The European Union needs to learn the lessons from the past as it wrestles with using military support to underpin its humanitarian assistance in Libya. This will allow it to develop more credible intervention forces for future crisis – ones that might actually work.
Middle East and North Africa
The reputation of the UN and Ban Ki-moon may hinge upon the outcome in two of the world's trouble spots – South Sudan and Palestine. South Sudan in particular remains a crucial test of the institution's ability to handle weak states.
European countries are playing a central role in the Libyan intervention, and the EU is looking to help the transitions in Tunisia and Egypt. But before Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire, setting off the sequence of protests, how well did Europe perform when dealing with its southern neighbourhood last year?
Agreement over Europe's performance is not the aim of ECFR's European Foreign Policy Scorecard. The aim is to encourage serious debate about the goals, tools, resources, difficult trade offs and moral dilemmas of Europe's foreign policy – even if that means that readers strongly disagree with our conclusions.
Wars are easy to start, hard to fight, and often harder still to end. Learning the right lessons from past wars, recent and old ones, is absolutely key. In Libya the international community must also keep its focus on political rather than military aims.
It is time to get real about Libya. All the huffing and puffing of Western leaders has yet to bring Gaddafi’s house crashing down. Instead, European leaders must think about what realistic outcomes they might be able to help achieve.
Western military planners are examining options for deposing Gaddafi. But somebody also needs to think about an international peace operation to stabilise Libya, whether to oversee the dictator's negotiated exit or clean up afterwards. Could this be a role for a UN-mandated EU?
The EU needs to act on Libya. If it doesn't, the consequences for Europe – in terms of migration, energy revenues and support for terrorism – could be disasterous. Here are eight concrete steps that European leaders should consider taking.
Tunisians see Europe as complicit with the old regime of President Ben Ali, and were disappointed by the slow reaction of European leaders to their revolution. But they are willing to forgive, if their neighbours to the north makes amends by offering prompt and generous help as they rebuild their country.
Tunisia's democrats have made an amazing start, after launching the wave of popular uprisings that are continuing to rock the Arab world. But they worry that the world will forget them as they embark upon the massive project of rebuilding a new Tunisia.