America is pursuing regime change in a nation that our own diplomats believe has "no viable state institutions." Indeed, the U.S. State Department has warned that chaos is the likely outcome for post-Muammar Qaddafi Libya.
A WikiLeaked cable from November 2009 attempts to judge which of Qaddafi's son's — Saif or Muatassim — is likelier to succeed him. In the final analysis, however, the cable warns that any scenario without Qaddafi in charge is likely to be perilous:
Whichever of the Qadhafi children wins the "prize," there is a high level of anxiety among our Libyan contacts, given the potential for chaos in the absence of the traditionally "guiding hand" of the Leader and given the absence of viable state institutions to insure stability.
Let us begin to understand that what the international community is biting off in Libya is not a "time-limited, scope-limited military action," as American officials proclaimed today, but a full-blown exercise in nation building.