Surely Qaddafi's successors can do better

There will remain the schism between the provinces of Tripolitania in the west and Cyrenaica in the east. Libyans will insist that these differences have been healed by a common history of torment at the hands of the despot. This could be a sincere sentiment, and may pull the Libyans through. But from the time this country was put together by the Western powers some six decades ago, that schism had a force all its own…

There is no way that a blanket assertion can be made that this massive Libyan upheaval is free of Islamists. What we have is the more compelling evidence of the rebellion itself—its composition, the earnestness of the professionals and civil libertarians active in it, their promise that the terrible autocrat will not be replaced by a zealous, unforgiving theocracy.

Revolutions can be stolen and hijacked, this we know, the moderates overwhelmed by determined extremists. But if a bet is to be made on the spectacle now before us, it should be easy to see a better Libya than Gadhafi’s monstrous regime rising out of this contest.

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