March 02, 2011
Libya, cautionary notes re Qaddafi 'irrationality'
This note from NY Times is quite good (and sums up similar evals I have been seeing): Even a Weakened Qaddafi May Be Hard to Dislodge - NYTimes.com
Although it is fun to call The Guide a mad man and mock his sanity, it's important not to miss the signs that for all his flamboyance and eccentricity, he is neither stupid nor per se delusional (i.e. à la Hitler moving imaginary units as reported re his behaviour behind closed doors). Talking up things grandiosely in public should not be confused with private, behind doors behaviour:
But Colonel Qaddafi retains significant strength, Mr. Joshi said. He is thought to still control the air force, though some elements have defected. And while there have been clashes in Tripoli, with sniper and small-arms fire in areas of the capital, “it is not a war zone and not a city in rebellion,” he said.Emphasis added.
While the colonel is thought to be delusional, he and his commanders have proved capable so far of using their forces with some care, Mr. Joshi said. “There have been no large massacres, air power is being used in a calculated way and he is launching probing attacks” while “making constant efforts in the suburbs of Tripoli to check small gestures of dissent.”
The struggle in Libya “could go on a long time,” Mr. Joshi said. “Tripoli is not a bunker. And this is not the decision-making of a man totally out of touch with reality.”
I have certainly already given my estimation to the people who pay me very good money for such that planning should be for months of fighting, i.e. no quick reprise of economic (business) activity.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
It's been interesting seeing it unfold pretty much as you said, with the east split off, the west being fought over, and the center holding loyal. Good job.
Posted by: pantom at March 2, 2011 11:06 AM
Heh. Someone has been putting hallucination pills in your Nescafe.
Being clinically insane or, to use the PC phrase, mentally ill, doesn't necessarily mean you are drooling in a corner, unable to function. The mentally ill, even when suffering from serious delusions, can be quite cunning.
There is no question whatsoever that Qadaffi suffers from delusions -- of grandeur, if nothing else. He may not be maneuvering non-existant divisions but I'll bet he is maneuvering non-existant public opinion, at least in his head.
There is also no question that he is an old-style psychopath. But none of this means that he is necessarily "irrational" in the sense that he can't reason or that he has debilitating hallucinations. But it probably does mean that he is willing to devote enormous effort to achieving completely unattainable goals while displaying an amoral viciousness that takes no account of the cost.
And don't forget, it may well be that Qadaffi's most delusional orders simply aren't being carried out to the letter.
So yes, it could go on a long time. But it is only going to end one way. The best hope is that someone takes him out quickly.
Posted by: at March 3, 2011 01:44 PM