Over the past couple decades, the American public has seen several examples of why the United States should avoid becoming involved in needless military conflicts.
Former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s half-baked plan to oust Dictator Muammar Gaddafi may have sounded like a fantastic idea at the time, but to the people suffering the consequences, it was a horrendous mistake.
The resurgence of slavery in the country of Libya is devastating the lives of thousands of Africans seeking a better life. Slave auctions are becoming commonplace, and the Libyan security forces are having trouble dealing with it.
Slavery Has Returned to Libya
Slavery has been an institution on the African continent since ancient times and is still practiced in many other African nations. In Libya, the slave trade had been greatly diminished under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
While Gaddafi was a ruthless dictator, he did maintain certain rights and privileges for those under his rule. However, when he died, his protections against slavery died with him.
According to the reports from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), tens of thousands of people have entered the country – most either to escape war or for economic reasons. Their ultimate objective is to travel to Europe, but unfortunately for them, few make it.
Criminal gangs and smugglers entice immigrants and refugees with the promise of a better life outside of Africa. It is only after they are in the clutches of these groups that the immigrants realize they have been duped, and many die during the journey to the country. The rest are held for ransom, sold into slavery, or forced into prostitution.
Smugglers and human traffickers exploit these desperate individuals for their own benefit, and their operations are growing. Many different slave auctions are being held around the country.
The enslaved Africans live in brutal conditions, subject to vicious beatings, rape, and even murder. Those who are lucky enough to escape are forced to return to their homeland empty-handed.
Slavery returned to Libya as a result of poverty, Islamic extremism, and NATO’s invasion. While all three of these factors play a part in allowing slavery to come back to Libya, it could be argued that the 2011 invasion is its primary cause.
The Obama Administration’s Misguided Invasion Paved the Way for Slavery
When NATO invaded Libya under the leadership of the United States, it was believed that toppling Gaddafi would further the Arab Spring movement that began in Egypt in 2010. The Obama administration promised that removing the Libyan dictator would pave the way for an American-style democracy in the country.
We invaded Libya because Hillary Clinton pushed Obama to initiate military action in Libya. She was the “chief architect” of the invasion.
While the war was not necessary, it was the Obama administration’s failure to craft a viable strategy to address the aftermath of the invasion that actually caused the region to devolve into chaos. Unlike Hillary Clinton, President Obama later acknowledged that the intervention was one of his biggest mistakes.
The main problem with the invasion of Libya lies in the fact that we didn’t need to be there. While President George W. Bush was in office, he struck a deal with the dictator in which Gaddafi agreed to abandon his nuclear weapons development program if the United States did not oust him.
While he was in power, Gaddafi was an enthusiastic supporter of the notion of a unified African continent and worked to promote unity among Africans. He also advocated for women’s rights in Libya. Most importantly, he kept his promise and stopped pursuing his nuclear weapons program.
Instead of honoring the agreement with Gaddafi, Clinton convinced Obama to topple the regime. During an interview, she boasted of Gaddafi’s death. “We came, we saw, he died,” she said.
Now, years after the invasion, Libya has become a failed state rife with violence and brutality. It is the perfect environment for Islamic terrorism, human trafficking, and slavery. Since 2014, the country has been embroiled in a bloody civil war that has killed almost ten thousand people. The populace now lives under an oppressive form of sharia law.
Why We Must Learn from Our Military Mistakes
Obama and Clinton are not directly responsible for the return of the slave trade in Libya — the slave traders made their own decisions. Moreover, like most administrations, they did not expect to cause more suffering. Nevertheless, the administration’s carelessness created a set of circumstances that empowered radical extremists and criminal gangs to oppress innocent people.
Critics of the Trump administration have slammed their “America First” approach to foreign policy. They have dismissed it as mere isolationism. However, “America First” does not mean that the United States must completely shelter itself from the rest of the world; it means that we will not involve ourselves in unnecessary conflicts that are detrimental to the United States and other countries. We will avoid the types of mistakes that led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq and slavery in Libya.
While many Americans are appalled at the atrocities perpetrated by regimes all over the world, it is essential to understand that the United States cannot eliminate all of the evil on the planet. We cannot take on every oppressive government in existence.
Does this mean the U.S. will never again go to war? Unfortunately, the answer is no. But hopefully, we have learned to be smarter about the conflicts in which we choose to involve ourselves. Otherwise, we may inadvertently cause more problems for those we wish to help.
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