Libyan Matters

I was engaged in a conversation with other bloggers and students regarding Libya, and thought I would share my feelings about this matter here at The Professor.

I do believe, as I stated to others, that the United States overreacted to the Libyan matter. Sure, I might be wrong in the long run, but to take action in this fashion is a bit suspect (i.e., the hint of military intervention). Mr. Obama cannot win this; if he does nothing, folks will continue to attack  his perceived weakness: too much diplomacy and befriending the world with very little action. But, on the other hand, folks such as myself and others are pointing to his hypocrisy. That is, he attacked Bush for advocating the conflict in Iraq and, made a decarlation to return American troops. But, the hint of flirtation into the current crisis adds to greater conflict. Though, the initial indication is that the USA will focus less on ground troops and more on air raids. But again, I ask this question: why Libya and why now? I suspect there is some international pressure for American intervention. I question Obama’s motives here; I am wondering if he is looking to 2012. And if so, I am not sure this helps.

As for Iran, we will not attack them due to the Chinese and the Russians. Both of these states have little interest in the affairs of Libya. Plus, much of this is a bit of a show driven by the French (my opinion). As a matter of conjecture, I am thinking the French are too concerned with migratory matters vis-a’-vis Algeria. The British PM saw what happened in the last election to take an aggressive stance on this. In the end, I am not sure we know who we are endorsing. Libya has been stable for a good period of time. And yet, a few weeks of an armed rebellion has shifted Obama’s foreign policy. Why not wait and see if the current matter turns into the Egyptian resolve?

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6 thoughts on “Libyan Matters

  1. First of all, I applaud you Eddie for being intellectually consistent. Nothing has made me laugh harder this week than watching some Democrats try to split hairs between Obama’s action in Libya and Bush’s actions in Iraq. It frustrates me to no end to read old Obama and Biden quotes slamming Bush’s foreign policy only to turn around and do the same things Bush did. As you say, pure hypocrisy.

    That being said, I feel the need to cut Obama some slack on Libya. I don’t have his intel or advisors. From what I can tell, there was no more time to wait. When the rebels/civilians first rose up, it looked like they were going to take the country right off the bat (remember there was speculation that Gaddafi had already fled the country). With time, Gaddafi circled the wagons and then launched an offensive. The rebels were pushed back to a few areas that would have been overrun had some other nations not stepped in. We almost waited TOO long to jump in. Secretary of State Clinton was begging for the President to move. France and Britain were itching for the President to move. It was now or never. While we can all agree that it was good that lives were saved by our intervention, there is the saying, “No good deed goes unpunished.” We shall see how this plays out.

    This brings up another good point you made, Ed: Presidents are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. If we protect civilians from getting liquidated in Libya, we are called meddlers. If we stay out of Libya and there is a massacre, we are described as weak or a nation that enjoys watching the Middle East burn. Back home, the far left sees ANY kind of war as a catastrophe and the far right either wants to be completely isolationist or completely steamroll the enemy. Bush had to make a call based on the intel he had. Obama had to make a call based on the information he had. Godspeed, Mr. President.

  2. I am not throwing Obama under the bus for this. Like I stated, I am not sure he can win; I watched Sean Hannity killing him last nigh. And, he did his best to get John McCain to throw him under the bus, which he did not.

    My concern is this: Why did we not intervene in Rawanda or Iran?

  3. Iran: The crazy guy that has hasn’t done anything (yet) to allow the police arrest him.

    Iraq: The crazy guy was violating his probation. Idiot.

    Afghanistan: The crazy guys were killing us. Game on.

    Rwanda: Crazy man beating his wife next door, but we don’t want to get involved for some reason even though we are built like Hulk Hogan and he’s built like Richard Simmons.

    Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, etc: Crazy wife claims crazy husband is beating her, but if we intervene there is a good chance she’ll attack us with a frying pan when our back is turned.

    Here’s the deal: at least when we took out the crazy fascists in World War II, the people of Japan and Germany were cool with moving on with their lives. The folks in the Middle East seemed determined to remain in the dark ages. When we open the door to freedom and modernity, we get a “Sit on it, Great Satan!” for our troubles. Nation-building was worth a shot, but with a few years under our belt I’m beginning to wonder if we should take care of our national security and then get out as soon as possible if the wife is not going to leave the husband. In other words, help Rwanda. Fumigate areas of Afghanistan when the need arises.

    Note: I like the tip of our spear being over there for the terrorists to run into than over here in the states. My point is that we should take care of the thugs that threaten us (Gaddafi, perhaps), but there may not be much we can do to convince the crazy lady to drop the frying pan. If we are going to be vilified either way, let’s save our blood and treasure.

  4. Matt S, your point about removing folks via defeat out of Germany and Japan does say much for how it transcends a state. But, the motives behind Germany and Japan cannot compare to that of the Middle East. There is not one ste in the Middle East that is advanced enough to present a global threat. The biggest difference, as you noted, is that states in the Middle East hide behind ancient religious traditions in shaping their theocracy. Rawanda was about pure evil; I am and was ok with that, except the world really did nothing when it should have.

  5. Matt: When we first went into Afghanistan in , it was forcasted that $4-5 billion dollars a year for 10 years would set Afghanistan up to be a leader in the region, help its ailing economy, and set it up with a democratic government that from there could serve to improve the region as a whole (according to Ahmed Rashid in Decent into Chaos). Instead shortly after going in, we left to tackle Iraq. As a whole, America has done a poor job at nation building.

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