Columbia residents consider Libya's future

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 | 9:12 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA - Reports filtering out of Libya indicate the rebel forces have overtaken the capital city of Tripoli. Roughly 5,700 miles away, MU professor Cooper Drury is looking to what happens next.

In the past few days, what has interested Drury more than the booms and explosions of battle is what kind of government will form.

Drury, an expert in U.S. foreign policy and international relations, said Islamic fundamentalists could co-opt the government and create an autocratic state unresponsive to the needs of its people.

Drury, who has never been to Libya, also pointed out that a change of Libyan government could disrupt international relations with Libya, such as has occurred with Egypt and its Middle Eastern neighbors.

Ty Cacek of Columbia traveled to Benghazi to photograph the uprising earlier this year. Cacek said he’s not worried about a fundamentalist state forming.

“People are able to breathe for the first time in 42 years,” he said. “They want to show they are not Gadhafi.”

Fundamentalism isn’t the real problem, Cacek said. The more important issue is whether the new government treats its people well.

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