The Arab Spring uprising has changed the face of world politics.
The old categories of right and left are floundering.
In the case of Libya, the non-interventionist Left finds itself sharing a skanky Tracy Emin-type bed with right wing ranters like Kelvin MacKenzie and the Israeli Government, who, surprisingly, have historic ties with Ghaddafi. Israel backed Mubarrak, and seems to think it has an interest in surrounding itself with amenable (to them) dictators, seeing democracy as a threat that could bring Islamicist parties into, or near, power. This Israeli mis-perception, expressed in the Washington lobbies, may be one reason that the Obama has been so slow to come in on the side of the Libyan freedom fighters. Fearing an Arab outcry if he intervenes, he finds that he is under increasingly strong criticism for his reluctance to intervene.
The failure of the Left to see that if Ghaddafi wins, democratic movements everywhere (including in the West) are more exposed to lethal violence from dictatorial states, is remarkable. It is a triumph of narrow political ideology over humanitarian and democratic aspirations across the world. It seems that in their view, since Ghaddafi preaches some kind of socialism, and is a friend of Chavez of Venezuela, there is no case for Libyan people to experience freedom and self-determination. This is not rational thinking.
What is socialism for, if it does not stand for the interests of people against repressive, corrupt and brutal regimes?
Another mental short-circuit exists over the West. Because the US and UK have acted illegally and foolishly in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is reasoned that they must never intervene, even to stop massacres. It is a short circuit, because it is thinking in absolutist, not operational categories. The West has acted wrongly, therefore it will always act wrongly. This is the same mistake that parents can make, in saying "You are a bad child" rather than "That action was a mistake".
The Arab Uprising is a game changer. It is an uprising of youth, often suffering a high rate of unemployment, but well educated, and in communication with youth across the world through social media. Amazingly, they are demonstrating non-violently, at least initially, before force is used against them. Tunisia and Egypt show that so long as the Army is not deployed against the demonstrators, peaceful demonstrations can overcome brutal dictatorships, and this is a great cause for hope.
The outcome of these democratic changes depends almost entirely on the post-revolution economics. If countries persist with the old, quasi-free-market economics, unemployment will persist, and the revolution will sink back into the quagmire of political and economic stagnation, leading to general disorder and a return of dictatorship.
If, on the other hand, the new countries develop a new economics aimed at stabilising access to basic resources like water, food and renewable energy, unemployment will be a forgotten nightmare, and the world can set off towards a new, peaceful and sustainable future.