Libya’s implosion and what it means for the West
Article first appeared in the Brookings Blog.
The chaos in the Middle East today is thought to have a clear epicenter: Syria. But as diplomats and policymakers in the United States, Europe, and Russia continue to direct their energies there—including specifically on containing the threat posed by the Islamic State—Libya’s downward spiral has serious implications for the same actors. As such, Libya should be kept within strategic sightlines.
There is a risk that the Syria diversion makes the United States and the world more vulnerable to the dangers brewing in Libya—which in many ways are equally pressing as Syria’s. While the U.S. campaign season has highlighted discord over whether America should play a greater or lesser role in the world, these threats continue to grow—and they’ll affect U.S. policy options in the wider Middle East in any case.