Skip to comments.Editorial: What Is U.S. National Interest In Libya?
Posted on 03/23/2011 6:45:51 PM PDT by Kaslin
Libya: As the coalition buckles and the objectives of our Libyan adventure remain a mystery, a neglected question has emerged: Is President Obama surreptitiously reshaping U.S. values?
Last Friday, in an article about how President Obama "turned on a dime toward war" in Libya, Foreign Policy magazine reported on a group of outside "experts" at a White House meeting who were told by "a senior administration official" that attacking Libya was "the greatest opportunity to realign our interests and our values" a quote "from Obama himself," according to the official.
Right now, Libya looks like an object lesson in the failure of multilateralism.
The official objective is to save civilians, but the president says Gadhafi must go. The U.N.'s official aim is only "to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas under threat of attack." Yet 2,200 Marines from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina have been given the mission of "protecting the Libyan people from Gadhafi forces."
Are we helping the Libyan rebels? "I haven't had any unofficial communications or official communications" with the opposition forces, the operations commander, Adm. Samuel Locklear, tells reporters.
Who'll ultimately be running military efforts in Libya?
"This is still being worked in Brussels," according to the National Security Council. Who'll pay for establishing a no-fly zone costing $400 million to $800 million, then maybe $100 million a week to maintain? That's as unknown as Operation Odyssey Dawn's objectives.
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Let’s see. The Memorial Day dash for vacation spots is getting closer, as gas prices get higher. Diplomats, start your vacation debt economy engines!
We don’t have a national interest in Libya.
Obama does have an interest in pumping up his pool numbers however,so here we go.
FLASHBACK TO THE DEBATES: Iraqi War vs Pakistan - Obama says Pakistan should be bombed
If we were a strong nation, we would harvest Libyan oil to pay for our effort to save the Libyans from themselves. But, Obama likes us weak.
If we were a smart nation, we would already be harvesting our own oil
Or we would take the money out of the Libyan government’s assets that we froze. I don’t see that happening either, but it’s a nice thought.
Well the US (like the european countries too) has national interessts in Libya.
To name just a few. The US is interessted that the oil starts to flow again as soon as possible. It´s not this important that europe gets most of the oil. The more important fact for the US is that if Europe doesn´t get the oil from libya they simple will buy it from somewhere else (which leads to a higher oil price).
Next vital interesst for the US is to keep its allies “happy” (all this nations involved in Libya have troops in afghanistan).
So there for if allies like britain deside to start a war and asks the US for support the US is more or less poisoned to help. Because if the US doesn´t help they are risking that the europeans will pull out of afghanistan.
I don´t know (And in personal i don´t think that they are worth it) if this interessts are enought to fight a war over it but anyway they do exist.
Lock him up! NOW! Him and his ENTIRE ADMIN!!!
Surprisingly Matthews is being very careful and questioning if Obama actually has a plan to get us out.
We don’t get a lot of oil from Libya....but we could.
Every time I think that the bamster cannot possibly get any worse he exceeds my wildest expectations.
How much more of this evildoer can the Republic take without permanent damage?
And I thought that jimmah cahtuh was going to be the worst pResident of my lifetime...
I’m of two minds on that: On the one hand, I agree that it’s stupid of the US not to use its own resources in difficult times, but on the other hand, if the US hoards its resources while everyone else sells theirs, the US will be the one left holding all the cards when those resources become scarce.
All good points. I think there are more.
It was pretty clear that if nothing was done Khadaffi was on the verge of finishing the rebels off. Would it have been some Srebrenecia-like massacre as some have said? Probably not. But he would have finished them off.
And for all the conservatives and Republicans criticizing Obama now for getting involved, just ask yourself what they’d be saying if he didn’t get involved and the rebels were crushed. They’d say Obama did nothing as a brutal islamic terrorist/thug/dictator who has US blood on his hands from Lockerbie, Berlin and elsewhere brutally took out brave freedom fighters.
They’d mention how he did nothing when Iran repressed their protestors in 2009, and now did nothing in Libya in 2011. They’d paint him as feckless and weak. They’d start running ads with pictures of dead Libyans and dead Iranians from 2009. They’d run ads of that picture of him shaking Khadaffi’s hand and of footage from Lockerbie. and start accuing him of coddling dictators from Teheran to Tripoli. So, either way he’d be getting attacked. Better to look tough and do something then get attacked for being weak.
That’s what Obama was worried about. he didn’t want to have another Rwanda, another Srebrenecia, another whatver pinned on him. He didn’t want the arab/muslim world to say “Well, he talks a good game, but he doesn’t give a s about us. When Khadaffi was killing thousands he did nothing.”
Whatver you think we did stop Khadaffi from what appeared to be an imminent victory. We did save lives.
Moreover, many conservatives and Republicans have been encouraging protests and uprisings in Iran and Syria and elsewhere. What effect do you think us standing by and doing nothing as the Libyan rebels were crushed would have had in Iran? In Syria? Do you think potential rebels in those countries would be more or less likely to take action? I think they’re more likely now and if we sat by and did nothing we could forget about any potential action against Iran and Syria for the next 50 years. Would the govts there be more or less likely to pull a Khadaffi and try and crush them after the past week?
Now, they’ll think twice or even harder. Think Syria is going to bring out tanks and their air force now? The Syrian uprising now has a far better chance of succeeding. Think the Iranians would again brutally repress the protestors if we saw a repeat this summer? I don’t. Now they know what will happen. We’ve laid down a marker. If you have protests/uprisings and you respond with force, we will take you out.
I don’t see how so many conservatives/Republicans could back W when he said taking out Saddam would spark those in other countries and now not back Obama when he’s taking out Khadaffi. And doing it for what appears to be far less cost both in dollars and in casualties.
Some will say what about Zimbabwe? or Burma? or N Korea? Mugabe never sent his air force against his own people. Same with Burma. Or Kim Jong-il. He’s never bombed his own people. Never shelled them. Certainly not to the extent we saw in Libya.
Also, the middle east and arab world is a key part of our global strategy(and Burma and Zimbabwe just aren’t). If we sat back and did nothing as a brutal arab dictator crushed his own people it would be a huge setback for US interests and policy. Just as it was when Bush41 did nothing when Saddam crushed his own people after the Gulf War. If Bush had gotten involved we could have taken Saddam out back in 1991 and the world would have been a lot better off. Obama has basically said that he’s not going to sit back while arab dictators crush their own people.
And yes, Libya does have huge oil reserves and that also plays a part.
We hear the rebels are AQ but I’m skeptical. If they were really AQ trained jihadists they’d be much more effective and we wouldn’t see all these reports of how hapless they are. Liby is also not Iraq. It doesn’t have huge unguarded borders with Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia.
Everyone lives along the coast which can easily be blockaded. The rest is inhospitable desert. There aren’t the same factors to support an insurgency as there were in Iraq with Iran and Syria next door. Besides we won’t have ground troops.
Basically we’re taking him out like we took Milosevic out. It’s only been 5 days. I’d be surprised if he’s still there by Memorial Day and he’ll probably be gone sooner.
It’s early yet, but there could be plenty of positive outcomes of this.
Darfur is a real genocide and Obama didn't do jack squat.
This is the money quote. By realigning "our" interests what is meant is that the resources, especially but not solely the military resources, of the United States are to be employed not in the national interest but as directed by those who have something transcendent in mind - in this case, that is glossed over by a veneer of humanitarianism, but in fact, it is merely the exchange of national interests for supernational ones. Once the UN gave a limited approval despite the abstention of many in the Security Council, the thing was on. Congressional approval? That's all in the past, it's a national thing, we're better than that.
There is, behind this, something profoundly imperialistic from the point of view of the internationalists at the UN and elsewhere. They have claimed the right to employ their, meaning our, resources whenever they consider something outside their values is being done to a population by a government. Those values, ostensibly humanitarian, are in the keeping of the people who, with no visible sense of irony, put Libya and Iran on the Human Rights Committee of their own organization.
The oil has little or nothing to do with it. What this action is attempting to realign is nothing less than the control of overwhelming military resources in pursuit of objectives that are not in the U.S. national interest by people who consider that they have something higher in mind, and the avoidance of any national checks and balances that might prevent this blatant seizure of power.
The laughable - at least until U.S. troops start getting killed - failure of leadership to which we've been treated so far obscures the fact that just because they aren't very good at doesn't mean they're going to stop. The people in charge of this internationalist nonsense feel very strongly that the U.S. is a prime offender and their real holy grail is the employment of U.S. resources against its own people under their direction for the good of the world. That is precisely what 0bama and his little nest of academic tyrants want to "realign."
I think Darfur was mostly over by the time Obama took office. At least the really bad stuff. They signed some deal a couple years ago and there were those elections that resulted in South Sudan.
Also, if Obama had been President in the mid 2000s when the real bad stuff was going down he may well have done something. Darfur was a bit different in that it was way in the interior of a country and they weren’t using planes to bomb people so it doesn’t make sense to really bomb a country to stop guys on horseback. But if we had intervened to stop the Darfur genocide I wouldn’t have complained.
I mean W and the GOP kept bringing up Saddam and what he did to the kurds back in the mid 80s as a reason to go after him. If a few days of attacks with 0 us casualties could have stopped the Janjaweed it would have been worthwhile.
And yes, I adimit oil plays a big role. When a country has as much oil as Libya does and it’s in turmoil, we’re going to get involved that’s just how it works. The world and US economy largely depends on oil. I’m sure oil played a large role.
I’m just saying there are US interests that could be advanced by this depending on how it turns out. It could end up having a very positive effect. I’m willing to wait and see what develops.
I am no great fan of Qadaffi. Like any red blooded American, I still have a grudge against him for all the American blood he is personally responsible for spilling (PanAm 103, Berlin discotecque bombing, Beirut Marine barracks bombing, etc), but I also am a believer in the concept of realpolitik. Something the leftist whores and the neocons seem to ignore. Until recent events, he has behaved reasonably responsibly the last fifteen years, between giving up pursuit of nucular tech and ceasing his attacks on US interests. He’s bad, yes, but Al Qadea is far worse. And like during the cold war against the soviet union, in the past several months multiple nation states in the region have fallen to fundamentalist Islamist regimes. First Tunisia, then Egypt, now Libya Yemen and Bahrain, and lets not forget that the moment we pull out of Iraq it will become a vassal of the mullahs in Iran. You think its a bloodletting in Libya right now of the anti-Qadaffi forces, just think what will happen to the Sunni muslims, arab christians, and kurds in Iraq once we’re gone! You give the muslim democracy, it doesn’t turn their countries into Jacksonian liberal democracies, it turns them into Islamist theocracies—with jihad as a tool of statecraft and aims of a global caliphate.
Remember, Moammar Qadaffi also one of the first Arab leaders to go toe to toe with Al Qaeda. He’s a arab socialist/fascist. very different animal from the islamonazis.
An old phrase comes to mind with me, it is simple succint, and doesn’t mince words like I’m sometimes guilty of. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Then the way was -- if Ghaddaffi is winning, let him. he will get the oil flowing again to pay for his mercenaries and to keep killing the Moslem rebels in the East. He would have less time and money to support other "activities" -- instead this utter imbecile (I'm running out of curse words to call Obahma) prolongs the war.
Are we doing that in Iraq?
nope, I and many if not most freepers have been saying no way jose since the start of Ghaddafi's clamp down.
Islamic terrorist lives, yes. Besides which, what gives you the idea that the rebels would be any better? What gives you the idea that without Ghaddafi, the entire country doesn't split along tribal lines? This would lead to utter balkanisation and wars -- more deaths than ever.
Iran -- watch it, they will overthrow the Ayatolloahs on their own, with increasing conversions (secret) to Zoroastrianism
Ghaddafi's a demon but he's a secular demon and not threatening US interests now, so better to have the devil we do know (weakened, old and completely busy fighting internal enemies) than a number of devils we have no idea about and who would be worse (Moslem Brotherhood, AlQ etc)
How much national treasure has China saved by standing on the sidelines watching while others (U.S.) spend billions in the Mid East? Enough to buy a great portion of our National Debt I’m sure.
Our concern is, of coarse, higher gas prices: but for the
Europeans , it’s the availabilty of oil.