Following the US-lobbied UN authorization of military murder in Libya, the death-dealing regime of Colonel Gaddafi said immediately that it would stop all killing. That put Obama’s war on hold, for a little while. The crazy Colonel has learned a thing or two about American foreign policy. If you pretend to favor the stated goals of the empire and comply with its stated dictates, you can otherwise do what every government in the world is structured to do: stay in power at all costs.
Gaddafi learned this lesson about a decade ago, when, with much fanfare, he announced that he would stop his nuclear weapons program and join the war on terror. The US then decided to rank him and his regime among the world’s good guys, and proceeded to hold him up as an example of wise statesmanship. Then he proceeded to dig in more deeply and tighten his despotic control over his citizens, all with the implied blessing of the US.
But this time it may not work. For weeks, American officials have been decrying Gaddafi’s bloody attacks on his people, but does the US really have a problem with dictatorship of his sort? This fact is unknown to Americans, but in the Middle East, and in Arab nations in particular, American commercial interests are regarded as a force for liberation but not the US government. The US has been the key to the power of Middle East dictatorships for decades, among which are Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Yemen. I leave aside the killing of hundreds of thousands of Iaqi civilians to liberate them.
So it is something of a joke that the US would push a war against Libya in order to save that country from dictatorship. More likely, the real issue here is the same one that inspired the wars against Iraq: the ownership and control of the oil. And even if freedom were the driving motivation, when in modern history has war ever actually brought that to people? All war by nation states today ends in massive civilian deaths, destruction of infrastructure, political upheaval without end (see Afghanistan and Iraq), vast expense, and bitterness all around.