As a country with its own history
of opposing Western imperialism, is there a kind of kinship between China and Qaddafi's
Libya? Reporting from Libya, reporter Gu Di of China's state-controlled Huanqiu
advises Libya about how to deal with the West going forward, and describes
Qaddafi's situation as a cautionary tale for other leaders: Don't assume that
making amends with the West will guarantee your security.
By Gu Di, Reporting
from Libya [谷棣作者是本报编辑，现在利比亚采访]
The international community
is concerned about the civil war in Libya, but in the western reaches of Libya,
Libyans themselves don't call it a "civil war," but "the Libyan
crisis." China, as a neutral party, should calmly analyze this very
complex crisis and its consequences for the future. At this point it is very
difficult to say how it will end. That's because in the history of Western
intervention in global affairs, there has never been an instance in which a country's
opposition received international legal backing for toppling their nation's
leadership - particularly one that had been improving its ties to the West.
In addition, if we examine
the crisis in the context of the last century of Libyan history and where
current events are leading, it is clear that this is a new "turning
point" for the country: it is part of a clash between Western countries with
a history of colonialism and third world countries that have historically resisted
colonialism. Over the last hundred years, Libya has been a typically
small country resisting the West, at one point even leading Arab opposition to
the U.S., Europe and Israel. One Libyan man opined to this reporter that it
seems that the West hasn't forgotten. Libyans who express support for Qaddafi admit
that the primary reason for doing so isn't the benefits they receive from Qaddafi's
oil revenue, but because Qaddafi has the "spirit of resistance."
In recent years, the West appeared
to "bury the hatchet" with Qaddafi, so that they, too, could reap great rewards from Libya. Before the crisis, for example, Libya handed huge oil fields over
to Western hands. Another example is the arms trade: while Libya had been historically
dependent on Russian armaments, in recent years they had begun to deal with the
West. For some Libyans, NATO's bombing has increased the sense of disappointment
and suspicion of the West. This has allowed Qaddafi to maintain a good number
of supporters who consider it their patriotic duty to back him.
Obssessed by the
question "how long can Qaddafi hold on?," the fact has been missed
that most people in Asia, Africa and Latin America are against Western calls to
wage war on Libya. Every day, Libya's state-run media publishes many such
reports, together with cartoons like one with NATO holding a knife over a chopping
block and a large fish labeled "Third World." After decades of quiescence,
expressions of being "cruelly oppressed" have reemerged among the Libyan
resistance, and serve as a reminder to other countries. Meanwhile, Qaddafi has
made lots of concessions to the West, but hasn't managed to avoid clashing with
it yet again.
Qaddafi's Libyan supporters
are greatly concerned that Libya will repeat the mistakes of Iraq, Afghanistan
and Somalia. Interestingly, Russian scholars are concerned that Russia may
repeat the mistakes of Libya. Russian experts have said recently that Russia has
no choice but to upgrade its weaponry, otherwise it could face Libya's fate. North Korea, too, shares these concerns.
China and Libya are like many
countries that have fought for independence and gotten out from under colonial
rule, experienced Western sanctions - and the process of improving ties with
the West. Only Iran, North Korea and a few others have not.
careful consideration, questions about how to interact with the West, what
principles to maintain, what "red lines" to draw and whether military
strength can be restored without creating a disturbance - all issues that guide
China's foreign policy and relations - the Libyan people will be able to
recover from this crisis.
for China's people, we, too, must always keep our own "red lines" in
mind, and not just watch the events in Libya.