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August 22nd, 2011
07:05 PM ET

Letters to the President #945 'Waiting on Libya'

Reporter's Note:The president is keeping track of events in Libya. I mean, when he's not reading my letters of course.

Dear Mr. President,

Wild events over in Libya, don't you think? A bit unexpected too. If you'd asked me six months ago, I would not have taken a bet that Gadhafi would be put on the run. And yet look at where we are now.

Still, I have noted before I don't think we have much of a clue about where that country is headed. It is all well and good for people to shout things like "freedom," and "regime change," and "free doughnut Fridays!". But figuring out what people really mean is the key, and as best I can tell, not even the Libyans know what lies ahead.

Will life be better than what they knew under Gadhafi? I certainly hope so, and one would think that is likely. After all, he didn't exactly set the bar too high, did he? However, in revolutionary times things happen in revolutionary ways and many, many, many countries have found years or even decades of pain can follow such a profound exorcism; pain that can sometimes even make folks pine for the years gone past.

Because it is worth remembering, that even when a bad leader is driven out, the bad problems remain: unemployment, deep political and cultural divisions, economic instability. Libya has all of those in spades, and if folks there think this rebellion has been tumultuous, as they say in show biz, you ain't seen nothing yet!

Call if you can.

Regards,
Tom

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