David Cameron recently stated that the "Arab spring is a step further away from oppression and dictatorship and a step closer to freedom and democracy." Is this true? What does "freedom and democracy" actually mean to Cameron? Will the Libyan people be allowed to determine their own future? Recent history suggests otherwise. As Curtis White explained:
"The Iraqis, for instance, are learning that their "free elections" (if they ever come) are not free to produce certain kinds of results: they can't elect Arab nationalist; they certainly can't elect socialists of any stripe...and they can't elect persons out of step with Western free market theory. (Which is to say that they can't elect anyone not open to the idea that their "oil rich" country won't continue to get fleeced by Western markets.) The possibility of freedom comes to the Iraqis only in the context of its impossibility"(White, 2003, 'The Middle Mind', xii).
Sadly, those celebrating on the streets of Tripoli will quickly learn that the possibility of freedom also comes to them only in the context of its impossibility. Indeed, if Gaddafi had remained subservient to the economic interests of Western elites he would still be in power and 'our' leaders would continue to remain silent about his brutal crimes.
Despite the fact that the justifications for attacking Iraq - WMD, Saddam's links to Al Qaeda - have been exposed as lies, the mainstream media continues to present Western leaders' stated goals as axiomatic. Jeremy Paxman, Mark Mardell and Tom Bradby et al would never seriously claim that Libya might have been bombed for rapacious reasons.