In its month-long crab walk toward a military confrontation with Libya’s Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Obama administration has delivered a clinic in the liberal way of war.
Just a week ago, as the tide began to turn against the anti-Qaddafi rebellion, President Obama seemed determined to keep the United States out of Libya’s civil strife. But it turns out the president was willing to commit America to intervention all along. He just wanted to make sure we were doing it in the most multilateral, least cowboyish fashion imaginable.
That much his administration has achieved. In its opening phase, at least, our war in Libya looks like the beau ideal of a liberal internationalist intervention. It was blessed by the United Nations Security Council. It was endorsed by the Arab League. It was pushed by the diplomats at Hillary Clinton’s State Department, rather than the military men at Robert Gate's Pentagon. Its humanitarian purpose is much clearer than its connection to American national security. And it was initiated not by the U.S. Marines or the Air Force, but by the fighter jets of the French Republic.
This is an intervention straight from Bill Clinton’s 1990s playbook, in other words, and a stark departure from the Bush administration’s more unilateralist methods. Read more at nytimes.com.
With No Debate and No objective, Obama Enters a War
At once presumptuous and flippant, President Obama used a Saturday audio recording from Brazil to inform Americans he had authorized a third war -- a war in which America's role is unclear and the stated objectives are muddled.
Setting aside the wisdom of the intervention, Obama's entry into Libya's civil war is troubling on at least five counts. First is the legal and constitutional question. Second is the manner of Obama's announcement. Third is the complete disregard for public opinion and lack of debate. Fourth is the unclear role the United States will play in this coalition. Fifth is the lack of a clear endgame. Compounding all these problems is the lack of trust created by Obama's record of deception. Read more at washingtonexaminer.com.
Europe, Not U.S., Pushed for Military Force in Libya
America unleashed the heavier firepower, but Europe — to the surprise of some — was the driving force behind the assault on Libya's Moammar Gadhafi…Europeans fear a flood of refugees, making them particularly sensitive to the possibility of a humanitarian disaster in North Africa…But the reasons for Europe's anti-Gadhafi push are more complex than that, and may have as much to do with personalities as politics: The frenetic French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, eager for attention on the world stage and suffering in the polls at home; Britain's youthful prime minister, David Cameron, eager to deflect attention from tough austerity measures and score some foreign policy points. Read more at washingtonexaminer.com
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