Since it appears that Moammar Gaddafi is on the run and the NATO mission has been "successful," there are numerous consequences to consider for both the future of Libya and the United States.
Who will comprise the leadership of the new government? Will the different tribes that were unified in rebellion continue to work together or will a new civil war erupt over control of the country? Will there be a strong central government that will have to be propped up by the West? Will Libya partition itself into its traditional provinces based on tribal loyalty?
The truth is that the end of Gaddafi’s reign in Libya marks both the end and the beginning. It’s the end for the former “Mad Dog of the Middle East,” the beginning of what will inevitably become another nation-building effort, and the "success" of Libya portends a tense future for the United States.
When American intervention began in March, I wrote on my personal blog:
[t]he UN Security Council resolution only authorizes that there may be ‘all necessary measures’ to ‘protect Libyan citizens.’ If the Authorization for Use of Military Force legislation of 2001 was a blank check for President Bush, then what is this? Just what does ‘all necessary measures’ to ‘protect Libyan citizens’ mean? . . .
By intervening in the first place, Obama has assured that the only possible outcome of this conflict means Gaddafi is dethroned. . . .