But in Libya, elements of the military are defecting rather than follow orders to shoot; and it sounds as if it's the latest country to fall in the big collapse of the middle east.
Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain...now Libya; and somehow I doubt any of them are going to end up being representative republics when the smoke clears.
Alan Caruba reminds us that these are primarily food riots.
Look: the value of the dollar is falling. It can't even keep its value because Obama and the Democrats ran the printing presses at emergency maximum for three years--and the GOP is once again showing its true colors and trying only to turn the speed control down to "full speed".
Because the dollar is losing value, it takes more foreign currency to buy a given unit of any commodity priced in them. American wheat and corn, for example.
America has been a net exporter of food for a long time. This land has only supported agriculture for about three hundred years, at most, and for the last hundred years we've known a lot about artificial fertilizers and pesticides. Automation, mechanization, and advanced chemistry have made it possible for one farmer to produce more than a small army of farmers once could; and because we have the rich soil and the infrastructure and the transportation network, we produce more of everything than we need. "Breadbasket of the world" is, at most, an exaggeration.
But it only works well so long as the dollar is strong. Say it takes ten zorkmids to buy a dollar, and a bushel of wheat costs a dollar. This works well for everyone; there's plenty of food to go around and no one has to take a beating to make it happen.
But what happens when the value of the dollar drops because of inflation? Maybe it only takes five zorkmids to buy a dollar--but a bushel of wheat costs ten dollars because the dollar buys less. Suddenly wheat is fifty zorkmids to the bushel, where it was only ten zorkmids before; and the people who have the zorkmids don't have all that many zorkmids to spend in the first place.
Food riots are not uncommon in those countries; they've happened many times before this. The thing is, the US acted to stabilize the regimes in those countries following the guidelines of our own national interests.
True fact: international diplomacy is a dirty frickin' game. It's full of lying, cheating, stealing, and backstabbing. Sometimes you support people you don't like solely because it's a bigger advantage for you than having some other asshole who hates your guts get in and take over. Carter didn't seem to get that with regards to Iran in 1979; and Obama doesn't seem to get it, either.
The difference this time is that the Obama administration is not coming down on the side of our national interests; he doesn't care about them. Obama would much rather take credit for Egypt becoming "democratic"--and have it end up an islamic dictatorship like Iran--than help a regime retain power that is, at worst, only tepidly anti-Israel, even though Israel is our only true ally in the region.
Obama doesn't like Israel, either. Obama doesn't like any of our allies. Witness please how he's treated Great Britain.
As for old Moammar--the guy's a skunk, but he learned his lesson about sponsoring terrorism after Reagan had him bombed in 1986; and in fact that little object lesson turned off the spigot of anti-American terror for quite some time. He was quietly running his tin-horn dictatorship and not bothering anyone excessively; is it really an improvement to be rid of him if his replacement is an islamic nutjob?
Somehow I doubt it.