今年是《考虑时间：决策者应借鉴历史》（Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision-Makers）一书出版25周年，该书阐述了如何最好地从过去的事件中汲取教训。这本书是“忘记历史的人注定将重蹈覆辙”这句格言的推论。这对今天的利比亚尤其适用——无论是支持还是反对军事干预利比亚的人，都已经从史海中寻找论据。
This year sees the 25th anniversary of the publication of Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision-Makers, a text on how best to use lessons of the past. It provides a corollary to the aphorism that those who cannot remember history are condemned to repeat it. This is especially relevant in Libya, where history has been enlisted to make the case both for and against military intervention.
站在道德立场上对军事行动给予支持的人，包括总统巴拉克·奥巴马（Barack Obama），经常表示不能重复1994年未能对卢旺达进行干预的错误。主张设立禁飞区的人，则会举出伊拉克北部或前南斯拉夫的例子。不过这些都并非完全相符。不像卢旺达，利比亚社会结构中并没有单一或主要的民族裂痕。穆阿迈尔？卡扎菲（Muammer Gaddafi）对反对派发出的无情镇压威胁，可能只是内乱局面中的威胁，目的是恫吓武装起来的反对派，并不见得针对班加西的所有男女老幼。
Those making the moral case for action, including President Barack Obama, often cite the need to avoid repeating the failure to intervene in Rwanda in 1994. Those arguing for no-fly zones recall northern Iraq, or the former Yugoslavia. But none of these is an exact fit. Unlike Rwanda, Libyan society is not structured along a single or dominant ethnic faultline. And Muammer Gaddafi’s threat to show no mercy to his opponents might have been just that: a threat, within the context of a civil uprising, to intimidate those who opposed him with arms. It was not necessarily a threat to every man, woman and child in Benghazi.
The case can be made that the recent experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan are more relevant. There, grand schemes for remaking societies fared poorly when they encountered local realities. It also proved difficult and expensive to turn early military victories into lasting outcomes – just as we now learn that no-fly zones cannot control what happens on the ground.
Already in Libya, what began as a limited no-fly zone is becoming something more ambitious. Still, we are where we are. The question is now less whether we were right to get involved along the lines we did but “what do we do now?”
An immediate ceasefire and an end to all attacks against civilians – as demanded by UN Security Council resolution 1973 – is an unlikely scenario. But what if Colonel Gaddafi actually did comply? The US, unlike the UN resolution, is calling for him to be ousted. Would the Obama administration accept the continued existence of his regime? And what if his forces respected the ceasefire but the rebels did not?
All of this is improbable, if for no other reason than civil wars rarely just stop. Three scenarios are more likely. The first is continued fighting, with no side striking a decisive blow. Here the no-fly zone would have levelled the playing field, as shown by the rebels retaking the oil towns of Brega and Ras Lanuf on Sunday – but with civil war prolonged. More suffering and loss of life would be the result. It would be ironic, even tragic, if this were the outcome of an action justified on humanitarian grounds. But it is possible.
It is also possible that diplomacy could then bring an end to the fighting, but that too is a long shot. Instead, the international community will more likely have to consider escalating its support for the regime’s opponents. This could happen directly, by introducing foreign forces, or indirectly, by providing arms to the rebels.
Scenario two is the fall of Col Gaddafi’s government. This could follow support for the rebels, or the implosion of the regime. But here history suggests the opposition is more likely to splinter, once it had accomplished the one objective that united it: hostility to the regime.
If the regime did fall, a foreign peacekeeping force or something more capable would almost certainly have to be sent to Libya to provide security. Awkwardly,?such a presence is currently explicitly banned by the UN resolution authorising the no-fly zone. It is also unclear who would provide the troops, or pick up the costs. A bigger worry is whether the opposition could transform itself into a national entity, able to rule in the interests of the Libyan people. But we simply don’t know a great deal about the people we are siding with, so it is just as plausible to imagine some rebels breaking off, and introducing an intolerant Islamist rule in part or all of the country.
The third scenario sees Libya’s regime finding a way to prevail. In the short term the world would then have to negotiate. In the long term the west would face a more difficult choice: try to overthrow the regime through covert action and sanctions, or just modify its behaviour with economic and other measures. This was, after all, the approach that persuaded Col Gaddafi to give up weapons of mass destruction.
There are too many actors and variables at work in Libya to predict how this military intervention will play out. No one can know what will come next, much less what will come after that. But history suggests that success will be hard to achieve. And if it comes, it will take more time, prove more costly, and have more unexpected consequences than many originally anticipated.
2011-03-30 14:21 编辑：icetonado