The collapse of Qaddafi’s dictatorial regime in Africa has concrete benefits for the African Union, whose international standing has repeatedly been undermined by the Libyan leader’s eccentric Pan-Africanism and past embrace of terrorism. While Qaddafi sometimes helped African leaders from smaller nations to gain a global stage, his approach to Pan-African undermined genuine and worthy efforts to promote an image of “Africa” that accurately reflects the genuine diversity within the entire African continent and the Sub-Saharan. For Qaddafi, Pan-Africanism always seemed to be a cynical tactic. While Libya permitted black Africans to live and work in its country much more than other North African nations, Qaddafi never displayed any durable affinities Africa south of the Sahara. Qaddafi needed a forum and the African Union provided it. In return, Qaddafi provided funds. At certain times and in certain places, Qaddafi and Libyan cronies invested in African real estate but they never provided either finance or expertise to promote industrial enterprises. Should Qaddafi vanish permanently from the club of African leaders, the African Union will be the beneficiary. The AU struggles with legitimacy and effectiveness; Qaddafi made the tests of pragmatism and idealism much more difficult. His absence from the AU governing body will make the renovation of this disappointing regional body easier, though even without the burden of Qaddafi, the task facing reformers of the AU remains daunting.
Feb 26 2011
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