifying pictures of Gaddafi’s body, bullet holes and all, made it clear that, for many people, the death of Gaddafi meant success.

Libya had been under a dictatorial rule by Gaddafi for more than 40 years, and now must face a period of creating and appointing a new government. This new government will be created in the face of a politically unstable population that has experienced turmoil beginning in earnest in February of this year.

The leader of the National Transitional Council, Mahmoud Jibril, intends to resign within the month, but has asked NATO to remain in Libya until further aid can be given to Libyan civilians.

President Obama issued a statement in the days following the death of Gaddafi saying that the U.S. would wait for instructions given by NATO on how to provide aid to the Libyan people.

The gruesome pictures of Gaddafi’s body in the New York Times indicate that gloating over the death of Gaddafi preoccupies the interests of the U.S. and their desire to eliminate political terrorists in the world rather than anticipating the struggles that Libya now faces in terms of government building.

Americans would rather examine images of dead bodies than focus on how to help the Libyan people in the immediate aftermath of Gaddafi’s death.

However, the job of the U.S. does not need to include traveling to foreign countries and imposing our Western models of government on foreign nations.

The United States’ focus on Libya strikes an odd note because of the fact that many countries also experience civil war, and also need aid in terms of rebuilding infrastructure, and yet the U.S. has chosen to focus on Libya.

Our focus may be due in part to the potentially vast oil industry in Libya.

The U.S. should not choose to send aid to countries like Libya only in order to gain from the relationship later on.

Rather than feasting our eyes on the oil we could glean from Libya, we should attempt to send aid to countries like Liberia, whose civil war ended only in 2005 and who held their first fair election in the country’s history.

Rather than focusing our time and attention on reveling in the death of political criminals and scheming oil deals, we should instead choose to spend our time helping the civilians of unstructured countries when possible.

If the U.S. does intend to send aid to Libya in any form after hearing the decisions made by NATO on how to respond best, the U.S. should first decide why we are sending aid to Libya.

“Libya’s crude oil exports will jump to almost 350,000 barrels per day in November, more than double the volume sold the previous month,” according to an article on the Reuters website on Oct. 30.

If the U.S. wants to help Libya only as a means to accessing their oil refineries, the United States should rethink its motives.

We should not support the aid of Libya if we are only in it for the money.

Of course exporting more oil would create more jobs in Libya and bring revenue to the country, but the country should first have the opportunity to revitalize their weak infrastructure.

In order for the U.S. to help Libya in any manner, the most beneficial course of action would be to provide experts who can help with rebuilding roads, hospitals, and schools. The U.S. should not attempt to aid Libya in rebuilding their government.

Based on President Obama’s recent statements conceding that he is waiting for NATO’s orders to help Libya, the U.S. will most likely not attempt to nation build in Libya.

Although the U.S. could provide aid to Libya and help provide infrastructure building, we should as a nation take a moment to evaluate our actions, and make sure that our reasons for moving forward with providing aid to Libya are not for selfish reasons.

The reason for providing aid should be because we as a country truly believe that we can help the people of Libya create a safer and more democratic nation.  

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