On the evening of July 7, Libya celebrated its first free national elections in 60 years after polls closed, according to BBC News. Images of formerly oppressed people with purple ink-stained fingertips were all over the news, after a largely peaceful election with a 60% turnout was celebrated with fireworks in the capital of Tripoli.
Although there were pockets of unrest in eastern regions because of fears that the region will be underrepresented in the transitional government, there were a seemingly insignificant number of possible instances of ballot stuffing or voter intimidation.
In an election year it is highly probable that this will get overlooked by TV news and the general public in favor of more stories of hyper partisan bickering. This does not mean, however, that is not important. When Pres. Obama announced last January that the United States would offer assistance to the Libyan rebels, but without sending any troops in on the ground, there were many critics on the left who disapproved of the military interventionism and many critics on the right of the United States was not taking enough of a central role in the attempt to oust Qadhafi.
The prevalence of non-interventionist ideologies since the 2003 invasion of Iraq has been clear, as most people are tired of the United States entering into conflicts it cannot afford to sustain. While the invasion of Iraq was undoubtedly an unmitigated disaster, preaching from the gospel of isolationism is not the only answer.
Helping people all over the world who desire help is not the same as a deliberate occupation of a nation. Getting rid of leaders to fulfill a nation's own self-interest will never be, and should never be an acceptable foreign policy position. The aid provided in Libya proves that getting involved in other nations affairs can be helpful when the goal is actually to help the people get what they want. The United States can and will become an internationally respected superpower once again by clinging to the ideas that have always made it great.