Wallerstein on the “Great Distraction” in Libya

I guess this is better than Badiou’s claim that, you know, the Libyan people don’t exist or something and so French or British intelligence agents are those really on the ground. Wallerstein argues, essentially, that Saudi Arabia is leading this policy in order to distract would-be protesters from spreading the rage to its kingdom:

There is one thing on which Gaddafi and Western leaders of all political views are in total accord. They all want to slow down, channel, co-opt, limit the second Arab revolt and prevent it from changing the basic political realities of the Arab world and its role in the geopolitics of the world-system. …

Today, the Western powers are launched on a Libyan war, with an uncertain outcome. It will probably be a morass. Has it succeeded in distracting the world from the ongoing Arab revolt? Perhaps. We don’t know yet. Will it succeed in ousting Gaddafi? Perhaps. We don’t know yet. If Gaddafi goes, what will succeed him? Even U.S. spokesmen are worrying about the possibility that he will be replaced either with his old cronies or with al-Qaeda, or with both.

The U.S. military action in Libya is a mistake, even from the narrow point of view of the United States, and even from the point of view of being humanitarian. It won’t end soon. President Obama has explained his actions in a very complicated, subtle way. What he has said essentially is that if the president of the United States, in his careful judgment, deems an intervention in the interests of the United States and the world, he can and should do it. I do not doubt that he agonized over his decision. But that is not good enough. It’s a terrible, ominous, and ultimately self-defeating proposition.



  1. He’s spouting off Post-9/11 Bush Style Rhetoric. He’s protecting the homeland, and he will use unilateral force if necessary. Its rubbish…he’s really turning that Nobel Peace Prize into a piece of junk.

  2. how about how the millionaires in America are getting people of privilege hopped up on the rhetoric of the oppressed? Tea Party = thrill of transgression for the bourgeois class.

  3. Is Libya a leaderless revolution? I have yet to hear a name of someone leading the charge.

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