[El Espectador, Colombia]

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Huanqiu, People's Republic of China

Libya Epitomizes the Fate of Weak Nations


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 [ 作者是本报编辑,现在利比亚采访]


Translated by Sarah Chan


April 15, 2011


People's Republic of China - Huanqiu - Original Article (Chinese)

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."



[The Independent, U.K.]

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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.


With 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.


As for China's people, we, too, must always keep our own "red lines" in mind, and not just watch the events in Libya.



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US April 19, 9:49pm]


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