Three ‘ingredients’ are essential in managing processes such as the Arab Spring and their aftermath successfully: leadership, diplomacy, and institutional design.
Despite limited engagement so far, the EU’s “skill set” may yet come to be in demand in Libya. If it does, it will be required for the long term.
The international community must remain realistic about the speed and comprehensiveness of the success of the Arab Spring but should remain committed and determined in its support of the genuine democratic aspirations of the people who have started these revolutions.
Sustainable peace, democracy and prosperity depend crucially on choosing the right institutions, but these institutions cannot flourish unless there is security.
Resistance by the old regime collapsed relatively quickly on the road to, and in, Tripoli and the rebels clearly have the upper hand now and momentum is on their side, but there is a danger of setbacks.
The balance sheet of internationalised peace and state building is less than stellar, but it offers important lessons for the conflict in Libya.
One-hundred days on from the beginning of NATO’s “Operation Unified Protector”, the question remains whether an eventual solution to the on-going crisis in Libya will be worse than the problem it was meant to deal with.
Osama Bin Laden’s death is a significant, if perhaps mostly symbolic, achievement in the fight against international terrorism. It does not spell the end of al-Qaeda, but it demonstrates that Western skill and determination can prevail.
Thus far, the enforcement of the no-fly zone has served its purpose and stopped Gaddafi’s forces from further advances. Perhaps it is time to scale back military talk and give diplomacy another chance, including by working closely with, rather than arming, the rebels.