Friday, March 18, 2011

President Obama Looks Like Papa Bush

Like many Americans, I have split feelings on how to deal with Libya. On the one hand, my heart goes out to the rebel forces and I want to see Gaddafi pay for the death he has caused. On the other hand, my realist foreign policy presuppositions lead me to want to see restrain from American foreign policymakers. There has been much talk about how the United States could end up in a third war in an Islamic country. I think there are three differences that need to be stated.

1. The United States has broad international support.

2. The UN declaration explicitly states that the international community has the right to intervene but doesn't have the right to occupy Libya. It is in nobody's interest, especially the United States, to stay in Libya.

3. The bombing campaign will likely be led by countries other than the United States. President Obama has wisely taken a backseat on the discussions about Libya. France and Britain appear to be ready to attack pronto. The Arab League will likely play a large role in Libya.

This is not nation building. This is military assistance to the rebels. We shouldn't allow the horrors of the Iraq War to blind us to the need for occasional military interventions. And as long as Obama acts like George H.W. Bush did in the First Gulf War and less like George W. Bush did in the Iraq War, then my realists presuppositions will be satisfied.

Cross posted at The Cross Culturalist.

7 comments:

DanL said...

It would be just as easy for the UN to pass a new resolution committing ground troops as it was for them to pass this resolution for a no fly zone. It is naive to believe that we won't ever see ground troops in Libya simply because of this resolution. I am not saying that they are a foregone conclusion, just that it is laughable to think that they are. Please don't take offense Pablo, I am not laughing at you.

Pablo said...

I was actually great surprised that a UN resolution was passed. I didn't think that China or Russia would go for it. I need to read about the inside diplomacy that took place to get them involved. So you may be right that this could escalate. I just don't think that anyone is in the mood to see that happen right now. We will see. It is hard to know for sure because we don't know about the conversations that are taking place behind closed doors.

DanL said...

Pablo, I will concede that this may not escalate. Even if it doesn't I still don't want our involvement here.

CraigS said...

There are dozens of " civil wars " going on in the world with regimes and " rebels " fighting it out. I can think of Eritrea and Somalia and Sudan and Columbia and Bolivia and Indonesia and Nepal and India and Pakistan and......
Libya does have oil for France. Probably makes a difference. Also, the U.S. pays the majority of the U.N. bill so any resolution by the U.N. is paid for mostly by the U.S......already in debt by $ 14 T
Is Quadaffi a bad guy ? Absolutely. There are lots of bad guys. Why do we have to get involved ?
Is Quadaffi killing rebel ? Absolutely. Are the rebels trying to kill Quadaffi ? Absolutely. Is radical Islam trying to overthrow Quadaffi ? Absolutely. Is the U.N. trying to get rid of Quadaffi ? Absolutely. What will erplace him ? Do we know ? Do we care ?
What the hell are we doing in yet another war ?
CraigS

BOSMAN said...

I'm kind of in the middle on this.

Here we have the people of Lybia who have temporarily retired their anti-American burning of American flags and effigys of our leaders to carry signs that read America, Please help.

I say, NO GROUND FORCES. Let Britain, France and others supply troops. If we can supply air power from carriers, etc, This would have my half-assed support.

I'm tired of citizens of countries hating us until they need us. THEN, HATING US AGAIN!

Dave said...

The No Fly Zone resolution has already coaxed Gaddhafi into a truce, of sorts. So the future there is somewhat indeterminate.

There is NO way Obama would commit ground troops regardless of WHAT the U.N. resolved.

Anonymous said...

If we decide to go in, lets go in as the rear guard. Commit no more than the other major countries.

zeke