I’ve seen and heard the words “Libya” and “revolt” paired together and apart in the news at least a couple hundred times in the last few weeks. After Egypt’s people successfully and peacefully ousted their president, Hosni Mubarak, they inspired the people of many surrounding countries to do the same. Libya’s popular revolution, however, has had a different outcome. Unlike president Mubarak, Libya’s Col. Muammar Gaddafi has no intention of stepping down and is perfectly willing to hunt down and destroy his own people to stay in power.
And Gaddafi has got support. After all, in this case, he has an army that is willing to fight for him. Gaddafi’s supporters in Libya insist that his regime has brought power, stability, and prosperity to the country for forty years. So, how are the rebels now fighting against Gaddafi supposed to defeat the national army of an entrenched tyrant?
That’s where the United States comes into play. The United States, France, and Britain, lead a so-called “broad” coalition of European and Arab nations who recently initiated air-strikes against Gaddafi’s forces. People in lucrative, technologically advanced, and productive nations, like ours, want the rebels in Libya to succeed in overthrowing Gaddafi.
Yet as much as I’d like to think that America is in Libya solely to promote democracy, we’re in Libya for oil. Lost in all the headlines about the coalition’s “progress” against Gaddafi’s army is the fact that Libya is home to the largest proven oil reserves on the African continent, and since the revolt in Libya, the price of oil has grown steadily higher.
The unfortunate fact is we still depend heavily on oil. The unrest caused by Gaddafi’s desperate bid to keep his power is resulting in high oil prices; putting the opposing rebels in power could help to lower oil prices by bringing stability in the region, and could possibly bring a more just political system to Libya. The feeling that we are helping underdogs rid themselves of their tyrant ruler becomes dispiriting when we realize that we are simply in another foreign country again, to secure existing oil supplies or to increase our share of the supply.
As the United States recovers from a crippling financial crisis, and with a budget that can only be reined in by slashing spending or raising the tax burden; I’d definitely prefer to cut spending. Put simply, fighting in Libya, no matter how quick the operation, is going to cost tax payers. For the money we pay in taxes, we should be provided with formula-1 quality roads everywhere; instead, we’re provided with pothole-infested asphalt and a decaying American infrastructure overall.
The time has come to stop looking abroad for easy reserves and to focus on developing alternatives at home. Couldn’t we drill for oil on US land, or offshore, or allocate prime funding for research on some alternative energy source other than petroleum? Wouldn’t this create more jobs for unemployed Americans and save us the trouble of having to go to Libya and other foreign countries to fight for oil? Wouldn’t we save tax dollars by relying on ourselves? Rather than selectively focusing our foreign policy on oil-producing countries and then claiming our efforts as “humanitarian,” we should focus on our own country and decide whether or not we need a revolution of our own.
Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy
Chief Copy-editor: Natalie Cappetta
Opinion Editor: Vincente Patino