PAUL JAY, SENIOR
EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome back to The Real News Network.
I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore.
March 19 will be the
third anniversary of the NATO intervention into
Libya. Looking back, what were NATO's objectives?
What Libya did they hope to find after the overthrow
of Gaddafi? And what in fact is today's Libya?
Now joining us from
Syracuse University is Professor Horace Campbell. He
teaches African-American studies there and political
science. He's written extensively on
African-American politics. And his new book is
called Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure
Thank you very much for joining us, Horace.
HORACE CAMPBELL, PROF.
AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDIES AND POLITICAL SCIENCE,
SYRACUSE UNIV.: Thank you for inviting me to discuss
the failures of the U.S. foreign policy in Africa
and the failure of NATO in Africa.
NOOR: So it was only a
day or two ago, Navy SEAL sailors boarded a
Libyan-North Korean boat carrying oil coming from a
rebel-held oil port in Libya. This was, I guess, to
send a message that the central government,
so-called, of what is recognized by the United
States, and nobody else should be selling oil. But
it's a reflection of what chaos there is in Libya.
Give us a sense now of
what's going on in Libya, and then we'll kind of dig
further back into why this all came about.
CAMPBELL: This chaos in
Libya was deliberate. It was deliberate because
Libya was a stable African society in North Africa,
where the leader of Libya wanted to use the
resources of Libya for the reconstruction of
Africa—the water resources, the oil resources, the
financial resources, and the intelligence of the
NATO intervened in
spite of the differences between different sections
of NATO, between France and the United States,
between France and Germany, and the competition
between Italy and France. Despite these differences,
they came together after France precipitated this
massive invasion to destroy Libyan society in 2011.
But that destruction
has only created a great problem for Western
capitalist forces in Africa.
JAY: I don't quite
understand why the West simply wanted to destroy
Libyan society. Gaddafi's regime was playing footsie
with the IMF, with the World Bank. His sons were
knocking the gavel at the stock exchange. In fact,
one of his sons was visiting American military
manufacturers, negotiating arms deals just before
the invasion. They were doing oil and gas deals.
There's reports from the World Bank praising his
reforms and privatization of the Libyan banking
system. I mean, he cooperated with Bush–Cheney in
many ways. He had made a big reconciliation with the
Americans. I don't understand, on the face of it,
why they wanted to overthrow him. Obviously they
did, but I don't think that explains it.
CAMPBELL: That is all
very true. But you're missing one factor: that every
political leader seeks political legitimacy. And in
the case of Libya, the legitimacy of the leader had
come from his presenting himself as someone who was
part of the African Union and wanted to build an
African Monetary Fund, an African Central Bank, and
a African common currency. And that was a danger to
not only the euro, because Sarkozy said, we're going
to fight to save the euro, but it would present a
threat to the dollar. Moreover, the Libyan
leadership had moved to take over the Arab banking
corporation in Bahrain, and the Libyan leadership
had over $200 billion in foreign reserves.
So, yes, you're
correct. They were playing footsie with the West.
But that same leadership was also capable of
nationalist pressures inside of Libya and inside of
Africa so they could have nationalized oil companies
in the midst of this global capitalist crisis. And
the West did not want any surprises, where Libya
would want to call on Africans to turn away from the
dollar as the reserve currency and to use African
resources, such as gold, as a new currency for all
JAY: But, Horace, what evidence is there that they
were really concerned about this? I know Gaddafi
talked about it, but, I mean, he himself was up to
the eyeballs in the World Bank. And, you know,
rhetoric is one thing, but the reality of the Libyan
economy was becoming totally assimilated into global
capitalism. It seems to me more that there was a
problem is that he was also playing footsie with the
CAMPBELL: No, no, no,
—and there was more that he was caught in these
inter-imperialist contradictions. I mean, you can't
tell me Libya had the power to change the currency
CAMPBELL: They did,
because Libya have $200 billion in reserves, and if
Libya got five or six other African countries with
massive reserves to create a common currency for
Africa, which is one of the mandates of the African
Union, that's a threat to Western Europe and North
Moreover, the Chinese had become the dominant force
in infrastructure development within Libya. There
were over 36,000 Chinese involved in railway, road,
water, agriculture, and other forms.
So there's no question
that Libya had the financial wherewithal to
determine their own independence.
And I think one of
the things that the media is missing, even those who
call themselves the left, is the role that Goldman
Sachs and their dalliance trying to use the
resources of Libya to shore up the derivatives
market and the fact that they were so involved in
Libya prior to intervention.
JAY: Yeah. Well, talk a
bit about that. Why was Gaddafi so involved with
CAMPBELL: Well, that is
the point. The point was that Gaddafi wanted to
please the Western forces. Gaddafi's son had studied
in the London School of Economics. Gaddafi had been
open to talking to this group from Boston that was
going there. And all of these forces were trying to
ingratiate themselves with Gaddafi, so that Gaddafi
would completely be in the pockets of the West.
But he was
unpredictable, and that was the problem between them
JAY: Yeah, I agree with that part. He was
unpredictable. But he was very much playing ball. He
was very close to the new rising Rothschild. He was
playing ball with the commodity brokers. I mean, he
was using the Libyan sovereign wealth fund like a
private investment thing, just to—really playing
with every speculator in Europe and America.
But I agree with you:
he was unpredictable, and he was playing ball too
much with the Chinese and with the Russians, and
that he wasn't becoming a reliable ally in Northern
Africa. That—I think that much is for sure.
But there was a lot of
differences in the West about what should be done
and what the objectives were.
differences in the West stems from the fact that
there is a rivalry between the European Union and
the United States over the reserve currency. The
entire Western world is in the midst of a global
capitalist crisis since 2007, 2008, and it's
imperative that they use the military to keep forces
in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe in line
behind the dollar as the currency of world trade.
So in the case of
Libya, Libya had the wherewithal to be playing
around with the Europeans, playing around with the
Chinese, and playing around with the United States
JAY: But, Horace, the
Chinese have—first of all, they own several trillion
U.S. dollars, and I think they've made it very clear
for at least for this historical period they are not
going to challenge the U.S. dollar as a reserve
currency. Far from it. They rely on the Americans to
manage this whole global system.
CAMPBELL: They rely on
the United States to manage the global system, but
no country in the world is happy with the United
States devaluing the dollar by printing dollars,
what they call quantitative easing.
JAY: Yeah, this is
CAMPBELL: [incompr.] $65 billion dollars every
month. If the United States of America is putting
$65 billion every month on the world market, nobody
wants to keep their reserves in dollars. So the
Chinese, the Brazilians, everybody's looking for the
exit from the dollar, because the capitalist prices
means that the dollar is worthless, because if
anyone can have a printing press to print dollars,
then other currencies are worthless.
JAY: Okay. Then why is
everybody buying American dollars? I mean, they're
getting people to buy T-bills with practically zero
CAMPBELL: Because the
American military makes it, the American dollar, a
force in world politics. What backs up the American
dollar today is not gold, but the U.S. military.
JAY: Yeah, but I agree
with that. But all these other governments and
elites rely on that.
CAMPBELL: The elites in
Latin America and Africa are seeking ways to exit
this, in Latin America, Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador,
and all these countries are seeking an exit from the
dollar. They're trying to create a common currency
in Latin America. In the Asian countries, they've
created alternatives. In Malaysia, Singapore,
Thailand they have created alternatives. The reality
for the world is we're living in a dangerous moment
because of this capitalist crisis where the United
States military is shoring up the printing of
dollars and this condition in the world where the
United States have unlimited access to the resources
of the world.
JAY: And you think is
what triggered the Libyan intervention.
CAMPBELL: This is one
of the factors in the Libyan intervention. Initially
the United States government was hesitant because
this was a plot by the French to go into Libya. And
at the outset, the secretary of defense Robert Gates
and Mullen said before the Congress, do you have
evidence that Libya was about to destroy their
people. And the military in the United States, the
United States Africa Command was originally opposed
to going into Libya. But the pressures of Goldman
Sachs, along with those people called the
humanitarian hawks—Samantha Powers, Susan Rice, and
Hillary Clinton—[incompr.] the American public and
the media to go along with France and Britain for
the destruction of Libya in 2011. And the people of
Africa are still living with this destruction, where
over 50,000 people in Africa have been killed,
40,000 people, black-skinned from Tawergha, have
been thrown out of where they live. And so we have
to see that initially the United States military was
opposed, but later on, the media, along with
Clinton, Rice, and Powers, were able to build up the
psychological warfare and propaganda within this
society against the United States people to portray
Gaddafi as this terrible leader, when, as you said,
he was in league with the Western banking and
JAY: Alright. Thanks
very much for joining us, Horace.
CAMPBELL: Thank you
JAY: And thank you for
joining us on The Real News Network.