I don’t think history repeats. Human beings don’t know what lies in the future, have a very inadequate grasp of the present, and are pretty bad at interpreting the past. But only by interpreting the past badly do we try to make sense of the present, and gamble on the future.
The current crisis in Libya reminds me of the bloody, chaotic downfall of the Ceauşescu regime in Romania, ending in the hasty executions of Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu. That is what I mean by the ‘Ceauşescu moment’. The collapse of the communist regimes in eastern Europe was the first world-historical event that I can remember, and provides me with a reference point.
Naturally, there is no reason to believe that the trajectory of Colonel Gaddafi’s fate has been similar or will follow that of Nicolae Ceauşescu. I can only hope that the bloodshed will stop soon, and that Colonel Gaddafi will remove himself from running the country, and stop terrorizing the people of Libya.