I guess it’s hard to go through life and remain morally upright at all times. It might even be impossible.
Afer having resided in the wilderness of international relations for decades, a few years ago Qadafi could be seen with the top dogs of world politics. He was no longer a pariah as the ‘mad dog’ had been tamed. He had forsaken his nuclear programme and the production of other weapons of mass destructions, he no longer supported terrorist groups/ liberation movements and he welcomed several countries to close lucrative energy deals. Everyone a winner. As far as I can remember very few complained. Howard Davis gratefully accepted a big fat cheque from the Qadafi regime as any other institution of higher education would have done in the constant struggle for funding and genuinely believing that son Saif was able to steer Libya towards more liberal and democratic values. Saif Qadafi did not only fool the LSE. I believe it was the right decision for Davis to go, although it could have happened to anyone.
While Qadafi’s assets might have been frozen, oil production is continuing, although on a far smaller scale, and revenue goes straight into his piggy bank and with foreign companies gone it’s all his to keep. As the price of crude oil is rising and motorists at the pump are really feeling the pinch, the West is avoiding the discussion of an oil embargo not to make matters any worse in a time of economic austerity. They’re not discussing how to seriously decrease their dependency on oil and invest in hippy forms of energy either, which is another missed opportunity.
Flirting with dodgy regimes and then deciding that it is not deemed appropriate any more is the same has accepting and rejecting slavery, male-only suffrage, apartheid, free sex without condom, misogyny or communism. It was all acceptable once upon a time until the tide turned against it. It doesn’t matter how dodgy the regime is, if there is something to be gained and the people keep quiet, one can pretend that one’s morals and values – if one really has any- do not apply if it is not convenient. Until suppressed people are inspired enough or too fed up to be scared any longer and rise up against their autocrats, one is forced to take a stand, express one’s condemnation and hope and pray the economic and/ or political losses are not too severe. Talking about lame trend-followers. I do realise that political leaders are only human, but the behaviour of the leaders of the ‘free’ world is currently rather uninspiring and disappointing.