Libya:Democracy by any means necessary – Interview
Laaska News May 26,2011
Boris Gontarev, Professor of international journalism at the Moscow State University of International Relations:
The idea of withdrawing from Afghanistan was one of Barack Obama’s election campaign promises. The election slogan of Obama was ‘We need change.’ But it’s so vague and so imprecise. What kind of change did we need? Probably, we needed a change in methods, not in directions. You can treat it as you want.
But the main reason for all the actions of the Americans – be it Democratic or Republican administration – is America’s historical mission of establishing and promoting democracy in the whole world. However strange it might seem to us and to many other countries, who don’t care what regimes Burma, Chad, Nicaragua, or any other country has, the Americans do care. They want to have democracies everywhere. Whether it’s right or wrong – it’s another story. But they have this historical mission. Since the times when America was formed, it was its mission: We have this historical mission, this historical tradition to support freedom and fight evil wherever it is.
From that point of view, there is this resolution of the UN Security Council, which has supported the international activity in Libya by trying to remove Muammar Gaddafi from his power. And if you ask my personal opinion, I think Muammar Gaddafi is a definite evil – for his own people, first of all, and for international security, and European security in particular. He’s evil just like Sadam Hussein, or just like Hitler before him, or many other dictators. So, he had to be removed. And if you have common sense – and I’m always operating within common sense – he has to be removed. The point is how? Whether it’ll be in a peaceful or a forceful way with the help of power, and what kind of power? I understand Obama in that respect. In that case, he is not directed in his method by any kind of resolutions. Of course, the UN Security Council’s resolution helped. But it wasn’t the main reason. The main reason is the mission. I have to point that out once again – I mean, ‘we, Americans, need to promote freedom and democracy everywhere.’ From that point of view, his actions against Muammar Gaddafi are a right thing. He confirmed it again in his speech in Britain. And it’s fine by me, it’s quite logical and understandable. I don’t see any contradictions here.
The final goal will be, of course, removing Muammar Gaddafi from power. As soon as he’s removed something else will come. But, of course, we need to think what it will be. It might be an Islamic regime, it might be fundamentalists, it might be disorder. But that’s not important. The point is quite clear to Obama and the American administration: Muammar Gaddafi is evil, he’s an enemy of democracy, an oppressor of his own people, and he has to be removed. That’s it. All the rest is of secondary importance. Of course, there are unfortunately casualties of military actions. They are there due to the war. I won’t believe for a moment that Obama is intentionally aiming at civilians in Libya. Of course, it’s possible with modern, smart weapons to point out aims of bombardments and shelling as precisely as possible. But, incidentally, it’s happened. But you have to put it all on the two sides of the scales and see what’s more important – to save every single soul in Libya and leave Muammar Gaddafi in office, or to remove him, to establish, as the Americans believe, democracy over there, to abolish dictatorship, and then there’ll be some victims that are impossible to avoid.