Tuesday 23 August 2011

Global Times: Gaddafi lost because he lost the support of the people

As has been discussed elsewhere, Gaddafi never had very close relations with the Chinese government. China's leaders have not been long in repaying Gaddafi's uncooperative attitude. As soon as was reasonably practical, Chinese representatives met with those of the Rebel government. As soon as it was obvious that the Gaddafi government was finished, the flag was changed at the Libyan embassy in Beijing - something the Beijing government cannot directly control, but could certainly allow Gaddafi's remaining supporters to prevent if they so wished. All-in-all, the Chinese government's policies during this period have been very reasonable.

The same can also be said of this editorial in today's Global Times:

"Gaddafi's fate has told the world two things. First, never underestimate the power of the people. The Libyan civil war resulted from Gaddafi losing the support of his people, particularly those in the east. The spread of the Arab Spring and the help of Western governments were unlikely to have a deep impact without the support of the people.

The second lesson to learn from Gaddafi's demise is that a weak country cannot easily control its own fate. It cannot escape the will of the major powers.

If Gaddafi had woken up to public demands earlier and pushed reforms through before the West decided to remove him, he might have avoided a civil war and taken Libya down a different path. Now, Libya's future lies in the hands of the West."

Yes, the idea that Libya's future "lies in the hands of the West" does ignore the potential for democratic government in Libya taking it in quite a different direction to which the 'west' (by which what is presumably meant is the US, France, and Britain) wants to go. However, the US and the EU are the only real place where Libya's new government can expect help, and as such it is not too wrong to put it this way.

More to the point, GT is quite correct that, had Gaddafi had greater military might at his command, he might still have crushed the rebels even in the teeth of protest from the Arab, African, and NATO countries. This lesson is not and will not be lost on the present leaders of Syria and Iran. Whilst, barring mutiny, the PLA is always likely to have the strength to deter intervention in any CCP crack-down against internal opposition, the leadership is likely to be confirmed in their efforts to keep the military happy through higher spending in the wake of the Arab spring.

They are also correct to say that where Gaddafi really lost was when he lost the support of the population - something which might have happened as long ago as the mid 1970's. The CCP presently, by-and-large, has the support of the majority of the Chinese people. However, in view of the looming economic and financial crises in the world at the moment, keeping that support seems likely only to become a greater problem in the future.

1 comment:

justrecently said...

I think both the Chinese embassy itself and the Global Times (the one in English, mostly for foreign readers) are products of Chinese diplomacy. There seems to have been some convergence between the English and the Chinese GT, but they are still clearly written for very different kinds of public.

The CCP presently, by-and-large, has the support of the majority of the Chinese people.
This reads like a polling organization stating in 860 that "by and large, the Pope has the support of the majority of Europeans". (snickers)