Driving the conversation: Col. Muammar Qaddafi was swept from power by Libyan rebel forces over the weekend. While rebels hold most of Tripoli, the country’s dictator remains at large, and the Libyan military reportedly still holds the area around the president’s compound.
If the regime suddenly collapses, the United States must be ready to help the rebel Transitional National Council to stabilize Libya, restore the rule of law and prepare the way for an orderly transition to a new representative government. Washington should facilitate postwar reconciliation and consensus-building between the many political, tribal and local factions that have emerged to fill vacuums in Libya left by the collapse of the regime. The United States also can help assist Libya’s reconstruction, particularly the rapid repair of Libya’s damaged oil infrastructure, in order to bring Libyan oil exports back to previous levels as soon as possible.
It will also be necessary to remain vigilantly engaged in Libya to help prevent Islamist forces, which appear to make up a small but not insignificant part of the opposition coalition, from hijacking Libya’s future. Even if Qadhafi soon departs from the scene, Libya is likely to remain a turbulent snake pit with heavily-armed political factions for many years to come.
Backdoor bailout: Bloomberg reports Monday that the Federal Reserve has given more than $1.2 trillion to help prop up America’s financial sector since it plunged into decline in late 2008.
The $1.2 trillion peak on Dec. 5, 2008 — the combined outstanding balance under the seven programs tallied by Bloomberg — was almost three times the size of the U.S. federal budget deficit that year and more than the total earnings of all federally insured banks in the U.S. for the decade through 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The Keystone sops: Sixty-five environmental activists, including a few prominent liberal bloggers, were arrested outside of the White House on Saturday in a manufactured demonstration against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring oil from Canadian tar sands into the United States. The State Department is reviewing the project, and will make a decision by the end of the year.
Talking ’bout my generation: “Young Americans rein in their dreams,” reads the Los Angeles Times headline. Economic decline has the Millenial generation convinced that their lives will be more difficult and less prosperous than their parents’. Mostly unexplored by the Times: all the ways in which liberals’ misguided policies are exacerbating the problems young Americans are already forced to endure.
Terror continues: The barrage of rocket fire from Gaza continued on Sunday, with at least 20 rockets reportedly hitting Israel by noon. At least 100 rockets have been fired since last week, Israel claims.