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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Propping Up the Free State

Hey Barry:

Seems from media reports that military and civil structures in the Benghazi area are a little weak. Let's be clear, whoever stays around will be involved in nation building. We have given them hope with our military actions.

We have to deliver results to avoid a return of despair and violence. Libya now is governed by fear and violence. After Gadafi goes, they will need a better system. If the West fails to see a better system installed, then we will see the rise of terrorism.

Here's a strategy to fix that problem while avoiding the 'Ugly American' perplex we see in Iraq.

One of the problems in Iraq was that we destroyed all civil structures and then would not allow anybody from the prior regime to work. Result - no talent and a big mess.

Let's riff on the early Roman model: they invited in anyone who wanted to come provided they would work. Later, they turned to slavery, but in the beginning they had a very open, egalitarian society.

It's hard to create the best system for Libya from an armchair in California, but perhaps some suggestions will be useful.

A critical first step is to establish effective military command and control, then develop rapid training of raw recruits. If that does not happen the war will either be lost or devolve into a deadly stalemate.

Regards civil society, there are some basic steps:

1. Secure oil revenues by controlling the fields and opening the port - needed to provide revenue source;

2. Divide territory into smallish areas and hold elections immediately for a constitutional convention and/or legislature - needed to defuse tensions and begin building civil society;

3. Offer amnesty to all Gadafi deserters who sign a loyalty pledge and pass a personal interview - needed to obtain talent;

4. Establish civil society organizations immediately - schools, police, fire, water, roads, etc, etc - start the construction process; and,

5. Recruit qualified language speakers from other countries to take positions that locals do not have experience for - leave Western expats out of picture.

Well Barry, it's a start.

We are all with you and we thank you for the hope.

Your pal,

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