More voices are being raised to urge caution before sliding into yet another war. General Wesley K Clark’s reflections deserve careful reading and reflection, before the old cold warriors, still looking for new causes, seduce an empathetic public and their representatives into another economically and politically draining war. “Libya doesn’t meet the test for U.S. military action”
What we do need to do is redouble our support (directly to the extent it is accepted and via international organizations) to the new governments of Arab countries to build and strengthen institutions that support the rule of law, the rights of individuals, a free press, and other checks and balances on the exercise of political power. We should encourage the development of the legal framework and institutions that promote entrepreneurship, justice, and tolerance of religious and other differences. The Arab Spring can be the beginning of a positive transformation of a backward part of the world or another false start. It is not up to us, but we can contribute to a more promising outcome if we choose to.