Open for business, apparently:
Western security, construction and infrastructure companies that see profit-making opportunities receding in Iraq and Afghanistan have turned their sights on Libya, now free of four decades of dictatorship. Entrepreneurs are abuzz about the business potential of a country with huge needs and the oil to pay for them, plus the competitive advantage of Libyan gratitude toward the United States and its NATO partners.
A week before Colonel Qaddafi’s death on Oct. 20, a delegation from 80 French companies arrived in Tripoli to meet officials of the Transitional National Council, the interim government. Last week, the new British defense minister, Philip Hammond, urged British companies to “pack their suitcases” and head to Tripoli…
“There is a gold rush of sorts taking place right now,” said David Hamod, president and chief executive officer of the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce. “And the Europeans and Asians are way ahead of us. I’m getting calls daily from members of the business community in Libya. They say, ‘Come back, we don’t want the Americans to lose out.’ ”
To be frank, I’m a little conflicted on this. A newly freed people ought to have a little bit of time to celebrate their freedom before they get the fleece. On the other hand, idle hands – especially those armed with AK-47s – do the devil’s work.
We could make this a win/win by shipping off the Occupy Wall Street folks to take their turn at the capitalist wheel. If things went well, they might learn some useful skills. If things didn’t, well: No real loss.